Charlie Rose had a great 60 Minutes segment this Sunday where he interviewed David Kelley, the founder of IDEO, a highly respected product design firm in Palo Alto famous for creating the first mouse for Apple Computers.Steve Jobs, one of IDEO’s first clients, became a close friend of Kelley’s over the years.
Jobs and Kelley both battled cancer at the same time (Jobs, pancreatic; Kelley, throat), which brought them even closer together.
When Kelley was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2007, his doctors gave him a 40% chance of survival. Jobs, already well into his battle with pancreatic cancer at the time, told Kelley not to consider any alternatives. Kelley says Jobs, knowing he’d made a mistake in his own fight against cancer, advised him to “go straight to Western medicine.”
Kelley also remembers a special visit from Jobs the day after the first iPhone came out.
The IDEO founder was at home resting when Jobs showed up with a special delivery: Kelley’s very own iPhone.
“[Steve] decides to hook it up for me,” says Kelley. “So he gets on the phone to AT&T and he’s gonna hook up my phone. And it’s not going well. Eventually he pulls the ‘I’m Steve Jobs’ card. He says to the guy, ‘I’m Steve Jobs.’ I’m sure the guy on the other end says ‘Yeah, buddy, I’m Napoleon.”
Turns out Jobs didn’t successfully set up Kelley’s phone that day.
But it was the effort that counted.
“The biggest misconception about Jobs was that he was malicious, that he was trying to be mean to people. He wasn’t. He was just trying to get things done,” says Kelley.