Sayings of Chairman Jobs

We have an environment where excellence is really expected. What’s really great is to be open when [the work] is not great. My best contribution is not settling for anything but really good stuff, in all the details. That’s my job — to make sure everything is great.

Source: 1983, quoted in Steven Levy's Eulogy | Tagged in: Management

When people look at an iMac, they think the design is really great, but most people don’t understand it’s not skin deep,’ he said. ‘There’s a reason why, after two years, people haven’t been able to copy the iMac. It’s not just surface. The reason the iMac doesn’t have a fan is engineering. It took a ton of engineering and that’s true for the Cube and everything else.

Source: 2000, quoted in Steven Levy's Eulogy | Tagged in: Creativity

(on the iPod) If there was ever a product that catalyzed what’s Apple’s reason for being, it’s this. Because it combines Apple’s incredible technology base with Apple’s legendary ease of use with Apple’s awesome design… it’s like, this is what we do. So if anybody was ever wondering why is Apple on the earth, I would hold this up as a good example.

Source: 2001, quoted in Steven Levy's Eulogy | Tagged in: Apple

Much of the industry has lived off the Macintosh for over ten years now, slowly copying the Mac's revolutionary user interface. Now the time has come for new innovation, and where better than Apple for this to spring from? Who else has consistently led this industry--first with the Apple II, then the Macintosh and LaserWriter? With this merger, the advanced software from NeXT will be married with Apple's very high-volume hardware platforms and marketing channels to create another breakthrough, leapfrogging existing platforms, and fueling Apple and the industry copy cats for the next ten years and beyond. I still have very deep feelings for Apple, and it gives me great joy to play a role in architecting Apple's future.

Source: Apple press release, Dec. 20 1996 | Tagged in: Apple, Competitors

(about Microsoft) They are shamelessly trying to copy us. I think the most telling thing is that Tiger will ship at the end of the month and Longhorn is still two years out. They can't even copy fast.

Source: Apple shareholders meeting, Apr. 21 2005 | Tagged in: Competitors

Our goal is to make the best devices in the world, not to be the biggest.

Source: Apple shareholders meeting, Oct. 19 2010 | Tagged in: Management

When [people] see the iMac, for example, they think we really can produce industry-leading products like this. 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.

Source: Business Week, May 12 1998 | Tagged in: Apple

I used to say that Apple should be the Sony of this business, but in reality, I think Apple should be the Apple of this business.

Source: Business Week, May 12 1998 | Tagged in: Apple, Competitors

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

Source: Business Week, May 12 1998 | Tagged in: Creativity

The organization is clean and simple to understand, and very accountable. Everything just got simpler. That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. 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.

Source: Business Week, May 12 1998 | Tagged in: Management

I get asked a lot why Apple's customers are so loyal. It's not because they belong to the Church of Mac! That's ridiculous. It's because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. And you think, ‘Wow, someone over there at Apple actually thought of this!’ And then three months later you try to do something you hadn't tried before, and it works, and you think ‘Hey, they thought of that, too.’ And then six months later it happens again. There's almost no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Apple

And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren't the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It's the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what's the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they're no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn't. Look at Microsoft — who's running Microsoft? (interviewer: Steve Ballmer.) Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And that's what happened at Apple, as well.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Apple, Creativity

We're both busy and we both don't have a lot of time to learn how to use a washing machine or to use a phone - you get one of the phones now and you're never going to learn more than 5 per cent of the features. You're never going to use more than 5 per cent, and, uh, it's very complicated. So you end up using just 5 per cent. It's insane: we all have busy lives, we have jobs and 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.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Competitors

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. 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.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Creativity

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.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Technology

Our personal belief is that while there's an opportunity to apply software to the living room, the merging of the computer and the TV isn't going to happen. They're really different things. So yes, you want to share some information [between the two], but people who are planning to put computers into the living room, like they are today, I'm not sure they're going to have a big success.

Source: BusinessWeek, Oct. 12 2004 | Tagged in: Prophecies

The reason I went back to Apple is that I feel like the world would be a better place with Apple in it than not. And it’s hard to imagine the world without Apple now.

Source: Financial Times, Jan. 29 2010 | Tagged in: Apple

Software is the user experience. As the iPod and iTunes prove, it has become the driving technology not just of computers but of consumer electronics.

Source: Fortune, Feb. 21 2005 | Tagged in: Apple

We're still heavily into the box. We love the box. We have amazing computers today, and amazing hardware in the pipeline. I still spend a lot of my time working on new computers, and it will always be a primal thing for Apple. But the user experience is what we care about most, and we're expanding that experience beyond the box by making better use of the Internet. The user experience now entails four things: the hardware, the operating system, the applications, and the Net. We want to do all four uniquely well for our customers.

