This evening I was watching Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview. Essentially it’s the longest piece of interview material that the public has really seen. I sat down, and watched it, and certain things began to trigger in my brain. (Remember this interview was done in 1995). Services that have been ingrained in us such as Facebook, Blogging, iPods, MacBook Pros, Wi-Fi, Smartphones, Cloud computing, weren’t even on the radar. To give you an idea – if you aren’t much of a technophile – this was around the time that the internet started becoming a well-known concept and tool to the public. Before I digress too much let me turn the focus back to Jobs.
“People get very confused [and assume] the process is the content.”
What Jobs was talking about here, was eventually he had recruited a few hundred people (in the early days of Apple) people lost sight of what great content (or a great product) was. One example Steve gave indicated that Xerox went under because of this. What happened? Well, they had a monopoly in the copier market. In his words “So you make a better copier or a better computer, so what?” The people that can make the company more successful were in two spheres…Sales and Marketing. Therefore, the Sales and Marketing people end up running the companies. This means the product people get pushed away from the decision-making forums, and in time the company forgets what it is to make great products.
In a similar way this illustrates the difference between content and process. If you’re stuck in the same company for five years, as an example, you’ve become part of the process. Some of that is good – it gets things done – it helps the business continue making its money. However, when one gets absorbed by the process, you can easily lose sight of the content. “Am I producing good quality work? Does this work I’m producing mean something to me?” If you’re stuck in the process then questions like that may not even be apparent to you. Maybe it’s just a case of “Oh well, it’s a job it pays the bills. I’m not ecstatic about dragging my ass to work, but at least it’s something.” That’s a very bad rationalization for me.
The details matter. Of course they do! If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be in the career we are in the first place. What I think Jobs was getting at is if you care about the content, you care a great deal more about yourself…and ultimately where you are going.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment or two! 🙂