One of the biggest fuckups in the history of American business was the firing of Steve Jobs by Pepsi executive John Sculley and the Apple board. The ensuing nose-dive almost put Apple out of business. On the 25th anniversary of that debacle, the Daily Beast dug up Scully and a few Apple board members to see what they thought. Some of their justifications are a hoot:
Board member Arthur Rock, a venture capitalist who helped found Intel, among other outfits, dubbed Jobs and his co-founder Steve Wozniak as “very unappealing people” in the early days. “Jobs came into the office, as he does now, dressed in Levi’s, but at that time that wasn’t quite the thing to do” […] “I’m not sure, but it may have been a while since he had a bath.”
Crisp recalled how undisciplined Jobs and the original Apple crew could be—enough so that they didn’t shrink at defacing the home of David Rockefeller. […] He says Rockefeller told him the following day that he enjoyed the party with Jobs and other top Apple managers, but added, “Next year, ask them not to put logos on the mirrors in the lavatory.” Some of the Apple faithful, it seems, had come armed with stickers of the company’s multicolored emblem.
I’m sure the author of this piece is playing up the cluelessness to get some clicks, but I’m not surprised to find very little regret in that piece. Titans of industry who drive their companies into the ditch apologize rarely and rationalize often, even if the rationalizations are as lame as Jobs’ habit of wearing jeans and smelling funky.