I wish I could have met and known Steve Jobs. He is fiercely inspiring, creative and intelligent. The way he also talks about design, technology, love and passion is incredible.
These are some quotes from the speeches that he has given throughout his life. This is probably my longest post yet and is a compilation from around the web which I spent several days working on compiling. I would listen to each YouTube interviews at least twice to know which golden nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to type up (yes it was painfully slow having to replay again and again just to type up the quotes accurately).
His thoughts and speeches are astoundingly insightful. It's worth spending the time to read this completely and even visit the original sites and videos to watch the full collection of videos and articles. Especially if you are compelled to know how a brilliant entrepreneur's mind works.
I hope they inspire you too:
"People say that you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing. And it's totally true, the reason is because it's so hard that if you don't, any rational personal would have given up. And it's really hard. You have to do it over a sustained period of time. If you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it, you don't really love it, you're going to give up. And that's what happens to most people actually. If you look at the ones who ended up being successful in the eyes of society and the ones who didn't, oftentimes it is that the one that is successful loved what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones that didn't love it, quit. Because they're sane. Who would want to put up with this stuff if they don't love it. "
"The greatest people are self managing. They don't need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they'll go figure out how to do it. They don't need to be managed at all. What they need is a common vision. And that's what leadership is. What leadership is, is having a vision, being able to articulate that so the people around you can understand it. And getting a consensus on a common vision. We wanted people that were insanely great at what they did."On being fired by Apple and then founding NeXT and Pixar Animation. A speech given at University:
"If you're a great person. Why would you want to work for someone you can't learn anything from?... The best managers are the great individual contributors who never ever wanted to be a manager but decided they had to be a manager because no-one else is going to be able to do a job as good as them."
"Some mistakes will be made along the way. That's good. Cause at least some decisions will be made along the way. And we'll find the mistakes. We'll fix them."
"Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only that kept me going was that I loved what I did, you've got to find what you love. And that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking and don't settle."Bill Gates on being asked what did Steve Jobs have that he wished he had:
"His sense of design. That everything had to fit a certain aesthetic, the fact that he with as little engineering background that he had, it shows that design can lead you in a good direction. And so phenomenal products came out of it. He knew about brand and ...he had an intuitive sense for marketing, it was amazing."Steve Jobs in an interview for TV in 1990:
"It made a big impression on me that we humans are tool builders, and that we can fashion tools that amplify these inherent abilities that we have to spectacular magnitude. To me, a computer has always been a bicycle of the mind. Something that takes us far beyond our inherent abilities. "From the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association videos, 14th November 1994 interview:
"The first explosion was the spreadsheet, the second major explosion that was driven was the desktop industry...desktop publishing. Happened in 1985 with the Macintosh computer...The third one is let's do for human to human communication what spreadsheet did for financial planning and what desktop publishing did for desktop publishing...We cannot change our management heirarchy very fast...we also can't change our geographic location very fast, but we can change our electronic organisation... In the 1980s we did personal computing, and now we're going to extend that as we network these things to interpersonal computing."
"What we're finding is that time to market is very important. And quality is very important. And the way we can make tremendous increase in quality and reduction in time to market is through automation. So the automation isn't there to lower the cost, although it does do that. It's really there to increase the quality and decrease the time it gets us to get our new product for example to market. Which is very important in a technology based marketplace."
"The older people all want to know how it does what it does, but the younger people just want to know what it can do."
"The way our industry works is that, you create this platform software first, and then you go out and get people to write new applications on top of it. The height that these new applications can soar is enabled or limited by the platform software."
"My observation is the doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker doer in one person and if we really go back and we examine, did Leonardo have a guy off to the side that was thinking in five years out to the future what he was painting, the technology that he would use for painting, of course not. Leonardo was the artist but he also mixed his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments. He knew about human anatomy and combining all of those skills together, the art and the science, the thinking and the doing was what resulted in the exceptional result. And there is no difference in our industry. The people who really made a contribution have been the thinkers and the doers...it's very easy to take credit for the thinking. The doing is more concrete. It's very easy for somebody to say, 'Oh I thought of this three years ago.' But usually when you dig a little deeper, you find the people that really did it, were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well."
"It was our observation that for every hardware hobbyists...there were a thousand potential software hobbyists. And if they didn't have to do anything with the hardware except use it, at that time it meant write their own programs, still there was a large group of people who could take advantage of this, and we wanted to reach them. And that was the real breakthrough in the Apple Two."
