More Top Success Quotes From Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs

More Top Success Tips from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Top Success Tips from Steve Jobs

The late, great Apple CEO Steve Jobs has made a huge impact on the way people in the world go about their business. Jobs had much to say before his untimely death in 2011. It seems like he always had something to say.

Take a look at his quotes on Apple, his competitors, his upbringing, and life in general.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

At Apple, people are putting in 18-hour days. We attract a different type 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. And someone who really wants to get in a little over his head and make a little dent in the universe.

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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It will not work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are ‘slash q-zs’ and things like that. The manual for WordStar, the most popular word-processing program, is 400 pages thick.

To write a novel, you have to read a novel—one that reads like a mystery to most people. They’re not going to learn slash q-z any more than they’re going to learn Morse code. That is what Macintosh is all about.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I saw a videotape that we weren’t supposed to see. It was prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By watching the tape, we discovered that, at least as of a few years ago, every tactical nuclear weapon in Europe manned by U.S. personnel was targeted by an Apple II computer.

Now, we didn’t sell computers to the military; they went out and bought them at a dealer’s, I guess. But it didn’t make us feel good to know that our computers were being used to target nuclear weapons in Europe.

The only bright side of it was that at least they weren’t [Radio Shack] TRS-80s! Thank God for that.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

How come the Mac group produced Mac and the people at IBM produced the PCjr? Our company thinks the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build Mac for anybody else.

We built it for ourselves, and we were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. And we weren’t going to go out and do market research.

Our vision was that we just wanted to build the best thing we could build. 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. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

PLAYBOY: Are you saying that the people who made the PCjr don’t have that kind of pride in the product?

JOBS: If they did, they wouldn’t have turned out the PCjr.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

(Does it take insane people to make insanely great things?) 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. But, yeah, the people who made Mac are sort of on the edge.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

My father was a machinist, and he was a sort of genius with his hands. He can fix anything and make it work and take any mechanical thing apart and get it back together.

That was my first glimpse of it. I started to gravitate more toward electronics, and he used to get me things I could take apart and put back together.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

My mother taught me to read before I went to school, so 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 and we would let snakes loose in the classroom and explode bombs.

Things changed in the fourth grade, though. 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 and I learned more that year than I think I learned in any year in school.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Woz and I are different in most ways, but there are some ways in which we’re the same, and we’re very close in those ways. We’re sort of like two planets in their own orbits that every so often intersect. It wasn’t just computers, either.

Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan’s poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff. This was California.

You could get LSD fresh 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. Besides Dylan, I was interested in Eastern mysticism, which hit the shores at about the same time.

When I went to college at Reed, in Oregon, there was a constant flow of people stopping by, from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert to Gary Snyder. 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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I used to think about selling 1,000,000 computers a year, but it was just a thought. When it actually happens, it’s a totally different thing. So it was, ‘Holy shit, it’s actually coming true!’

But what’s hard to explain is that this does not feel like overnight. Next year will be my tenth year. I had never done anything longer than a year in my life.

Six months, for me, was a long time when we started Apple. So this has been my life since I’ve been sort of a free-willed adult.

Each year has been so robust with problems and successes and learning experiences and human experiences that a year is a lifetime at Apple. So this has been ten lifetimes.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I think it’s quite a natural curiosity for adopted people to want to understand where certain traits come from. But I’m mostly an environmentalist.

And I think the way you are raised and your values and most of your world view come from the experiences you had as you grew up. But some things aren’t accounted for that way. I think it’s quite natural to have a curiosity about it.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

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 cafes and eat tomato-and-mozzarella salad.

Occasionally, I spend a little money to save myself a hassle, which means time. And that’s the extent of 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, and I consider it part of my education.

You know, there are many people at Apple who can buy everything that they could ever possibly want and still have most of their money unspent. I hate talking about this as a problem; people are going to read this and think, Yeah, well, give me your problem. They’re going to think I’m an arrogant little asshole.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Companies, as they grow to become multibillion-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 creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

What happens in most companies is that you don’t keep great people under working environments where individual accomplishment is discouraged rather than encouraged. The great people leave and you end up with mediocrity. I know, because that’s how Apple was built.

