August 22, 2016

Steve Jobs

The business leader says this to me:
  • "I'm looking for the next Steve Jobs to run my Marketing Team."
The statement begs a series of questions.
  1. Describe the circumstances where the next Steve Jobs would elect to work in the Catalog Industry or E-Commerce Industry vs. any Silicon Valley based startup?
  2. How much are you willing to pay the next Steve Jobs to work at your company?
  3. How much autonomy will you give the next Steve Jobs, and how much will you micro-manage the next Steve Jobs, hindering the innovative progress the next Steve Jobs brings to the table?
  4. If the next Steve Jobs tells you that everything about your brand is "wrong" and you need to go through a five year period of re-invention that will be coupled with a 30% sales decline, do you allow the next Steve Jobs to see the vision through, or do you ask the next Steve Jobs to innovate within the constraints you put upon the next Steve Jobs?
As one Executive told me, "I need people who implement my vision. I don't need people who want to impose their vision upon my business." If that's the case, you don't want the next Steve Jobs, you want a drone.

We're caught between a rock and a hard place ... we're not going to lure the next Steve Jobs to manage the Paula Young catalog, and we aren't willing to pay a 27 year old $140,000 to mine the database for insights. And yet, we probably need both, don't we?

At a recent conference, a Professional told me that there was no way she'd trust a 30 year old to do anything of any responsibility. She may be right. Her company might not be able to attract/afford the 30 year olds who are going to become Steve Jobs, leaving her with a 30 year old she can't trust to do anything.