Tag Archives: steve jobs

SBLA: Building High Performance Teams

Small Business Leadership Academy: Building High Performance Teams (Part I)

Last night, students in the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) formed two teams and competed to see which could navigate a “minefield” best. The exercise was designed to help students experience the dynamics of high performance teams as they move through all the stages of group development.

“Many of these owners are getting ready to launch their businesses into the next stage, and at some point they will need to form and lead teams,” said W. P. Carey clinical assistant professor Ruth Barratt, who is teaching two classes on how to build high performance teams. “Even the solo practitioner needs to understand team dynamics,” she added, “because they will be interacting with customers who work in teams.”

“One of the common mistakes managers make is to give teams too little time to do their work,” Barratt said. Managers must come in on time and under budget, and in a challenging economy, the pressure intensifies. But teams don’t achieve peak performance unless members have a chance to get to know each other – each person’s strengths, weaknesses, style – and the assignment.

Knowing yourself is the first step to understanding others, so before last night’s class the students completed the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. “It’s a valuable tool for understanding what their stressors are and how that affects the way they interact with other people,” Barratt said. Before class she had already heard from a handful of students: “the extraverts,” she laughed.

The class delved into the stages of team development and management, how to build a culture that leads to achievement, and what it takes to lead a team. “Story-telling is an effective way to build culture,” Barratt said, “so for next week’s class the assignment is to get ready to tell your business story.” In preparation, students heard about Miller Brewing Company’s Norman Adami, and how he used culture to turn around a sluggish company. And for an example of a well-told tale, she showed them Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech.

Next week’s class will be the final instructional module of the 2011 SBLA program.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy and building high performance teams and team development, please visit SBLA’s website.


Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Lesson Learned From Steve Jobs: People Before Products

People before product. This is an important lesson taught by Steve Jobs who passed away Wednesday, October 5.

Steve Jobs created a culture of innovation.

His attitude of putting the customer and people first, changed the way we communicate today not only on a personal level but also on a business level.

The needs of consumers are what drove product development. By listening to what it was people wanted, Apple was able to deliver products that would exceed expectations.

This strategy is one that led to enhanced business innovation. 

Through the advancement of computers, smartphones and tablets, society has become more agile.  Business is able to be done in real time and teams are now meeting virtually, or in the cloud. Collaboration is changed by the ability to reach out to colleagues and make decisions from locations other than places with a ceiling and four walls.

People are benefiting dramatically from this mobility. Moms can now work from home and still be home with their children. Businesses reduce costs by cutting unnecessary overhead. And society benefits from the fewer cars on the road by eliminating the commute to and from the office.

With the development of mobile devices, came the development of cloud technology, which further led businesses to be able to be mobile. 

In the first generation of this cloud technology, solutions were innovated to solve specific business needs, such as document sharing or web/video conferencing. From something as simple as putting email on a smartphone, or as advanced as being able to see a web/video conference on their tablet while in an airport, solutions popped up for these revolutionary devices. And again, the nature in which we do business changed.

The need for these solutions were great, but with such a variety of single solution offerings, businesses were encountered with a new problem of administrative headaches from multiple programs and bills to manage. And innovators listened. Following the strategy of Steve Jobs, people, again, came before products.

The development of the next generation of solutions that will make doing business easier is almost here, and businesses will soon be able to get back to what they do best.

[tubepress mode=”tag” tagValue=”steve jobs”]

Apple Products, Impact on Education

The Impact of Apple Products

The Impact of Apple Products

On Wednesday, August 25, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple. But this doesn’t mean Apple products haven’t had an impact on many of our lives, especially in the education realm.

According to a Visual.ly infographic, submitted by amie:
Apple is known for making waves in the technology industry with their trendsetting new products. Apple is also known to revolutionize and change education as well. This infographic looks at the various ways that Apple has changed education on a global scale. From computers in the classroom, to reducing the costs of textbooks, Apple really does do it all.

Apple Products & Education:

Apple Products; Visual.ly


Up Next: The Apple Tree >>

iPad connection to computer

Apple’s New iPad 2 ~ A Faster And Efficient Upgrade

The iPad 2 — It’s thinner; it’s lighter, and it’s faster.iPad 2, released March 2011, Flickr: Robert Scoble

Apple’s new toy was released to the public in early March and with it came several much-anticipated features that makes its predecessor look like a relic.

