Topics: Life Before Apple | How He Saw Himself | Building Apple | Macintosh Memories | Returning to Apple | Leadership Style | The Apple Difference | Apple Products | Design | Creativity & Innovation | Technology | Recruiting | Microsoft | Other Companies | Money | Philosophy & Beliefs | Predicting the Future | Personal Stuff | Death | Lessons Learned
Steve Jobs Quotes: Macintosh Memories
…In 1979, when I saw an Alto [that had been developed] at Xerox PARC [Palo Alto Research Center]. It was as if, all of a sudden, the veil had been lifted from my eyes. It had the mouse and the multiple-font text on the screen, and you realized in an instant that this would appeal to exponentially more people than the Apple II. I’m talking about people who didn’t want to learn how to use a computer — they just wanted to use one. You could eliminate a whole layer of what someone had to know in order to take advantage of this tool.
The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it.
I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on something, but working on Macintosh was the neatest experience of my life. Almost everyone who worked on it will say that. None of us wanted to release it at the end. It was as though we knew that once it was out of our hands, it wouldn’t be ours anymore.
I love what we’re doing at Apple now, I think it’s the best work that Apple’s ever done. But I think all of us on the Mac team point to that as the high point of our careers. It’s like the Beatles playing Shea Stadium. We were really working fourteen-to-eighteen-hour days, seven days a week. For, like, two years, three years. That was our life. But we loved it, we were young, and we could do it.
The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.
We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work.
Actually, making an insanely great product has a lot to do with the process of making the product, how you learn things and adopt new ideas and throw out old ideas. But, yeah, the people who made Mac are sort of on the edge.
I get asked a lot why Apple’s customers are so loyal. It’s not because they belong to the Church of Mac! That’s ridiculous. It’s because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. And you think, “Wow, someone over there at Apple actually thought of this!” And then three months later you try to do something you hadn’t tried before, and it works, and you think, “Hey, they thought of that, too.” And then six months later it happens again. There’s almost no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac.
Most people have no concept of how an automatic transmission works, yet they know how to drive a car. You don’t have to study physics to understand the laws of motion to drive a car. You don’t have to understand any of this stuff to use Macintosh.
Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone? [reacting to a reporter's question about market research for the Macintosh]
The experience of watching it happen is quite different from the experience of imagining it happen. I think everybody who had anything to do with creating the Mac has very, very good feelings about it.