Fast Decisions: Steve Jobs vs. Meg Whitman

In writing about the recent news that HP is taking their time to decide webOS’ fate, John Gruber wrote

So the longer HP waits, the less valuable WebOS becomes, because more and more of the smart and talented people behind it will have left…

When you’re faced with a “we need to stop the bleeding” problem, you need a fast decision.

This sounds much like the situation at Apple when Gil Amelio was ousted as CEO and Steve Jobs was acting as an active advisor. Apple was in such disarray top employees were leaving. Jobs first order of business was to stop the talent drain by repricing their stock options. What happened next, according to Walter Isaacson in Steve Jobs:

Jobs called for a telephonic board meeting and outlined the problem. The directors balked. They asked for time to do a legal and financial study of what the change would mean. “It has to be done fast,” Jobs told them. “We’re losing good people.” 

When the board proposed a study that could take two months, Jobs exploded: “Are you nuts?!?”

Ultimately, Jobs threatened to leave Apple if the board wouldn’t support this kind of decision, which they did. 

Desperate times, desperate measures, and all that. I don’t know if feet are being dragged by Whitman or the board, but if the latter Whitman might want to crack a head or two. 


2 thoughts on “Fast Decisions: Steve Jobs vs. Meg Whitman

  1. “smart and talented people behind it will have left”Palm was not much of a power in mobile devices and did not have much financial resources. So there is not much to lose.

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