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The first step to save a good business: Cut the crap

That’s the advice Steve Jobs used to save not just Apple, but Nike too.

When Nike named Mark Parker their CEO in 2006, one of the first things Parker did was call Apple CEO Steve Jobs for business advice.

It might not have seemed it, but at the time Nike was struggling.

Yes, they had a successful brand. But they were failing to fit their digital strategy into their line of literally hundreds of thousands of products.

During their call, Steve Jobs gave one piece of advice that stuck with Parker:

Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

— Steve Jobs

“He was absolutely right,” said Parker. “We had to edit.”

Instead of going into another product line for technology, Nike stuck to what they did best while partnering with Apple. The result was Nike+, reportedly one of the most successful Nike campaigns ever.

Steve Jobs didn’t just give advice—he lived it.

Jobs was fired from Apple but returned as the company was floundering in 1997. His first order of business? Cut.

By the end of that year, Jobs had killed almost 70% of Apple’s products. A year later, the company had gone from losses of $1.04 billion to a $309 million profit. Jobs saw Apple as distracted by opportunities. And while opportunities seem innocent enough, we often forget the commitments that come with them: energy, time, and money.

First appeared on Quartz.



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