Apple is an Ellis Island company. Apple is built on refugees from other companies. These are the extremely bright individual contributors who were troublemakers at other companies.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

The point is that people really don’t have to understand how computers work. Most people have no concept of how an automatic transmission works, yet they know how to drive a car.

You don’t have to study physics to understand the laws of motion to drive a car. You don’t have to understand any of this stuff to use Macintosh.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Good PR educates people; that’s all it is. You can’t con people in this business. The products speak for themselves.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

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.

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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Dr. Edwin Land was a troublemaker. He dropped out of Harvard and founded Polaroid. 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.

Polaroid did that for some years, but eventually Dr. Land, one of those brilliant troublemakers, was asked to leave his own company—which is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. The man is a national treasure.

I don’t understand why people like that can’t be held up as models: This is the most incredible thing to be—not an astronaut, not a football player—but this.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete. I think that’s one of Apple’s challenges, really. When two young people walk in with the next thing, are we going to embrace it and say this is fantastic?

Are we going to be willing to drop our models, or are we going to explain it away? I think we’ll do better, because we’re completely aware of it and we make it a priority.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I’m convinced that to give away a dollar effectively is harder than to make a dollar.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

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. When I went to school, it was right after the Sixties and before this general wave of practical purposefulness had set in.

Now students aren’t even thinking in idealistic terms, or at least nowhere near as much.

They certainly are not letting any of the philosophical issues of the day take up too much of their time as they study their business majors.

The idealistic wind of the Sixties was still at our backs, though, and most of the people I know who are my age have that ingrained in them forever.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Thus far, we’re pretty much using our computers as good servants. We ask them to do something, we ask them to do some operation like a spreadsheet, we ask them to take our keystrokes and make a letter out of them, and they do that pretty well.

And you’ll see more and more perfection of that—computer as servant. 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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’ll always come back. And that’s what I may try to do. 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. 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.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

A computer frees people from much of the menial work. Besides that, you are giving them a tool that encourages them to be creative. Remember, computers are tools. Tools help us do our work better.

Playboy, Feb. 1985

Japan’s very interesting. Some people think it copies things. I don’t think that anymore. I think what they do is reinvent things. They will get something that’s already been invented and study it until they thoroughly understand it.

In some cases, they understand it better than the original inventor. Out of that understanding, they will reinvent it in a more refined second-generation version.

That strategy works only when what they’re working with isn’t changing very much—the stereo industry and the automobile industry are two examples. When the target is moving quickly, they find it very difficult, because that reinvention cycle takes a few years.

As long as the definition of what a personal computer is keeps changing at the rate that it is, they will have a very hard time.

Rolling Stone, Dec. 25, 2003

I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful.

Rolling Stone, Dec. 25, 2003

The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television — but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

First I should tell you my theory about Microsoft. 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.

They were able to copy the Mac because the Mac was frozen in time. The Mac didn’t change much for the last 10 years. And it changed maybe 10 percent and it was a sitting duck. It’s amazing that it took Microsoft 10 years to copy something that was a sitting duck.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

(on why he called Microsoft ‘the IBM of the ’90s’) They’re the mainstream. And a lot of people who don’t want to think about it too much are just going to buy their product. They have a market dominance now that is so great that it’s actually hurting the industry.

I don’t like to get into discussions about whether they accomplished that fairly or not. That’s for others to decide. I just observe it and say it’s not healthy for the country.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

People say sometimes, ‘You work in the fastest-moving industry in the world.’ I don’t feel that way. I think I work in one of the slowest, because it seems to take forever to get anything done.

All of the graphical-user interface stuff that we did with the Macintosh was pioneered at Xerox PARC [the company’s legendary Palo Alto Research Center] and with Doug Engelbart at SRI [a future-oriented think tank at Stanford] in the mid-’70s.

