By Maxime Lagacé
Maxime is the founder and chief editor of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm, powerful, and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.
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Steve Jobs was worth 250$ million at 25.
He was worth 10.2$ billion when he died in 2011.
He’s the co-founder of Apple and one of the most successful businessmen of all time.
He almost became a Buddhist Monk too.
In sum, he was a fascinating and inspiring human being.
And one of my idols.
Here are 201 of the best Steve Jobs quotes I’ve collected over the years.
I hope you’ll find inspiration and motivation for your business (and your life).
Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday. Steve Jobs
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. Steve Jobs
I’m actually as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Steve Jobs
I don’t care about being right. I care about success and doing the right thing. Steve Jobs
You have to believe that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Steve Jobs
The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore! Steve Jobs
For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through. Steve Jobs
Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right. Steve Jobs
Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves. Steve Jobs
The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and doer in one person. Steve Jobs
I do not adopt softness towards others because I want to make them better. Steve Jobs
If you don’t love it, you’re going to fail. Steve Jobs
You can build your own things that other people can use. And once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. Steve Jobs
In the broadest context, the goal is to seek enlightenment – however you define it. Steve Jobs
Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Steve Jobs
- 400 Albert Einstein Quotes On Life, Education, Humanity
- 120 Bruce Lee Quotes On Life, Education, Discipline
- 130 Inspirational Quotes For Men
The Best Steve Jobs Quotes
The most precious thing that we all have with us is time.
Don’t get hung up on who owns the idea. Pick the best one, and let’s go.
We do no market research. We don’t hire consultants. We just want to make great products.
The people that have really made the contributions have been the thinkers and the doers.
I think all of us need to be on guard against arrogance which knocks at the door whenever you’re successful.
The Lisa people wanted to do something great. And the Mac people want to do something insanely great. The difference shows.
Once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
I always advise people – Don’t wait! Do something when you are young, when you have nothing to lose, and keep that in mind.
That’s why we started Apple, we said you know, we have absolutely nothing to lose. I was 20 years old at the time, Woz was 24-25, so we have nothing to lose. We have no families, no children, no houses. Woz had an old car. I had a Volkswagen van, I mean, all we were going to lose is our cars and the shirts off our back.
That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.
We he had everything to gain. And we figured even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten times the cost.
We are very careful about what features we add because we can’t take them away.
The really great person will keep on going and find the key, underlying principle of the problem, and come up with a beautiful elegant solution that works.
On the blue box: That was what we learned: was that us, too, we didn’t know much. We could build a little thing that could control a giant thing and that was an incredible lesson.
Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.
Don’t take it all too seriously. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
There is a tremendous amount of craftsmanship between a great idea and a great product.
One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.
People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.
We were really working fourteen-to-eighteen-hour days, seven days a week. For like, two years, three years. That was our life. But we loved it, we were young, and we could do it.
You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
People judge you on your performance, so focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
The Most Famous Steve Jobs Quotes
Now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish‘.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.
Famous Apple Ad with Einstein, Picasso, etc. (Video): 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 and 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 crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.
Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.
Want more peace of mind?
Check our ultimate Peace of Mind Checklist.
Steve Jobs Quotes From Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
If today were the last of your life, would you do what you were going to do today?
I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay.
I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?‘ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.
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.
Related: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005 (Transcript and YouTube video)
Part 2. Steve Jobs Quotes To Improve Your Life…
Steve Jobs On Life
And you can change it, you can influence it.
When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it.
That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
If you want it, you can fly, you just have to trust you a lot.
The only thing you have in your life is time. If you invest that time in yourself to have great experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can’t possibly lose.
There was a constant flow of intellectual questioning about the truth of life. That was a time when every college student in this country read Be Here Now and Diet for a Small Planet – there were about ten books.
On being fired from Apple and called back 12 years later: What a circle of life. You know? Life is just always mysterious and surprising, and you never know what’s around the next corner.
We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know…
So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life. We could be sitting in a monastery somewhere in Japan. We could be out sailing. Some of the executive team could be playing golf. They could be running other companies. And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it. And we think it is.
In business, if I knew earlier what I know now, I’d have probably done some things a lot better than I did, but I also would’ve probably done some other things a lot worse. But so what? It’s more important to be engaged in the present.
I think the things you most regret in life are things you didn’t do. What you really regret was never asking that girl to dance.
Steve Jobs On Death
I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent, it clears out the old to make way for the new.
I’ve always felt that death is the greatest invention of life. I’m sure that life evolved without death at first and found that without death, life didn’t work very well because it didn’t make room for the young.
Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
Without death, there would be very little progress.
Steve Jobs On Love
So it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail. So you’ve got to love it and you’ve got to have passion and I think that’s the high-order bit.
I’ve been rejected, but I was still in love.
I was lucky, I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20.
People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up.
If you really look at the ones that ended up, you know, being “successful” in the eyes of society and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes, it’s the ones who were successful and loved what they did so they could persevere, you know, when it got really tough. And the ones that didn’t love it quit because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it?
