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How to Start a Good Energetic Discussion like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos

by Vincent Chan on Jul 16, 2010

Ever wonder how Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos discuss a new business idea? When the Apple engineer warned Steve Jobs about iPhone 4 antenna issues, what do you expect Steve to say? Unless you are working at Apple or Amazon, it’s really tough for us to find out the answer.

However, after you have read this book: “Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen’s Quest to Invent a New World“, you’ll get a better idea about how intense these two business legends could be during a business discussion, especially for Steve Jobs 🙂

The book is about the invention, development, and financing of the Segway, the incredibly innovative electric vehicle. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, there is an excerpt from the book on HBS Working Knowledge called Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos meet “Ginger”. This article is about a meeting between the Segway’s team, John Doerr, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. They were discussing the positioning of Segway and how they should launch the product.

Here are some of the highlights from their discussion:

When the VC asked, “What does everyone think about the design?” Jobs answered, “What do you think?” It was a challenge but not a question. And then he said, “I think it sucks!” When they asked him to explain, he said, “It just does. Its shape is not innovative, it’s not elegant, it doesn’t feel anthropomorphic. You have this incredibly innovative machine but it looks very traditional. There are design firms out there that could come up with things we’ve never thought of,” Jobs continued, “things that would make you shit in your pants.”

After further intensive discussion and debate by Steve and Jeff, Dean Kamen, the inventor of Segway, concluded that, “This is the most energetic discussion we’ve ever had and like all good energetic discussions it leaves you with more questions than answers, and leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew. And that’s good.”

If you want to find out the details of their discussion, check out this post or the book. You will know what set these two entrepreneurs apart from the rest. If you want to drive your startups or small business forward aggressively, you better learn how to start an energetic discussion like this one.

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Category: Company Building, Culture



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