28 March 2014

Quit Trying to Be Like Steve Jobs

Quit Trying to Be Like Steve Jobs

The opening question the venture capitalist asked after I sat down to be interviewed was, “How did a marketing guy end up being considered for a CEO job?”
After a 20-year career in high-tech that included managing development, running worldwide sales, and heading up marketing for a few moderately sized public companies, that’s the question the guy led with.
I won’t lie and say it wasn’t off-putting, but I was used to it. It’s a relatively common theme among the Silicon Valley geek crowd. There are exceptions, but in general, they just don’t get marketing.
That was nearly 15 years ago and things have changed. Entrepreneurs and VCs have a greater respect for marketing and communications these days. One of the reasons for that is a little company called Apple. Steve Jobs was a positioning genius, but he wasn’t the only Apple executive with marketing in his DNA.
I just watched an interview (video below) with the company’s former VP of marketing communications, Allison Johnson, and let me tell you, this woman gets marketing. Some of what she had to say could have come out of my own mouth, plus there were some great lessons from her years working with Jobs.


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