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2 responses to “SAP Mentors: The New Kingmakers. On Developer Relations, Community Management and Co-Innovation”

  1. Mark Yolton

    Nice themes from both Owen Pettiford and James Governor here.

    At the risk of raising *yet another* Steve Jobs anecdote, here’s one that speaks directly to the topic at hand; that of the importance of developers and technologists to keep a company innovating and vibrant and moving forward to the future:

    On “Forbes,” author/blogger Steve Denning relates a story that Peggy Noonan wrote about in the “Wall Street Journal” which references the Walter Isaacson biography (which I was alerted to via @SoniaT):

    Steve Jobs’ “…mission, he says, was plain: “to “build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.” Then he turned to the rise and fall of various businesses. He has a theory about “why decline happens” at great companies: “The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues.” So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company’s daily life. They “turn off.” IBM and Xerox, Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but “they didn’t know anything about the product.” In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.” Later: “In this mode, the firm is basically playing defense. Because it’s easier to milk the cash cow than to add new value, the firm not only stops playing offense: it even forgets how to play offense. The firm starts to die.”

    I recommend the full, brief “Forbes” article which has links back to other sources and has richer detail than I will provide here. See http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/11/19/peggy-noonan-on-steve-jobs-and-why-big-companies-die/ — also for the threat to companies that try to live off of the cash cow successful product and do not continue innovating.

    Regards,
    Mark Yolton

  2. Vijay Vijayasankar

    My 2 cents – the IBM example Jobs gave is dead wrong. and I don’t buy into his “great product makes everything else happen” fully either.

    IBM survived successfully for 100 years – with only one major mis-step, which it corrected. It even outsold Apple in PCs, much to Jobs’ dismay according to the biography book. Jobs was just irrationally biased to Apple and had a binary view of the world. Of course I am biased towards IBM too . But all things considered, his comments don’t hold water.

    Apple did not become a success only because Jobs and Ive figured out what customers wanted before customers even knew they needed it. In equal measure , it is due to people like TIm Cook who ran the leanest supply chain, and de-risked as many variables as they could. Without that part, the i products would not have brought in the type of $$ it did.

    Developers and technologists are very important for a company – but only one part of the equation. Every other part of the equation – finance, supply chain, HR etc all need to work equally well for the an organization to be successful.