Today, many are rightly eulogizing Steve Jobs, who passed away much too young yesterday. In his life as an entrepreneur and communicator, he disproved many of the commonly argued “rules” about good communications and business. He even did so in death.
Steve Jobs rejected transparency. Throughout his illness, Steve Jobs was anything but transparent. To this day, we still don’t really know much about what his condition was or why he died. For a major public figure and head of a public company, that’s exceedingly unusual. Transparency may work for many, but it certainly didn’t hurt Steve Jobs much to be opaque.
Steve Jobs showed the customer is not always right. Under Steve Jobs, Apple denied many common customer requests. They limited choices. They restricted features. They charged a premium. They built walled gardens. Yet they created almost insane demand from customers wanting to purchase more.
Steve Jobs restricted access to information. Want to cover an Apple event? They’ll make that decision for you. Just ask prominent tech commentator and radio host Leo Laporte who has been famously denied access to Apple launch events. While most espouse the need to make information freely available, Apple jealously guards it.
Steve Jobs backed legal action against bloggers. Under Steve Jobs, Apple hated leaks. And they pursued them aggressively and often litigiously. When many would argue against taking bloggers to court over leaked information, Steve Jobs and Apple had no problem with the tactic.
Steve Jobs was a rule-breaker. And it worked for him. In fact, one could argue that his willingness to ignore and break “rules” helped make him and Apple the success they were.
It’s another good reminder that rules aren’t all they are cracked up to be.