Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and former CEO of Apple, is widely regarded as being one of the most influential leaders in technology and business.
Dozens of inspirational quotes from Jobs have been uncovered throughout the years, including those from his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech and the many books and articles written about his life.
But there are some moments that haven’t been recorded in those books or public speeches that only those who have actually worked with Jobs will remember.
Adam Nash, the president and CEO of financial startup Wealthfront Inc., encountered Jobs when he previously worked at Apple from 1996 to 1998.
Although Nash was only at Apple for a short time, one specific quote from Jobs stuck with him through his career to date, as he shared in a recent post on Medium.
Back in 1997, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell had been quoted as saying that he would liquidate Apple and return all the cash to shareholders if he owned the company. This prompted Jobs to get up in front of the team Nash worked on, which consisted of 100 engineers, and say the following:
The world doesn’t need another Dell or HP. It doesn’t need another manufacturer of plain, beige, boring PCs. If that’s all we’re going to do, then we should really pack up now.
But we’re lucky, because Apple has a purpose. Unlike anyone in the industry, people want us to make products that they love. In fact, more than love. Our job is to make products that people lust for. That’s what Apple is meant to be.
This quote rings true for Nash now more than ever since he’s founded Wealthfront.
“I’m not naive and know that it is going to be an uphill battle to force meaningful change,” Nash wrote. “But it really is the only company worth building.”
John Lilly, a current partner at Greylock and the former CEO of Mozilla who previously worked at Apple, also shared his own account of what Jobs said to Apple employees regarding Dell’s comments back in 2011. It’s an interesting read if you want to learn more about how Jobs handled criticism from one of Apple’s biggest competitors before he turned the company around.