It’s taken me a little of time to finally sit down and sift through some of my thoughts in a way that I could be adequately communcated in a somewhat reasonable fashion simply because my mind has been all over the map after I finished reading Steve Jobs. In addition to just processing it took me a while to write as well – this post took 4 days to edit and is nearly 6,500 words.
But it was worth it. You see, the book has changed my life. Literally. And it couldn’t have come at a better and more opportune time.
Much of the impact has occurred internally – it’s challenged my thinking about the products that I build, the teams that I lead, and where I want to take them both.
It has challenged me to take a serious and very difficult look at where I was spending my time and attention and asking me if they really, really mattered. This deep and intense time of introspection has produced an incredible amount of pruning, so much so that it’s surprised even those that know me the best, especially my wife. She’s been impressed that a biography could change me in such a personal way, both ideologically and pragmatically.
Some examples of what hasn’t survived some of the whirlwind of my pruning are over 30+ pet projects and domains that have been anywhere from dormant to slightly developed to even full products. I have successfully negotiated a number of sales for existing IP and am still negotiating the acquisition of many more. Steve showed me that I simply don’t have time for them and that I shouldn’t give them a second thought.
But more than just clearing my dirty desk of ideas (some of which I believe are incredible ideas actually and have insane potential) Steve inspired the very best of my mind, my heart, and my creative energies into a surgically precise list of one – one idea that had been incubating for years but became clear as crystal half-way through the book.
It became very obvious to me of my future calling. I told my wife later that night that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. She smirked, hearing that type of phraseology before and said:
At least for this week, right?
I grinned but then told her that I was pretty sure I had landed on “it” and that this was the way I was going to make my run, my attempt at making a “dent” in the universe. She told me that she was going to bed and congratulated me on my apparent life-altering discovery.
And thankfully I did make the discovery because at one point I wasn’t sure if I was going to read the book. Having ordered it early you would have thought that I had ordered it with the explicit intention of devouring it as quickly as it could come out of the wrapping. Instead, it sat on my desk and I stared at his face for a few days, anxious and scared – I didn’t want to be changed, I didn’t want to be challenged, and I didn’t want to be disappointed.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of the book disappointing but rather that I would come away unable to fully grasp what I had read and ultimately frozen or unable to apply it and fail. I didn’t want to be Steve and that hasn’t changed; in fact, I don’t want to be him even more now that I’ve finished it! But, I deeply desire to have the same type of impact that he had. I want to change the world and I will except nothing less.
What eventually caused me to start reading it I will never forget. I was sitting at my kitchen table one afternoon reading about the financial difficulties of yet another startup-turned-exuberantly-large who was moving toward IPO and I looked up suddenly to realize that my wife was sitting on the couch, apparently making a list of groceries in Wunderlist on her new Macbook Air. My two daughters were in the room as well – the oldest one playing with her new iPod Touch and the younger one tinkering with my older first-generation iPad.
I hit me like a ton of bricks – and in that very instant my mind melted into uncontrollable excitment mixed with a dogmatic feeling of responsibility: I must read the book so that I can appropriately thank him for the incredible impact he’s made on my family. He’s touched them all, my daughters for their entertainment and pleasure, my wife for utility, and I make my living on his devices.
I walked into my home office abruptly, removed the book cover, and scribbled out a note to myself:
I put my pen down, breathed heavily, paused a moment, and then started reading.
It was very hard to sleep those 4 days as I wrestled with his story and my own thoughts. Although it was a large volume of text Isaacson didn’t make it a difficult read – I think he did this because he knew that it would create utter calamity in more than a few of the readers minds as they walked through it and became enchanted with Steve’s life and his work as well as uncannily excited about the amount of inspiration in 600 or so pages.
If that was Isaacson’s intent it worked: I was enchanted, inspired, and exhausted. I ended up rereading some of the chapters three times before moving on – I couldn’t miss anything and it gave me opportunity to process my thoughts the second and third time in the context of what I was reading.
I closed the book four days later, completely spent. I didn’t sleep well that night but I didn’t really care.
That week was a whirlwind of conversations with those closest to me – I shared some of those dreams and some of those visions but have kept most to myself because they are still in their infancy and too fragile to share publicly, even to my wife. Time will tell if they become mature enough to even whisper – my hope is that they become undeniable forces of will and passion mixed with indomitable resolve.
I did share with my spouse and my closest friends “it” – and how I and “it” would change the world. Perhaps over time it’ll become clear to the rest of you what that “it” really is.
I’m not even close to being fully aware of what I’ve read nor at a point where I can completely express what I’ve learned but one of the greatest things that I’ve learned about Steve is this: He was incredibly and uniquely human. Very much like you and I.
