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Steve Jobs Income and Secret Role as CFO

I’m reading a book called Great by Choice by Jim Collins.  Like his past books like Good to Great and Built to Last, Jim explores what works and what doesn’t in business. It’s a great book and I’ll write about it more once I’m finished but one thing that stuck out to me is its summary of the financial changes Steve Jobs made when he went back to work at Apple in 1997.

“They cut perks, stopped funding the corporate sabbatical program, improved operating efficiency, lowered overall cost structure, and got people focused on the intense “work all day and all of the night” ethos that’d characterized Apple in its early years.  Overhead costs fell.  The cash-to-current-liabilities ratio doubled and then tripled.  Long-term debt shrunk by two-thirds and the ratio of total liabilities to shareholder’s equity dropped by more than half from 1998 to 1998.  Now you might be thinking, “Well all that financial improvement naturally follows breakthrough innovation.” But in fact, Apple did all this before the iPod, iTunes, or the iPhone.”

If you didn’t follow financial jargon, it says that Steve Jobs knew he had to get Apple to have more financial discipline and less debt.  He instilled these things in the culture of the business before he went on to launch all the innovative products.

As much as Steve Jobs is touted as a creative technologist, he also knew the benefits of a strong financial foundation that would enable him to innovate.

Did you know that most over-night successful people have a long quiet history of disciplined, consistent actions that led to that “instant” success?

What dreams do you have?  Are you laying the financial foundation to achieve those dreams?

Are you pursuing that “instant” success or are you building character and discipline through quiet disciplined actions?


  1. I never knew this about Steve Jobs and as someone who works in corporate finance I can always appreciate leadership who is engaged with the finance side of the house. It sounds like he really drove change from a financial perspective and that doesn’t seem typical today. Very cool.

  2. I think the steady, behind the scenes work of Jobs and others serves a great inspiration for newer bloggers who are hoping to build their platforms into an empire. I’m often reminded that even Financial Samurai and Mr. Money Mustache had to start somewhere. They kept hustling and eventually the hours and hours of writing, marketing, and networking paid off.

    I’ll be interested to read about the rest of the book.

  3. Agree, we all had to start somewhere. With hard work and dedication, everything else will follow. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  4. This is great food for thought and I’d have to say that I’m in no way looking for instant success…it feels like an illusion I don’t want to have any part of. I’m taking it day by day and the success as it comes. This is a great thought to keep in mind, so thanks for sharing!

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