Steve Jobs' Advice to Nike: Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff [Video]

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is among the greatest innovators of our time. And yet his genius for understanding business is rarely explained in any public way. Rarer still is to hear the advice he would give to the CEO of another hugely successful company: Nike. But that's exactly what you'll learn from this video, in which Nike president and CEO Mark Parker tells about the advice that Jobs gave him shortly after the release of the Nike+ product line. It's a simple bit of wisdom that any entrepreneur can relate to: "Get rid of the crappy stuff."

Easy to say, hard to do.

"I expected a little laugh," Parker says of the exchange. "But there was a pause and no laugh at the end."

The setting here is Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference on April 21, 2010, in New York City. It was a tough ticket to score, but for those who didn't, we're offering highlights. More to come this week.

Discuss the event and submit questions to the speakers at the Innovation Uncensored Facebook page.

Add New Comment

12 Comments

  • CD Banning

    That is really great advice, too bad he didn't listen to it and ditch Tiger Woods.

  • Jim Pascale

    As one reader / contributer put it, this advice applies to the auto industry. Ford is pulling it off with Alan Mullaly at the helm and is now profitable. They have reduced their number of platforms and are only building the ones that make money. It applies to most industries. John Deere closed down smaller, outdated operators and that added strength to the profitable ones and the company's volume went up. CEO's that have the courgage to eliminate offerings or close branches & outlets that lose money are the ones that succeed.

  • Jim Pascale

    As one reader / contributer put it, this advice applies to the auto industry. Ford is pulling it off with Alan Mullaly at the helm and is now profitable. They have reduced their number of platforms and are only building the ones that make money. It applies to most industries. John Deere closed down smaller, outdated operators and that added strength to the profitable ones and the company's volume went up. CEO's that have the courgage to eliminate offerings or close branches & outlets that lose money are the ones that succeed.

  • Jim Pascale

    As one reader / contributer put it, this advice applies to the auto industry. Ford is pulling it off with Alan Mullaly at the helm and is now profitable. They have reduced their number of platforms and are only building the ones that make money. It applies to most industries. John Deere closed down smaller, outdated operators and that added strength to the profitable ones and the company's volume went up. CEO's that have the courgage to eliminate offerings or close branches & outlets that lose money are the ones that succeed.

  • Jim Pascale

    As one reader / contributer put it, this advice applies to the auto industry. Ford is pulling it off with Alan Mullaly at the helm and is now profitable. They have reduced their number of platforms and are only building the ones that make money. It applies to most industries. John Deere closed down smaller, outdated operators and that added strength to the profitable ones and the company's volume went up. CEO's that have the courgage to eliminate offerings or close branches & outlets that lose money are the ones that succeed.

  • Jim Pascale

    As one reader / contributer put it, this advice applies to the auto industry. Ford is pulling it off with Alan Mullaly at the helm and is now profitable. They have reduced their number of platforms and are only building the ones that make money. It applies to most industries. John Deere closed down smaller, outdated operators and that added strength to the profitable ones and the company's volume went up. CEO's that have the courgage to eliminate offerings or close branches & outlets that lose money are the ones that succeed.

  • Steve Garcia

    Steve Jobs is a well of wisdom and you're right, it's easy to say but very hard to do. Getting back to basics should be a priority or they could get lost in a showy display of meaningless footwear!

  • Ken Beardsley

    Nike has some of the most sought after sports apparel and footwear in the world.
    The 'crappy stuff' winds up in their factory stores and worse yet in many underdeveloped countries.
    There is literally not enough demand for the 'crappy stuff" to justify its' production.
    Nike should stick to what it does best..produce high quality high end athletic footwear and apparel - reduce the product made to appeal to an urban culture ...
    Many of their flashy footwear have been designed with no intention of becoming used in an athletic environment, rather they were designed to become a fashion statement for 20 and 30 somethings...Stick to basics... Reduce the crap !

  • Chris Reich

    Great concept in a quick video. Beautiful.

    The hardest thing for any company to do is to kill the cash cow but that step is absolutely critical in generating the NEXT cash cow.

    Too many companies ride a success story into their own sunset and then discover it's too late to catch up.

    Today's number one isn't tomorrow's number 2. Today's number 1 is usually out of the game tomorrow.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • steve westcott

    More companies need to understand the need for an editing process. Reducing a product range can be scary. However the design and development resources can then be directed toward solutions end users lust for. Not just solutions that are fast followers.

    --
    SW