Steve Jobs told Nike's Mark Parker to "focus on the good stuff" and stop making "crap" shortly after Parker was appointed CEO of the company in 2006.
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Forbes reports that Apple CEO Jobs had a conversation with Parker in which Jobs told him that Nike made "some of the best products in the world".
"But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff," Jobs told Parker.
Though Parker's reaction was to laugh, Jobs remained unamused. He was not joking, Parker realised.
The incident was reported in a column written by Carmine Gallo, who describes himself as a communications coach and was the author of books The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, published in 2010 and 2009 respectively.
Gallo's point is that "subtraction often adds value". In the column, Gallo praises Jobs' decision to reduce the number of Apple products from around 350 to just 10, as he did in 1998.
"It takes courage to remove a keyboard from the face of a smartphone and replace those buttons with a giant screen, as Jobs did with the iPhone. It takes courage to eliminate code from an operating system to make it more stable and reliable, as Apple did with Snow Leopard," Gallo writes.
"It takes courage to feature just one product on the home page of a website as Apple does with each new major product launch. It takes courage to make a product like the iPad that is so simple a child can use it. And it takes courage to eliminate all of the words on a PowerPoint slide except one, as Steve Jobs often does in a presentation."
Whether Nike learned the lesson of minimalism is open to question, but one thing it definitely got right was to strike a partnership with Apple, teaming up to create the Nike + iPod Sports Kit later in 2006.
Earlier this year, Nike partnered with TomTom to create the SportWatch GPS.
This story, "Steve Jobs Told Nike to Get Rid of the Crap'" was originally published by Macworld U.K. .