The Emotional Intelligence of Steve Jobs (Part 3)

Last Updated Oct 12, 2011 2:26 AM EDT

I, like a great many business people, went to a talk last night about how to use social media in business. The presentation started with the now-obligatory picture of Steve Jobs and then went on to say you could rate how important Steve Jobs was because there were 10,000 tweets per second about him. (The hidden subtext was the importance of the fact that so many people found out about the death to Steve Jobs via Twitter.)

The next slide showed a very interesting graphic on the global mourning (via Twitter) which showed that nearly 2 million tweets were distributed in the various languages in 12 hours since the announcement of his death. I, of course, whipped out my Android smartphone (sorry, Steve) and calculated that this meant 37 tweets per second (which is a long way from 10,000). I must confess that when the talk finished I did think it was reminiscent of the Y2K hoopla and I am not yet convinced about the business value of social media, except for large consumer-based organisations.

I have already blogged about the EQ of Steve Jobs and what made him tick.

The guy revolutionised four industries: computers, music, movies and telephones. Most of us would be happy if we could achieve a revolution in one. Nothing I have read since his death has changed what I have written earlier but there are several things that I have found interesting. One was that he always wore the same outfit so that he would not waste time choosing clothes in the morning and instead could focus more time on Apple. The other was that he started tweeting on 5 September, 2009, and posted only 9 tweets (the last on 29 March 2010). Maybe Steve had doubts about social media as well.

The presentation on Social Media alluded to the problem of information overload. I think this is a major issue. When I did my MBA one of my tutors, David Hertz, would continually quote from Ackoff's famous paper Management Misinformation Systems. This paper, written in 1967, said that managers by continually seeking more information on which to base a decision were on the wrong track. Instead they should concentrate on filtering the information they receive and give themselves more time to reflect, show leadership and be innovative. I am beginning to think that this was a real strength of Steve Jobs and something we should all strive to emulate.