In an interview with Fortune, outgoing Apple board member Bill Campbell discussed the years he spent at Apple, from his recruitment by John Sculley as head of marketing in 1983, to the post-Jobs era spearheaded by former COO Tim Cook. Campbell tells of a young Steve Jobs as he slowly rose to the role of CEO:
“I watched him emerge as a CEO in real time,” Campbell says. “I had a continuum with him. I watched him when he was general manager of the Mac division and when he went off and started NeXT. I watched Steve go from being a creative entrepreneur to a guy who had to run a business.”
Another of the many interesting tidbits included in the interview tells the story of how Steve Jobs invited him to the Apple board of directors:
It was 1997, shortly after Jobs had returned to Apple. Jobs and Campbell were neighbors in Palo Alto, and Jobs would frequently take walks on weekends and knock on Campbell’s door. Sometimes Jobs simply would wander into Campbell’s backyard and sit down by the pool. “He came by one day, and we sat on a bench by the pool,” Campbell says, “and he said, ‘I’d like you to join the Apple board.’ The only time I’ve had a rush like that was when I was asked to be a trustee of Columbia University. I said, without hesitation, ‘For sure.’ ”
The director also talked about the ongoing rivalry that began to build between Apple and Google in recent years. Campbell was in a unique position to observe this rivalry, as he served as an advisor to Google in addition to his position at Apple—a duality Steve Jobs expressed his displeasure with in no uncertain terms:
“Steve would say, ‘If you’re helping them you’re hurting me.’ He would yell at me,” recalls Campbell, whose normal banter typically needs to be sanitized for most publications. “ I’d say, ‘I can’t do HTML, come on. I’m just coaching them on how to run their company better.’”
The insightful interview also goes on to describe the events at Apple that led Campbell into his role of “coaching” executives as an advisor to the CEOs of companies like Twitter and Amazon. You can read the full interview over at Fortune.
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