An obscure, but excellent, look at Steve Jobs in action

This is a video segment from a documentary called “The New Entrpreneurs” that gets posted and taken down from youTube periodically. Every 9 months or so, I want to send it to someone and the previous link fails. Finally, it looks like the creator of the video has posted it, so it’s likely to stay.

It’s 20 minutes covering Jobs’s early days building NeXT. If you can overlook the amusing line from the mellifluous announcer that Jobs “values consensus” there are some great moments:

  • 7:17 – Jobs describes what it means to be a keeper, or as he puts it more interestingly, a “reiterator” of the vision. “1000 ways the vision needs to be reiterated . . . I do that a lot” This is part of his comment about focus being as much about what’s left out as what goes into a product.
  • 13:01 – all the different things you need to do to build a company, including getting a coffee machine so the team keeps on going
  • 10:14 – a slow burn as his team starts to question the core vision
  • 5:58 – a mouth breather talking about shells written in C, followed by some awesome 80s hair at 6:19
  • 13:55 – using an overhead projector with a piece of paper for his “builds”
  • 18:50 – Jobs talking about seeing how Apple II had an impact on kids
  • The first two are the key ones for me. Nearly everyone will agree that there needs to be a keeper of the vision, but Jobs reminds us that it’s about repetition and daily, even hourly, course corrections. In the whiteboarding session, he indicates what’s non-negotiable and what’s up for discussion, and he drills it into the group over and over, but also by with a very simple, mentally portable, set of bullet points on the whiteboard. On the second, again it seems obvious that entrepreneurs have to do a lot, but the coffee pot and kitchen comment are a reminder that sometimes, even most of the time, your job is to keep your team moving.

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