Former Apple CEO On What He Taught Steve Jobs And Can Teach All Of Us

As one of the founders of Apple, now the world’s first trillion-dollar company, Steve Jobs was the quintessential entrepreneur. He proved that having a passion for solving problems, working tirelessly, and paying attention to what people want are some of the main ingredients for success. Even when he started, Jobs was open to the idea that others were just as smart as him or even smarter, so he was willing to learn from others.

Although he achieved some success in the early days at Apple, it wasn’t until he returned as interim CEO in 1997 that his true brilliance emerged as a visionary leader who revamped the company into the brand that everyone had to own. Before he re-took his place atop what would become the Apple empire, there was another CEO of Apple, John Sculley, who started in 1983 when the Board of Directors decided Jobs wasn’t ready for the job.

During that time, Sculley, former president of Pepsi and cofounder of Zeta Global and chairman of RxAdvance, was able to teach Jobs a few things about leadership, vision, and innovation. Here are some of Scully’s insights:

1. A purpose-driven vision is critical

“Speed-to-scale is very important. Chinese companies are better at this than U.S. companies. For example, three-year-old Chinese bike rental company Ofo rents 35 million bikes a day in China. Their goal is to rent 300 million bikes a day. As all technology expands at an exponential speed and rapidly becomes a commodity, unique intellectual property differences and change around the world mean that a purpose-driven vision has to adapt to an exponential growth world where speed-to-scale is a requirement.”

2. AI is very important.

Machine learning (ML) is very important now and well into the future. However, it must fit the new world order of smart process automation. ML platforms will be the business architecture for every industry going forward. One hundred years ago, the equivalent innovation was the rollout of distributed electricity. RxAdvance is one of the first ML smart process automation companies in the healthcare industry.”

3. Steve Jobs gave me some advice.  

“Before joining Apple, I thought marketing success was winning a competitive battle for market share in an existing industry. Steve Jobs taught me that a better way was to conceive a ‘noble cause’ to change-the-world by creating an entirely new industry. For example, Steve Jobs’ vision was to create a bicycle for the mind for non-technical people unleash their creativity. No one else was thinking like this in 1982.”

4. I offered Steve Jobs some of my best advice.

“When a business giant dominates an existing industry – think Coca-Cola in the1970s – you must change the ground rules how you compete. Coca-Cola was at the time the most valuable brand in the world. At Pepsi, we said to ourselves, ‘Coke owns reality, perception leads reality, we needed to control perception.’ We called our Pepsi Challenge marketing campaign innovation ‘experience marketing.’ Steve loved this insight. He said he was creating a user experience visionary product to be called, Macintosh. Come join me at Apple and teach me how to do ‘experience marketing.'”

5. There are some big brand mistakes today.

“One of the biggest brand mistakes today is overestimating legacy loyalty and reputation and underestimating how fragile ‘customer trust’ with a brand is. IBM and GE assumed their legacy reputation and huge marketing spend were assets of significant value. Both companies failed to make the cultural shift from linear time to exponential time. Customer trust can quickly evaporate in the new era of the exponential rate of change.”

6. Everyone can learn a lot if you read Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letter closely.

“His shareholder letter offers so many brilliant insights every year. Amazon Prime wraps many Amazon created private label brands into a perception of a wonderful customer experience. The brand is ‘Amazon Prime’ starting with a high-value membership, wide choices, the ability to try a product out and receive it the same day, and returns if you aren’t satisfied. It’s a brilliant evolution of ‘experience marketing’ that Steve Jobs and I were developing starting way back in 1984.”

This article originally appeared on Forbes.

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