One of my favourite technical commentators is the technology analyst Rob Enderle (Enderle Group). He recently made a fascinating comparison between the management styles of Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. If you want to see the whole article you can view it here, but the essential points can be summarised thus:

  • Branson is a heavy delegator, Jobs micromanaged everything
  • Branson’s partnerships are legendary, Jobs partners were legendary for saying ‘Never again!’
  • Branson is famous for philanthropy, Jobs discontinued all philanthropy when he took control of Apple
  • Branson manages many companies, Jobs kept an iron grip on just one

The end result is that Richard Branson is equally famous for attempting to cross the Atlantic in a balloon and similar amazing adventures as he is for his busines ventures, and even finds time to do cameos in films such as Casino Royale and Superman Returns. On the other hand, Steve Jobs’ approach of gripping the reins as tightly as possible is incredibly stressful. It is possible that stress was one of the contributing factors which caused the illness that ultimately brought about his untimely death.

So, if you’re going to be amazingly successful in business, which way would you rather do it? I know what my choice would be.

One final comment.  Rob Enderle says ‘stress is often connected to what caused him to pass’. Caused him to pass? What? The ketchup? I find it very amusing the way so many people avoid using ‘die’ and ‘death’, as if trying to avoid the attention of the grim reaper. Ten browny points to the person who can provide the strangest euphemism for death – and the judges decision is final!