Business folks have over-simplified Jobs' contribution to the Think Different campaign by making it seem he single-handedly was responsible for it. A handful of people on Lee Clow's team were primarily responsible for the creation of the ad. Jobs originally hated the concept and within a few minutes decided it was the right one to choose. Then he changed his mind again after seeing the script for the ad. This original script -- strictly in my opinion -- sounded bland. It is given in the article. I can see where his "it's shit" comment came from. The agency investigated some other options while the author of the original script got fed up and moved onto other companies campaigns. Jobs then re-visited the original script along with Lee Clow. Jobs was able to use his influence to make this version better by getting Clow to lure more talented writers to tweak the script, voice actors to read it, and nicer pictures/scenes for the imagery in the ad.
I absolutely agree. I'm looking forward to a lot more accounts like this one. I admire Jobs, but I admire him because he knew when to get involved and when to leave smart people alone.
His ability to make decisions and ensure things got done is admirable. I've been involved with far too many business folks who you have to hand-hold through every step of a project only to have them be spineless and scared of making decisions. This account validates my assumption that a significant reason that Jobs was effective was because he could commit to a strategy. Far too many companies can't because their strategy is being dictated to by short term stock pricing.
I agree that it is easy to defend that the original presentation "was shit" but that it could be loved. Not only was the final text far superior, setting it to a pop song sounds awful (coming from a Seal liker/lover).