Jobs Tells Nike to “Cut the Crap”

By on October 21, 2010

When Mark Parker stepped into the role of CEO of Nike, he got a called from Steve Jobs to congratulate him.  During that call, Parker asked Jobs if he had any advice.  Watch the video to hear what he said.

Jobs’ recommendation to “cut the crappy stuff” or to edit is a real pearl of wisdom.  It’s especially significant if you consider what Apple has been able to do with a relatively small number of products.  Jobs once told Fortune magazine that “Apple is a $30 billion company yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.”   That truly is remarkable when you think about it.

As pastors, the need to “edit” is paramount.  We must focus our churches and our resources for greater impact.  We must innovate while resisting the urge to become addicted to innovation.  We must learn to roll out great new programs and initiatives while saying no to a thousand other good ideas that just don’t make the cut.

To be sure, every pastor certainly faces a great deal of pressure to say yes to too many things.  Jobs discusses that pressure in this quote…

Certainly the great consumer electronics companies of the past had thousands of products. We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. The clearest example was when we were pressured for years to do a PDA, and I realized one day that 90% of the people who use a PDA only take information out of it on the road. They don’t put information into it. Pretty soon cell phones are going to do that, so the PDA market’s going to get reduced to a fraction of its current size, and it won’t really be sustainable. So we decided not to get into it. If we had gotten into it, we wouldn’t have had the resources to do the iPod. We probably wouldn’t have seen it coming.

The decision to edit and focus takes an amazing amount of courage and determination.  When Jobs returned to Apple the company was hemorrhaging money and market share.  He took bold action and cut the company’s product offerings from 350 to 10!  Yes, ten!  That must have seemed like an insane move to some but it was brilliant and helped to save the company.

Pastors, do you have the guts to truly edit what your church is doing?

For more great insights on innovation, check out Carmine Gallo’s new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.  The great quotes above came from this outstanding book.  It’s available in both hardback and kindle versions.

Here’s a sample if you’re interested.

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