Friday, December 02, 2011

Bill is back, and it's good to have him back

http://kinnon.tv/2011/11/jesus-and-the-marlboro-man.html
http://kinnon.tv/2011/11/perhaps-certain-pastors-shouldnt-read-the-jobs-biography.html
Bill links to the following
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/11/be-a-jerk-the-worst-business-lesson-from-the-steve-jobs-biography/249136/
which reminds me of something DZ linked to over at Mockingbird here:
http://www.mbird.com/2011/12/another-week-ends-deadly-doing-horton-on-incarnation-epic-fantasy-appeal-schizophrenic-hope-dfw-syllabi-nice-guys-george-harrison-and-superman/
about how nice guys do finish last:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/do-nice-guys-finish-last/
That doesn't sound like anyone we've blogged about in the past in terms of discussing wimpy or "nice" guys, does it?  ;)

From Sullivan's article:

So many people advanced Steve Jobs as evidence that asshole CEOs build better companies that Sutton somewhat reluctantly included a chapter in his book on "The Virtues of Assholes," with Steve Jobs as Exhibit A. There is some evidence that "status displays" by aggressive bosses can motivate workers and give slackers a kick in the pants. And effective jerk bosses usually aren't assholes all the time, they're able to turn on the charm when the situation demands it, something Steve Jobs, by most accounts, was very good at doing. And it helps for companies to have skilled subordinate executives that are good at cleaning up after the Asshole-in-Chief, much like the sad-faced men carrying shovels who walk behind circus elephants. [emphasis added]
...

The fact is, Steve Jobs didn't succeed because he was an asshole. He succeeded because he was Steve Jobs. He had an uncanny sixth sense about what consumers wanted, an unmatched ability to adapt existing technology and turn it into something new, and a commitment to quality that turned ordinary Apple customers into fans for life. Being an asshole was part of the Steve package, but it wasn't essential to his success. But that's not a message most of the assholes in the corner offices want to hear.


Interesting, it helps for companies to have skilled subordinate executives that are good at cleaning up after the Asshole-in-Chief, as Sullivan puts it.  Perhaps this can constitute a kind of meta-commentary on assholes-in-chief at a variety of organizations?  It may well be the smarter assholes-in-chief know they need people to play more conciliatory and friendly roles.  This does not justify their being assholes-in-chief, of course, but it may prove that even jerks at the top recognize that somebody has to delegate a modicum of nice. 

I could write more but I'm trying to rein myself in a bit.  I am still recovering from major eye surgery.  But, as you can see, it's hard to resist writing SOMETHING.  I hope to tackle the prophet/priest/king stuff (again) before too long.  And eventually I want to get back to the aesthetics of plausibility chris e and I were discussing months ago.  But eye surgery is eye surgery, after all.  The first week has gone very well but it's still the first week.

1 comment:

Bill Kinnon said...

Thanks, Jeremiah.