#172 Book Summary: "I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words" by George Beahm

Learn the very best ideas from "I, Steve: Steve Jobs in his Own Words" by George Beahm.
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November 20, 2023
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#172 Book Summary: "I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words" by George Beahm


Steve Jobs made an incredible impact on the world by creating two of today's most important companies in Apple and Pixar. Both companies created world-changing products while Steve Jobs was alive in the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and Oscar winning animated films such as Toy Story. More importantly, both companies developed the right team, vision, and culture to continue producing world-shaping products decades later — long after Steve's departure. As we learn in this book, Steve's values and ethos live on in both of these incredible companies.


Daniel Scrivner (00:01.214)
Apple has a core set of talents and those talents are we do, I think, very good hardware design. We do very good industrial design and we write very good system and application software. And we're really good at packaging that all together into a product. We're the only people left in the computer industry that can do that. That was a quote by Steve Jobs from December 2003 that's part of the very short book that I'm going to cover today, which is I Steve, Steve Jobs and his own words.

Over the next couple of months, I'm going to cover a few books about Steve, including his latest book, Make Something Wonderful and some of the autobiographies and biographies that have been written about him. But I thought I would start here. And so I'm treating this as a short, yes, it's technically a book, but that's, you know, it's relatively short and it's mostly quotes. And the reason that I wanted to share this book is Steve Jobs is one of my heroes. I know he's one of many people's heroes. And I was fortunate enough to get the chance to work at Apple. So I've seen a lot of how the culture actually works from the inside of the company.

And so hopefully I have some useful things to add. But today this is mostly just about kind of meditating on Steve's approach at Apple and some of the values that have helped him build such an incredible company. If you're interested in buying the book, there is going to be a link in the show notes below, and you can go and find all of these quotes in a post at outlieracademy.com slash Steve jobs quotes. So we can also find a transcript of this episode.

You can listen to it, you can share it at any time. Let's go ahead and jump in. As you'll see if you're watching the video, I've got a crazy system I'm using here of a bunch of sticky notes all over the book. I've tried to pick out the best and these are probably 10% or less of the quotes inside here. So we're going to go across a range of different topics. Let's go ahead and dive in.

One of the things that I think most people that study Steve Jobs realize is that he's fanatical about getting the best people. I mean, he's fanatical about recruiting and he believes that recruiting is the number one job of the CEO and it's also how great companies are built. And here's a quick quote of some of that perspective. All we are is our ideas or people. That's what keeps us going in the morning to hang around these great, bright people. I've always thought that recruiting is the heart and soul of what we do.

Daniel Scrivner (02:17.59)
This is a little bit of an extension, just thinking about recruiting a little bit further. It's not just recruiting. After recruiting, it's then building an environment that makes people feel they are surrounded by equally talented people and that their work is bigger than they are. The feeling that the work will have tremendous influence and is part of a strong, clear vision, all of those things. Recruiting usually requires more than you alone can do. So I found that collaborative recruiting and having a culture that recruits the A players is the best way.

Any interviewee will speak with at least a dozen people in several areas of his company. Not just those in the area that he would work in. That way a lot of our A employees get broad exposure to the company and by having a company culture that supports them, if they feel strongly enough, the current employees can veto a candidate. Some branding in as I think of it, you know, a huge part of branding is to help you escape competition.

We don't stand a chance of advertising with features and benefits and with rams and charts and comparisons. The only chance we have of communicating is with the feeling. And just to talk a little bit about more about this idea of escaping competition. I think one of the things that's really insightful about this quote is, you know, if you think about the computer industry, especially when Apple entered it, the path to ultimate brutal competition was to try to play the game that everyone else was playing.

which is, you know, to, again, we don't say a chance of advertising with features, benefits with Rams, with charts, with comparisons. That is how you enter a field of endless competition. And I think one of the wisest things that Apple did was to escape competition by focusing on competing against a very different vector. And I think a great way of describing that's almost competing on a feeling, trying to, trying to create a holistic product experience that is remarkably better.

in revolving more around narrative and the stories you tell about the products you create as opposed to just the technical benefits, which is obviously going to appeal to, in the broadest sense, a very small portion of the market. I thought this was interesting. If you study Steve's background, he had a lot of formative experiences that were just out of the norm, whether that's extended time spent in India. He has this broad set of life experiences he was able to pull from. Here's a quote on how he thinks about that.