My wife asked what I meant when I told her that and it took an hour to talk her through it so I won’t even attempt to expound on it here but I would like to share with you a number of quotes from the book that caused me to pause. Some of them may be difficult to understand without context which is why I implore you to read it for yourself.
Over 100 Quotes from Walter Isaacson’s Biography of Steve Jobs:
“I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics,” he said. “Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
“Reality distortion field.”
He was not a model boss or human being, tidiy packaged for emulation. Driven by demons, he could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and passions and products were all inter-related, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrate system. His tale is thus both instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.
Abandoned. Chosen. Special. Those concepts became part of who Jobs was and how he regarded himself.
It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. “He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”
“The juice goes out of Christianity when it become too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it,” he told me. “I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”
He put it in hardware-software terms: “It was as if something in the animal’s body and in its brain had been engineered to work together instantly rather than being learned.”
Jobs liked to work.
He developed a knowledge of electronic parts that was honed by his love of negotiating and turning a profit. … “The satisfaction of getting paid and saving up for something, that was very exciting.”
The partnership paved the way for what would be a bigger adventure together. “If it hadn’t been for the Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple,” Jobs later reflected. They had created a device with a little circuit board that could control billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to make it user-friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks.
Patience was never one of his virtues.
Jobs also became deeply influenced by the emphasis that Buddhism places on intuition. “I began to realize that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis,” he later said.
Whatever he was interested in he would generally carry to an irrational extreme. Jobs had honed his trick of using stares and silences to master other people. “One of his numbers was to stare at the person he was talking to. He would stare into their fucking eyeballs, ask some question, and would want a response without the other person averting their eyes.”
The calligraphy course would become iconic in that regard. “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
The only instructions for Atari’s Star Trek game were “1. Insert quarter. 2. Avoid Klingons.”
Jobs came to believe that he could impart that feeling of confidence to others and thus push them to do things they hadn’t thought possible.
The Atari experience helped shape Jobs’s approach to business and design. He appreciated the user-friendliness of Atari’s insert-quarter-avoid-Klingons games. “That simplicity rubbed off on him and made him a very focused product person,” said Ron Wayne.
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Steward Brand sees Jobs as one of the purest embodiments of the cultural mix that the catalog sought to celebrate. “Steve is right at the nexus of the counterculture and technology,” he said. “He got the notion of tools for human use.”
Apple. It was a smart choice. The world instantly signaled friendliess and simplicity. It managed to be both slightly off-beat and as normal as a slice of pie. There was a whiff of counterculture, back-t-nature earthiness to it, yet nothing could be more American.
His argument was that a great engineer would be remembered only if he teamed with a great marketer, and this required him to commit his designs to the partnership.
Jerry Wozniak, who exalted the value of engineers over mere entrepreneurs and marketers, thought most of the money should go to his son. He confronted Jobs personally when he came by the Wozniak house. “You don’t deserve shit,” he told Jobs. “You haven’t produced anything.” Jobs began to cry, which was not unusual. He had never been, and would never be, adept at containing his emotions.”
Jobs’s father had once taught him that a drive for perfection meant caring about the craftmanship even of the parts unseen. Jobs applied that to the layout of the circuit board inside the Apple II. He rejected the inital design because the lines were not straight enough.
Mike Markkula really took me under his wing,” Jobs recalled. “His values were much aligned with mine. He emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.”
Markkula wrote his principles in a one-page paper titled “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” that stressed three points. The first was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer: “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.” The second was focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” The third and equally important principle, awkwardly named, was impute. It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. “People DO judge a book by its cover,” he wrote. “We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”
Atop the brochure McKenna put a maxim, often attributed to Leonardo d Vinci, that would become the defining precept of Jobs’s design philosophy: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Among its visionaries was the scientist Alan Kay, who had two great maxims that Jobs embraced: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” and “People who are serious about software should make their own hardware.”
As he once said, “Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ — and we have always been shamelss about stealing great ideas.”
“Everything you’ve ever done in your life is shit,” Jobs said, “so why don’t you come work for me?” Belleville did, and so did Larry Tesler.
“I got a feeling for the empowering aspect of naivete,” Atkinson said. “Because I didn’t know it couldn’t be done, I was enabled to do it.”
I never worried about money. I grew up in a middle-class family, so I never thought I would starve. And I learned at Atari that I could be an okay engineer, so I always knew I could get by. I was voluntarily poor when I was in college and India, and I lived a pretty simple life even when I was working. So I went from fairly poor, which was wonderful, because I didn’t have to worry about money, to being incredibly rich, when I also didn’t have to wory about money.
