To write their new book “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader,” Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzel relied on decades of their own Apple coverage.
Schlender, especially, covered Steve Jobs for 25 years, and packs the book full of quotes we’d never read before.
On the value of tinkering with radios and TVs as a kid: 'It gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries anymore.'
On how Steve saw himself: 'I didn't want to be a businessman, because all the businessmen I knew I didn't want to be like.'
On his belief in the power of Apple's products when his team was working on the first Mac computer: 'The work fifty people are doing here is going to send a giant ripple through the universe.'
On the team of graphics technicians who would eventually become Pixar: 'They were way, way ahead of anybody. I just knew in my bones that this was going to be very important.' (Jobs would eventually buy the Graphics Group from parent company LucasFilm for $5 million.)
On NeXT, the computer company he started after he was ousted from Apple: 'The world doesn't need another $100 million computing company.' By this, Jobs meant that he couldn't imagine producing something so trivial.
On his legacy, said while working on NeXT: 'When my life is over, people will give me credit for all the creative stuff. But no one will know I actually know how to run a business.'
On hiring at NeXT: 'In most businesses, the difference between average and good is at best 2 to 1. Like, if you go to New York and you get the best cabdriver in the city, you might get there thirty per cent faster than with an average taxicab driver. A 2 to 1 gain would be pretty big. In software, it's at least 25 to 1.'
On the feeling of falling in love at first sight: 'I kept losing my train of thought and started feeling a little giddy.'
Jobs about what Pixar created versus what Apple created: 'You know, when we make a computer at Apple, what's its life span? The life span is about three years. At five years, it's a door-stop. If you do your job right, what you create can last forever.'
On taking risks: 'I watched Bob Dylan as I was growing up, and I watched him never stand still.... If they keep on risking failure, they're still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure.'
On why firing people at Apple was harder after he had kids: 'When I look at people when this happens, I also think of them as being five years old, kind of like I look at my kids. And I think that that could be me coming home to tell my wife and kids that i just got laid off. Or that it could be one of my kids in twenty years. I never took it so personally before.'
On what he really cared about as CEO: 'The only purpose, for me, in building a company is so that that company can make products. One is a means to the other.'
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