1 posts from October 2011

I Met Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died tonight. It is a sad day for us who are still here without a man who changed the world.

Years ago Steve offered me a career at Apple working for him spearheading the LISA project. Although I was leaving Mattel Electronics, as the digital game division was known in 1981, I turned down the offer. Any success would be his, any failure mine. I thought.

As history shows, Lisa (named after a girl friend) failed. It's competitive platform at Apple, Macintosh, succeeded.

The big idea is the question of opportunity lost. What would my life have looked like had joined Apple reporting to him?

There is no answer, but the key learning is how decision paths for corporate executives or entrepreneurs influence life long term. Looking at Apple today versus 1981, looking at Steve Jobs in historic terms rather than real time in 1981 still offers no answer to me. Hindsight is not 20:20, but Steve's passing for me emphasizes the need to identify life changing, key strategic decisions compared to other hot issues that have little lasting consequence. Long term outcome reflects leaders' choices.

My 1981 career decision punctuates the question, what if...