Daniel Scrivner (04:26.282)
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. Absolutely.

This is a little bit of a perspective of how Apple thinks about design. Look at the... So this is particularly, this is focused on the iPod when it came out, and this is a quote from 2006. Look at the design of a lot of consumer products. They're really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there.

But if you keep going and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart and want objects which are well thought through. And I often like to think of design and the process of creating a product is really this. You want to have embedded in the product design process and the design process.

some of what I've thought of like valuable inefficiency, just meaning you're not trying to move linearly as quickly as possible from A to B. You're really trying to slowly methodically, maybe not slowly, but you're trying to methodically peel the layers off the onion one by one by one. And how you get to a remarkable solution is you do that more than your competition. You do that from, you know, you bring more diverse perspectives into the process, then you hold yourself to higher standards. You know, and one of the things I like, you know, just starting out at the top of this quote,

look at the design of a lot of consumer products, they're really complicated surfaces. So he's talking about the physical design of the product, the surface of the product. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. One of the things that you'll learn if you study Johnny Ive, is that how he thinks about a products from a product design perspective is that you should know immediately by looking at how it's meant to be held, how it's meant to be touched, how it's meant to be used. And I love that you can tell here that Steve and Johnny have had a lot of conversations and I think he's picked up this idea.

Daniel Scrivner (06:34.358)
that a device should be holistic and simple, but it should also not have a complicated surface and should be very intuitive what you're supposed to do with it. So quote all about convergence. The place where Apple has been standing for the last two decades is exactly where computer technology and the consumer electronic markets are converging. So it's not like we're having to cross the river to go somewhere else. The other side of the river is coming to us.

One of the things I liked in this book that's under the radar is a couple of credos. This came from early, early days at Apple that employees shared on folklore.org. And so these are things way back in the early 1980s that were credos at Apple. Things Steve would say, things that the, that the team would say to one another. One is it's not done until it ships. Uh, another was the journey is the reward.

And then another, and this is coming from a different source. It's actually an interview from 1998, but Steve talking about that one of the mantras was focus in simplicity. And I like this. This is one other idea. One of the things that I think is remarkable and interesting about studying Steve is he had a early formative experience at Apple. He then gets booted, gets forced out of the board, gets forced out of the company. He then goes on this entirely new journey. He ends up acquiring Pixar, leading Pixar.

And when he comes back to Apple, he's doing a lot of blending and connecting the dots between what he's learned at Pixar and what they're doing at Apple. And I think this is an instance of that. So it's from 2003. One of the things I learned at Pixar is the technology industries and the content industries do not understand each other. In Silicon Valley and at most technology companies, I swear, most people still think the creative process is a bunch of guys in their early 30s sitting around on an old couch drinking beer and thinking of jokes. No, they really do. That's how television is made, they think.

That's how movies are made. People in Hollywood and the content industries, they think technology is something you just write a check for and buy. They do not understand the creativity element of technology. These are like ships passing in the night.

Daniel Scrivner (08:37.261)
I thought this was interesting because it shows that not only is Jobs famous for reading customer complaints and responding to customers that wrote in to him, but I think this is a really interesting example. So this was posted on Apple's website. This was shortly after the introduction of the iPhone. And what happened is they quickly did a price reduction and faced a huge backlash from early customers. And I think what's interesting here is one, most CEOs I know would not engage. They wouldn't ever engage with the topic, let alone publish something like this publicly.

