Steve Jobs on The Bane of All Great Companies (1995)

“What happens is, like with John Sculley, John came from Pepsi Co. And they at most would change their product once every 10 years. To them a new product was, like, a new-sized bottle. So if you were a product person, you couldn’t change the course of that company very much. So who influenced the course of Pepsi Co.? The sales and marketing people. Therefore, they were the ones who got promoted and they were the ones who ran the company. Well, for Pepsi Co. that might’ve been OK. But it turns out the same thing can happen in technology companies that get monopolies, like IBM and Xerox. If you were a product person at IBM or Xerox, so you make a better copier or a better computer? So what? When you have a monopoly market share, the company’s not any more successful. So the people that can make the company more successful are sales and marketing people. And they end up running the companies. And the product people get driven out of the decision-making forums. And the companies forget what it means to make great products. The product sensibility and the product genius that brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out by people running these companies who have no conception of a good product versus a bad product. They have no conception of the craftsmanship that’s required to take a good idea and turn it into a good product. And they really have no feeling in their hearts, usually, about wanting
to really help the customers.”