Steve Jobs knew that Apple’s future depended on what was in his parking lot

There are moments in the history of a company that make or break a company. For Steve Jobs, those moments included making important decisions about his strategy and knowing how to measure public perception of his company very well. At a pivotal moment in his post-Apple career Jobs had enough reflexes to ensure his future success with a simple movement.

After being fired from Apple, Jobs founded NeXT, a computer company aiming to revolutionize the technology market. However, To grow his business, Jobs needed investors.. When prominent entrepreneur Ross Perot visited NeXT to consider an investment, Jobs knew immediately the company’s success depended on what was in its parking lot.

Some cars not to brag about

A few years ago, software engineer Randy Adams told Forbes the anecdote. It was 1985 and Adams had just sold his software company and made good money. just for that I was in no hurry to get back to workeven if it was part of the NeXT team.

Days later, however, Steve Jobs managed to persuade him, and Adams joined Jobs’s newly formed company. And it wasn’t the only thing they agreed on, well he and Jobs bought a Porsche 911 at the same time. A whole car where the last thing they wanted was a slamming of the doors of the other cars parked around them.

Therefore, both Steve Jobs and Adams parked in front of the NeXT offices, occupying three spaces. The cars, daily also in the central squares in front of the building, They became classics. A classic that could have played against the young NeXT at some point.

One day, Steve Jobs ran into Adams’ cabin to tell him “You have to hide the Porsches now”. “Why?” Adams asked. “Ross Perot comes in thinking about investing in the company and we don’t want him to think we have that much money.” Quite thoughtfully, the two managers parked their cars at the back of the building, and soon after, in 1987, Perot invested $20 million in NeXT.

A movement that also gave him a seat on the board of directors and that was possible thanks to a Steve Jobs with a lot of vision. A simple move that, by presenting NeXT as a more humble and committed company, could well have influenced Perot’s decision to invest in the company.

This little episode with Jobs and Adams is a reminder of the importance of public perception for business success. While product quality and financial performance are critical, how a company is perceived by investors, customers and the public is also important. A perception, in the case of Apple, that Steve Jobs took great pains with until he placed it where it is now. And all partly because he hid his car, which still had a license plate at the time, in good time.

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