If Sun Tzu (Art of War) were alive today – he would add a chapter to his treatise on war & business – do not go out of your way to annoy Steve Jobs.
Sure, on stage Steve Jobs seems like a pleasant man dressed in jeans and a mock turtleneck and you figure someone who’s all vegan would be accommodating and forgiving … well, maybe he might let you have the last piece of tofu at dinner but when it comes to business matters, you might as well be dressed in a wife-beater, using the new aluminum keyboard to butcher a pig in his house and then asking him where his phone is so you can activate Vista.
In other words, not the smartest move you can make.
Like the old saying goes, “Don’t bluff if you’re not prepared to back it up.”
Some people seem to be soft in the head – thinking the business world is like being in pre-school, share and share alike. I hate to break it to you but the real world is just a bit harsher. You might have to accept these three facts:
Steve Jobs is smarter than you;
He is 4 moves ahead of you and;
If you are partnered with Apple, they need you a lot less than you need them.
This wasn’t always the case but it is now. You want to shuttle off Apple products into a small section of the store, we’ll just open up a chain of stores that’s the highest grossing stores in the country – by far (as measured by sales per square foot). That’s not to say everyone should partner with Apple but if you want in on the Apple’s eco-system, you are subject to Apple’s rules … it’s that simple. My solar system, my rules.
And never annoy your source of light and life … Steve Jobs … you may be cast adrift into the cold dark bleakness of empty space … alive, sure but always branded as unworthy and foolhardy … some of those deciding to annoy Steve Jobs?
Jeff Raskin – Steve took over his Macintosh project and later when Raskin had a computing project at Canon, who won the funding fight between him and Job’s NeXT?
John Sculley – Sculley looked like he won after a year but now 20 years later, just known as the CEO who got in over his head and never got another mainstream CEO gig.
Bill Gates – Of course, his rival had his decade of glory but already he is receding into the background of tech history while Steve Jobs is now well known to a new generation that wasn’t even born before personal computers. Of course, BG will hopefully be remembered for his philanthropy work but already his other legacy is fading.
Gil Amelio – Say whatever happened to that tussle over the direction of Apple?
Michael Dell – Not only groveling to sell OSX (yea, right after we grant a license to Gil Amelio, Dell is next) but now furiously paddling not to be remembered only as an entry in Wikipedia. Funny, no one calls him a ‘genius’ anymore.
Michael Eisner – Not only forced out at Disney where the board looked at him and then looked at Pixar and then at him and then at Pixar and then at him and surprise, Steve Jobs is now the LARGEST shareholder. No CEO jobs out there but his CNBC show set some sort of record for lowest viewership of a cable series … DEAL OR NO DEAL aired just before with 500,000 viewers – how many stayed around to watch his show? 95,000 … there are 300 MILLION Americans.
Doug Morris/Universal Music Group – My sheer presence and smartness in switching all our tracks to walmart.com & Rhapsody will make Steve Jobs rue the day! Or will his shareholders wonder why he is walking away from $750 million a year from Apple to do business with two companies with about 1.5% of the business … companies that had failed to make any headway against Apple for 4 years will suddenly garner a huge switch because of DRM “free” tracks from Lil Scrappy or Crime Mob? But first you have to download a Windows-only app and register. Or maybe you can just buy some CD’s and rip all the tracks you want that really, really DRM free? Or just go online and find one of 50 billion plus illegal tracks? Doug Morris came armed to a street fight with a puffy shirt. Good luck to ya Doug.
Ed Zander Motorola – You guys at Apple couldn’t design a cell phone, we’ve been at it for 15 years and look how far we’ve come! It’s in color now! Just give us iTunes, we’ll shoehorn it in there somehow. We will show you how it’s done in the cell phone industry! Result? “This was a challenging quarter for Motorola in which revenue fell short of our expectations due to a decline in mobile device unit shipments,” said Ed Zander” (aka: we didn’t sell as many phones and we didn’t make any money – other than that, we’re great!).
Head of Verizon who said no to iPhone because charging $2.50 a month for bluetooth was just too valuable to take away or selling music tracks for $2.50 a track (after the $15 monthly service charge). Of course, he did promise “amazing” phones from Moto, Nokia & Samsung that would be essentially the same as the iPhone. Is this it?
Jeff Zucker/NBC Universal – My sheer presence and smartness in switching all our video sales to hulu.com will make Steve Jobs rue the day! Uh, yea … oh yea, he’s also going to take on Google’s YouTube at the same time … with FOX. If you can survive not being skinned during a luncheon with Rupert, that would be impressive already but this guy plans on taking on Steve Jobs & Google in one fell swoop also … after all, it’s not like you presided over NBC as it went from #1 to #4 … oh wait, you did – so, of course, you’re really qualified to tell us the viewers that $2 a TV show is just not right, what you want is $5 a show because consumers really want is higher pricing … sure, you can buy a season DVD for $40 in stores or $44 on iTunes (previously) but what consumers really, really want to pay $110 a year for 22 iTunes versions.
And of course, NBC previously praised iTunes as being mainly responsible for driving viewers to THE OFFICE & 30 ROCK … (saving them from cancellation) and NBC needs help as the #4 network but Zucker believes that hulu will be his legacy? I guess after $600 million spent on ivillage, failure #2 is not an option? So he’s doubling down … well, with GE’s money.
I’m sure Jeff Zucker personally approved the $5 million to come up with hulu.com – nevermind that it means butt in Indonesian but really, hulu? From the song – Hulu do you think you’re fooling? Yea, good name. Jeff, we’re not laughing with you, we’re laughing at you. It was foolhardy of you to take on Google’s YouTube but now, you’re going to roll the dice on your career to feud with Steve Jobs also? You are fighting above your weight class there, dude …
Make sure you get that ironclad agreement to get at least one airing of your TV talk show on Rupert’s new business news network … there are at least 10 million more Americans watching TV so how hard can it be to beat Michael Eisner’s 95,000 viewers?
Just think, Jeff Zucker you could be namechecked as the Gil Amelio of the 21st century! Or perhaps the new Gerald Levin?
Zucker seems to think the the second choice of viewing a network TV show will be hulu.com. Sure, it’s on the list – somewhere below torrents, recording with a DVR, recording with EyeTV, recording with a DVR and converting using Handbrake, or the most likely scenario – just not watch at all. TV rating trends in today’s times clearly indicate if the show is not on or not accessible, people simply STOP watching. While CBS & ABC have experimented with airing shows online, they have not made a significant difference while they clearly praised iTunes as a difference maker but hey …
Good luck to you Jeff Zucker in taking on Rupert, Google & Steve Jobs. Hope your brain is up to it. Hope you don’t have a super-jumbo prime mortgage … you might want to finish decorating your office in the next week or so … if you last to 2008, you should dance the hulu … I’m guessing it looks alot like this?