8 Management Lessons I Learned Working Under Steve Jobs


Photo: Sachin’s Posterous

One of the countless people influenced by Steve Jobs was former Apple engineer and Posterous founder Sachin Agarwal.Agarwal talked to us last year about how Steve Jobs fostered a startup culture at a multibillion dollar corporation. It was an environment where the engineers made decisions, not managers.

A tech company should be run by engineers, not managers

Agarwal tells us that Apple is completely run by its engineers. 'They don't have a lot of product management,' he says. 'Most of the project teams are really small, and they're all driven by the engineers.'

On top of that, Agarwal says that most managers are all engineers as well, 'not product people or MBAs.' That means that the people overseeing projects understand the technology, what's necessary for a project, and can really relate to their team.

Build a culture of respect between managers and employees

Give employees the freedom to own and improve the products

At Apple, if an employee was using a product and found an issue that bothered them, they had the freedom to go in and fix it without having to deal with layers of bureaucracy to get approval.

All projects are driven by long-term goals, Agarwal says, but the best stuff comes from the engineers personally.

Challenge your employees to grow

Management would really challenge Agarwal by giving him harder tasks that were a little beyond his capabilities. 'But I learned,' he says.

And on the management side, he was getting to manage projects within six months of starting employment.

Apple is really good at developing their employees, and giving them the skills they need to rise up within the company, he says.

Deadlines are crucial

Hire people who are insanely passionate about your product

It's important to emphasise work/life balance

You should maintain that startup culture, even when you're a big company

As we've said before, Apple keeps winning because it's a giant startup.

From its lack of bureaucracy within projects, to its engineer-focused culture, to its emphasis on passionate and loyal employees, the huge company has maintained the corporate culture of its startup days.

And that culture is a huge part of what makes it so successful--and, not surprisingly, a good place to work.

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