Eric Bloom is a writer for TechWell and is the president and CTO of Manager Mechanics LLC. In part one of this interview, Eric discusses a new class he is working on based on Steve Jobs's leadership style, the importance of product ownership, and thinking outside your given role.
Jonathan Vanian: First of all, thank you for taking the time to take some time out of your day to do this. I really appreciate that. Why don't you tell me a little bit about your training class you have coming up with Jay Elliot?
Eric Bloom: Okay. Jay Elliot has actually written two books related to Steve Jobs. He worked very closely with him. The two books are Leading Apple with Steve Jobs and the Steve Job's Way. What happened was is that Jay was hired very early as the senior vice president in the early days of Apple. I think when they met, Jobs was about twenty-five-years old and Jay was about ten years of senior.
He was actually one of Jobs' advisors in addition to being sort of an employee, so to speak. What was fascinating in putting the class together was that—we all know that I'm not giving away any secrets to say that Steve Jobs was rather brash and had a sort of, let me say, a challenging personality—when we really sat back both by reading his books, by speaking to people in Silicon Valley who he'd worked with and such, and started putting together a class, there were some fascinating principles related to leadership, innovation, product development, and things along that line.
I've been in the industry a long time and in learning all of this and putting together the class, it made it very obvious to me why he was able to do the things he was able to do.
JV: Your class goes live in January?
EB: Yes, it does. It's a one-day class that we're offering both in public classes, as well as customized within specific corporations as need requires. We'll do private as well as a public classes with it.
JV: How did you two meet up and come up with the idea to do this class?
EB: I have a business partner who lives in San Jose. Jay Elliot was looking for a training firm to work with. He contacted just by coincidence someone that I was working with out there and they felt in order to bring the class to life, they needed to collaborate with a bigger training firm like us.
JV: Was this is the first time you've met Jay?
EB: Yes, it was.
JV: How was it like putting together a course with him?
EB: It's been great. He has a wealth of information. What we were able to get from him are inside stories of how things were done, things about the culture, how he perceived it both as a senior executive at Apple, as a confidant to Steve, and then later as sort of an outsider—but as they say, a positive ally.
JV: Was there anything surprising about Steve Jobs that you learned through Jay? Anything about leadership style or anything that you were not aware of?
EB: Yes, there was. I was very impressed by the level of detail and meticulousness of how he thought of things. I'll give you a specific example.