Source: Fortune, Jan. 24 2000 | Tagged in: Apple

That's why I dropped the ‘interim’ from my title. I'm still called iCEO, though, because I think it's cool.

Source: Fortune, Jan. 24 2000 | Tagged in: Apple

In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. The iMac is not just the color or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together. On our latest iMac, I was adamant that we get rid of the fan, because it is much more pleasant to work on a computer that doesn't drone all the time. That was not just ‘Steve's decision’ to pull out the fan; it required an enormous engineering effort to figure out how to manage power better and do a better job of thermal conduction through the machine. That is the furthest thing from veneer. It was at the core of the product the day we started.

Source: Fortune, Jan. 24 2000 | Tagged in: Creativity

When I got started I was 20 or 21, and my role models were the semiconductor guys like Robert Noyce and Andy Grove of Intel, and of course Bill Hewlett and David Packard. They were out not so much to make money as to change the world and to build companies that could keep growing and changing. They left incredible legacies. […] the rewarding thing isn't merely to start a company or to take it public. It's like when you're a parent. Although the birth experience is a miracle, what's truly rewarding is living with your child and helping him grow up.

Source: Fortune, Jan. 24 2000 | Tagged in: Early years

Now when we see new things or opportunities, we can seize them. In fact, we have already seized a few, like desktop movies, wireless networking, and iTools. A creative period like this lasts only maybe a decade, but it can be a golden decade if we manage it properly.

Source: Fortune, Jan. 24 2000 | Tagged in: Prophecies

Things happen fairly slowly, you know. They do. These waves of technology, you can see them way before they happen, and you just have to choose wisely which ones you're going to surf. If you choose unwisely, then you can waste a lot of energy, but if you choose wisely it actually unfolds fairly slowly. It takes years. One of our biggest insights [years ago] was that we didn't want to get into any business where we didn't own or control the primary technology because you'll get your head handed to you.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Apple

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. So you can't go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] 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.’

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Creativity

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. I'm actually as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Creativity

My job is to not 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.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Management

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-plus 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.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Management

We've got really capable people at Apple. I made Tim [Cook] COO and gave him the Mac division and he's done brilliantly. I mean, some people say, 'Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.' And, you know, I think it wouldn't be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. And the board would have some good choices about who to pick as CEO. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that's what I try to do.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Management, Apple

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. So 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.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Management, Creativity

We do no market research. We don't hire consultants. The only consultants I've ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway's retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple's retail stores]. But we never hire consultants, per se. We just want to make great products.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Management

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.

Source: Fortune, Mar. 7 2008 | Tagged in: Philosophy

The whole strategy for Apple now is, if you will, to be the Sony of the computer business.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Apple, Competitors

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.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Creativity

when we laid some people off at Apple a year ago, or when I have to take people out of their jobs, it's harder for me now. Much harder. I do it because that's my job. But when I look at people when this happens, I also think of them as being 5 years old. And I think that person could be me coming home to tell my wife and kids that I just got laid off. Or that could be one of my kids in 20 years. I never took it so personally before. Life is short, and we're all going to die really soon. It's true, you know.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Management

You go to your TV when you want to turn your brain off. You go to your computer when you want to turn your brain on. Those are not the same.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Technology

When I was growing up, a guy across the street had a Volkswagen Bug. He really wanted to make it into a Porsche. He spent all his spare money and time accessorizing this VW, making it look and sound loud. By the time he was done, he did not have a Porsche. He had a loud, ugly VW.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Creativity

The only purpose for me in building a company is so that it can make products. Of course, building a very strong company and a foundation of talent and culture is essential over the long run to keep making great products. On the other hand, to me, the company is one of humanity's most amazing inventions. It's totally abstract. Sure, you have to build something with bricks and mortar to put the people in, but basically a company is this abstract construct we've invented, and it's incredibly powerful.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

My heroes--Dave Packard, for example, left all his money to his foundation; Bob Noyce [the late co-founder of Intel] was another. I'm old enough to have been able to know these guys. I met Andy Grove when I was 21. I called him and told him I'd heard he was really good at operations and asked if I could take him out to lunch. I did that with others too. These guys were all company builders, and the gestalt of Silicon Valley at that time made a big impression on me. There are people around here who start companies just to make money, but the great companies, well, that's not what they're about.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