I watched people at Apple who made a lot of money and felt they had to live differently. Some of them bought a Rolls-Royce and various houses, each with a house manager and then someone to manage the house managers. Their wives got plastic surgery and turned into these bizarre people. This was not how I wanted to live. It’s crazy. I made a promise to myself that I’m not going to let this money ruin my life.
“How many of you are virgins?” he asked. There were nervous giggles. “How many of you have taken LSD?”
Jobs’s primary test for recruiting people in the spring of 1981 to be part of his merry band of pirates was making sure they had a passion for the product. He would sometimes bring candidates into a room where a prototype of the Mac was covered by a cloth, dramatically unveil it, and watch. “If their eyes lit up, if they went right for the mouse and started pointing and clicking, Steve would smile and hire them,” recalled Andrea Cunningham.
“The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand,” Hertzfeld said.
People who were not crushed ended up being stronger. They did better work, out of both fear and an eagerness to please. “His behavior can be emotionally draining, but if you survive, it works,” Hoffman said.
As Osborne famousely declared, “Adequacy is sufficient. All else is superfluous.” Jobs found that approach to be morally appalling, and he spent days making fun of Osborne. “This guy just doesn’t get it,” Jobs repeatedly railed as he wandered the Apple corridors. “He’s not making art, he’s making shit.”
One day Jobs came into the cubicle of Larry Kenyon, an engineer who was working on the Macintosh operating system, and complained that it was taking too long to boot up. Kenyon started to explain, but Jobs cut him off. “If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave ten seconds off the boot time? he asked. Kenyon allowed that he probably could. Jobs went to a whiteboard and showed that if there were five million people using the Mac, and it took ten seconds extra to turn it on every day, that added up to three hundred million or so hours per year that people would save, which was the equivalent of at least one hundred lifetimes saved per year. “Larry was suitably impressed, and a few weeks later he came back and it booted up twenty-eight seconds faster,” Adkinson recalled. “Steve had a way of motivating by looking at the bigger picture.”
“The goal was never to beat the competition, or to make a lot of money. It was to do the greatest thing possible, or even a little greater.”
Among the maxims preached by Mies and Gropius were “God is in the details” and “Less is more.”
“The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious,” Jobs told the design mavens.
“Great art stretches the taste, it doesn’t follow tastes,” he told Atkinson. He also admired the design of the Mercedes. “Over the years, they’ve made the lines softwer but the details starker,” he said one day as he walked around the parking lot. “That’s what we have to do with the Macintosh.”
“To be honest, we didn’t know what it meant for a computer to be ‘friendly’ until Steve told us.”
Form follows emotion.
He believed that for a comptuer to be truly great, its hardware and its software had to be tightly linked. When a comptuer was open to running software that also worked on other comptuers, it would end up sacrificing some functionality. The best products, he believed, were “whole widgets” that were designed end-to-end, with the software closely tailored to the hardware and vice versa.
Jobs did not believe the customer was always right; if they wanted to resist using a mouse, they were wrong.
“It’s not done until it ships.”
“The journey is the reward.”
Sculley uttered one last demurral, a token suggestion that maybe they should just be friends and he could offer Jobs advice from the sidelines. “Any time you’re in New York, I’d love to spend time with you.” He later recounted the climactic moment: “Steve’s head dropped as he stared at his feet. After a weighty, uncomfortable pause, he issues a challenge that would haunt me for days. ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?’”
Real artists ship.
On the day he unveiled the Macintosh, a reporter from Popular Science asked Jobs what type of market research he had done. Jobs responded by scoffing, “Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he inveted the telephone?”
Gates was good at computer coding, unlike Jobs, and his mind was more practical, disciplined, and abundant in analytic processing power. Jobs was more intuitive and romantic and had a greater instinct for making technology usable, design delightful, and interfaces friendly. … “Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style,” said Andy Hertzfeld. “Bill looked down on Steve because he couldn’t actually program.” From the beginning of their relationship, Gates was fascinated by Jobs and slightly envious of his mesmerizing effect on people. But he also found him “fundamentally odd” and weirdly flawed as a human being,” and he was put off by Jobs’s rudeness and his tendency to be “either in the mode of saying you were shit or trying to seduce you.” For his part, Jobs found Gates unnervingly narrow. “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acide once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger,” Jobs once declared.
And yet Jobs’s dismay was understandable. Apple had been more innovative, imaginative, elegant in execution, and brilliant in design. But even though Microsoft created a crudely copied series of products, it would end up winning the war of operating systems. This exposed an aesthetic flaw in how the universe worked: The best and most innovative products don’t always win.
