About 20 years ago, I was in San Francisco. It was my first visit to the city, and while walking along Moscone Center I saw Steve standing outside – waiting for his car. This was during the time he was running NeXT. I walked up to him and said, “ You must be Steve Jobs, I just want to shake your hand.” Keep in mind, I was 20 at the time. We shook hands and spoke for about a minute. This chance meeting, was inspirational. From that moment on, I became a fan of everything – Steve. If Jobs were to start a religion, I’d be the guy who knocked on doors – trying to convert new members.
After that encounter I came back to Toronto and bought a second hand NeXT computer and things have not stopped. I bought every version of iPhone and iPad. All – on the first day they were released. This week, I bought the new Mac Book Air with Thunderbolt. I was drooling over the 27″ LCD, but my wife would kill me. I do have two 24” LCDs that are less than 6 months old.
Everything is in your mind.
Jobs always led a small team of people to create amazing products. Mac and IBM PC Jr. came out at the same time - and Mac was developed by a team that was 1/100 of the IBM team. How can a small team produce cutting edge products, while a massive team and a huge budget make one the biggest flops in the computer industry? Here is a quote from the interview Steve gave to Playboy:
PB: What’s the difference between the people who have insanely fantastic thoughts, and the people who pull off those insanely fantastic thoughts?
SJ: Let me compare it with IBM. How come the Mac group produced Mac and the people at IBM produced the Pacer? We reflect the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t erect the Mac for anyone else. We built at for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was fantastic or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to erect the best thing we could erect. When you’re a carpenter making a gorgeous chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there so you’re going to use a gorgeous piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
PB: Are you saying that the people who made PC Jr. don’t have that kind of pride in their product?
SJ: If they did they wouldn’t have made the PC Jr. It seems to me that they were designing that on the basis of market research for a specific market segment, for a specific demographic type of customer, and they hoped that if they built this, lots of people would buy them and they’d make lots of money. Those are different motivations. The people in the Mac group wanted to erect the greatest computer that has ever been seen.
Attention to Details
There was a story on how Steve Jobs spent days agonizing over which Black should be selected for the NeXT computer cases; even though for all most everyone else, all the Blacks looked same. Another story I found on NPR today that is even more interesting, was a conversation between Steve and Vic Gundotra – the main guy at Google+ who used to work for Apple.
Hey Steve — this is Vic. I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn’t pick up. Steve laughed and said,Vic, unless the Caller ID said ‘GOD’, you should never pick up during services.
I (Vic) laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?
So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I’ve already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow,” said Steve.
I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?
Product development – be it hardware, product design or software development, is always on a person’s mind and how passionate you are about it. As a software developer , if you want to produce quality products, you need to ask yourself, ”If I am not getting paid, will I still work on this project?” If the answer is “NO,” then you need to look for a new project.
STEVE JOBS AT HOME IN 1982 — “This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.” —Steve Jobs
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