And here we are, just about the mid-’90s, and it’s kind of commonplace now. But it’s about a 10-to-20-year lag. That’s a long time.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

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.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

The Macintosh was sort of like this wonderful romance in your life that you once had — and that produced about 10 million children. In a way it will never be over in your life. You’ll still smell that romance every morning when you get up.

And when you open the window, the cool air will hit your face, and you’ll smell that romance in the air. And you’ll see your children around, and you feel good about it. Nothing will ever make you feel bad about it.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. It’s not the tools that you have faith in — tools are just tools.

They work, or they don’t work. It’s people you have faith in or not. Yeah, sure, I’m still optimistic I mean, I get pessimistic sometimes but not for long.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

(on what is his goal in life) I don’t know how to answer you. In the broadest context, the goal is to seek enlightenment — however you define it. But these are private things. I don’t want to talk about this kind of stuff.

Rolling Stone, Jun. 16, 1994

The Internet is nothing new. It has been happening for 10 years. Finally, now, the wave is cresting on the general computer user. And I love it. I think the den is far more interesting than the living room.

Putting the Internet into people’s houses is going to be really what the information superhighway is all about, not digital convergence in the set-top box.

All that’s going to do is put the video rental stores out of business and save me a trip to rent my movie. I’m not very excited about that. And I’m not excited about home shopping. I’m very excited about having the Internet in my den.

Rolling Stone, March 1984

Mac stands for what we are as a company – taking technology that’s out of reach of the people and making it really great. That’s what we did with the Apple II, and that’s what we’re going to do again with Mac.

Computers and society are out on a first date in this decade, and for some crazy reason, we’re in the right place at the right time to make that romance blossom.

(on what he wants) To make Apple a great $10 billion company. Apple has the opportunity to set a new example of how great an American corporation can be, sort of an intersection between science and aesthetics.

Something happens to companies when they get to be a few million dollars – their souls go away. And that’s the biggest thing I’ll be measured on: Were we able to grow a $10 billion company that didn’t lose its soul?

Rolling Stone, March 1984

It’s kind of like watching the gladiator going into the arena and saying, ‘Here it is.’ It’s really perceived as Apple’s do or die. And it goes even deeper… If we don’t do this, nobody can stop IBM.

Rolling Stone, March 1984

I know what it’s like to have your private life painted in the worst possible light in front of a lot of people. I’ve learned what it’s like for everyone you meet after that to sort of have preconceptions about you… It’s been a character-building experience.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life.

So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

Because I dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this […] 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. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

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.

And 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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. 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.

And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

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 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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

Remembering that I’ll die 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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one ever escapes 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. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let dogma trap you — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

Apple is the most creative of the PC companies; Pixar is the most technologically advanced entertainment company. [Apple releases new products every few months, and top execs make 10 major decisions a day.]

But the Holy Grail for Pixar is releasing one product — a movie-a-year, and as CEO I might make three really critical decisions a year, and they are very hard to change.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

My best contribution to the group is not settling for anything but really good stuff. A lot of times, people don’t do great things no one expects it from them, and nobody ever really demands that they try, and nobody says, ‘Hey, that’s the culture here’.

If you set that up, people will do things that are greater than they ever thought they could be. Really some great work that will go down in history.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

I think back to Detroit in the seventies, when cars were so bad. Why? The people running the companies then didn’t love cars. One of the things wrong with the PC industry today is that most of the people running the companies don’t love PCs.

Does Steve Ballmer love PCs? Does Craig Barrett love PCs? And Does Michael Dell love PCs? If Michael Dell wasn’t selling PCs he’d be selling something else. These people don’t love what they create. And people here do.

I love what we’re doing at Apple now, I think it’s the best work that Apple’s ever done. But I think all of us on the Mac team point to that as the high point of our careers.

It’s like the Beatles playing Shea Stadium. 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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

(of his generation) 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 those 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.

Steven Levy’s Eulogy

I’m a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity and out of curiosity comes everything.

All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.