And so I think it's just a remarkable instance of something unique that Steve did as CEO that I think 99.9% of other CEOs would never do. I've received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions. There's always change and improvement and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever.

this is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy a new improved model, you'll never buy any technology products because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon. Even though we are making the right decision to lower the price of iPhone, even though the technology road is bumpy, we need to do a better job of taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price. Our early customers trusted us and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like this.

just masterful communication. I mean, very clear. He's clearly acknowledging exactly why people are upset. He's proving that he's done the work. He's stating that he's read every single email, and then he has some observations and conclusions, and he's presenting them as such. He's not, you know, trying to pass off something. He's engaging with the actual critique. And I love, you know, part of what I love here is this line, this is life in the technology lane. And I just love the kind of ending sentiment. Our customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like...

these exactly. It's also how you build brand love. It's not just a logo. It's not just the products. It's about doing actions like this that prove that you were deeply committed to customers. That these were interesting. This is two quotes from Steve on deadlines. No way. There's no way we're slipping. This is a 1984. It's about to release an early Mac. No way. There's no way we're slipping. You guys been working on this stuff for months. Another couple of weeks isn't going to make much of a difference. You may as well get it over with. Just make it as good as you can. You better get back to work.

Daniel Scrivner (11:03.426)
And again, this obsession, this idea that real artistship and that shippings or finishing is more important than starting. So apparently one of the early quotes is also from folklore.org is just real artistship. And this is something Jobs would tell his team. This is, you know, I thought this was interesting as Jobs reflecting on death. That's why I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. And I think there's so much wisdom in this. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete. I think that's one of Apple's challenges really.

When two young people walk in with the next thing, are we going to embrace it and say this is fantastic? Or are we willing to drop our models? Or are we going to explain it away? I think we'll do better because we're completely aware of it and we make it a priority. So this sense, not only that, you know, death is a wonderful invention, I love that framing.

But also, you know, I think this is extremely true. Why is death actually helpful? Because it purges the system of old models that are obsolete. You know, it's a way of constantly revving our collective thinking by making sure that, you know, the latest thinkers are the one shaping most things. And I just love this idea because I think it's true everywhere. It's just true in venture capital. If you if you're a successful venture capitalist and you've backed an idea. I think one of the challenges. One of the reason that there are so few firms and so few people that endure

is because what makes you successful at any moment, any given moment in time is not what's going to make you successful five years in the future or five years in the past. You have to constantly be able to see the world truly embrace new models. And there's a huge amount of risk in that, including dismissing in a way. And I love that he frames that up. Quote on decision-making and Apple, there are really, there are 10 really important decisions to make every week. It's a transactional company. It's got a lot of new products every month.

And if some of these decisions are wrong, maybe you can fix them a few months later. At Pixar, because I'm not directing the movies, there are just a few really important strategic decisions to make every month, maybe even every quarter. But they're really hard to change. Pixar is much slower paced, but you can't change your mind when you go down these paths. And two other quotes, this one's on Dent in the Universe. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.

Daniel Scrivner (13:17.162)
You know, obviously in that you can hear the echo of the book that Johnny Ives and team ended up publishing called Make Something Wonderful. It's an adage that Steve would always often say. This is about design and you know, I think the end of this to me just feels like an absolutely incredible definition of design. In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design.

Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or surface.

Daniel Scrivner (13:54.786)
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. This was interesting insight into, you know, one, Steve's perceptiveness of design.

and his perceptiveness of style. So this is a, you know, and I remember this at Apple, Steve drove a Mercedes, it was a Mercedes coupe towards the end of his life at Apple. And so this is obviously some critiques and thoughts on Mercedes. Look at the Mercedes styling, the proportion of sharp detailing to flowing lines. Over the years, they've made the line softer, but the detail starker. That's what we have to do with the Macintosh.

Daniel Scrivner (14:49.23)
I see a quote kind of about ambition. And I think the difference between great and insanely great and the idea that, you know, a lot of people think that there's obviously a difference between good and great. But one of my favorite quotes, I found it very true in my own experiences is that actually the biggest difference is between something great and something insanely great. It's almost like that last five or 10% is where a massive Delta is it's not in the move from 50 to 90% or 50 to 80%.

The Lisa people wanted to do something great and the Mac people wanted to do something insanely great. The difference shows your ambition matters and there's a big difference between great and insanely great. Cool thoughts on employee and excellence. I thought this was really interesting. It's all about excellence. People judge you by your performance. So focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. This is absolutely true.

All the highest performing companies I've ever been a part of had the pleasure to get to work and spend time with their teams. Um, they all excellence is expected and there's a very different environment when that's there. And I just love this idea. It's feels like just a wonderful adage that all of us should be repeating in our heads all the time, which is that one of our meta goals is to be the yardstick of quality could be the quality of our thought could be the quality of our actions should probably be all of those things. I think it's a, it's like a wonderful bar to hold ourselves to.