You have to be ruthless if you want t build a team of A players. “It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few B players, and they then attract a few more B players, and soon you will even have some C players,” he recalled. “The Macintosh experience taught me that A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge B players.”
I’d go out to the factory, and I’d put on a white glove to check for dust. I’d find it everywhere – on machines, on the tops of the racks, on the floor. And I’d ask Debi to get it cleaned. I tol her I thought we should be able to eat off the floor of the factory. Well, this drove Debi up the wall. She didn’t understand why. And I couldn’t articulate it back then. See, I’d been very influenced by what I’d seen in Japan. Part of what I greatly admired there – and part of what we were lacking in our factory – was a sense of teamwork and discipline. If we didn’t have the discipline to keep that place spotless, then we weren’t going to have the discipline to keep all these machines running.
“You have no fucking idea how I feel,” he shot back, “no fucking idea what it’s like to be me.”
The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.
The company had not only a new logo, but a new name. No longer was it Next. It was NeXT. Others might not have understood the need to obsess over a logo, much less pay $100,000 for one. But for Jobs it meant that NeXT was starting life with a world-class feel and identity, even if it hadn’t yet designed its first product. As Markkula had taught him, a great company must be able to impute its values from the first impression it makes.
“My view is that people are creative animals and will figure out clever new ways to use tools that the inventor never imagined,” he later said. “I thought that would happen with the Pixar computer, just as it did with the Mac.”
“I can go to Disney and be a Director, or I can stay here and make history.”
“Steve had a tendency to look at vulnerabilities and neuroses and turn them into spiritual attributes.”
“I am a reflection of what I do.”
They also had a basic philosophical difference about whether aesthetic tastes were fundamentally individual, as Redse believed, or universal and could be taught, as Jobs believed. She accused him of being too influenced by the Bauhaus movement. “Steve believed it was our job to teach people aesthetics, to teach people what they should like,” she recalled. “I don’t share that perspective. I believe when we listen deeply, both within ourselves and to each other, we are able to allow what’s innate and true to emerge.”
“He had the power to focus like a laser beam, and when it came across you, you basked in the light of his attenton. When it moved to another point of focus, it was very, very dark for you.”
It turns out that the Americans make washers and dryers all wrong. The Europeans make them much better – but they take twice as long to do the clothes! It turns out that they wash them with about a quarter as much water and your clothes end up with a lot less detergent on them. Most important, they don’t trash your clothes. They use a lot less soap, a lot less water, but they come out much cleaner, much softer, and they last a lot longer. We spent some time in our family talking about what’s the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about our values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table.
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Walt Disney once said. That was the type of attitude that appealed to Jobs.
The idea that John Lasseter pitched was called “Toy Story.” It sprang from a belief, which he and Jobs shared, that products have an essence to them, a purpose for which they were made. If the object were to have feelings, these would be based on its desire to fulfill its essence. The purpose of a glass, for example, is to hold water; if it had feelings, it would be happy when full and sad when empty. The essence of a compter screen is to interface with a human.”
“Sculley destroyed Apple by bringing in corrupt people and corrupt values,” Jobs later lamented. “They cared about making money – for themselves mainly, and also for Apple – rather than making great products.”
So what was the real reason for his hesitancy in taking over at Apple? For all of his willfulness and insatiable desire to control things, Jobs was indecisive and reticent when he felt unsure about something. He craved perfection, and he was not always good at figuring out how to settle for something less.
“Okay, tell me what’s wrong with this place,” he said. There were some murmurings, but Jobs cut them off. “It’s the products!” he answered. “So what’s wrong with the products?” Again there were a few attempts at an answer, until Jobs broke in to hand down the correct answer. “The products suck!” he shouted. “There’s no sex in them anymore!”
“There are a lot of great people at Apple, but they’re doing the wrong things because the plan has been wrong,” he said. “I’ve found people who can’t wait to fall into line behind a good strategy, but there just hasn’t been one.”
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
Very few other companies or corporate leaders – perhaps none – could have gotten away with the brilliant audacity of associating their brand with Gandhi, Einstein, Picasso, and the Dalai Lama. Jobs was able to encourage people to define themselves as anticorporate, creative, innovative rebels simply by the computer they used. “Steve created the only lifestyle brand in the tech industry,” Larry Ellison said. “There are cars people are proud to have – Porsche, Ferrari, Prius – because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product.”
“I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company,” he recalled. “The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating. When I got he chance to come back to Apple, I realized that I would be useless without the company, and that’s why I decided to stay and rebuild it.”
One of Jobs’s great strengths was knowing how to focus. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he said. “that’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”
“People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”
After a few weeks Jobs finally had enough. “Stop!” he shouted at one big product strategy session. “This is crazy.” He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. “Here’s what we need,” he continued. Atop the two clumns he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”; he labeld the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant. “The room was in dumb silence,” Schiller recalled.
