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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Let’s Party

A critical process of keeping the employee spirit alive was the timely parties at Apple. Of course, the theme and size of the party was dictated by what was being celebrated. In addition to the expected T-shirts, there would often be some other memorable gift that made the moment unique. In the early days, musical entertainment was always at the center of the events, with Steve’s favorite group, a soul/rhythm-and-blues band called Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, often the band of choice. The party might be an afternoon celebration for meeting a product milestone, or just donuts and coffee when you arrived in the morning; it was the thought that counted. All these events were team oriented, reflecting that most important part of the Apple culture: the team comes first.

The let’s party idea was something we had picked up from another Silicon Valley company, Tandem Computer. Under the guidance of founder James Treybig, Tandem had around-the-pool beer parties on Friday afternoons to celebrate the week’s accomplishments. Before then, the Valley had been dominated by IBM and HP, which were very much not partying companies.

In 1983, Apple hit a sales level that would generate a billion dollars a year, so we had a major party on Bandley Drive to celebrate the incredible growth that Apple had achieved and to recognize the employees who helped make it happen. We had a special set of glass goblets designed for the occasion and had a big block party with food, drink, and of course ...

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