Guest post by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link
In 2007, Ted Morgan, the CEO of an unknown location-finding technology company called Skyhook, had been trying for months to get major companies to use his technology. Then one day when Morgan checked his voice mail, he found that a caller had left the following message: “Ted, this is Steve Jobs from Apple. I’d like to talk to you about Skyhook. Call me at . . .”
Thinking the message was a joke played by someone on his team, Morgan deleted it. Later that day, he told Mike Shean, Skyhook’s cofounder, “Good try, but you gave it away by pretending to be Steve Jobs. You should have said you were Scott or one of the other managers we just met at Apple.”
Shean said he knew nothing about the message. When Morgan realized the call had actually been from Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple asking to meet with him, he sat up in a hurry. Morgan returned the call and met with Jobs, and things started happening quickly. It looked as though a great deal was in the making.
Then one day, Jobs called Morgan and said that Apple had a big Macworld event coming up, that it was close to doing a deal with Skyhook, and that he wanted to model Skyhook’s technology at the event—but he couldn’t do it without Skyhook’s code. So Jobs asked Morgan to give him the code.
While still on the phone, Morgan turned to his management team and whispered, “He’s wanting our code.”
The immediate response of the team was “No! No! No!”
Morgan said to Jobs, “Steve, as you might imagine, we’ve never given out our code. That code is our intellectual property. It’s everything we have.”
Jobs replied, “I know that. You’re just going to have to trust me.”
Against the advice of his team, Morgan gave Jobs the code.
We later asked Morgan, “What do you think would have happened if you had said, ‘Steve, I just can’t?”
He replied, “You never know. But personally, I don’t think he would have done the deal. I think Steve would have moved on.”
Instead, Jobs rewarded Morgan by personally demonstrating Skyhook’s technology at Macworld in January 2008, giving an animated explanation of how the technology worked and adding, “Isn’t that cool? It’s really cool.”
Morgan called Jobs’s spotlight on Skyhook “the biggest publicity event any company can have.”
Skyhook’s WPS became the primary location engine for Google Maps and other applications used by both the iPhone and iPod Touch until April 2010, and the company continues to provide location-based services for Apple as well as other technology giants such as Samsung, Motorola, Dell, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Its software powers thousands of mobile applications and is being used on tens of millions of devices around the globe.
Morgan’s leap of trust turned out to be a huge positive game changer for Skyhook. It also affirms that although there is risk in trusting, there is often greater risk in not trusting.
About the Authors
Stephen M.R. Covey is the New York Times bestselling author of The Speed of Trust. Greg Link is co-founder of The Covey Leadership Center. The two orchestrated the strategy that led Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to be one of the bestselling business books of the 20th Century.
The above story is excerpted from their new book, Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World. Great book!
I've arranged access to Covey’s upcoming private 60-minute broadcast for free if you buy the book at Amazon this week (January 9 to 13): http://goo.gl/AV2Gi.
And you can sign up for the live interactive telecast on January 12th here: http://goo.gl/HXLQr.
"John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books was instrumental to our success in making The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the two most influential business books of the 20th century." - Stephen M. R. Covey and Greg Link, authors of Smart Trust
"Thanks to you, Smart Trust is #1 in all books on Amazon
& B&N. What can we say?? Thanks seems so insufficient. How's
this: You rocked the free world, you extraordinary enlightened earthling
you. Well, you rocked our world anyway!
"Please, please keep advocating trust. Together we can trigger a global
renaissance of trust and shift the trajectory of life and leadership for
generations to come." - In gratitude, Greg Link and Stephen M. R.
Covey, co-authors of Smart Trust