Steve Jobs may have been difficult to work with, but he really valued talent.
This was especially evident in Apple’s early days when you look at how he interacted with the Mac engineering team, according to the book “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” written by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli.
He would take his Mac engineers on retreats, telling them inspirational things like the work they were doing was going to “send a giant ripple through the universe.”
And he was very protective of them, according to one engineer that spoke with Fortune, according to Schlender and Tetzeli’s book:
He was so protective of us that whenever we complained about somebody outside the division, it was like unleashing a Doberman. Steve would get on the telephone and chew the guy out so fast your head would spin.
Some of these Mac engineers had the courage to stand up to Jobs when they believed he was wrong. One such hardware engineer, Bob Belleville, working with Sony to develop a smaller disk drive for the Mac even though Jobs told him not to, the authors explain in their book. In the end, however, Belleville’s decision saved the Mac from facing a delay.