Gil Amelio

Given Apple’s dominance in the high-tech world, it’s hard to imagine that it was once a company that had cash flow problems, poor quality products, a bloated workforce, and a total lack of strategy.

But that’s essentially the kind of company that Gill Amelio said he took over as CEO in early 1996.

By his own telling, Amelio cut costs, slashed staff, and tried to put the company back on a strategic course.

But less than a year and a half later, in summer of 1997, Apple was still struggling and Amelio was forced out.

The following spring he wrote a book about his 500 days at Apple, called On the Firing Line. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1998, Gil Amleio.

Gil Amelio is 79 now. He’s been a venture capitalist for the last 24 years.

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John Sculley
Steve Wozniak

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John Sculley

Photo: Judae1

Doing a 13-year career at PepsiCo, including six years as its president, John Scully prove to be something of a marketing genius.

If you’ve ever seen The Pepsi Challenge, well .. that was John Sculley’s idea.

Then he made the switch from selling flavored sugar carbonated water to selling personal computers.

In 1983 Scully became CEO of Apple. And soon, behind his marketing skills, Apple had rival i b m on the run.

In 1987, in the middle of his 10-year run at Apple, Scully wrote a book about his transition from Pepsi. And that’s when I met him.

Two things to note about this interview. No, three things.

First, John Sculley apparently had had the services of a consultant who told him to be sure and mention his book in every answer. So you’ll hear lots of references to the title of his book, Odyssey.

The second thing you need to know is that I learned a very important lesson in this interview. And that is, always check your microphone. It turns out that mine was basically turned off for the entire interview, and I didn’t realize it. That’s why it sounds a little strange.

But the third thing, the most intriguing thing, this is 1987. Very few people had personal computers, yet Scully is talking about things that today seem commonplace. It’s like we went back to the future.

So here now, from 1987, John Sculloey.

John Sculley is 82 now. He remains active in high-tech startups, as well as disruptive marketing strategies.

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Steve Wozniak