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The next Steve Jobs

The next Steve Jobs
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First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 10 47 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 10 47 PM IST
Now, at this very moment, I know what is going through the minds of several managers, young CEOs, and budding leaders in business school.
Namely: Hina Rabbani Khar.
But besides Ms. Khar they are also thinking: Can I be the next Steve Jobs? Is there any office culture columnist anywhere who can provide a quick five-part questionnaire that can help me estimate the Steve Jobs-ishness of my management style?
Your prayers have been heard.
Below you will find five multiple choice questions that may seem innocuous at first glance. Yet they posses huge analytical insight. Choose the option that you most agree with. At the end a brief analysis will tell you what kind of CEO you will become.
Best of luck. Grace marks will be given for female applicants.
Q1: You wake up in the morning and suddenly realize you only have one set of underwear in your wardrobe. However there is a Levi’s store next door. What do you wear to work?
1. When you are sitting in front of a computer doing insider trading, nobody cares what you wear.
2. You go to office in your underwear. They will understand.
3. You cannot go to office in anything but a Savile Row suit, shirt, tie and Italian shoes. You immediately take a day off and wait for the laundry fellow.
4. You go to Levi’s and buy a pair of jeans and a black turtleneck T-shirt. When you wear it, it becomes trendy.
Q2: Your company has launched a product that is so terrible, that journalists are enthusiastically returning review pieces without even being hounded with reminders.
1. This is unfortunate. But right now you are too busy Ctrl-Find-Replacing the word “rupee” in your new annual report with the word “dollar”.
2. You call it a “beta” and say something nice about “early adopters”.
3. You hire two or even three PR agencies, an advertising whizkid and allocate astonishing media budgets. Prominent pace-bowling cricketer will be brand ambassador.
4. The product insults your intelligence. You fire everybody involved with it and burn your entire stockpile of devices in a giant bonfire which is live-streamed on the Internet.
Q3: You walk into a room full of people that includes customers, journalists and co-workers. What happens next?
1. Spontaneous, rapturous, enthusiastic, epiphanic, ecstatic applause. Because you paid for it.
2. Nobody knows who you are because you maintain a low profile. But this does not bother you. Your company has access to all their personal information on its servers. This gives you a sense of immense power.
3. People nod at you with awe and then part before you. But you know, deep inside, that any one of them would stab you in the back with a cheese and pineapple cocktail stick if they had the chance. In any case your secretary tastes everything you are about to eat. For safety sake. Mmm. Champagne.
4. There is a hush in the audience. And then thundering applause and hooting. You are a rockstar like Bono, Richard Marx or Yesudas.
Q4: If one of your employees were asked what kind of boss you are, what would they say?
1. A mild, generous type who never gets in the way. Spends too much time in finance department.
2. She/he must be a cool, genius kind of guy. Like all of us. Definitely has a PhD.
3. A cruel, insane manipulator who looks human outside, but is Satan inside.
4. Strict authoritarian who micromanages everything. Has a brilliant mind. But is unbearable to work with. But brilliant. I very much want to have his/her babies.
Q5: You get thousands of emails each day. Who replies to them?
1. Nobody. As a safety precaution I destroy every piece of email I get even before reading it.
2. I do whenever time permits. But there is no pressure. My mailbox can hold 7.1 GB, 7.2 GB, 7.3 GB...
3. I respond to client emails. My executive assistant handles employee mails. My secretaries handle all press. I have an automatic software that replies to customers with randomly generated abuse.
4. I am very reclusive. But occasionally I respond with a magical message. Which makes our stock price go up by 4%.
Analysis:
Mostly 1s: You are a brilliant business leader who, unfortunately, has been siphoning off funds for years. Eventually you will send a fax and go to jail. Make the most of your freedom now ra!
Mostly 2s: You run one of those new-age tech behemoths where everything gets done on beanbags. You somehow make money while exuding ethics and not being evil. But one day the Chinese will assassinate you.
Mostly 3s: You are the quintessential CEO of a big modern faceless organization. Nobody really wants to become you. But many will. You will be rich and powerful and entirely without friends. And then suddenly you will donate everything to charity. Which will make everything ok.
Cubiclenama3G concludes here. However, a new upgrade will launch in October or November that will have the remaining analysis, double the battery life and will be 17% thinner.
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life.Your comments are welcome at cubiclenama@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 10 47 PM IST