I just found ‘The Lost Interview’ with Steve Jobs on Netflix and watched it again. Suddenly he starts to talk about process and content and I am startled because he is using my words. But he is not just talking about document content, but about the business content related to knowhow and creativity. A lot of people think that my opposition to rigid process is silly, but at least I have Steve Jobs on my side.
Steve Jobs: ‘You know what it is? People get confused. Companies get confused. When they start getting bigger they want to replicate their original success. And they start to think that somehow there is some magic in the process of how that success was created. So they start to institutionalise the process across the company. But before very long people get confused and think that the process is the content. And that was ultimately the downfall of IBM. IBM had the best process people in the world but they forgot about the content. And that’s what happened a little bit at Apple too. We had a lot of people who were great at management process and they didn’t have a clue as to the content. And in my career I found that the best people are the ones who understand the content. They are a pain the butt to manage. You put up with it because they are so great in the content. And that’s what makes a great product. It is not process. It is content.’
If you get the chance watch the interview because this was while he was growing NEXT and he predicts the future of computing which he would eventually be doing back at Apple.