If there's one thing Steve Jobs isn't interested in, it's consensus. From the early days of the Mac to his recent vocal disapproval of Flash, Jobs stays true to his vision like few other figures in the technology industry. It's hard to imagine Jobs putting much stock into customer communities like Dell's IdeaStorm or any other variants of crowdsourcing. That kind of collaboration is based on giving everyone a say.
At just 26, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hasn't built up the mythologized reputation Jobs has, but he operates in much the same single-minded way. Which is why, like Jobs, he'll likely be known as a great innovator. Ignoring the Web 2.0 mandate to collaborate, collaborate and more collaborate some more is the best way to get things done, says Henry Blodgett on Business Insider. He writes:
If Facebook were to radically change its approach to innovation, meanwhile, seeking prior approval for every change it makes, its innovation would slow to a crawl. It would also sacrifice the opportunity to roll out innovations that initially freak people out but that soon become wildly popular (News Feed). Given that Facebook's whole product is walking this ever-flammable line between public and private, Facebook's users won't likely know what they're cool with until they see it in action. So asking them ahead of time would just lead to a lot of "no's," even with respect to innovations that people would eventually want.
So do you have to be a self-centered jerk to be a great innovator? Maybe. Michael Arrington makes much the same point on TechCrunch, writing:
Product should be a dictatorship. Not consensus driven. There are casualties. Hurt feelings. Angry users. But all of those things are necessary if you're going to create something unique.
Still, even Apple appears to at least recognize the power of collaboration. While Apple has been notoriously heavy-handed in its efforts to control the developers creating applications for the iPhone, the existence of an App Store offering third-party applications on an Apple device would have been inconceivable in the very near past.
And as the innovation focus shifts from product to services, companies may find they'll need consensus after all.