I don't think much about my time of life. I just get up in the morning and it's a new day. Somebody told me when I was 17 to live each day as if it were my last, and that one day I'd be right. I am at a stage where I don't have to do things just to get by. But then I've always been that way because I've never really cared about money that much. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel the same way now as I felt when I was 17.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

That's the moment that an artist really decides who he or she is. If they keep on risking failure, they're still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure. This Apple thing is that way for me. I don't want to fail, of course. But even though I didn't know how bad things really were, I still had a lot to think about before I said yes. I had to consider the implications for Pixar, for my family, for my reputation. I decided that I didn't really care, because this is what I want to do. If I try my best and fail, well, I tried my best. What makes you become conservative is realizing that you have something to lose. Remember The Whole Earth Catalog? The last edition had a photo on the back cover of a remote country road you might find yourself on while hitchhiking up to Oregon. It was a beautiful shot, and it had a caption that really grabbed me. It said: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’ It wasn't an ad for anything--just one of Stewart Brand's profound statements. It's wisdom. ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

You just are yourself, and you work with other people. If you're inspiring to other people, it makes an impression on them. For example, I hear people at Disney talking about what it was like to work with Walt. They loved him. I know that people at Pixar are going to talk about their days with John Lasseter in the same way. Who knows? Maybe someday somebody will feel that way about working with me. I have no idea.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

But 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. 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.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

On vacation recently I was reading this book by [physicist and Nobel laureate] Richard Feynmann. He had cancer, you know. In this book he was describing one of his last operations before he died. The doctor said to him, ‘Look, Richard, I'm not sure you're going to make it.’ And Feynmann made the doctor promise that if it became clear he wasn't going to survive, to take away the anesthetic. Do you know why? Feynmann said, ‘I want to feel what it's like to turn off.’ That's a good way to put yourself in the present--to look at what's affecting you right now and be curious about it even if it's bad.

Source: Fortune, Nov. 9 1998 | Tagged in: Philosophy

Customers can't anticipate what the technology can do. They won't ask for things that they think are impossible. But the technology may be ahead of them. If you happen to mention something, they'll say, ‘Of course, I'll take that. Do you mean I can have that, too?’ It sounds logical to ask customers what they want and then give it to them. But they rarely wind up getting what they really want that way.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Creativity

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. But 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.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Creativity, Management

(about his employees) 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.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Management

The culture at NeXT definitely rewards independent thought, and we often have constructive disagreements—at all levels. It doesn't take a new person long to see that people feel fine about openly disagreeing with me. That doesn't mean I can't disagree with them, but it does mean that the best ideas win. Our attitude is that we want the best. Don't get hung up on who owns the idea. Pick the best one, and let's go.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Management

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.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Management

I think the same philosophy that drives the product has to drive everything else if you want to have a great company. Manufacturing, for example, […] demands just as much thought and strategy as the product. If you don't pay attention to your manufacturing, it will limit the kind of product you can build and engineer. Some companies view manufacturing as a necessary evil, and some view it as something more neutral. But we view it instead as a tremendous opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. [I've thought that] ever since I visited Japan in the early '80s. And let me add that the same is true of sales and marketing. You need a sales and marketing organization that is oriented toward educating customers rather than just taking orders, providing a real service rather than moving boxes. This is extremely important.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Management

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.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Technology

You just make the best product you can, and you don't put it out until you feel it's right. But no matter what you think intellectually, your heart is beating pretty fast right before people see what you've produced.

Source: Inc, Apr. 1989 | Tagged in: Creativity

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.

Source: NBC Nightly News, May 2006 | Tagged in: Philosophy

Well, I don’t know what this Valley is. I work at Apple. I’m there so many hours a day and I don’t visit other places; I’m not an expert on Silicon Valley. 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.

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

I’m just a guy who probably should have been a semi-talented poet on the Left Bank. I sort of got sidetracked here.

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Philosophy

(on whether he thinks it's unfait calling people in Silicon Valley ‘nerds’) Of course. I think it’s an antiquated notion. There were people in the '60s who were like that and even in the early '70s, but now they’re not that way. Now they’re the people who would have been poets had they lived in the '60s. And they’re looking at computers as their medium of expression rather than language, rather than being a mathematician and using mathematics, rather than, you know, writing social theories.

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Technology, Early years

Even though some people have come out with neat products, if their company is perceived as a sweatshop or a revolving door, it’s not considered much of a success. Remember, the role models were Hewlett and Packard. Their main achievement was that they built a company. Nobody remembers their first frequency-counter, their first audio oscillator, their first this or that. And they sell so many products now that no one person really symbolizes the company. […] And they built a company and they lived that philosophy for 35 or 40 years and that’s why they’re heroes. Hewlett and Packard started what became the Valley.

