Rowing on the same boat


I’m reading (devouring more like) the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Jobs does not come across like a particularly nice man, to deal with or to work with, but the passion comes across. The single minded vision, the absolute devotion to phenomenal user experience, it’s all there.

No doubt as I read on (I’m up to page 408 already) I’ll be moved to blog on more bits, but something struck me over the bran flakes this morning that made me put the book down and ponder.

“We don’t have divisions at Apple – we have one P+L, that way we all work together and there are no ‘divisions’ competing with each other.”

What a simple concept, how brilliant. Despite getting big, the company stays small as if it was one small business – we all row on the same boat, we’re all in this together. Get on board or you know where the door is.

Which reminds me of another gem. Tim Cook (now CEO of Apple) was discussing with his team a problem they were having with a Chinese supplier. “I wish someone would just go over there and sort it out” he mused. 30 minutes later, he turned to someone and said with a withering stare “You still here?”. To which that person quickly made for the San Francisco airport and was on the next plane to China.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, pub Little Brown 2011

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business aussiehome.com, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran reiwa.com. In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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