Technologizer, Apr. 28 2003

(on the iPad before launch) This will be the most important thing I’ve ever done.

(on the Wall Street Journal calling him a ‘digital music impresario’) I didn’t know what it meant. Does that mean I run a carnival? What we do at Apple is very simple: we invent stuff.

We make the best personal computers in the world, some of the best software, the best portable MP3/music player, and now we make the best online music store in the world. We just make stuff. So I don’t know what impresario means. We make stuff, put it out there, and people use it.

Technologizer, Apr. 28 2003

Some detractors like those at Listen.com say that downloading isn’t the most popular feature on their music service Rhapsody. What’s your response? Well, that’s correct. Downloading sucks on their service.

You download a track and you can’t burn it to a CD without paying them more money—you can’t put it on your MP3 player, you can’t put it on multiple computers—it sucks!

So of course nobody downloads! You pay extra to download even on top of subscription fees. No wonder they have hardly any download traffic—[they] hardly even have any subscribers.

Time Magazine, Jan. 3 1983

I end up not buying a lot of things. Because I find them ridiculous.

I told him I believed every word of what I’d said but that I never should have said it in public and I wish him the best, I really do. But 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.

I used to be way over on the nurture side, but I’ve swung way over to the nature side. And it’s because of Mona and having kids. My daughter is 14 months old, and it’s already pretty clear what her personality is.

The amount of time you spend shopping and preparing and eating food is enormous. The amount of energy your body spends digesting the food in many cases exceeds the energy we get from the food.

Time Magazine, Aug. 18 1997

But I believe life is an intelligent thing–that things aren’t random.

Time Magazine, Jan. 14 2002

I would rather compete with Sony than compete in another product category with Microsoft. That’s because Sony has to rely on other companies to make its software.

We’re the only company that owns the whole widget–the hardware, the software and the operating system. We can take full responsibility for the user experience. We can do things that the other guy can’t do.

Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005

Sure enough, when we took [the original iMac prototype] to the engineers, they said, ‘Oh.’ They came up with 38 reasons. And I said, ‘No, no, we’re doing this.’ And they said, ‘Well, why?’ I said, ‘Because I’m the CEO, and I think it can be done.’ And so they kind of begrudgingly did it. But then it was a big hit.

Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005

You know how you see a show car, and it’s really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, What happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands, and they grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory! What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea.

Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, ‘Nah, we can’t do that. That’s impossible.’ And so it gets a lot worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go, ‘We can’t build that!’ And it gets a lot worse.

Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005

(on what happened after the iMac launch) The people around here–some of them left. Actually, some of them I got rid of. But most of them said, ‘Oh, my God, now I get it.’ We’ve been doing this now for seven years, and everybody here gets it. And if they don’t, they’re gone.

Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000

Funny enough, 20 years after we started Apple, there was nobody building computers for people again. You know? They were trying to sell consumers last year’s corporate computers. We said, ‘Well, these are our roots. This is why we’re here. The world doesn’t need another Dell or Compaq. They need an Apple.’

(about the Apple Cafeteria) This is the nicest corporate cafe I’ve ever seen. When we got here this was dog food. There was this company called Guggeinheim that it was farmed out to and it was just shit.

And finally we fired them and got this friend of mine who runs Il Fourniao restaurant to come and he did everything and now it’s great.

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.

Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000

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.

There’s different things in life you can do. You can become a painter, you can become a sculptor.

You can make something by yourself. But that’s not what I do. I do the other thing, which is, you work at things that one person can’t do, and that you need large numbers of people to do.

I know people like symbols, but it’s always unsettling when people write stories about me, because they tend to overlook a lot of other people.

Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000

The number of people I get to interact with in this company is probably about 50 on a regular basis. Maybe 100. And one of the things that I’ve always felt is that most things in life, if you get something twice as good as average you’re doing phenomenally well.

