When Leo Tolstoy’s great-great-granddaughter, the journalist Fyokla Tolstaya, announced that the Leo Tolstoy State Museum was looking for volunteers to proofread some forty-six thousand eight hundred pages of her relative’s writings, she hoped to generate enough interest to get the first round of corrections done in six months. Within days, some three thousand Russians—engineers, I.T. workers, schoolteachers, retirees, a student pilot, a twenty-year-old waitress—signed on. “We were so happy and so surprised,” said Tolstaya. “They finished in fourteen days.”

Steve Job’s relentless pursuit to work with the very best talent

Whenever choosing people to work with I remember two lessons from Steve Jobs. Both mentioned in the insightful book ‘Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired—and Secretive—Company Really Works' by Adam Lashinsky

1) ‘I always considered part of my job was to keep the quality level of people in the organizations I work with very high. That’s what I consider one of the few things I actually can contribute individually—to to really try to instill in the organization the goal of only having ‘A’ players. Because in this field, like in a lot of fields, the difference between the worst taxi cab driver and the best taxi cab driver to get you crosstown Manhattan might be two to one. The best one will get you there in fifteen minutes, the worst one will get you there in a half an hour. Or the best cook and the worst cook, maybe it’s three to one. Pick something like that. In the field that I’m in the difference between the best person and the worst person is about a hundred to one or more. The difference between a good software person and a great software person is fifty to one, twenty-five to fifty to one, huge dynamic range. Therefore, I have found, not just in software, but in everything I’ve done it really pays to go after the best people in the world.’

This is an extract from an April 1995 with Jobs at Next computers.

To read the full interview click here:

To watch/listen click here:

2) Mike Janes, a former Apple executive, remembered a more concise Steve-ism on the subject of talent: “A players hire A play- ers, and B players hire C players. We want only A players here.”

Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung & Salesforce 5 year stock price Returns

Apple 5 year Increase
Nov 2008 $82 - Aug 2013 $502 = 6.1 X Return

Google 5 year Increase
Nov 2008 $262 - Aug 2013 $870 = 3.3 x Return

Amazon 5 year Increase
Nov 2008 $37 - Aug 2013 $297 = 8 x Return

Samsung 5 year Increase
Nov 2008 KS 442 000 - Aug 2013 KS 1 368 000 = 3 x Return

Salesforce 5 year Increase
Nov 2008 $5.5 - Aug $49 = 8.9 x Return

Apple 5 Year Graph
imageGoogle 5 Year Graph
imageAmazon 5 Year Graph
imageSamsung 5 Year Graph
imageSalesforce 5 Year Graph