What the GOP could learn from Steve Jobs

Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy when Steve Jobs returned as CEO in 1997. The Apple brand was in trouble, like the current Republican brand. But Jobs took a remarkably different approach to rebuilding Apple than the RNC is taking to rebuilding the GOP, as evidenced by the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project blueprint released this week.

Jobs focused on core values and tied them to the brand

Jobs began rebuilding Apple not by focusing on products, suppliers, or market shares, but by asking a simple question: “Who is Apple and what do we stand for?”

In other words, he refocused Apple on its core values. He understood that values determine culture and culture determines success.

“We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better,” he told employees. “And those people crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that actually do.”

This was the essence of Apple and vintage Steve Jobs. He acknowledged that things had changed over time, but he reminded employees with conviction that “values and core values — those things shouldn’t change.”

Jobs tied these values directly to the Apple brand when the company launched its “Think Different” campaign, one of the most inspirational advertising campaigns in history.

But the RNC has done the opposite.

Instead of refocusing and inspiring the party faithful around our core values, the RNC has codified its intentions of changing them under the auspices of “modernization,” sucking full-throat the strategic deceptions of the left.

“It is a well-calculated maneuver to destroy, rather than to construct, an intelligent and meaningful opposition,” William F. Buckley, Jr. warned.

The blueprint chapter purportedly designed to fix the Republican brand demonstrates the very problem the RNC is trying to solve — the GOP does not yet know how to win hearts and minds. It proclaims our policies are “stale” and that we must move beyond Ronald Reagan.

Jobs simplified and focused his company

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the company was a mess. Apple was selling a confusing range of products, over 20 ad agencies were competing for its business, and Jobs didn’t trust his own board of directors.

To rebuild Apple and build truly great products, Jobs simplified operations and focused on doing a few things incredibly well.

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” Jobs said.

He laid off 30 percent of the company, simplified product lines, hired one trusted ad agency, and fired his own board of directors.

But the RNC has done the opposite.

It has proposed an array of new programs, people, processes, and organizations without first answering fundamental questions.

What do we stand for?

What exactly are the objectives, functions, and priorities of the national, state, and local party organizations?

How will the RNC afford and execute these programs if it cannot afford to fund a basic voter registration program?

Is there anything the RNC should not be doing?