That was one of the things that came out most clearly from this whole experience [with cancer]. I realized that I love my life. I really do. I’ve got the greatest family in the world, and I’ve got my work. And that’s pretty much all I do. I don’t socialize much or go to conferences. I love my family, and I love running Apple, and I love Pixar. And I get to do that. I’m very lucky.
Steve Jobs On Perseverance
You get your wind back, remember the finish line, and keep going.
At Apple, people are putting in 18-hour days.
I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. It’s really tough and it consumes your life.
If you’ve got a family and you’re in the early days of a company, I can’t imagine how one could do it. I’m sure it’s been done but it’s rough. It’s pretty much an eighteen hour day job, seven days a week for awhile. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up.
You’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about, otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.
I’ve read something that Bill Gates said about six months ago. He said, ‘I worked really, really hard in my 20s.’ And I know what he means because I worked really, really hard in my 20s too. Literally, you know, 7 days a week, a lot of hours every day. And it actually is a wonderful thing to do, because you can get a lot done. But you can’t do it forever, and you don’t want to do it forever, and you have to come up with ways of figuring out what the most important things are and working with other people even more.
I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on something, but working on Macintosh was the neatest experience of my life. Almost everyone who worked on it will say that. None of us wanted to release it at the end.
On the MacIntosh: When we finally presented it at the shareholders’ meeting, everyone in the auditorium gave it a five-minute ovation. What was incredible to me was that I could see the Mac team in the first few rows. It was as though none of us could believe we’d actually finished it. Everyone started crying.
As it was clear that the Sixties were over, it was also clear that a lot of the people who had gone through the Sixties ended up not really accomplishing what they set out to accomplish, and because they had thrown their discipline to the wind, they didn’t have much to fall back on.
Pixar has been a marathon, not a sprint. There are times when you run a marathon and you wonder, why am I doing this? But you take a drink of water, and around the next bend, you get your wind back, remember the finish line, and keep going.
On the MacIntosh: It was as though we knew that once it was out of our hands, it wouldn’t be ours anymore.
Steve Jobs On Family
My wife deserves all the credit for keeping me at it.
On his father: He was a machinist by trade and worked very hard and was kind of a genius with his hands. He had a workbench out in his garage where, when I was about five or six, he sectioned off a little piece of it and said “Steve, this is your workbench now.” And he gave me some of his smaller tools and showed me how to use a hammer and saw and how to build things. It really was very good for me. He spent a lot of time with me… teaching me how to build things, how to take things apart, put things back together.
I can tell you this: I’ve been married for 8 years, and that’s had a really good influence on me. I’ve been very lucky, through random happenstance I just happened to sit next to this wonderful woman who became my wife. And it was a big deal. We have 3 kids, and it’s been a big deal. You see the world differently.
I’ve never been so tired in my life. I’d come home at about ten o’clock at night and flop straight into bed, then haul myself out at six the next morning and take a shower and go to work. My wife deserves all the credit for keeping me at it. She supported me and kept the family together with a husband in absentia.
Steve Jobs On Courage
Most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask. I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help.
Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask. And that’s what separates sometimes the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.
As you may know, I was basically fired from Apple when I was 30 and was invited to come back 12 years later so that was difficult when it happened but maybe the best thing that could ever happen to me. […] you just move on, life goes on and you learn from it.
If you act like you can do something, then it will work.
I feel like somebody just punched me in the stomach and knocked all my wind out. I’m only 30 years old and I want to have a chance to continue creating things. I know I’ve got at least one more great computer in me. And Apple is not going to give me a chance to do that.
We’ve done so many hardware products where Jony and I have looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t know how to make it any better than this, we just don’t know how to make it’. But we always do; we realize another way. And then it’s not long after the new thing comes out that we look at the older thing and go, ‘How can we ever have done that?’
Life goes on and you learn from it.
Each year has been so robust with problems and successes and learning experiences and human experiences that a year is a lifetime at Apple.
When I was 12 or 13, I wanted to build something and I needed some parts, so I picked up the phone and called Bill Hewlett – he was listed in the Palo Alto phone book. He answered the phone and he was real nice. He chatted with me for, like, 20 minutes. He didn’t know me at all, but he ended up giving me some parts and he got me a job that summer working at Hewlett-Packard on the line, assembling frequency counters. Assembling may be too strong. I was putting in screws. It didn’t matter; I was in heaven.
I’ve never found anyone who’s said no or hung up the phone when I called-I just asked. And when people ask me, I try to be as responsive, to pay that debt of gratitude back.
You gotta act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail, you gotta be ready to crash and burn, with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.
Steve Jobs On God, Religion And Beliefs
I believe life is an intelligent thing, that things aren’t random.
When you die, it doesn’t just all disappear.
Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe.
Ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of – maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.
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.
Part 3. Steve Jobs Quotes To Improve Your Business
Steve Jobs On Business
The most powerful person in business is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.
I’m a long-term kind of person.
Fortunately, my training has been in doing things that take a long time. You know? I was at Apple 10 years. I would have preferred to be there the rest of my life. So I’m a long-term kind of person.
I have been trained to think in units of time that are measured in several years. With what I’ve chosen to do with my life, you know, even a small thing takes a few years. To do anything of magnitude takes at least five years, more likely seven or eight. Rightfully or wrongfully, that’s how I think.