Usually the best is about 30 percent better than average. Two to one’s a big delta. But that became really clear to me in my work life was that, for instance, [Steve] Woz[niak] was 25 to 50 times better than average. And I found that there were these incredibly great people at doing certain things, and you couldn’t replace one of these people with 50 average people.

They could just do stuff that no number of average people could do. […]. And so I have spent my work life trying to find and recruit and retain and work with these kind of people. My #1 job here at Apple is to make sure that the top 100 people are A+ players. And everything else will take care of itself.

Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000

Dr. Land at Polaroid said, ‘I want Polaroid to stand at the intersection of art and science,’ and I’ve never forgotten that.

Triumph of the Nerds, 1995

Hollywood’s really different than Silicon Valley. And neither understands the other at all. People up here think being creative is some guys in their late 20s and early 30s sitting around old couches drinking beer thinking up jokes.

It couldn’t be further from the truth. The creative process is just as disciplined as the technical process; it requires just as much talent.

And yet people in Hollywood think technology is only as deep as something you buy. There’s no technical culture in Hollywood, they couldn’t attract and retain good engineers to save their life, because they’re second class citizens down there. Just like creative people are second class citizens in Silicon Valley.

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. I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s 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.

Triumph of the Nerds, 1995

I was worth about over a million dollars when I was 23 and over ten million dollars when I was 24, and over a hundred million dollars when I was 25 and… it wasn’t that important — because I never did it for the money.

WGBH, May 14 1990

(on what his greatest creation is:) No. Apple — the company. Because anybody can create products, but Apple keeps creating great products.

(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 are 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.’

WGBH, May 14 1990

My observation, is that the doers are the major thinkers. And the people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and doer in one person.

And if we really go back and we examine, you know, did Leonardo have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it, of course not.

Leonardo 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. And there is no difference in our industry.

The people that have really made the contributions have been the thinkers and the doers. And a lot of people of course – 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 this 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.

WGBH, May 14 1990

I remember reading an article when I was about twelve years old. I think it might have been Scientific American, where they measured the efficiency of locomotion for all these species on planet earth.

How many kilocalories did they expend to get from point A to point B? And the condor won, came in at the top of the list, surpassed everything else. And humans came in about a third of the way down the list, which was not such a great showing for the crown of creation.

But somebody there had the imagination to test the efficiency of a human riding a bicycle. A human riding a bicycle blew away the condor all the way off the top of the list.

And it made a really big impression on me that we humans are tool builders. And that we can fashion tools that amplify these inherent abilities that we have to spectacular magnitudes.

So for me, a computer has always been a bicycle of the mind. Something that takes us far beyond our inherent abilities. And I think we’re just at the early stages of this tool.

WGBH, May 14 1990

There is a lot to be said for comparing [going from mainframes to the PC] to going from trains, from passenger trains to automobiles. And the advent of the automobile gave us a personal freedom of transportation.

In the same way the advent of the computer gave us the ability to start to use computers without having to convince other people that we needed to use computers.

And the biggest effect of the personal computer revolution has been to allow millions and millions of people to experience computers themselves decades before they ever would have in the old paradigm.

To allow them to participate in the making of choices and controlling their own destiny using these tools.

Speech in 1980

Right now, if you buy a computer system and you want to solve one of your problems, we immediately throw a big problem right in the middle of you and your problem which is learning how to use the computer.

A substantial problem to overcome. Once you overcome that, it’s a phenomenal tool. But there is a barrier of having to overcome that problem.

And what we’re trying to do … is to remove that barrier so that someone can buy a computer system who knows nothing about it and directly attack their problem without learning how to program their computer.

Our whole company, our whole philosophical base, is founded on one principle. That principle is that there is something very special and very historically different that takes place when you have one computer and one person. Very different than if you have ten people and one computer.

WWDC 1997 closing remarks

I don’t think it’s good that Apple’s perceived as different. I think it’s important that Apple’s perceived as *much better*.

If being different is essential to doing that, then we have to do that, but if we can be much better without being different, that’d be fine with me. I want to be much better.

 

h/t: All About Steve Jobs

Author: James Beattie

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