steve jobs, the love entrepreneur – the teenage tycoon

2.THE TEENAGE TYCOON an anecdote
eastwind journals 133
By Bernie Lopez
1. Steve Jobs, the Love Entrepreneur
please not fleece your clients
steve jobs

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc., is one of the most celebrated and successful entrepreneurs of today, out-shining even the legendary Bill Gates of Microsoft. When he died, the Internet was flooded with his elegy. His success is attributed to a dramatic paradigm shift in the business world. The traditional business tenet says profit is the god of business. Steve fought against that tenet, saying the customer is the ultimate god of business, prior to even profit. He simply said love your customer and everything falls into place. Go for the heart and the pocket will follow.

When he embraced this new paradigm, surrounded by traditionalists in the corporate board, he was thrown out of Apple, the very corporation he founded. The board was looking at the dire financial landscape, whereas Steve was looking at the needs of the customers. He would risk everything for the customer, where the traditionalists feared to tread. After 20 years, after the traditionalists failed in making Apple grow, he was rehired, only to launch one of the most powerful communication innovation of the century, the Ipod, which triggered a windfall that catapulted Apple to the heavens.
There are spiritual lessons we can find in our concern for daily bread in the world of enterprise which is essentially a vicious amoral Machiavellian jungle of corporations. In this sense, Steve becomes our model in the discussion of daily bread in the corporate world. eastwin
2. The Teenage Tycoon, an Anecdote
bread is food for the body
sharing bread is food for the soul

At the age of 19, Paul inherited the vast empire of his father Felix. When Felix reached Stage 4 cancer of the liver, he told the large 30-member board of his holding company Galactica Enterprise that he was bequeathing the helm to his teenage son. This was amid violent objections, because how could an inexperienced teenage boy from the prestigious Weston School of Economics in London, ran a vast complex holding company with seven subsidiaries? Felix got his way. At the first board meeting, Paul smiled, cool as a cucumber, amid a hostile board.

PAUL. (With unflinching authority). Meeting come to order please. (The whispers die down into a deadly silence).

RICHARD (EVP who coveted Paul’s position). Aren’t you too young to pilot this large tanker?

PAUL. Jesus said to His mother, “Am I not about my father’s business?” I spent 2 months reading 3,500 inter-department memos. I have read 35 financial statements in the last 5 years of 7 subsidiaries. I have tried to absorb in 8 weeks what my father built in 40 years.

RICHARD. (With polite irreverence.) Not enough, Paul, even with your Weston credentials.

PAUL. I humbly admit my qualifications come from my genes rather than my experience. My wisdom is still theoretical not experiential, but not for long. You just have to live with that for now, Richard. Who are the Weston people here? (6 raise up their hands, including Richard) True, my Weston badge is nothing. I learned little from Weston. Weston lives in the past and is obsolete in our rapidly evolving corporate world. (There is a muffled stir.) Weston preached strategies for growth economy but not for the emerging decline economy. They were caught flat footed. Weston is not pro-active enough, unable to adapt to rapidly evolving global economics. Thank you, Richard, nice try.

ABE (an old guard, VP for Finance, best friend of Felix.) I vehemently agree.

CORA (VP for Operations, middle-aged but still attractive). So what do you preach, Paul?

PAUL. Hello, Cora. I’m glad you are one of the 5 female board members. This male-dominated board needs you guys to balance our strategies. Women are refreshing in a macho board like ours. They say women are better in crisis management than men. I agree. I am forming a core group and you will be the crisis management expert. Now, what do I preach? Weston preaches profit as the corporate god. Steve Jobs preaches the new corporate paradigm – love your clients, not their pockets. He said, “Please not fleece your clients”. He is the pioneer in shifting from corporate greed to corporate love. (There is a muffled stir.) I know, ‘corporate’ and ‘love’ are a contradiction to many, but not to Steve or me. Weston lives in the past. Steve preaches benevolent enterprise. What’s the first in our agenda, Nicole?

