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Steve Jobs to Nike CEO: 'Get rid of the crappy stuff'

When Nike CEO Mark Parker called Apple CEO Steve Jobs for advice as a newly minted chief executive, Jobs told him to "get rid of the crappy stuff," claims a report.

Writing for Forbes, Carmine Gallo reports that, shortly after becoming CEO, Parker called Jobs, who he is friends with, to ask for some tips.

“Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

Jobs was "absolutely right," Parker admitted, adding that Nike "had to edit" when making business decisions.

Within months of becoming CEO in early 2006, Parker announced a special partnership with Apple. The Nike+iPod product line was a collaboration between the two companies meant to "create a better running experience." Nike+iPod allows users to connect a sensor to a compatible iPod nano, iPod touch, or iPhone to keep track of statistics.

"It's fun to apply technology in an area where A, it's never been done before, and B, everybody involved in it wants it for themselves," Parker said in an interview after the announcement of Nike+. "That's always a good sign. Everybody involved in this says, 'This is so cool,' It's great to work on things like this. The connection between the two different products and the potential it creates is huge."

In 2007, Parker promised that all Nike running shoes would be compatible with Nike+iPod by the end of the year.

Jobs outlined Apple's intense focus during an interview with Fortune in 2008. "Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we've got less than 30 major products. I don't know if that's ever been done before. Certainly the great consumer electronics companies of the past had thousands of products. We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully," Jobs said.

"I'm actually as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. The clearest example was when we were pressured for years to do a PDA, and I realized one day that 90% of the people who use a PDA only take information out of it on the road. They don't put information into it.

"Pretty soon cellphones are going to do that, so the PDA market's going to get reduced to a fraction of its current size, and it won't really be sustainable. So we decided not to get into it. If we had gotten into it, we wouldn't have had the resources to do the iPod. We probably wouldn't have seen it coming."

Not long after returning to the company in late 1996, Jobs terminated several projects, including the Newton platform. Since then, Apple has experienced a meteoric rise, culminating in the release of the iPad, which has been viewed by some as the Newton reborn.