Photo: All Things D
Charlie Rose and Bloomberg TV pulled together an amazing group of folks to talk about Steve Jobs last night—Marc Andreessen, Eric Schmidt, and Walt Mossberg, all of whom knew him.We published the transcript of Eric’s comments earlier.
Here’s the segment with Marc:
CHARLIE ROSE: We’re joined now also, and I hope Eric will stay
with us and continue to have the conversation with someone
that he knows well, Mark Andreessen, co-founder of
Andreessen-Horowitz, which is a venture capital firm. But
Mark Andreessen is known as one of the thinkers on – in
Silicon Valley. He is a man who was there when Netscape was
created. He has been an early investor in some of the very
important companies that have shaped Wall Street – I mean
have shaped Silicon Valley, and shaped Wall Street as well.
He also knew Steve very well.
Mark, tell me your own thoughts tonight about what he
meant, as Eric and I have been talking about, what he meant
to you personally and what he meant to the way you saw the
world that you live in.
MARK ANDREESSEN, CO-FOUNDER, ANDREESSEN-HOROWITZ: Yeah.
I guess – I would – I think Eric has said a lot of the – the
things that – that can be said. I – I – two – three ways I
think I really admired him. One is he – he was the most
amazing – amazing product visionary our industry has ever had
or probably ever will have. And I once said that it – it’s –
when the iPhone came out I said it’s almost as if the product
has been beamed in from five or 10 or 20 years in the future
and has just arrived. And nobody in the industry had any idea
it was even possible to build anything like that. And Steve
is one of the only people in the history of – of – of our –
of business who’s been able to do that kind of thing over and
over again. Number one.
Number two, company. He’s built an amazing company in
Apple. Apple today is an unbelievably strong company, not
just in terms of his cash balance and his position in the
market, but also in the – the depth of the talent, the
culture, the people, the overall approach. And I think it’s
extraordinarily well set up to succeed in the years ahead
because of Steve, because of all the work he put into
building the company in the last 15 years.
And then – and then, third, as a person, he’s somebody
who – the people who knew him all – will all tell you the
same thing, which is he touched people in an amazing way and
did amazing things for an awful lot of people. And a lot of
those stories I don’t think have been told yet, and I’m sure
will be in the years ahead. But he was also a great human
ROSE: What would you add to that list of things that we
don’t know necessarily that reflect on his humanity and his –
his commitment to a world beyond him?
ANDREESSEN: Well, he was a very private – private
individual in a lot of ways. So I don’t necessarily have
anything to – to volunteer right now. But I think over time
it’ll become more and more clear what – what an amazing
contribution to humanity he made in – in addition to the
contributions he made to the industry and to – to the
ROSE: Someone once told me, and I don’t know if it’s
true, but I think that Steve never went to China, this place
that sort of is having such a huge impact. That his passion,
and this may have been because of illness, but that his
passion was home and family and going to Apple to work and to
get things done. Is that – is that accurate?
ANDREESSEN: Yeah. I think that’s right. In fact, you
could – you could – those of us who live and around Palo
Alto, you could often see Steve walking around. He’d – he’d
stop by the Apple store in Palo Alto and talk to the
customers. He was legendary obviously for his work ethic. He
spent a tremendous amount of time building Apple. He spent a
tremendous amount of time working on Apple and for Apple even
in the time when he was unable to – to be there in person
And then, yes, he was incredibly committed to – to
family. And his – has an absolutely wonderful family and a
wife and three kids, and then a daughter from – from his
previous relationship. And – and they’re – who are in their
own right just amazing people. And that was the most – I
think family ultimately was, as you’d expect, the most
important thing in the world to him.
ROSE: He would get out and – and – at Stanford and at –
in and around the community and have dinner with friends and
come to your house and other places.
ANDREESSEN: I would – I’d drive up and down Embarcadero
Road in Palo Alto all the time going back and forth and
things. And one time I’m booking in my car down Embarcadero
and I go by this guy and I just see out of the corner of my
eye ready to cross the street a black turtleneck, jeans. I’m
like, “Oh my god! I almost hit Steve Jobs.” Not uncommon for
people in and around Palo Alto just to see him walking around
ROSE: Eric, the question will be raised. What happens to
Apple after Steve Jobs? Eric?
SCHMIDT: Tim – Tim was operating president when I was at
– on the board. And Tim’s a very, very capable executive. As
you know, he’s now CEO. So I think the gifts that Steve has
given us will continue for many, many years. The great thing
about Apple is that the – the executives are there. They’re
not going anywhere. And they’ve got a very good forward
story. So for – for – for all – all of you and all of us who
are fans of Apple products, I think they’ll continue to come
and they’ll do very well. The economic engine that Steve
built is an amazing one in terms of cash generation, revenue
growth, global footprint, distribution. It’s just a great
business. One of the great American success stories as a
person, but also as a company.
