Last year, I pre-ordered the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson the moment it became available for pre-order in the ibook store. I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs and Apple, because I really like their products. Apple introduced to me what simple and elegant design is. I read the entire book on my beautiful iPad, quite an enjoyable experience.
After I finished reading the book, I have a whole new understanding of Steve Jobs. I appreciate him even more as a designer of great taste, a marketeer of unparalleled business sense and insight, and a person of relentless drive and motivation.
However, I also learned about his extreme compulsions for diets and perfection, his almost-bipolar personality constantly oscillating between extreme cruelty and extreme charm, and most impressively, his blatant disregard and powerful distortion of reality (which is partly why he did become so successful and hated by many of his colleagues. ) Steve Jobs is extreme towards most things, people, ideas/beliefs; he either loved something like it’s the best thing ever in the entire history of the world, or he hated it with all his vengeance. All of these traits of the great icon are new to me. I have to wonder, how hard it must be to work, live, or even be with him?! What does it take to accomplish what he did, “make a dent in the universe”? Can you do it? Is it worth it?
Overall, it is a very entertaining and thought-provoking read. Here are some of the interesting things from the book which I noted down:
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Atop the brochure (for Apple II) McKenna put a maxim, often attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, that would become the defining precept of Job’s design philosophy
- The best way to predict the future is to invent it. – Alan Kay
- By expecting them to do great things, you get them to do great things. – Steve Jobs, speaking of the original Mac team.
- Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers. – Steve Jobs, in an interview with Fortune
- Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page. – Steve Jobs
- “That’s what I’ve always tried to do — keep moving. Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you are not busy being born, you are busy dying. – Steve Jobs
- The Apple III was a kind of like a baby conceived during a group orgy, and later everybody had this bad headache, and there’s this bastard child, and everyone says, “It’s not mine.” – Randy Wigginton, one of the engineers worked on Apple III.
- What is the difference between Apple and the Boy Scouts? The Boy Scouts have adult supervision. – an old joke from one of the Apple ad salesmen
- Jobs was sometimes willing to surrender, despite his reputation, but he never won any awards for gracious concession speeches. “Screw it,” he said at one meeting where they showed him the analysis. “I’m sick of listening to you assholes. Go do whatever the hell you want.” – This is when Schiller, convinced Jobs to allow iPods to connect to Windows machines.
- Asked about the fact that Apple’s iTunes software for Windows computers was extremely popular, Jobs joked, “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.” – in a joint interview with Bill Gates for Wall Street Journal in 2007.
Let me end this blog with one of Apple’s commercials which left me touched and inspired.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.