John Sculley interview

There’s a fantastic interview with John Sculley (former Apple CEO) about Steve Jobs. It’s very interesting if you are interested in Steve Jobs, but there are some other great bits in it too – e.g.

I remember going to CES when Microsoft launched Zune and it was literally so boring that people didn’t even go over to look at it… The Zunes were just dead. It was like someone had just put aging vegetables into a supermarket. Nobody wanted to go near it.

But I thought the most striking thing in the interview was how openly he describes his own failure to lead Apple successfully. How often do you see business leaders describe themselves with humility like this:

Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO. I was not the first choice that Steve wanted to be the CEO. He was the first choice, but the board wasn’t prepared to make him CEO when he was 25, 26 years old.

All the design ideas were clearly Steve’s. The one who should really be given credit for all that stuff while I was there is really Steve.

I made two really dumb mistakes that I really regret because I think they would have made a difference to Apple.

So we totally missed the boat. Intel would spend 11 billion dollars and evolve the Intel processor to do graphics… and it was a terrible technical decision. I wasn’t technically qualified, unfortunately, so I went along with the recommendation.

The other even bigger failure on my part was if I had thought about it better I should have gone back to Steve.