NICOLE (VP for Corporate Affairs, youngest board member, extremely attractive and an aggressive go getter) Sir, first in the agenda is the merger …

PAUL. Paul …

NICOLE. Sorry. Paul, the merger of Galactica with Eastwood was something your dad violently opposed. But now that he is gone, the pro-mergers are resurrecting. Charlie, can you expound on this, please.

CHARLIE (an old guard in the board). In a few words, there is strength in unity. The merger means growth for Galactica. We need Eastwood’s expertise to widen our product base.

NICOLE. Felix did not want a merger to protect his legacy as the founder and builder.

PAUL. What do you say, Abe?

ABE. The issue for him was not growth or profit but legacy. He has the right as founder, moral not legal, to keep Galactica pure. The Weston boys want a merger for growth, what can I say?

CORA. Galactica without a merger will be less rich but stronger.

RICHARD. The merger will make us the largest conglomerate in the East Coast.

PAUL. Let’s not over-debate. Let’s have a vote.

The vote, the second, was the same as the first, overwhelmingly no to the merger. Paul knew this all along.

PAUL. Thank you for respecting my dad’s wishes. Next in the agenda please, Nicole.

NICOLE. Sir, I mean Paul, the core group.

PAUL. Oh yes, I am forming a core group called Hydra, the seven-headed monster. It will be my alter-ego. It will be the venue for me to rapidly shift from theoretical to experiential wisdom. Hydra will have the power to decide and report to the board. The members I have selected are, one, Cora, crisis management expert, two, Nicole, secretariat and research. Three and four are Richard and Abe to get a balance between divergence and convergence. You know what I mean. I need three more to form the seven-headed monster. This will be announced after the poker party this Sunday.

RICHARD. Poker party?

PAUL. I am hosting dinner this Sunday at my house. The entire board is obliged to attend. Nicole, I want red meat, red lobsters, red wine.

NICOLE. Red napkins?

PAUL. Yes, of course. How many play poker? (Hands are raised, Paul counts) Wow, 20, more than half. The best poker players in this group, according to my dad, includes Richard, Abe, and of all people, Francesca.

There is a resounding applause. Francesca, diminutive VP for Public Affairs rises and bows.

CORA. Why poker, Paul?

PAUL. For me and my dad, a good manager is measured by his poker skills, ability to qualitatively size up a situation instantly, ability to balance risks versus safety, knowledge of probabilities, body language of opponents, the furtive eyes, the smiles and frowns, the bluff. It is a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis to be done in a few seconds. Nicole, please have 4 5-seat poker tables. I’m giving each of the 20 players $3,000 poker money. That’s a total of $60,000. Winner doesn’t take all. He keeps $30,000, gives $20,000 to the second best player, and $10,000 to the third best. (There is an uproar.) Abe, please take care of the chips and the cards. There will be a poker party every quarter. Unless there is an objection, meeting is adjourned.

Never was there such an uproar in board meeting during the days of Felix. Paul triggered an eruption that catapulted Galactica to the high heavens. At the first poker party, Abe got first place, Paul second, and Francesca third. Paul donated his winnings for the next poker dinner. Richard volunteered to host the second poker dinner, which he won against Francesca. Paul used poker parties to achieve corporate cohesion. Galactica earned millions at an investment of a miserly $60,000 poker money and $10,000 catering cost per quarter. Eventually, the entire board was playing poker, and Paul started poker parties for middle managers.


we lose our health to make our wealth
we lose our wealth to regain our health
we live as if we will never die
we die as if we never lived
we are so busy with daily tasks
yet we are so bored in being so busy
we look for meaning in meaningless things
and overlook things fraught with meaning
we have no time for others
yet we waste our time in absurd undertakings
we fulfill earthly tasks yet are spiritually wanting
we embrace absurdity and abandon meaning


the Lord works in mysterious ways
to lead us out of our darkness and despair
He uses people around us who mirror His light
He distracts us from our pains to show us a flower
symbol of impermanence and permanence
impermanence because it will wilt in a few days
permanence because it has seeds for rebirth
much like our lives


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