Moving The Needle

These days the expression “move the needle” is popular where I work. I did not know it was an expression of Steve Jobs.

“The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.… [Then] the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when [John] Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.”


This is from the biography, just saw that in an interesting article about Microsoft problems: 

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer?mbid=social_retweet

I would not take those words literally: I have seen a company with the inverse problem: developping technical stuff for the sake of it, without a connection to what the market (or the users) are really after. 

In the case of Apple, the engineers and designers actually know quite well what the market is after, maybe more so than the salespeople. But it is unfortunately not the case in every company. Still the case of people turning off because it is too hard to convince the hierarchy is probably quite common.

comments powered by Disqus
Tweet Submit to reddit
© 2006-16 Fabien Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.