So what are some of the differences in Apple’s newest project?  Is the hype deserving of the product? Yes, and here’s why:


Slimmer than the previous iPad, the iPad 2 dropped from 13.4mm to 8.8mm — a 33 percent drop in weight, making it significantly lighter and easier to manage on the go.  Its flatter back design makes carrying it an easier task and mobility of it as easy as possible for those who enjoy the ease of online news feeds with your morning cup of coffee.

Battery Life and the Case

Running off the same style of lithium-polymer battery, the new iPad gets an astounding 10 hours of life!  That’s 10 hours to surf the web, check sports scores, edit video from your family vacation, FaceTime with friends, and the endless fun that applications provide you with.

As an optional feature, Apple is offering a new magnetic case. This new case offers valuable protection to a fragile product while doubling as a fold-able stand for viewing.


In addition to larger RAM capability, Apple offers arguably its most significant upgrade in the iPad – a Dual Core.

Applications and screen resolution have taken much of the spotlight when judging a tablets value by consumers, but the addition of a Dual Core A5 chip to the iPad is something that has been considerably underrated. Aiding in nearly all aspects of the iPad’s performance, processing will run faster, smooth, cleaner and more efficiently than any competing product by far.

Cameras, HDMI, and FaceTime

FaceTime was a major selling point for the iPhone 4 – as it is for new iPad.

With the addition of two cameras (one rear facing and one front facing), the iPad 2 allows users to access FaceTime and video chat at blazing fast speed.

Back Camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with a 5x digital zoom
Front Camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second

In addition to being able to record and stream HD video, the iPad 2 offers an HDMI output for your home television.  HDMI allows the iPad to connect and play any recorded or online video in high definition – a must-have for those Netflix addicts out there.


This powerful new addition to Apple’s arsenal provides for an amazing look into emerging mobile technology.

It seems that just a few years ago the iPhone was a marvel unto itself, and now with the second edition of the iPad, HD video recording, mobile video conferencing and multitasking online interaction is easier than ever.

Apple's iPad 2

Apple is notorious for its sleek style of user-friendly products and machines that make navigation an ease.  Multitasking, apps, pictures, video/music editing, and FaceTime will all occur at mind-blowing speed and make the mobile online experience with Wi-Fi and 3G quicker than ever.

With several important and significant upgrades, Apple is dominating the tablet industry (by no surprise) and is continuing to push for an increasingly mobile device with powerful user capability.

There seems to be a notable trend in technology to become faster, sleeker, mobile and overall more efficient than its precursor – and the iPad 2 is no exception.


For information on the iPad 2, check out Apple’s website www.apple.com.

Apple Banner

Apple Now Worth Over $300 Billion

As of January 3, Apple’s market capitalization passed $300 billion, making them the second most valuable company in the world (just behind Exxon Mobil).  Since the bump that put them over the $300 billion mark, Apple’s value took a slight dip with the news that Steve Jobs, CEO and public face of the company, would be going on medical leave. However, the company is holding on to its second place position for now.  Check out the infographic below for more information.

Apple Worth $300 Billion

Apple officially launched the iPhone 4 with its usual mastery

Apple’s iPhone 4 Fumbles

What a crazy summer it’s been for Apple.

On June 24, Apple officially launched the iPhone 4 with its usual mastery. In April, there had been the prototype that was “accidentally” left in a bar and ended up in the hands of Gizmodo’s editor, Jason Chen. The subsequent police raid on Chen’s home a few days later gave new life to the story just as it was beginning to fade. In May, another prototype popped up in the hands of a Vietnamese businessman. Now the renewed speculation had the added spice of mystery: How could Apple lose two prototypes so close to the anticipated June announcement? Were these accidents or a ploy?

The ensuing announcement on June 7 by Steve Jobs answered all the questions about features and everyone now knew when they’d be able to get their hands on the phone: June 24. Some began waiting in line days early, and in Manhattan a few sold their spots in line. The lines were so long, that in places it got ugly. In Los Angeles, 2,000 people were incensed that Jason Bateman was able to jump the line for his iPhone.

And then it really got interesting.

There were immediate reports of a problem: poor reception and dropped calls. At first, Apple let people blame AT&T, an easy target. Next, they said that the problem was with the software in their phone, which was over-reporting the actual signal strength. In other words, ‘”we made a mistake but the real problem is with AT&T.” As evidence mounted, Apple finally acknowledged that there was indeed a design problem: If you held the phone in your left hand to make the call you compromised the antenna. But they also had a ready answer: “Don’t hold the phone like that.”