The “i,” Jobs later explained, was to emphasize that the devices would be seamlessly integrated with the Internet.
If Apple had been in a less precarious situation, I would have drilled down myself to figure out how to make it work. I didn’t trust the people running it. My gut was that there was some really good technology, but it was fucked up by mismanagement. By shutting it down, I free up some good engineers who could work on new mobile devices. And eventually we got it right when we moved on to iPhones and the iPad.
Jony Ive had an ipiphany in college when he was able to design on a Macintosh. “I discovered the Mac and felt I had a connection with the people who were making this product,” he recalled. “I suddenly understood what a company was, or was supposed to be.”
Ive was a fan of the German industrial designer Dieter Rams, who worked for the electronics firm Braun. Rams preached the gospel of “Less but better,” Weniger aber besser, and likewise Jobs and Ive wrestled with each new design to see how much they could simplify it.
“In most peole’s vocabularies, design means veneer,” Jobs told Fortune shortly after retaking the reins at Apple. “But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers.”
At most other companies, engineering tends to drive design. The engineers set forth their specifications and requirements, and the designers then come up with cases and shells that will accommodate them. For Jobs, the process tended to work the other way. In the early days of Apple, Jobs had approved the design of the case of the original Macintosh, and the engineers had to make their boards and components fit.
Steve loves coming in here because it’s calm and gentle. It’s a paradise if you’re a visual person. There are no formal design reviews, so there are no huge decision points. Instead, we can make the decisions fluid. Since we iterate every day and never have dumb-ass presentations, we don’t run into major disagreements.
“Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging,” said Ive. “I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”
Despite his autocratic nature – he never worshiped at the altar of consensus – Jobs worked hard to foster a culture of collaboration at Apple. Many companies pride themselves on having few meetings. Jobs had many: an executive staff session every Monday, a marketing strategy sesison all Wednesday afternoon, and endless product review sessions.
The stores would impute the ethos of Apple products: playful, easy, creative, and on the bright side of the line between hip and intimidating.
“If something isnt’ right, you can’t just ignore it and say you’ll fix it later,” he said. “That’s what other companies do.”
“We’re the only company that owns the whole widget – the hardware, the software and the operating system,” he explained to Time. “We can take full responsibility for the user experience. We can do things that the other guys can’t do.”
The mark of an innovative company is not only that it comes up with new ideas first, but also that it knows how to leapfrong when it finds itself behind.
One of Jobs’s talents was spotting markets that were filled with second-rate products. He looked at the music apps that were available – including Real Jukebox, Windows Media Player, and one that HP was including with its CD burner – and came to a conclusion: “They were so complicated that only a genius could figure out half of their features.”
The older I get, the more I see how much motivations matter. The Zune was crappy because the people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music. We made the iPod for ourselves, and when you’re doing something for yourself, or your best frind or family, you’re not going to cheese out. If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quote as much.
One of Jobs’s business rules was to never be afraid of cannibalizing yourself. “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will,” he said. So even though an iPhone might cannibalize sales of an iPod, or an iPad might cannibalize sales of a laptop, that did not deter him.
“You playing is the best argument I’ve ever heard for the existence of God, because I don’t really belive a human alone can do this.”
“My goal has always been not only to make great products, but to build great companies,” Jobs later said. “Walt Disney did that. And the way we did the merger, we kept Pixar as a great company and helped Disney remain one as well.”
“We make progress by eliminating things, by removing the superflous.”
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
“He has an uncanny ability to cook up gadgets that we didn’t know we needed, but then suddenly can’t live without,” he wrote. “A closed system may be the only way to deliver the kind of techno-Zen experience that Apple has become known for.”
It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that it’s technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing. Nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.
People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.
People pay us to integrate things for them, because they don’t have the time to think about this stuff 24/7. If you have an extreme passion for producing great products, it pushes you to be integrated, to connect your hardware and your software and content management. you want to break new ground, so you have to do it yourself. If you want to allow yoru products to be open to other hardware or software, you have to give up some of your vision.
I hate it when people call themselves “entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. That’s how you really make a contribution and add to the legacy of those who went before. You build a company that will still stand for something a generation or two from now.
He admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in an afterlife. “I like to think that something survives after you die,” he said. “it’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to belive that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.” He fell silent for a very long time. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said. “Click! And you’re gone.” Then he paused again and smiled slightly. “Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.”
Thanks Steve for your contribution to business, the humanities, and the arts. Thanks for creating great products and thanks for daring me to dream the impossible.