Good Taste Is Mightier Than The Supply Chain
Over the years, Michael Dell and Steve Jobs have taken some shots at each other. Nine years ago, Michael Dell said he'd shut down Apple and give the money to the shareholders.
I remember being at the HBS alumni dinner when Steve got the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Someone asked him why Apple's iPod would compete with Dell's MP3 players, which are cheaper.
Steve smirked a bit and said, "It's called good taste. People *will* pay for you to tell them what's cool."
As of yesterday, Apple exceeded Dell in market cap, a fact I find mind-boggling. For now at least, Steve has the last laugh.
On a side note, while at HBS, I helped write a musical. In it the evil VC/Dean of the School Darth Venture uses a time machine to give his younger, less-evil self some advice:
"Go find an arrogant young guy names Steve Jobs and invest in his company. Sell the stock whenever he gets fired, and buy it whenever he gets hired. You'll make a killing."
Wish I'd taken my own advice!