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.
I’m a tool builder. That’s how I think of myself. I want to build really good tools that I know in my gut and my heart will be valuable. And then, whatever happens, is… you can’t really predict exactly what will happen, but you can feel the direction that we’re going. And that’s about as close as you can get. Then you just stand back and get out of the way, and these things take on a life of their own.
If you are willing to work hard and ask lots of questions, you can learn business pretty fast.
On starting Apple with Steve Wozniak: We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a 2 billion company with over 4000 employees.
I remember many late nights coming out of the Mac building when I would have the most incredibly powerful feelings about my life.
Steve Jobs On Startups
We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.
The smallest company in the world can look as large as the largest company on the web.
I think this is the start of something really big. Sometimes that first step is the hardest one, and we’ve just taken it.
Another priority was to make Apple more entrepreneurial and startup-like. So we immediately reorganized, drastically narrowed the product line, and changed compensation for senior managers so they get a lot of stock but no cash bonuses. The upshot is that the place feels more like a young company.
But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light – that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
One of the keys to Apple is Apple’s an incredibly collaborative company. You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We have no committees. We are organized like a start-up. One person’s in charge of iPhone OS software, one person’s in charge of Mac hardware, one person’s in charge of iPhone hardware engineering, another person’s in charge of worldwide marketing, another person’s in charge of operations. We are organized like a startup. We are the biggest startup on the planet.
We are aware that we are doing something significant. We’re here at the beginning of it and we’re able to shape how it goes.
Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.
Most of the time, we’re taking things. Neither you nor I made the clothes we wear; we don’t make the food or grow the foods we eat; we use a language that was developed by other people; we use another society’s mathematics. Very rarely do we get a chance to put something back into that pool. I think we have that opportunity now.
No, we don’t know where it will lead. We just know there’s something much bigger than any of us here.
We’re trying to use the swiftness and creativity in a younger-style company, and yet bring to bear the tremendous resources of a company the size of Apple to do large projects that you could never handle at a startup.
It’s hard to tell with these Internet startups if they’re really interested in building companies or if they’re just interested in the money. I can tell you, though: If they don’t really want to build a company, they won’t luck into it. That’s because it’s so hard that if you don’t have a passion, you’ll give up.
Related: Tim Ferriss quotes (On business, productivity, startups, etc.)
Steve Jobs On Teamwork
The best ideas have to win.
My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.
We have wonderful arguments. […] If you want to hire great people and have them stay working for you, you have to let them make a lot of decisions and you have to, you have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas have to win, otherwise, good people don’t stay.
When you work with somebody that close and you go through experiences like the ones we went through, there’s a bond in life. Whatever hassles you have, there is a bond. And even though he may not be your best friend as time goes on, there’s still something that transcends even friendship, in a way.
I contribute ideas, sure. Why would I be there if I didn’t?
Steve Jobs On Vision
We are gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make ‘me-too’ products. For us, it’s always the next dream.
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.
When we create stuff, we do it because we listen to customers, get their inputs and also throw in what we’d like to see, too. We cook up new products. You never really know if people will love them as much as you do.
There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the Technology. You can’t start with the technology and then try to figure out how to sell it.
As we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with “What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?”
Part 1. There needs to be someone who is the keeper and reiterator of the vision. […] A lot of times, when you have to walk a thousand miles and you take the first step, it looks like a long way, and it really helps if there’s someone there saying, “Well we’re one step closer. The goal definitely exists; it’s not just a mirage out there”.
Part 2. So in a thousand and one little, and sometimes larger ways, the vision needs to be reiterated. I do that a lot.
When I got back here in 1997, I was looking for more room, and I found an archive of old Macs and other stuff. I said, ‘Get it away!’ and I shipped all that shit off to Stanford. If you look backward in this business, you’ll be crushed. You have to look forward.
The hard part of what we’re up against now is that people ask you about specifics and you can’t tell them. A hundred years ago, if somebody had asked Alexander Graham Bell, ‘What are you going to be able to do with a telephone?’ he wouldn’t have been able to tell him the ways the telephone would affect the world. He didn’t know that people would use the telephone to call up and find out what movies were playing that night or to order some groceries or call a relative on the other side of the globe.
It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.
Neither of us had any idea that this would go anywhere. Woz is motivated by figuring things out. He concentrated more on the engineering and proceeded to do one of his most brilliant pieces of work, which was the disk drive, another key engineering feat that made the Apple II a possibility. I was trying to build the company, trying to find out what a company was. I don’t think it would have happened without Woz and I don’t think it would have happened without me.
Even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality and the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years, and we need to bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about speed and fees, it’s not to talk about bits and mega-hertz, it’s not to talk about why we are better than Windows.
The best example of all and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen, is Nike. Remember, Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes. And yet, when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product. They don’t ever tell you about their air soles.
What does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are, that’s what they are about.
More important than building a product, we are in the process of architecting a company that will hopefully be much more incredible, the total will be much more incredible than the sum of its parts.
Steve Jobs On Ambition And Changing The World
Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?
