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Return to the Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz

I love reading old books you don’t see in lists. Even better when they are about one of the largest companies in the world AND they are written by one of the best known Venture Capitalists in the world. Studying the best and biggest help us pick up gems and nuggets we can use in our own life journey and this book did not disappoint.

This book had many angles that you don’t hear about often when you study Steve Jobs or the history of Apple.

One thing that sticks out is I don’t “get”the transformation of Steve Jobs from lost high school graduate to hard-driving company leader. It’s a bit of a gap but if I had to guess its related to him fully embracing himself without apologies. Then as he matured realizing he can get those same results without having to be so aggressive.

Another major theme was dreaming big and imaging how large the opportunity was going to be. It’s amazing to realize how many other companies competed with Apple at the time of their origin. Apple had a grander vision and executed better with more consistency than anyone else over 40 year time-frame. That’s bonkers!

Last major key that led to he success of Apple is: HIRING GREATNESS.

Yes, Steve Jobs did amazing things but its him recognizing the power of Wozniak, enabling Mark Markkula to bring on great operators and noticing the best talent from other companies to build what Apple has become.

A few choices quotes that influenced me from the book:

Love this concept of just asking the questions about things…

He refused to accept automatically received truths and he wanted to examine everything himself.

There’s always a safe route but exploring life in the way you want is true freedom.

I was getting a chance to do some things the way I thought they should be done. I felt I had nothing to lose by leaving Atari because I could always go back.

Resourcefulness and finally getting some people to give money enabled them to get the business off the ground.

The single biggest episode in all of the company’s history was the Byte Shop buying $25,000 of the first Apple Computers. To deliver on this Jobs needed money and many calls were hopeless: bank rejected him, friends rejected him and even offering shares of the company to people. All rejected. Eventually he got the money needed.

How BIG are you actually thinking?

Don Valentine (godfather of VC investing in Silicon Valley) said “If a man comes into my office and says he wants to be a millionaire, I’m bored to death. if he says he wants to make a billion dollars, I say, ‘Tell me about it,’ because if he comes close we’re all going to clean up.”
For Apple They weren’t thinking anywhere near big enough. “Big thinkers often do big things. Small thinkers never do big things.” He referred Mark Markkula to help them do marketing and think bigger.

Hire the best

pressing need to hire someone to look after the nuts and chips since Jobs, Mark and Woz all had their specialties.*

What is actually risky?

One new hire to Apple decided to let his passion guide his star. Scarcely anybody considered that the decision to join Apple was risky. They ALL seemed to feel that the greatest risk was to stay put and do nothing.

WHAT is the BUSINESS of your business. Focus on that!

Scott who was first president wanted to design a company that did the most amount of work with the least number of workers. Our BUSINESS was designing, educating and marketing. Let the subcontractors have the problems! Encouraged having outside manufacturers make anything that Apple couldn’t produce more cheaply.

LOVE LOVE LOVE him learning from others but embracing himself.

Jobs in the office always tried to mimic a surrogate elder brother, was starting to understand he didn’t have to pattern his behavior on another person. He contributed much, was the company dynamo and house personality. He started talking about millions before his colleagues had contemplated thousands.

“As every day passes, the work fifty people are doing here is going to send a giant ripple through the universe. I am really impressed with quality of our ripple.” – Steve Jobs

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One response to “Return to the Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz”

Nicholas De Caro
July 15, 2020 at 7:34 am

Thanks Noah! Enjoyed your highlights. I will admit, I have not read the book. However, thanks to a few case studies in my MBA program, I am familiar with a few of Steve Jobs’ decisions as well as leadership style. What I admire is that he considered every small detail and had a knack to blow up said detail and treat as relevant and critical to the product’s success. In addition, he had very high expectations for himslef, company, and employess; he was very consistent with this mindset. There is plenty to admire and learn froM this man and Apple. Thanks again!

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