Tag Archives: steve-jobs

Steve Jobs’ View on the Web and Creativity (1996)

In 1996, while he was still the CEO of NeXT, Steve Jobs was inter­viewed by Wired writer Gary Wolf. The res­ult was a some­times quaint, occa­sion­ally proph­et­ic and often pess­im­ist­ic exchange.

In this far-reach­ing (and some­what lengthy) dis­cus­sion with Steve Jobs, the two dis­cuss the forth­com­ing ubi­quity of “the web dial tone”, how tech­no­logy does­n’t change the world and this on the true mean­ing of design and cre­ativ­ity:

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deep­er, it’s really how it works. 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. Most people don’t take the time to do that.

Cre­ativ­ity is just con­nect­ing things. When you ask cre­at­ive people how they did some­thing, they feel a little guilty because they did­n’t really do it, they just saw some­thing. It seemed obvi­ous to them after a while. That’s because they were able to con­nect exper­i­ences they’ve had and syn­thes­ize new things. And the reas­on they were able to do that was that they’ve had more exper­i­ences or they have thought more about their exper­i­ences than oth­er people.

Unfor­tu­nately, that’s too rare a com­mod­ity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse exper­i­ences. So they don’t have enough dots to con­nect, and they end up with very lin­ear solu­tions without a broad per­spect­ive on the prob­lem. The broad­er one’s under­stand­ing of the human exper­i­ence, the bet­ter design we will have.

via @tcarmody

On Hiring Talent (Not Just Programmers)

You could hire through open source like Git­Hub (“we hire ‘The Girl or Guy Who Wrote X,’ where X is an awe­some pro­ject we all use or admire”) or use a check-list to recog­nise com­pet­ency (pas­sion, self-teach­ing, a love of learn­ing, intel­li­gence, hid­den exper­i­ence and know­ledge of a vari­ety of tech­no­lo­gies) and no doubt find some fine pro­gram­mers.

You could also take a sim­il­ar approach to hir­ing mar­keters, writers, design­ers and those in many oth­er indus­tries, too. While this may guar­an­tee com­pet­ence, it does not guar­an­tee suc­cess (busi­ness and/or inter­per­son­al).

Com­bine the above with the approach Steve Jobs takes to inter­view­ing (via Ben Cas­nocha) and you may be on to some­thing (emphas­is mine):

When I hire some­body really seni­or, com­pet­ence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or any­body else. […]

How do I feel about this per­son? What are they like when they’re chal­lenged? Why are they here? I ask every­body that: ‘Why are you here?’ The answers them­selves are not what you’re look­ing for. It’s the meta-data.

Take heed of how Aaron Swartz hires pro­gram­mers using three ques­tions (via kot­tke) and you’re likely to end up with the best can­did­ate. Those three ques­tions:

  • Can they get stuff done?
  • Are they smart?
  • Can you work with them?

And to answer those ques­tions:

  • To find out if they can get stuff done, I just ask what they’ve done. If someone can actu­ally get stuff done they should have done so by now.
  • To find out wheth­er someone’s smart, I just have a cas­u­al con­ver­sa­tion with them. […] Under no cir­cum­stances do I ask them any stand­ard “inter­view ques­tions”.
    • First, do they know stuff? Ask them what they’ve been think­ing about and probe them about it. Do they seem to under­stand it in detail? Can they explain it clearly? […] Do they know stuff about the sub­ject that you don’t?
    • Second, are they curi­ous? Do they recip­roc­ate by ask­ing ques­tions about you? Are they genu­inely inter­ested or just being polite? Do they ask fol­low-up ques­tions about what you’re say­ing? Do their ques­tions make you think?
    • Third, do they learn? At some point in the con­ver­sa­tion, you’ll prob­ably be explain­ing some­thing to them. Do they actu­ally under­stand it or do they just nod and smile?
  • I fig­ure out wheth­er I can work with someone just by hanging out with them for a bit. […] The point is just to see wheth­er they get on your nerves.

Apple, Disney and Pixar: It’s the Products

Writ­ten in early 2006 shortly after Dis­ney’s acquis­i­tion of Pix­ar in a $7.4 bil­lion all-stock deal, Busi­nes­s­Week looks at the rela­tion­ship between the Dis­ney and Apple CEOs and where their rela­tion­ship may lead.

Pres­ci­ent in that it accur­ately pre­dicted the Apple TV and the iPhone, the art­icle also briefly looks at Jobs and his product-first mind­set:

“The great thing about Steve is that he knows that great busi­ness comes from great product,” says Peter Schneider, the former chair­man of Dis­ney’s stu­dio. “First you have to get the product right, wheth­er it’s the iPod or an anim­ated movie.” […]

Time and again since, Apple has eschewed calls to boost mar­ket share by mak­ing lower-end products or expand­ing into adja­cent mar­kets where the com­pany would­n’t be the lead­er. “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do,” Jobs often says. […] “Qual­ity is more import­ant than quant­ity, and in the end, it’s a bet­ter fin­an­cial decision any­way.”

via @venturehacks

Steve Jobs and Circular Visualisations (Not Just Pie Charts)

Pie charts have been hav­ing a bad time of it lately* and I can­’t see things improv­ing any­time soon.

In one of the bet­ter art­icles look­ing at this humble chart, Bri­an Suda notes not only at what you can do instead, but what improve­ments you can make if you’re forced to use the pie chart.

The ori­gin­al idea behind a pie chart is that it rep­res­ents parts of a whole, each sliv­er or wedge is a sec­tion, when totaled gives you the over­all pic­ture. Over the years pie charts have morph­ed purely into eye-candy, exem­pli­fied by their sis­ter graph the dough­nut chart, which offers zero addi­tion­al inform­a­tion.

If we look at a few examples, you will quickly see the fail­ings in the cir­cu­lar design along with how easy it can be used to mis­rep­res­ent data.

One such example of how a pie chart can be used to mis­rep­res­ent data was Steve Jobs’ key­note at Mac­world 2008–as dis­cussed in Suda’s art­icle and over at The Guard­i­an.

* Seth God­in called pie charts “spec­tac­u­larly over­rated” and Seed said we need to “get past the pie chart”.

Presentation Masterclass

Life­Hack has just star­ted what I hope will become an inform­at­ive and use­ful series entitled Present­a­tion Mas­ter­class, cour­tesy of Row­an Man­a­han.

Audi­ences are so deluged with advert­ising mes­sages and radio jingles, with phone calls, voice­mail, email, SMS and IM, with… stuff in their per­son­al lives that unless you, the presenter, are wow­ing them with every word, you will lose their atten­tion in a mat­ter of seconds.

I am always striv­ing to improve my pub­lic speak­ing and my present­a­tion style, so this series is a wel­come addi­tion. I just hope it con­tin­ues to be as good as the intro­duct­ory art­icle.

As a start­ing point, I recom­mend some detox to clear your body and mind from a life­time of expos­ure to sucky present­a­tions. I strongly recom­mend that you expose your­self to some great presenters:

  • Check out Seth God­in, Tom Peters, Guy Kawa­saki, Steve Jobs, and Dick Hardt on You­Tube.
  • Have a look at some of the wiz­ards on TED.com – Rives, Hans Rosling, Barnett Thomas, Lawrence Lessig and Ken Robin­son all stand out, but there are reams more on this invalu­able resource.
  • Go over to Com­mon Craft and have a look at their ‘plain Eng­lish’ tutori­als on aspects of Web 2.0

The one com­mon theme that emerges from this tre­mend­ous diversity of presenters, top­ics and styles is RESPECT. By every word and deed, they demon­strate abso­lute respect for both their audi­ences and them­selves.