My dream is that every person in the world will have their own Apple computer. To do that, we’ve got to be a great marketing company.
I’ll tell you what our goal is: our goal is to make the best personal computers in the world and to make products we are proud to sell and recommend to our family and friends, and, we want to do that at the lowest price we can.
None of the really bright people I knew in college went into politics. They all sensed that, in terms of making a change in the world, politics wasn’t the place to be in the late Sixties and Seventies. All of them are in business now, which is funny, because they were the same people who trekked off to India or who tried in one way or another to find some sort of truth about life.
Our goal is to make the best personal computers in the world.
We have a major opportunity to influence where Apple is going. As every day passes, the work fifty people are doing here is going to send a giant ripple through the universe. I am really impressed with the quality of our ripple. I know I might be a little hard to get on with, but this is the most fun I’ve had in my life. I’m having a blast.
We attract a different kind of person – a person who doesn’t want to wait five or ten years to have someone take a giant risk on him or her. Someone who really wants to get a little over his head and make a little dent in the universe.
Steve Jobs On Management And Leadership
My job is to say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it.
What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them.
What I do all day, is meet with teams of people, and work on ideas, and solve problems, to make new products, to make new marketing programs, whatever it is.
The greatest people are self-managing – they don’t need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they’ll go figure out how to do it. What they need is a common vision. And that’s what leadership is: [h]aving a vision; being able to articulate that so the people around you can understand it; and getting a consensus on a common vision.
Somebody once told me, “Manage the top line, and the bottom line will follow.” What’s the top line? It’s things like, why are we doing this in the first place? What’s our strategy? What are customers saying? How responsive are we? Do we have the best products and the best people? Those are the kind of questions you have to focus on.
We’ve got 25,000 people at Apple. About 10,000 of them are in the stores. And my job is to work with sort of the top 100 people, that’s what I do. That doesn’t mean they’re all vice presidents. Some of them are just key individual contributors.
When a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.
Companies, as they grow to become multi-billion-dollar entities, somehow lose their vision. They insert lots of layers of middle management between the people running the company and the people doing the work. They no longer have an inherent feel or a passion about the products.
The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.
My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.
My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects. And to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better, coming up with more aggressive visions of how it could be.
On why he is brutal to most colleagues: I’m brutally honest, because the price of admission to being in the room with me is I get to tell you your full of shit if you’re full of shit, and you get to say to me I’m full of shit, and we have some rip-roaring fights. And that keeps the B players, the bozos, from larding the organization, only the A players survive. And the people who do survive, say, ‘Yeah, he was rough.’ They say things even worse than ‘He cut in line in front of me,’ but they say, ‘This was the greatest ride I’ve ever had, and I would not give it up for anything.’
On meetings: We don’t have a lot of process at Apple, but that’s one of the few things we do just to all stay on the same page.
Fact: Steve was named one of America’s toughest bosses in 1993.
Steve Jobs On Hiring
It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
I want to see what people are like under pressure.
If they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.
We hire people who want to make the best things in the world. You’d be surprised how hard people work over around here. They work nights and weekends, sometimes not seeing their families for a while. Sometimes people work through Christmas to make sure the tooling is just right at some factory in some corner of the world so our product comes out the best it can be. People care so much, and it shows.
They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with Apple?
All we are is our ideas or people. That’s what keeps us going to work in the morning, to hang around these great bright people. I’ve always thought that recruiting is the heart and soul of what we do.
The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world. And when you’re in a field where the dynamic range is 25 to 1, boy, does it pay off.
Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack.
We do it ourselves and we spend a lot of time at it. I’ve participated in the hiring of maybe 5,000+ people in my life. So I take it very seriously.
You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview. So, in the end, it’s ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they’re challenged? Why are they here? I ask everybody that: ‘Why are you here?’ The answers themselves are not what you’re looking for. It’s the meta-data.
My number one job here at Apple is to make sure that the top 100 people are A+ players. And everything else will take care of itself.
It’s painful when you have some people who are not the best people in the world and you have to get rid of them; but I found my job has sometimes exactly been that – to get rid of some people who didn’t measure up and I’ve always tried to do it in a humane way. But nonetheless it has to be done and it is never fun.
Many times in an interview I will purposely upset someone: I’ll criticize their prior work. I’ll do my homework, find out what they worked on, and say, “God, that really turned out to be a bomb. That really turned out to be a bozo product. Why did you work on that?…”.
I want to see if they just fold or if they have firm conviction, belief, and pride in what they did.
Steve Jobs On Money
Well, they’re just yardsticks, you know.
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.
I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things, it enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback and things like that.
It’s very interesting, I was worth about over a million dollars when I was 23 and over 10 million when I was 24 and over a hundred million when I was 25 and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.
But especially at that point in my life it was not the most important thing, the most important thing was the company, the people, the products we were making, what we were going to enable people to do with these products so I didn’t think about it a great deal, and I never sold any stock, just really believe that the company would do very well over the long term.
Bottom line is, I didn’t return to Apple to make a fortune. I’ve been very lucky in my life and already have one.
