Steve Jobs – Apple founder
What are some good things you’ve read?
Autobiography of a Yogi. It was the only book Jobs downloaded to his iPad. He first read it as a teen, then when he visited India and each year since.
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. The book influenced Jobs but Christensen had doubts about the iPod, saying “If Apple continues to rely on a proprietary architecture the iPod will likely become a niche product.”
What are some good things you’ve watched?
I had a real revelation. We were all in robes, and they made some Turkish coffee for us. The professor explained how the coffee was made very different from anywere else, and I realized, “So fucking what?” Which kids even in Turkey give a shit about Turkish coffee? All day I had looked at young people in Istanbul. They were all drinking what every other kid in the world drinks, and they were wearing clothes that look like they were bought at the Gap, and they are all using cell phones. They were like kids everywhere else. It hit me that, for young people, this whole world is the same now. When we’re making products, there is no such thing as a Turkish phone, or a music player that young people in Turkey would want that’s different from one young people elsewhere would want. We’re just one world now.
Bob Dylan concerts. Meeting Dylan made Jobs was nervous, really nervous “because he was one of my heroes. And I was also afraid that he wouldn’t be really smart anymore, that he’d be a caricature of himself, like happens to a lot of people. But I was delighted. he was as sharp as a tack.” when he sat with Dylan in 2004. The next time Dylan played near Jobs he asked his favorite song, sang it that night and then as Jobs was walking out, Dylan’s tour bus “came by and screeched to a stop. The door flipped open, “So, did you hear my song I sang for you?” Dylan rasped. Then he drove off.”
What are some good things you use?
501 Jeans and New Balance 992 shoes. Jobs wanted to create a corporate culture like he had seen at Sony but was “booed off the stage” when he tried to introduce a vest to Apple’s staff. Instead Jobs got the designer to make some of his signature black turtlenecks – he made and gave Jobs one hundred of them.
Apple products. What drove him to create them?
What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something the only way that most of us know how – because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me.