Gee thanks.

Many Apple customers were understandably incensed. As they were with the suggested alternative: buy a case from Apple. As the anger mounted, Apple tried again. This time masterfully. With misdirection. “All smart phones suffer from this problem,” announced Apple. “It’s called the ‘death grip.’”

Apple’s partly right: the “death grip” problem is a common problem to at least some degree with most smart phones. But the misdirection is this: the original problem is completely unique to Apple. When Consumer Reports called Apple’s bluff, Apple finally relented and announced free iPhone covers that fix the real problem.

Thanks Apple. That was easy.

Steve Jobs Takes On The World - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Steve Jobs Takes On The World … Again

Steve Jobs — the guy who famously flew a pirate flag over the building where the Macintosh was being invented, thus rescuing Apple from oblivion — is at it again. This time the fight is with Adobe, makers of the Flash platform that is currently the dominant software for playing interactive and video Web content.

Some truths about Steve Jobs are undeniable. He’s obviously brilliant, an iconoclast, and supremely successful. He’s so successful that Apple recently passed Microsoft in terms of market value. That’s right, Apple, the company Jobs rescued several times, keepers of “cool,” has passed stodgy Microsoft. Sure, Microsoft owns more than 90 percent of the desktop computer operating systems market with Windows, and an estimated 80 percent of enterprises use some form of Microsoft Office. But the market is betting that “cool” is more valuable than “foundational.” It’s betting that Microsoft won’t be able to innovate fast enough, even as Apple has become synonymous with innovation.

So it’s no wonder that when Apple — meaning Jobs — refused to support Flash first on iPhones and then on iPads, the tech community paid notice. The guessing began. What’s Jobs up to? Will Apple launch a competitor to Flash? What’s Jobs really trying to achieve at the cost of ignoring such a dominant standard? Is it all about controlling the App Store?

In the past few weeks the fight became more public, with both Jobs and Adobe stating their cases. On April 29, Jobs released a statement saying that Apple wouldn’t support Flash because a) it’s not an open standard; b) Flash is unreliable, has security flaws, and lacks performance on mobile devices; c) when playing video on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad it drains the battery too quickly; and d) it didn’t originally support touch screens, though it now does. Finally, Job’s stated “the most important reason” — Apple insists on controlling the hardware and software platform all the way up to the developer. In other words, the developer must use the software tools and development libraries that Apple provides. Period.

Adobe’s official response came in the form of a statement from Adobe’s founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock entitled, Our Thoughts on Open Markets. In it they said, “As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers. Freedom of choice on the Web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.” And, “No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the Web.”

It’s not a completely black and white situation of course, but I think that it’s pretty close. The first several reasons cited by Jobs are simply misdirection. For the most part, they don’t hold up under scrutiny. The real reason is the one that Jobs called the most important: control. And while Flash isn’t a completely open standard, my company, Flypaper, exists because it’s close enough. So the real battle here IS really “open” vs. “closed.” And I’m surprised that Jobs has taken the position he has. I’m old enough to remember a time when Jobs was at a similar fork in the road and made a similar choice — and nearly lost his company as a result. Most people don’t remember that the Mac, with its graphical user interface, preceded Windows into the marketplace. For some time it had a larger market share than Windows. But Apple chose to pursue a closed, proprietary strategy that limited the number of software titles available for the Mac. In contrast, Microsoft chose an open approach; software titles proliferated, and soon Microsoft’s market share was in the 90 percent range. Microsoft came to dominate the corporate space, while Apple’s market share hovered around 10 percent, much of it in the educational space. In the marketplace, “open” dominated “closed,” and Apple suffered through nearly a decade of tough times as a result.

It’s a situation rich with irony. Decades ago Apple and Microsoft faced off on this very issue and Microsoft won. Now Apple, having finally passed Microsoft in terms of value and faced with the same choice, is making the same decision. Will it work this time? I don’t think so. But the winner this time won’t be Microsoft. It won’t even be Adobe. At least not directly. The real winner will be Google. Google is the new champion of “open”’ And most people don’t know that sales for mobile devices based on Google’s open Android operating system recently passed sales of Apple’s iPhone. Right now Apple’s market value of about $227 billion is about $70 billion more than Google’s. As always, the market will ultimately decide who’s right. I’m betting on Google.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010