"He told us to go away about four or five times, but eventually he agreed to help us out..." Tenacity.
"The problem is that market research can tell you what your customers think of something you show them, or it can tell you what your customers want as an incremental improvement on what you have. But very rarely can your customers predict something if they don't even know quite what they want yet."
"Once you have made that jump, possibly before the product is on the market, or even after is a great time to go check your instincts with the market place and verify that you're on the right track. And usually when you show people something, they'll go, 'Oh my God that is fantastic' or you know give you some feedback along the lines."
"That's why you need to start it young. That's why when we started Apple, we said, you know, we have absolutely nothing to lose. I was 20 years old at the time, Woz was 24/25(yo), we had nothing to lose, no family, no children, no houses, Woz had an old car, I had an old Volkswagon van, I mean all we had to lose were our cars and the shirts off our backs. We had nothing to lose and we had everything to gain. And we figured, even if we crashed and burned, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten times the cost. So what was there to lose? There was no risk."
"Hewlett Packett was the genesis of not just the concept of starting your own company... It was also the ethical basis of how you wanted to build your company. A company that was based on values, not based on just making money. And HP had the HP Way and it had a list of their values. And the first one was we need to make a profit or else we can't keep this company going. But after that, they got into how they wanted to treat individuals and conduct their corporate life. And it's very idealistic in my opinion. So we were very much influenced by that. And the second thing that made us very typical was that we were building a produce that we ourselves were customers for."An interviewee:
"Some people say, 'Well you could have gone to college and been a lawyer.' Well, you're right. But you can go to college and be a lawyer when you're 25. There's nothing that stops you from doing that. The only thing you really have in your life is time. And, if you invest that time in yourself to have great experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can't possibly lose. So I always advise people, don't wait. Do something when you're young. When you have nothing to lose and keep that in mind."
"I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. And his number was on the phone book. And he answered the phone himself. I said, 'Hi, I'm Steve Jobs. I'm 12 years old. I'm a student in High School and I want to build a frequency counter and I was wondering if you had any spare parts that I could have.' And he laughed and he gave me the spare parts to build a frequency counter and he gave me a job that summer at Hewlett Packet ... and I was in heaven."
"The power of ideas. The power of understanding that if you can build this box(Blue Box), you can control hundreds and millions of dollars worth of telephone infrastructure around the world. That's a powerful thing. And that if we hadn't made blue boxes, there wouldn't have been no Apple... it took us six months discovery of how to build it. We also had the sense of magic that we could sort of influence the world... if you want to know what's going to happen in the world, you don't look at the mainstream, you look at the fringe."
"We went and talked to the venture capitalists and none of them would give us any money. And one of them referred to me as a renegade from the human race cause I had longer hair then."
"I've never found anyone who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me, I try to be as responsive to pay that debt of gratitude back. Most people never pick up the phone and call and most people never ask. And that's what separates sometimes, the people that do things and the people that just dreams about it. You've got to act. And you've got to be willing to fail. You've got to be willing to crash and burn. You know, with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. If you're afraid of failing, you won't get very far."
"The Beehive Effect. You've got a lot of extraordinary talented people... When you want to start a company, you need to hire some experienced people. You just can't hire people out of school most of the time. So you have to hire some experienced talent, well, you're going to ask somebody to leave a job, maybe they have a family and come to your company to work..."
"When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside your world and try not to bash the walls too much and try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. But that's a very limited life. Once you discover one simple fact. That everything around you called life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. The minute that you understand that you can poke life and that something will pop out the other side, you can change, you can mould it. That's maybe the most important thing. To shake off the erroneous notion that life is there, and that you're going to live in it. Embrace it, change it, improve it. Make your mark upon it."