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Philosophy

See, one of the things you have to remember is that we started off with a very idealistic perspective—that doing something with the highest quality, doing it right the first time, would really be cheaper than having to go back and do it again. Ideas like that.

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Technology

I’ve always thought it would be really wonderful to have a little box, a sort of slate that you could carry along with you

Source: Newsweek, fall 1984 | Tagged in: Prophecies

(about the iPod) It's as Apple as anything Apple has ever done.

Source: Newsweek, Jul. 25 2004 | Tagged in: Apple

There are lots of examples where not the best product wins. Windows would be one of those, but there are examples where the best product wins. And the iPod is a great example of that.

Source: Newsweek, Jul. 25 2004 | Tagged in: Competitors

I have a very simple life. I have my family and I have Apple and Pixar. And I don't do much else.

Source: Newsweek, Jul. 25 2004 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

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.

Source: Newsweek, Oct. 16 2006 | Tagged in: Creativity

I was very lucky to grow up in a time when music really mattered. It wasn't just something in the background; it really mattered to a generation of kids growing up. It really changed the world. I think that music faded in importance for a while, and the iPod has helped to bring music back into people's lives in a really meaningful way. Music is so deep within all of us, but it's easy to go for a day or a week or a month or a year without really listening to music. And the iPod has changed that for tens of millions of people, and that makes me really happy, because I think music is good for the soul.

Source: Newsweek, Oct. 16 2006 | Tagged in: Philosophy

So if Apple just becomes a place where computers are a commodity item and where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, then I'll feel I have lost Apple. But if I'm a million miles away and all those people still feel those things and they're still working to make the next great personal computer, then I will feel that my genes are still in there.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Apple, Prophecies

If I look at myself and ask, ‘What am I best at and what do I enjoy most doing?’ I think what I'm best at is creating sort of new innovative products.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Creativity

It probably is true that the people who have been able to come up with the innovations in many industries are maybe not the people that either are best skilled at, or, frankly, enjoy running a large enterprise where they lose contact with the day-to-day workings of that innovative process. Dr. Land at Polaroid, he's a perfect example.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Creativity

What I'm best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them. I respect the direction that Apple is going in. But for me personally, you know, I want to make things. And if there's no place for me to make things there, then I'll do what I did twice before

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Creativity

And so I haven't got any sort of odd chip on my shoulder about proving anything to myself or anybody else. And remember, though the outside world looks at success from a numerical point of view, my yardstick might be quite different than that. My yardstick may be how every computer that's designed from here on out will have to be at least as good as a Macintosh.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Creativity

Apple was about as pure of a Silicon Valley company as you could imagine. We started in a garage. Woz and I both grew up in Silicon Valley. Our role model was Hewlett-Packard. And so I guess that's what we went into it thinking. Hewlett-Packard, you know, Jobs and Wozniak.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Early years

I don't think that my role in life is to run big organizations and do incremental improvements.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Management

I'm not a 62-year-old statesman that's traveled around the world all his life. So I'm sure that there was a situation when I was 25 that if I could go back, knowing what I know now, I could have handled much better. And I'm sure I'll be able to say the same thing when I'm 35 about the situation in 1985. I can be very intense in my convictions. And I don't know; all in all, I kind of like myself and I'm not that anxious to change.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Management

You know, my philosophy is—it's always been very simple. And it has its flaws, which I'll go into. 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 to 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. And that's my perspective, that everything starts with a great product. And that has its flaws. I have certainly been accused of not listening to the customers enough. And I think there is probably a certain amount of that that's valid.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Technology, Creativity

I had hoped that my life would take on the quality of an interesting tapestry where I would have weaved in and out of Apple: I would have been there a period of time, and maybe I would have gone off and done something else to contribute, but connected with Apple, and then maybe come back and stay for a lengthy time period and then go off and do something else. But it's just not going to work out that way. So I had 10 of the best years of my life, you know. And I don't regret much of anything.

Source: Newsweek, Sep. 29 1985 | Tagged in: Prophecies

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. 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Apple, Early years

Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It won’t 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Competitors

I saw a video tape 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Competitors

How come the Mac group produced Mac and the people at IBM produced the PCjr? We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build 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. 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Competitors, Creativity

(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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Creativity

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Early years

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. 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. I learned more that year than I think I learned in any year in school.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Early years

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 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. 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Early years

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Early years

(on whether he tried to find his biological parents) 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. 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Family

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. 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Management

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Management

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

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Technology

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

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Management

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: LIfestyle

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

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Philosophy, Early years

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Prophecies

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 spread sheet, we ask them to take our key strokes 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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Prophecies

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Prophecies, Apple

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Technology

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.

