Don’t compromise!

dont_compromiseSome time ago I finished reading “Steve Jobbs”. A number of things “resonated” with me while others don’t. Some, I find simply disturbing. Then there is one item where I’m sitting on the fence.

Don’t Compromise.

The absolute belief

  • that there are no trade offs that can’t be cast away,
  • that there is always a way to get exactly what I want and to ignore the counsel of others

has a profound effect on the outcome. For a very long time I have been a believer in the Windows (Microsoft) universe. In particular I like having an open standard and well defined interfaces. It makes me feel good. It inspires trust, allows innovation and connects people, processes and ideas. It simply sounds right.

Reading Steve Jobbs’ belief system puts a different spin on it. His diminishing trust that others can deliver something as good as he can, that “they” will screw it up is a driver for perfection and for doing it himself. In management terms I would use the phrase “micro management”.

Time and again people have made mistakes – including me (and Steve). There is in my mind no reason to shout people down or not try again because it went wrong once or even twice. There is always one more time. The important thing for me is:

understanding why it went awry and learning from it so this mistake doesn’t happen again.

Don’t Compromise

Let me just repeat the credo that created the Apple universe. Why did it work? Looking at NEXT, it was a failure. To insist the NEXT computer must be a cube was a shot in the foot. It was a major design flaw. In comparison the thinness of the MacBook Air was one of the secret of its success. The other using just SSD drives. Nothing irritates me more waiting til my Toshiba laptop boots up compared to my wife’s Macbook Air starting up instantaneously.

Many have said the line between Genius and stupidity is a small one. And to hold your ground (Don’t compromise) over a certain aspect of your project is often as important and necessary as to listen, understand and adjust. To pick the right battles is a challenge and a gift. Getting it right much more often and on the high value items marks you as one of the Steve Jobbs type people. Getting them right in normal life will make you a good or great project leader and team manager or even managing director.

Some items are simply not open for debate.

And sometime later that is no longer true.

Don’t Compromise

and finally there is Janis Joplin’s opinion on the matter:

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

And that’s what matters most. Your opinion and who you are.

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