When I was 25, my net worth was $100 million or so. I decided then that I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life. There’s no way you could ever spend it all, and I don’t view wealth as something that validates my intelligence.
I’m not going to let it ruin my life. Isn’t it kind of funny? You know, my main reaction to this money thing is that it’s humorous, all the attention to it, because it’s hardly the most insightful or valuable thing that’s happened to me in the past ten years.
It makes me feel old, sometimes, when I speak at a campus and I find that what students are most in awe of is the fact that I’m a millionaire.
I still don’t understand it. It’s a large responsibility to have more than you can spend in your lifetime, and I feel I have to spend it. If you die, you certainly don’t want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives. And if you die without kids, it will all go to the Government. Almost everyone would think that he could invest the money back into humanity in a much more astute way than the Government could. The challenges are to figure out how to live with it and to reinvest it back into the world, which means either giving it away or using it to express your concerns or values.
It was giant! We did about $200,000 when our business was in the garage, in 1976. In 1977, about $7,000,000 in business. I mean, it was phenomenal! And in 1978, we did $17,000,000. In 1979, we did $47,000,000. That’s when we all really sensed that this was just going through the rafters. In 1980, we did $117,000,000. In 1981, we did $335,000,000. In 1982, we did $583,000,000. In 1983, we did $985,000,000, I think. This year, it will be a billion and a half.
Well, they’re just yardsticks, you know. The neatest thing was, by 1979, I was able to walk into classrooms that had 15 Apple computers and see the kids using them. And those are the kinds of things that are really the milestones.
None of those people care about the money. I mean, a lot of them made a lot of money, but they don’t really care. Their lifestyles haven’t particularly changed. It was the chance to actually try something, to fail, to succeed, to grow.
Steve Jobs On Marketing
To me, marketing is about values.
It’s a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. And we not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.
We don’t stand a chance of advertising with features and benefits and with RAMs and with charts and comparisons. The only chance we have of communicating is with a feeling.
You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
You saw the 1984 commercial. Macintosh was basically this relatively small company in Cupertino, California, taking on the Goliath, IBM, and saying, “Wait a minute, your way is wrong. This is now the way we want computers to go. This is not the legacy we want to leave. This is not what we want our kids to be learning. This is wrong and we are going to show you the right way to do it and here it is. It’s called Macintosh and it is so much better.
Fact 1: ‘Empathy, Focus, and Impute‘. Those were the 3 goals of the initial ‘Apple Marketing Philosophy‘ released in 1977.
Steve Jobs On Technology
We have no idea how far it’s going to go.
Humans are tool builders. We create things to amplify ourselves. The computer will rank at the top – it’s the most awesome tool ever.
What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.
I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, should learn a computer language because it teaches you how to think.
Talking about bicycles: Human are tool builders, and we build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities. We actually ran an ad like this early at Apple that the personal computer is the bicycle of the mind and I believe that with every bone in my body that all the inventions of humans, the computer is going to rank near, if not at the top, as history unfolds and we look back.
It is the most awesome tool that we ever invented (the computer). And I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in Silicon Valley, at exactly the right time historically where this invention has taken form.
A computer is the most incredible tool we’ve ever seen. It can be a writing tool, a communications center, a super calculator, a planner, a filer and an artistic instrument all in one, just by being given new instructions, or software, to work from. There are no other tools that have the power and versatility of a computer.
Right now, computers make our lives easier. They do work for us in fractions of a second that would take us hours. They increase the quality of life, some of that by simply automating drudgery and some of that by broadening our possibilities. As things progress, they’ll be doing more and more for us.
These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that.
I think it’s brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television – but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.
On how will the Web impact our society: We live in an information economy, but I don’t believe we live in an information society. People are thinking less than they used to. It’s primarily because of television. People are reading less and they’re certainly thinking less.
I don’t see most people using the Web to get more information. We’re already in information overload. No matter how much information the Web can dish out, most people get far more information than they can assimilate anyway.
But the next thing is going to be computer as guide or agent. And what that means is that it’s going to do more in terms of anticipating what we want and doing it for us, noticing connections and patterns in what we do, asking us if this is some sort of generic thing we’d like to do regularly, so that we’re going to have, as an example, the concept of triggers.
We’re going to be able to ask our computers to monitor things for us, and when certain conditions happen, are triggered, the computers will take certain actions and inform us after the fact.
The point is that tools are always going to be used for certain things we don’t find personally pleasing. And it’s ultimately the wisdom of people, not the tools themselves, that is going to determine whether or not these things are used in positive, productive ways.
I do feel there is another way we have an effect on society besides our computers.
Did you know Steve’s kids were not allowed to use iPads at home?
Maybe he knew how addictive these technologies were.
Here’s what he had to say about iPads:
They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.
Steve Jobs On Apple
One of the things that made Apple great was that, in the early days, it was built from the heart.
And boy, have we patented it. (First announcement of the iPhone, Macworld 2006)
The roots of Apple were to build computers for people, not for corporations. The world doesn’t need another Dell or Compaq.
You know, everybody has a cell phone, but I don’t know one person who likes their cell phone. I want to make a phone that people love.