Couple thoughts on focus. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on, but that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. And again, I've often thought to myself, you know, the part of this will quote that I remember and rolls around in my mind often is this idea that this is the bar that I want to hold myself to where I'm as proud of the things I haven't done as the things I have done.

very difficult bars strive for. And some thoughts on, well, just an extension of that, you know, is this idea that being good at no is just as important as saying yes to the right things. And that's another way I've thought of it about this advice. It's a great encouragement. I think a lot of us, you know, view success as being really good at what we say yes to. But I think another way is, you know, I want to be as good at using the word no and making decisions around what I won't do as to what decisions I will do.

Daniel Scrivner (17:13.898)
Some thoughts on focusing on product. In response to the question, what can we learn from Apple's struggle to innovate during the decade before you return in 1997? Steve said, you need a very product oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of good, great engineers and smart people, but ultimately there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe, but it doesn't add up to much. And I think this is...

There's some wonderful videos I'm going to share on social, you know, but if you go in, uh, look up Steve Jobs thinking around what a great product is, what you'll find is that for him, it was the culmination of everything is a wonderful video where someone challenges Steve at a talk. And, um, effectively the point that they're making is tell us what, uh, better from a technology technological standpoint you've done than some of your competitors. And this is about a particular product called open doc. Um,

And Steve's point of view is wonderful. And it echoes a lot of what's in this quote, which is that at Apple, they always start from what's, what is going to be an incredible experience for customers or what can we offer customers that is new and unique and different. And then they're gonna work backwards into figuring out the right technologies to unlock that. And that that's really the right approach. And when you try to approach this the other way around, where you start first with really exciting technologies and try to work towards a customer application, it almost always fails. And it's because

customers, again, I think this goes into the profound wisdom of this idea that customers don't care about, you know, speeds and feeds and kind of the technical details. They care about what it will do for them. And so you want to anchor there. And so, you know, I love the end of this quote. You can have a lot of, you know, great engineers, you can have a lot of smart people, but ultimately there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe, but that's not success.

Success is what it adds up to. And so if it doesn't add up to much, it doesn't matter. That's just wonderful. It's divisive, but I think that is the right perspective. A couple of quotes here, this one about grace under pressure. Many times in the interview, I will purposely upset someone. I'll criticize their work. I'll do my homework, find out what they worked on, and say, God, that really turned out to be a bomb. That really turned out to be a bozo product. Why'd you work on that?

Daniel Scrivner (19:30.486)
I want to see what people are like under pressure. I want to see if they just fold or if they have conviction, belief and pride in what they did. It's an interesting strategy. I haven't tried that one. Um, it's an interesting strategy. Quote on great ideas. Ultimately, it comes down to taste, comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you're doing.

Picasso had a saying, good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. And I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happen to be the best computer scientists in the world. I think this is exactly also what I'm trying to do with this podcast is, you know, trying to expose myself, trying to expose us to...

all of the best ideas and bringing those together into whatever we happen to be doing, whatever you happen to be doing, whatever I have to be doing at this moment in time. And I just love, you know, why does this all matter? Because it all comes down to taste. How do you develop taste? You have to expose yourself to the best things, all of the best things.

Daniel Scrivner (20:36.366)
Couple of ideas around great products. 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. You know, my philosophy is it's always been very simple and it has its flaws, which I'll go into. My philosophy is that everything starts with a great product. So, you know, I obviously believed in listening to customers, but customers can't tell you about the next breakthrough that's going to happen next year. It's going to change the whole industry.

So you have to listen very carefully, but then you have to go and sort of stow away. You have to go hide away with people that really understand the technology, but also really care about the customers and dream up this breakthrough. And that's my perspective that everything starts with a great product and that has its flaws. I've certainly been accused of not listening to customers enough. And I think there is probably a certain amount of that that's valid. And I love, you know, like my notes that I wrote down were breakthroughs come from understanding your customers, not from asking them what to create.

