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What it means to be CEO

Don’t know where I read it, but someone in Legacy Media once asked Michael Dell and Steve Jobs their takes on what it means to be CEO. This was back when Michael Dell was king of the computer hill and his company could do no wrong, famously telling Steve Jobs, who had recently taken over the ailing Apple, that he should do his shareholders a favor and just liquidate the business.

Perhaps the reason that Apple is now worth three times Dell can be found in the answers the two CEOs gave.

Dell, who pioneered web sales and just-in-time manufacture, gave a very B-school answer: His job, he said, was to empower his managers, providing them whatever they needed so that they could do the best job they were able to.

Jobs’s answer? He said his job was to inspire his staff to achieve what they had previously thought was impossible.

Don’t know that there’s a right answer.

What I do know is what Hopper said: