There’s an interview doing the rounds that apparently features John Sculley talking about Steve Jobs and Apple. (Previously on Sculley… Jobs hires him, they’re best pals, then they’re not, Sculley fires Jobs. Now read on.)
I say the interview apparently says this because, on the one hand, I haven’t watched it yet – I thought we could do that together – and on the other because every bleedin’ interview with that man is about exactly that same topic.
What I’m interested in more, from our productivity point of view, is how Sculley attempted to shape his story when he was still in the thick of it. He wrote a book called Odyssey: From Pepsi to Apple which at the time I really enjoyed. Later I said that to someone and they looked at me exactly the way I would now. Because of them, I got the book back off my shelf, opened it up, shut it again.
It’s not a very good book.
But here’s a guy attempting to put his career and its single most notable moment into a shape, a narrative that ultimately showed him in the best light. I don’t care whether he succeeded or whether it was even possible, I do care that we could try the same thing.
Why not? You are CEO of your work, I am of mine, let’s write our autobiographies in such a way that we make sense and most importantly that our successes get better coverage than our failures.
I’m not sure I’m really advocating that we write 100,000-word books about us, I have limits to my ego – says the man with two blogs, a speaking tour and previously a podcast – but that bit with the successes and failures could be big.
I forget things I do that are good. If I pull something off then no matter how hard it was for me, it’s done now so I know it’s easy for everybody else and I undervalue my own effort. But I just went a bit bombastic for a second, wrote about my towering glory and that time only last night when I successfully roasted a chicken at 1am, I could feel good about myself.
Possibly also silly, but.
Here’s that Sculley interview if you’re sitting comfortably.