What if Apple didn’t exist? Think about it. Time wouldn’t get published next week. Some 70% of the newspaper in the U.S. wouldn’t publish tomorrow morning. Some 60% of the kids wouldn’t have computers; 64% of the teachers wouldn’t have computers. More than half the Websites created on Macs wouldn’t exist. So there’s something worth saving here. See?
What are the great brands? Levi’s, Coke, Disney, Nike. Most people would put Apple in that category. You could spend billions of dollars building a brand not as good as Apple. Yet Apple hasn’t been doing anything with this incredible asset.
What is Apple, after all? Apple is about people who think ‘outside the box’, people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference, and not just to get a job done.
Apple’s the only company left in this industry that designs the whole widget. Hardware, software, developer relations, marketing.
Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.
What we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been, and super-easy to use. This is what iPhone is. OK? So, we’re going to reinvent the phone.
I had this idea of being able to get rid of the keyboard, type on a multi-touch glass display, and I asked our folks, “Could we come up with a multi-touch display?
We designed iMac to deliver the things consumers care about most: the excitement of the Internet and the simplicity of the Mac.
It’s not about charisma and personality, it’s about results and products and those very bedrock things that are why people at Apple and outside of Apple are getting more excited about the company and what Apple stands for and what its potential is to contribute to the industry.
Talking about the iPod Nano: We’re in uncharted territory. We’ve never sold this many of anything before.
Part 4. Steve Jobs Quotes Fore More Innovation
Steve Jobs On Innovation
I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes.
It’s very easy to take credit for the thinking. The doing is more concrete. But somebody, it’s very easy to say “Oh, I thought of these three years ago”. But usually when you dig a little deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.
I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company. The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating.
Leonardo [da Vinci] was the artist but he also mixed all his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments, knew about human anatomy. And combining all of those skills together, the art and the science, the thinking and the doing, was what resulted in the exceptional result.
When companies get bigger they try to replicate their success. But they assume their magic came from process.
Actually, making an insanely great product has a lot to do with the process of making the product, how you learn things and adopt new ideas and throw out old ideas.
People get stuck as they get older. Our minds are sort of electrochemical computers. Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. It’s a rare person who etches grooves that are other than a specific way of looking at things, a specific way of questioning things.
You always have to keep pushing to innovate. Dylan could have sung protest songs forever and probably made a lot of money, but he didn’t. He had to move on, and when he did, by going electric in 1965, he alienated a lot of people. His 1966 Europe tour was his greatest.
The Beatles were the same way. They kept evolving, moving, refining their art. That’s what I’ve always tried to do – keep moving. Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you are not busy being born, you’re busy dying.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. (Related: Five Ways to Innovate Faster, hbr.org)
I don’t think that my role in life is to run big organizations and do incremental improvements.
I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
The people who go to see our movies are trusting us with something very important – their time and their imagination. So in order to respect that trust, we have to keep changing; we have to challenge ourselves and try to surprise our audiences with something new every time.
Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem.
It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
You can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big thing is. There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.
My philosophy is that everything starts with a great product. So, you know, I obviously believed in listening to customers, but customers can’t tell you about the next breakthrough that’s going to happen next year that’s going the change the whole industry. So you have to listen very carefully. But then you have to go and sort of stow away – you have to go hide away with people that really understand the technology, but also really care about the customers, and dream up this next breakthrough.
Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.
Steve Jobs On Thinking Differently
The theme of the campaign is ‘Think different’. It’s honoring the people who think different, and who move this world forward.
Apple is built on refugees from other companies. These are the extremely bright individual contributors who were troublemakers at other companies.
The people who made Mac are sort of on the edge.
On if he is a nerd or a hippie: If I had to pick one of those two I’m clearly a hippie. All the people that I worked with were clearly in that category too.
I think the artistry is in having an insight into what one sees around them. Generally putting things together in a way no one else has before and finding a way to express that to other people who don’t have that insight.
Steve Jobs On Creativity
Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
I don’t think that most of the really best people that I’ve worked with worked with computers for the sake of working with computers. They worked with computers because they are the medium that is best capable of transmitting some feeling that you have, that you want to share with other people.
What I do see is a small group of people who are artists and care more about their art than they do about almost anything else. It’s more important than finding a girlfriend, it’s more important… than cooking a meal, it’s more important than joining the Marines, it’s more important than whatever.
Look at the way artists work. They’re not typically the most ‘balanced’ people in the world. Now, yes, we have a few workaholics here who are trying to escape other things, of course. But the majority of people out here have made very conscious decisions; they really have.
One of my role models is Bob Dylan. As I grew up, I learned the lyrics to all his songs and watched him never stand still. If you look at the artists, if they get really good, it always occurs to them at some point that they can do this one thing for the rest of their lives, and they can be really successful to the outside world but not really be successful to themselves. That’s the moment that an artist really decides who he or she is. If they keep on risking failure, they’re still artists.
It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing. Of course, there are some people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life, but they’re rare.
As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, “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.
3 simple ways to improve your creativity like Steve
- Walk. Steve was famous for his walking meetings. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) too, Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Charles Dickens, and Beethoven.
- Travel. Steve visited India in 1974 searching for new experiences and a deeper meaning in life.