Source: Playboy, Feb. 1985 | Tagged in: Technology

If anybody’s going to make our products obsolete, I want it to be us.

Source: Quoted by Steven Levy | Tagged in: Prophecies, Creativity

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

Source: Rolling Stone, Dec. 25 2003 | Tagged in: Competitors

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

Source: Rolling Stone, Dec. 25 2003 | Tagged in: Technology

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. It changed maybe 10 percent. It was a sitting duck. It's amazing that it took Microsoft 10 years to copy something that was a sitting duck.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Competitors

(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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Competitors

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. 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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Creativity

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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Creativity

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. And nothing will ever make you feel bad about it.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Early years

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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Technology

(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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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. I'm not excited about home shopping. I'm very excited about having the Internet in my den.

Source: Rolling Stone, Jun. 16 1994 | Tagged in: Prophecies

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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Mar. 1984 | Tagged in: Apple

(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?

Source: Rolling Stone, Mar. 1984 | Tagged in: Apple, Prophecies, Philosophy

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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Mar. 1984 | Tagged in: Competitors

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.

Source: Rolling Stone, Mar. 1984 | Tagged in: Early years

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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Early years

Because I had 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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Early years, Competitors

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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Early years

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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Philosophy

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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 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. 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 be trapped by dogma — 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.

Source: Stanford commencement addres, Jun. 12 2005 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Stanford Graduate Business School interview, May 29 2003 | Tagged in: Apple, Pixar

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 because great things really aren't expected of 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.

Source: Steve Jobs in 1984, quoted in The Perfect Thing by Steven Levy | Tagged in: Management

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? 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.

Source: Steve Jobs in 2004, quoted in The Perfect Thing by Steven Levy | Tagged in: Creativity, Competitors

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.

Source: Steve Jobs in 2004, quoted in The Perfect Thing by Steven Levy | Tagged in: Early years

(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.

Source: Steven Levy's Eulogy | Tagged in: Philosophy, Early years

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.

Source: Steven Levy's Eulogy | Tagged in: Philosophy, Technology

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

Source: Techcrunch, Jan. 24 2010 | Tagged in: Apple

(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.

Source: Technologizer, Apr. 28 2003 | Tagged in: Apple, Creativity

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.

Source: Technologizer, Apr. 28 2003 | Tagged in: Competitors

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

Source: The independent, Oct. 29 2005 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

I told him I believed every word of what I'd said but that I never should have said it in public. 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.

Source: The New York Times, Jan. 18 1997 | Tagged in: Competitors

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.

Source: The New York Times, Jan. 18 1997 | Tagged in: Family

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Jan. 3 1983 | Tagged in: Lifestyle

But I believe life is an intelligent thing--that things aren't random.

Source: Time Magazine, Aug. 18 1997 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Jan. 14 2002 | Tagged in: Apple, Competitors

Sure enough, when we took [the original iMac prototype] to the engineers, they said, 'Oh.' And they came up with 38 reasons. And I said, 'No, no, we're doing this.' And they said, 'Well, why?' And 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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005 | Tagged in: Apple, Creativity

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! 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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005 | Tagged in: Creativity

(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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 16 2005 | Tagged in: Management

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.’

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 1999 | Tagged in: 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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Apple

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Early years, Lifestyle

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Family

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Management

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% better than average. Two to one's a big delta. But hat 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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Management

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

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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.

Source: Time Magazine, Oct. 18 2000 | Tagged in: Pixar

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.

Source: Triumph of the Nerds, 1995 | Tagged in: Competitors

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.

Source: Triumph of the Nerds, 1995 | Tagged in: Philosophy

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

Source: Walter Isaacson interview, Fortune, Dec. 27 2011 | Tagged in: Apple

(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.'

Source: Walter Isaacson interview, Fortune, Dec. 27 2011 | Tagged in: Management

My observation, is that 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. 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.

Source: WGBH, May 14 1990 | Tagged in: Creativity

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. And 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.

Source: WGBH, May 14 1990 | Tagged in: Technology

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

Source: WGBH, May 14 1990 | Tagged in: Technology

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.

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.

Source: Speech in 1980 | Tagged in: Technology, Early years

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.

Source: WWDC 1997 closing remarks | Tagged in: Technology, Apple