Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

180 degrees opinion change by Steve Jobs


Over the last weekend I’ve been reading a book compiled by the wife of late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Laurene Powell Jobs: Make Something Wonderful (get it for free on Books) and one of the stories there was about Steve not being afraid to change his mind: “I have changed my position 180 degrees.” and I believe us leaders can learn a lot from it:

180 degrees opinion change by Steve Jobs

In 1995, Steve as the owner of Pixar wasn’t inclined to help Intel with their graphics performance…

In a nutshell, CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, who was Steve’s friend and mentor, reached out so that the two companies could make the graphics performance of Intel processors better.

Steve resisted. He was afraid Pixar would lose competitive advantage and because of that insisted that Intel paid them for their advice. Intel’s engineer pushed back, so Steve complained to Andy directly:

“Andy, Maybe it’s just me, but I find [Engineer 1]’s approach extremely arrogant, given Intel’s (his?) dismal showing in understanding computer graphics architectural issues in the past…
If I were going to make hundreds of millions of something, I sure as hell would be willing to pay for the best advice money could buy… Any[way], this isn’t a sales pitch; I just wanted you to know what I thought, as always.

Intel CEO explained the situation to Steve in a calm manner…

Steve was frank, but so was Andy and knowing Steve very well, he decided to mentor him a little again:

“I am firmly on [Engineer 1]’s side on this one. He is taking your offer to help us very seriously, rounded up the best technical people and was ready to go when you introduced a brand new element into the discussion: money.”
(…) “You may remember, that from time to time I offered suggestions that pertained to your business.” (…) “and it never entered my mind to charge for it. In my view, that’s what friendly companies (and friends) do for each other. In the long run, these things balance out.”
(…) “I am sorry you don’t feel that way. We will be worse off as a result, and so will the industry.”

Andy challenged Steve to look at all this from a higher perspective and see that it’s not just about a well being of their companies, it’s about the ability for the entire industry to move forward.

Steve Jobs makes a 180 degrees change!

After such a response from Andy, I was expecting Steve to just walk away from all this, yet he did see the bigger picture and replied:

“I have many faults, but one of them is not ingratitude. And, I do agree with you that “In the long run, these things balance out.”
“Therefore, I have changed my position 180 degrees - we will freely help [Engineer 1] make his processors much better for 3D graphics.”

Amazing. True leader. I have read many stories of Steve Jobs changing his mind and defending the new opinion with the same passion as the previous one, but this particular story just demonstrates it so well!

May we, leaders, remember to be open to changing our minds!

Think about it. What would happen if you changed your mind about something today? What are you stubborn about right now? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your position?

What would it mean for Tim Cook and the current Apple if they decided to play the long game and not be caught up in short-term profits?

Seriously Apple, listen to your late founder more often, please!

P.S. I’ve changed my mind on something recently… and that’s why we’ve launched Messages in Nozbe!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024 /180/