"From a disruptive standpoint, Steve Jobs is the epitome of it because he got fired for being too innovative. And they brought him back, and he was still too innovative. And it just turned out, he was right. He was right all along. They should have listened to him. But it was so innovative that it was disruptive to the organisation. And finally he came back to a nearly bankrupt company and it didn't matter how disruptive he was to the organisation. He might not be the gentlest, kindest manager, it just didn't matter. He's right 75-80% of the time and when he's right, he's right big."Another commentator:
"He made calls that everybody said, 'Steve you can't do this and Steve, you can't do that.' He still did it anyway. And he was right... He has a sense of design taste, a sense of perfection and a sense of the customer."Larry Ellison, Founder of Oracle Corporation:
"Steve Jobs is the most gifted person in our business in terms of vision and leadership. He really is the father of the Personal Computer. He really did popularise graphical user interface. He really has a passion for great technology."Steve Jobs brainstorms with the NeXT team in 1985, video posted by EverySteveJobsVideo:
"I forgot how much work it actually is to start a company, it's a lot of work and you've got to do everything, you've got to come up with a name, you've got to come up with a logo. In addition to designing the product you gotta figure out what to design, you gotta figure out how you're gonna get it to the markeplace, you've gotta do a part number system, you've got to get bank accounts, you gotta setup charts, general ledger, get a management information system, get a little kitchen setup, get a coffee maker, all this stuff."
"What hit me about it was that here was this machine, that a very few people designed, about four in the case of the Apple II. And then they gave it to some people that didn't know how to design it but they knew how to make it to manufacture it, make a whole bunch of them. Then they gave it to some people that didn't know how to design or manufacture it but they knew how to distribute it, and then they gave it to some people that didn't know how to design or to manufacture or distribute it, but they knew how to write software for it. And gradually this sort of inverse pyramid grew and when it finally got into the hands of a lot of people, it blossomed out of this tiny little seed and it seemed like an incredible amount of leverage. And it all started with just an idea and here was this idea taken through all of these stages resulting in a class room full of kids growing upwith some insights and some fundamentally different experiences which I thought might be very beneficial for their lives because of this germ of an idea a few years ago. And that's an incredible feeling to know that you had something to do with it A. And B, to know that it can be done, to know that you can plant something in the world and it'll grow and change the world ever so slightly."
"Most people think it's about how they look, but it's not really about how they look, it's about how they work... everyone says, you know I wanna make a great product, I wanna make a great movie or whatever they're doing, so there's no difference there. But there's a big difference in the outcomes... You know, we're willing to throw something away because it's not great and try again when all of the pressures of commerce are at your back saying no, you can't do that..."From Bloomberg Business YouTube channel:
Michael Moritz, Venture Capitalist of Sequoia Capital on Steve Jobs:
"A very remarkable man. An extremely smart, spell binding, mesmerising leader of people... the knee jerk reaction of conventional people is to elbow what they see as disruptive forces aside and Steve, the co founder of Apple was unchivalrously ushered to the exit (by Sculley and the board in the 1980s)... the iPod went from concept to market in about eight months."Steve Jobs:
"The penalty for failure for going and trying to start a company in this valley is non existent. There really isn't a penalty for failure, either pyschologically or economically. In the sense that if you have a good idea and you go out to start your own company, and even if you fail, you're generally considered worth more to the company you left because you gained all these valuable experiences in many discipline..."From Steve Denning's article at Forbes.com, from 'The Lost Interview: Steve Jobs Tells Us What Really Matters':
"I was worth over a million dollars when I was 23. And over ten million dollars when I was 24, and over a hundred million dollars when I was 25. And you know, it wasn’t that important, because I never did it for the money. I think money is a wonderful thing, because it enables you to do things. It enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback. At that time in my life, it was not the most important thing. The most important thing was the company, the people, the products we were making. And what we were going to enable people to do with these products. So I didn’t think about the money a great deal. I never sold any stock. I just believed that the company would do very well over the long term."From Computerworld.com and the article, 'Steve Jobs interview: One on One in 1985':
"To make step-function changes, revolutionary changes, it takes that combination of technical acumen and business and marketing — and a culture that can somehow match up the reason you developed your product and the reason people will want to buy it. I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I've done that sort of thing in my life, but I've always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don't know why. Because they're harder. They're much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you've completely failed.
I always considered part of my job was to keep the quality level of people in the organizations I work with very high. That's what I consider one of the few things I actually can contribute individually -- to really try to instill in the organization the goal of only having 'A' players. Because in this field, like in a lot of fields, the difference between the worst taxi cab driver and the best taxi cab driver to get you crosstown Manhattan might be two to one. The best one will get you there in fifteen minutes, the worst one will get you there in a half an hour. Or the best cook and the worst cook, maybe it's three to one. Pick something like that.
In the field that I'm in the difference between the best person and the worst person is about a hundred to one or more. The difference between a good software person and a great software person is fifty to one, twenty-five to fifty to one, huge dynamic range. Therefore, I have found, not just in software, but in everything I've done it really pays to go after the best people in the world.