- Meditate. After his trip to India, Steve became a practitioner of Zen Buddhism and meditation. He even went to meditation retreats every few months. Try it yourself, you could improve your creativity, clarity, and focus.
Steve Jobs On Design And User Experience (UX)
You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting.
The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.
I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it.
To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.
Many companies forget what it means to make great products. After initial success, sales and marketing people take over and the product people eventually make their way out.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back.
I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much. It was the original vision for Apple. That’s what we tried to do with the first Mac. That’s what we did with the iPod.
It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.
We will make them bright and pure and honest about being high-tech, rather than a heavy industrial look of black, black, black, black, like Sony.
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 the 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 two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table. We’d get around to that old washer-dryer discussion. And the talk was about design.
People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
You’re asking, where does aesthetic judgment come from? With many things: high-performance automobiles, for example, the aesthetic comes right from the function, and I suppose electronics is no different.
I’ve also found that the best companies pay attention to aesthetics. They take the extra time to lay out grids and proportion things appropriately, and it seems to pay off for them. I mean, beyond the functional benefits, the aesthetic communicates something about how they think of themselves, their sense of discipline in engineering, how they run their company, stuff like that.
It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain, these concepts and fitting them all together in kind of continuing to push to fit them together in new and different ways to get what you want.
Every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.
I have always found Buddhism – Japanese Zen Buddhism in particular – to be aesthetically sublime. The most sublime thing I’ve ever seen are the gardens around Kyoto.
Look at the Mercedes design, the proportion of sharp detail to flowing lines. Over the years, they have made the design softer but the details starker. That’s what we have to do with the Macintosh.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology.
What we’re trying to do is remove the barrier of having to learn how to use a computer.
This is what customers pay us for – to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We’re supposed to be really good at this. That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to customers.
It’s hard for them to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it. Take desktop video editing. I never got one request from someone who wanted to edit movies on his computer. Yet now that people see it, they say, ‘Oh my God, that’s great!’.
What we’re going to do is make the products high-tech, and we’re going to package them cleanly so that you know they’re high-tech. We will fit them in a small package, and then we can make them beautiful and white, just like Braun does with its electronics.
On making simple designs: It’s insane: We all have busy lives, we have jobs, we have interests, and some of us have children. Everyone’s lives are just getting busier, not less busy, in this busy society. You just don’t have time to learn this stuff, and everything’s getting more complicated… We both don’t have a lot of time to learn how to use a washing machine or a phone.
Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about.
We think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience.
Steve Jobs On Culture, Arts, And Music
We want to stand at the intersection of computers and humanism.
Besides Dylan, I was interested in Eastern mysticism, which hit the shores at about the same time.
Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan’s poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff.
I started to listen to music a whole lot and I started to read more outside of just science and technology, Shakespeare, Plato. I loved ‘King Lear’.
Apple is about something more than that, Apple, at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.
Learning to program teaches you how to think. Computer science is a liberal art.
Picasso had a saying: good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.
On why he made everybody sign the Mac cases: Because the people that worked on it consider themselves and I certainly consider them artists. These are the people that under different circumstances would be painters and poets but because of that time that we live in this new medium has appeared in which to express oneself to one’s fellow species and that’s a medium of computing.
How do you know the direction to head with products? It boils down to taste. Emerge yourself with the best ideas from the humanities. And integrate them. Pull interests from diverse areas.
A lot of people that would have been artists and scientists have gone into this field to express their feeling and so it seemed like the right thing to do.
The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians.
The key thing that comes true is that they had a variety of experiences which they could draw upon, in order to try to solve a problem or to attack a particular dilemma in a kind of unique way.
Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and a great scientist.
Michelangelo knew a tremendous amount about how to cut stone at the quarry.
The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians. Some are better than others, but they all consider that an important part of their life. I don’t believe that the best people in any of these fields see themselves as one branch of a forked tree. I just don’t see that. People bring these things together a lot.
Anyway, one of our biggest challenges, and the one I think John Sculley and I should be judged on in five to ten years, is making Apple an incredibly great 10 or 20 billion-dollar company. ‘Will it still have the spirit it does today?’ We’re charting new territory.
If Apple becomes a place where computers are a commodity item, where the romance is done, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, I’ll feel I have lost Apple. But if I’m a million miles away, and all those people still feel those things… then I will feel that my genes are still there.
You know, Dr. Edwin Land was a troublemaker. He dropped out of Harvard and founded Polaroid.
On Dr. Edwin Land: Not only was he one of the great inventors of our time but, more important, he saw the intersection of art and science and business and built an organization to reflect that.
You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesn’t add up to much.
We did iTunes because we all love music. We made what we thought was the best jukebox in iTunes. Then we all wanted to carry our whole music libraries around with us. The team worked really hard. And the reason that they worked so hard is because we all wanted one. You know? I mean, the first few hundred customers were us.
What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values.
Steve Jobs On Learning, Education, Meditation
Well, I was thrown out of school a few times.
Invest time in yourself to have great experiences that are going to enrich you.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.
The key thing to remember about me is that I’m still a student. I’m still in boot camp. If anyone is reading any of my thoughts, I’d keep that in mind.
