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Introduction

Business leadership should not get involved with making technical decisions, or managing technical teams because when they do, they destroy the engineering side of a tech company.

New industry verticals such as FinTech, PropTech, Ride Hailing Services etc are essentially technology driven businesses and depend on technical decision making and innovation. Management with business background thus struggles at all levels including technical decision making, defining roadmaps, planning, developing vision and managing teams. 

Many business leaders don’t understand the difference between a banker, Property Agent, factory worker, and a software developer and thus lose the confidence of their IT team, leading to failure of these initiatives in banks, and other such corporate structures.

Great companies like google, facebook, Apple etc are built by great engineering teams making great engineering contributions and innovations to open new possibilities for the business. 

In my experience, if you ever see business leadership trying to directly manage technical teams or decision making then you are seeing a failure in making !

Examples

There are many examples, explaining the negative impact of sidelining technical leadership on tech companies, but none is more famous than exit of Steve Jobs from the Apple.

In 1985, Jobs was forced out of Apple after a long power struggle with the company’s board and its then-CEO, John Sculley. That same year, Jobs took a few Apple employees with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, he helped to develop the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of George Lucas’s Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company was Pixar, which produced the first 3D computer-animated feature film Toy Story (1995) and went on to become a major animation studio, producing over 25 films since.

In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple as CEO after the company’s acquisition of NeXT. He was largely responsible for reviving Apple, which was on the verge of bankruptcy. He worked closely with English designer Jony Ive to develop a line of products that had larger cultural ramifications, beginning with the “Think different” advertising campaign and leading to the Apple Store, App Store (iOS), iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, and iTunes Store. In 2001, the original Mac OS was replaced with the completely new Mac OS X (now known as macOS), based on NeXT’s NeXTSTEP platform, giving the operating system a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time.

By Hassan Amin

Dr. Syed Hassan Amin has done Ph.D. in Computer Science from Imperial College London, United Kingdom and MS in Computer System Engineering from GIKI, Pakistan. During PhD, he has worked on Image Processing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning. He has done research and development in many areas including Urdu and local language Optical Character Recognition, Retail Analysis, Affiliate Marketing, Fraud Prediction, 3D reconstruction of face images from 2D images, and Retinal Image analysis in addition to other areas.

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