ROSE: There is also the legendary competitiveness that
he had. So you’re at Google and you’re the one-time CEO at
the time I think that you were sitting on the Apple board,
and then chairman of Apple – of Google. And all of a sudden
you have to leave the board because you’re going to be in a
competitive business. How did that sit with Steve?
SCHMIDT: Well, as part of my joining the board we
understood that – that Apple and Google were going to be
companies that were going to both partner and compete. And we
agreed that if it became more compete than partner it was the
right thing to do to split up. So it was all actually very
cordial. And Steve and I were and remained good friends. And
I have just extraordinary respect for his leadership. So from
a – on a personal basis it was fine. And I think it was the
right thing to be part of Apple. It was also the right thing
to – to leave the board when we did.
ROSE: Did you ever see him angry?
SCHMIDT: Oh, yes. Steve is a man of great passion. And
he took a very, very –
ROSE: You’re smiling.
SCHMIDT: He took a very, very strong position about what
he wanted, how he wanted, and he was a very, very strong
advocate for his company. So if you were on the other side of
a deal with Steve, you were going to have a pretty tough
negotiation, which is to his credit. He did a very good job
for his shareholders.
ROSE: Mark, did you ever see him angry?
ANDREESSEN: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. So Steve – there – we
often – I (inaudible) out in California we – I use this
phrase a lot, California casual, which is – or California
fake casual, which is a lot of people in California want to
go along, get along, and everybody’s nice to each other and
smiles to each other’s faces. And then when somebody leaves a
room they’re like, “Oh, that guy’s a real son of a whatever.”
Steve’s not like that. Steve was never like that. Steve was
always somebody who would tell you exactly where he stood. He
would tell you exactly what he thought. And so the clarity of
the communication that you could have with him, there was no
wasted time. There was no wasted effort. Everything was
crystal clear and unbelievably effective. And I think that –
that – I think that quality permeates all of Apple’s culture
and is one of the reasons that they’re such an amazing
SCHMIDT: But if you look – if you look at Steve’s
ability to negotiate and the fact that he was able to get the
historic deals he did with the music industry at the time
when it was impossible, that showed you his ability to
negotiate deals. Very, very clever. Very, very aggressive for
the positions that he wanted, and he typically got them.
ROSE: Yeah. Interesting about that, Eric, is that there
was quite conflict between Steve and Michael Eisner when
Michael was the CEO of Disney. And they couldn’t – couldn’t
decide on a number of things, including Pixar. And then when
Bob Iger came in I think he cultivated Steve and they were
able to make a deal.
SCHMIDT: Steve had strong opinions about the structure
of the industry. But if you look at, for example, the
original music deals that he did, they really defined a
platform of monetization for music that people had been
looking for for years. And yet he literally pushed it
himself. He said, “There will be a platform.” This is seven
or eight years ago. “There will be a platform. It’ll have
this pricing. You will like it. We will make it happen.” So
he used very, very clever negotiating skills to establish a
platform that millions of people use today and has served as
a basis for monetization for content for many years in the
future I think.
ROSE: There is also this, Mark, his relationship to Bill
Gates. Bill Gates was – they even made a movie about the two
of them – Bill Gates was coming along when Steve originally
was in the computer business with Wozniak and – and
developing the first Apple. And Bill Gates was developing
Microsoft and software. What was that? Can you give us some
sense of a historical perspective on that relationship?
ANDREESSEN: Yeah. I think that Steve and Bill Gates and
Andy Grove, I think if you had to pick three people are the
people who really built the personal computer industry over
the last 30, 35 years.
ROSE: Right. With Intel and the rest.
ANDREESSEN: Exactly. And in a lot of ways I think in
retrospect I think the way it will be described is that they
drove each other to greatness. And so there were points in
time when one of them or another had the jump strategically
or had the bigger market valuation or the bigger revenue, but
all three would continuously drive each other to – to greater
and greater heights. And I think that Apple was an
inspiration to Microsoft for many years in terms of the
products. And there were – over time there were various
And then when Microsoft was very successful as a
business and very successful with their products, when Steve
came back to Apple I think it was – I think Steve was
determined to make sure that Apple would – would be able to
be a very successful company in what at the time was a
Microsoft- dominated world, and of course did an amazing job
doing that to the point where Apple is now worth I think,
what, double maybe what Microsoft is. And so the result has
been just an enormous amount of positive development for the
world, for the economy and for the industry. The products
that were created through that kind of two-way or three-way
dynamic have powered the industry and made all the other
amazing things in the industry possible.
ROSE: We’re joined now – go ahead, Eric.
SCHMIDT: If you go back and look at the press in 1994
and 1995, Apple had been completely written off, was
allegedly near bankruptcy when Steve came in. Imagine
fighting against those odds as an executive, as a leader, as
a person. And look at what he achieved in that period.
ROSE: And the reason he was able to do it is he created
a product, the Mac, that people wanted to buy. Correct?
SCHMIDT: He had an installed base of people who loved
the feeling of the Mac, but the technology has – had lagged.
By sheer force of will he built a platform that is now the
best in the world for what it does.