I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country… I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me.
We wanted to more richly experience why were we were alive, not just make a better life, and so people went in search of things. The great thing that came from that time was to realize that there was definitely more to life than the materialism of the late 50’s and early sixties. We were going in search of something deeper.
Between my sophomore and junior years, I got stoned for the first time; I discovered Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and all that classic stuff. I read Moby Dick and went back as a junior taking creative-writing classes.
You could get LSD fresh made from Stanford. You could sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriend. California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness – openness to new possibilities.
Human minds settle into fixed ways of looking at the world and that’s always been true and it’s probably always going to be true.
There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind’. It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.
I’m completely stunned. I’m 19 years old, in a foreign country, up in the Himalayas, and here is this bizarre Indian baba who has just dragged me away from the rest of the crowd, shaving my head atop this mountain peak. I’m still not sure why he did it.
I bought an apartment in New York, but it’s because I love that city. I’m trying to educate myself, being from a small town in California, not having grown up with the sophistication and culture of a large city. I consider it part of my education.
I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.
The most important thing is a person. A person who incites and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.
One of the saints in my life is this woman named Imogene Hill, who was a fourth-grade teacher who taught this advanced class. She got hip to my whole situation in about a month and kindled a passion in me for learning things. I learned more that year than I think I learned in any year in school.
I was pretty bored in school, and I turned into a little terror. You should have seen us in third grade. We basically destroyed our teacher. We would let snakes loose in the classroom and explode bombs.
School was pretty hard for me at the beginning.
My mother taught me how to read before I got to school and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things. I wanted to read books because I loved reading books and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies. You know, do the things that five-year-olds like to do. I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me.
Obviously, one of the great challenges of an education is to teach us how to think. What we’re finding is that computers are actually going to affect the quality of thinking as more and more of our children have these tools available to them.
I know from my own education that if I hadn’t encountered two or three individuals that spent extra time with me, I’m sure I would have been in jail.
When you’re young, a little bit of course correction goes a long way. I think it takes pretty talented people to do that.
By the way,
did you know that Steve also practiced meditation?
Here’s what he had to say about it:
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.
Steve Jobs On Simplicity
Focusing is about saying no.
Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.
We try to focus and do very few things well. And focusing is hard because focusing doesn’t mean saying yes, it means saying no. So we decide not to do a lot of things so we can focus on a handful of things and do them well.
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
I have a very simple life. I have my family and I have Apple and Pixar. And I don’t do much else.
My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.
Well, my favorite things in life are books, sushi and… My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. As it is, I pay a price by not having much of a personal life. I don’t have the time to pursue love affairs or to tour small towns in Italy and sit in cafés and eat tomato-and-mozzarella salad.
I end up not buying a lot of things, because I find them ridiculous.
The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.
Look at the design of a lot of consumer products – they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple.
When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.
We believe that customers are smart and want objects which are well thought through.
What I found when I got here was a zillion and one products. It was amazing. And I started to ask people, now why would I recommend a 3400 over a 4400? When should somebody jump up to a 6500, but not a 7300? And after three weeks, I couldn’t figure this out. If I couldn’t figure this out… how could our customers figure this out?
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.
We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
Steve Jobs On Quality
Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.
We had a fundamental belief that doing it right the first time was going to be easier than having to go back and fix it. And I cannot say strongly enough that the repercussions of that attitude are staggering. I’ve seen them again and again throughout my business life.
We’re not going to be the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best.
There’s some stuff in our industry that we wouldn’t be proud to ship.
If they are working in an environment where excellence is expected, then they will do excellent work without anything but self-motivation. I’m talking about an environment in which excellence is noticed and respected and is in the culture. If you have that, you don’t have to tell people to do excellent work. They understand it from their surroundings.
I have to tell you there’s some stuff in our industry that we wouldn’t be proud to ship, that we wouldn’t be proud to recommend to our family and friends. And we can’t do it, we just can’t ship junk.
We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves.
We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
Part 5. And One More Thing… Steve Jobs Quotes On Microsoft And Bill Gates
The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste.
They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.
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.
I am saddened, not by Microsoft success, I have no problem with their success, they’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
Their products have no spirit of enlightenment about them, they are very pedestrian. The sad part is that customers don’t have a lot of that spirit either, but the way that we’re going to ratchet up our species is to take the best and to spread it around everybody so that everybody grows up with better things and starts to understand the subtlety of these better things.
I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.
Their products have no spirit to them.
Microsoft has had two goals in the last 10 years. One was to copy the Mac, and the other was to copy Lotus’ success in the spreadsheet – basically, the applications business. And over the course of the last 10 years, Microsoft accomplished both of those goals. And now they are completely lost.
With our technology, with objects, literally three people in a garage can blow away what 200 people at Microsoft can do.
Our friends up north spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple.
Steve Jobs’ Last Words
Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.
There’s lots of ways to be as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. And you never meet the people, you never shake their hands, you never hear their story or tell yours, but somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are, and remember what’s really important to us. Steve Jobs
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One more thing…
Steve Jobs’ Last Words