Go out in style
For me, yesterday was a sad day. Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple.
It’s odd isn’t it? CEOs resign from companies all the time and nobody bats an eyelid. But the moment Steve Jobs goes everyone’s shouting it from the rooftops – even writing bizarre obituaries of his life. Like this.
A big part of his charm is how he communicates with people, the way he connects. We’ve all seen him stand up and deliver his speeches. He’s straightforward yet inspiring. And while he doesn’t get as much press for his writing, it’s just as effective.
In his letter of resignation, he’s really doing a lot of the things we think makes great business writing.
There’s a teensy preamble, then he dives straight in with the point: ‘I hereby resign as CEO of Apple’. Shame about the ‘hereby’, but he’s told us everything we need to know up front. We know what we’re reading, and why he wrote it.
A little later he starts a sentence with ‘And’. Just because it’s natural, it flows and it makes sense. Which is what Apple’s all about.
I could go on. But for every wordy hero, there’s a villain. Rebekah Brooks plays by different rules. This is her resignation letter.
It’s unnecessarily long and most people won’t have read it all the way through. Maybe only Rupert got that far. Maybe she doesn’t want you to. But I did (we are self-confessed word geeks at The Writer, after all).
I was looking for words ‘I resign’ on there. But it’s not until paragraph six we’re begrudgingly given ‘Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation’
Like blood from a stone.
And generally it feels very evasive and robotic, I mean, have you ever heard anyone say ‘I leave with an abundance of friends’? No, because that person would definitely not have an abundance of friends. You’d edge away quietly, making sure you knew where their hands were.
So, CEOs of the world, if you want Joe Public here to think you’re not a clinical robot, make sure you tell it like it is. Sound human, be natural, and go out in style.