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

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Defining the Goal

One day Steve had lunch with a young entrepreneur who had been referred to him by a student Steve had met at one of his Stanford MBA classes. The youngster had been talking to leaders of high-tech companies, seeking a better understanding of what it meant to set a long-term goal. As Steve related this to me afterward, the young man had met with some people at personal-computer maker Tandy Computers, who explained their goal by saying it was to have a Tandy computer on everyone’s Christmas wish list.

He then visited another company in the personal-computer business, Commodore, which in those days was a major rival of Apple. He was told that their goal was to see what sounded like a very modest rise in the share price of the company’s stock.

This didn’t surprise Steve, who held a low opinion of Jack Tramiel, the man who had founded Commodore. Steve considered him a cut-throat entrepreneur who was in the computer business only for the money. After Jack left Commodore, he became head of another personal-computer company, Atari, where they produced a Mac look-alike that came to be dubbed the Jackintosh.

(I was with Steve at the annual Consumer Electronics Show when we ran into Jack, after he had put out the Jackintosh. Steve told him, “Your product is a knock-off and you will never be successful.” Jack pulled back his sleeve and showed us a concentration-camp tattoo on his wrist; he told Steve, “I will always be successful. No one can stop me.” I had never seen Steve ...

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