John Sculley, former CEO of Apple has revealed that he thinks he should never have been given the role of CEO and that Apple co-founder, and now CEO, Steve Jobs, would have been the best man for the job.
Sculley was hired back in April 1983 and worked at Apple until 1993. He has admitted in an interview with Cult of Mac that it was a mistake to hire him to run Apple since he knew nothing about computers. He also suggests that it would have been a better move if the board had allowed Jobs to run the company at the time, but Jobs was considered too young.
"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," said Sculley in the Cult of Mac interview.
"I came in not knowing anything about computers. The idea was that Steve and I were going to work as partners. He would be the technical person and I would be the marketing person," he explained.
"The reason why I said it was a mistake to have hired me as CEO was Steve always wanted to be CEO. It would have been much more honest if the board had said, 'Let's figure out a way for him to be CEO. You could focus on the stuff that you bring and he focuses on the stuff he brings'."
Sculley reveals how obsessed Jobs was with creating a good user experience, but that he didn't believe in focus groups as he didn't think that people would know what they wanted. Instead Jobs' skill was discovering exactly what it was that people needed.
For example, Sculley quotes Jobs as saying: "How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before."
This is the reason why Jobs hired Sculley. Jobs believed computers would become consumer products so he wanted someone who would understand consumers. (Sculley came from Pepsi). "I was brought in because I had a design background and because I was a marketer. I had product marketing experience. Not because I knew anything about computers," he said.
Sculley also talks about Jobs obsession with design. He explained: "The thing that separated Steve Jobs from other people like Bill Gates — Bill was brilliant too — but Bill was never interested in great taste. He was always interested in being able to dominate a market. He would put out whatever he had to put out there to own that space. Steve would never do that. Steve believed in perfection. Steve was willing to take extraordinary chances in trying new product areas but it was always from the vantage point of being a designer."
Part of the Game Changers series, the film looks at Jobs' style of leadership, management techniques, and his creativity.
The piece includes interviews with co-founder Steve Wozniak, former CEO John Scully and more.