And I think these, you know, the reason I think this is interesting is this shows up heavily and actually how you go about building products. And I think one kind of remarkable idea here is rather than focusing on interviewing customers and literally trying to extract what they're looking for, just focus on getting to know your customers, do calls where you actually spend time with them and see how your product or service fits within their day, or maybe just understand the reality of different customers days and the reality of their businesses and how that may or may not work with your product.

And so this idea of like, you're not going in literally asking and pulling customers for what to build. You're steeping yourself in the reality of their lives and how they use your product. And if you do that, you're going to have a lot of great intuitions about what to build and what feels right. What doesn't feel right. Very like subtle turn of phrase, very different in how that gets applied in the company. I thought this was interesting.

And it speaks a lot to one of Steve Jobs' heroes, and I'll talk about a couple more after I read this. But this is all, you know, my note, this is all about interdisciplinary talents. I've never believed that they're separate. Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and a great scientist. Michelangelo knew a tremendous amount about how to cut stone at the quarry. So he obviously did a lot of work. He also knew how to cut stone at the quarry. He did a lot of phenomenal art with stone, but he knew about more of the process. The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians.

Daniel Scrivner (22:53.366)
Some are better than others, but they all consider that important part of their life. I don't believe that the best people in any of these fields see themselves as one branch of a forked tree. I just don't see that people bring these things together a lot. Dr. Land at Polaroid said, I want Polaroid to stand at the intersection of art and science. And I've and I'd never forgotten that. I think that's I think that that's possible. And I think a lot of people have tried. So one, you know, here what we're seeing. So this is Steve in an interview in 1999.

bringing up the origin of this idea. You know, everyone that studied Apple knows this phrase and this idea that they want to stand at the intersection of art and science actually came from Dr. Lan, Edwin Lan, who was the inventor of the Polaroid, who's a fascinating figure. He's also one of Steve Jobs' heroes. And so one, I think what you're realizing here, if you, if you pay attention is Steve stole ideas from some of the smartest people in history and adopted them and applied them at Apple. You should too. I, you know, we all should too.

carefully studied some of his heroes and he had a collection of heroes that he knew a lot about. And Edwin Land was one of them. I think he's probably one of the most interesting figures. Nolan Bushnell was another. He's the founder of Atari and weirdly enough Chuck E. Cheese. He also hired Steve. He was the first person to ever hire Steve and he has a book all about talent and hiring I'm going to be covering soon. And some of Steve's other heroes were Akito Morita at Sony, Walt Disney and Henry Ford.

I'll do an episode at some point on some of Steve's heroes, what we can learn from them.

I thought this was interesting. Yeah, I thought this was interesting. So this is Steve coming back to Apple after being gone in one of the things that he did. When I got back here in 1997, I was looking for more, I was looking for more room and I found an archive of old Macs and other stuff. I shipped all that off to Stanford. If you look backwards in this business, you'll be crushed. You have to look forward.

Daniel Scrivner (24:53.558)
This was an interesting, this is an interesting quote on money. And this rings true. You know, and if you go and study how Apple spends R and D dollars versus most companies that it competes with, you'll notice that Apple spends much less of them and achieves far more. And so I think this is a great push to this idea that you, you can't compete with incumbents if you have less funding. And I think this is just a great thought in terms of how to think about money and business and where it matters and how it matters.

Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. 100 times more staggering. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led and how much you get it. Rarely do I find an important product or service in people's lives where you don't have at least two competitors. Apple is positioned beautifully to be that second competitor.

quote on new products. I've said this before, but thought it was worth repeating. It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough that it's technology married with liberal arts. Here again, we see this idea from Edwin Land. This is all the way now. So the last one was in 1997. This is more than a decade later in 2011. Okay. So it's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough that it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the results that make our hearts sing.

And nowhere is that more true than in these post PC devices. And a lot of folks in this tablet market are rushing in and they're looking at this as the next PC. The hardware and the software are done by different companies. And they're talking about speeds and feeds just like they did with PCs. There are a lot of echoes of the past. In our experience, and every bone in our body says that this is not the right approach. That these are post PC devices that need to be even easier to use than PCs. That need to be even more intuitive than a PC.

and where the software and the hardware and the applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than they do on the PC. So much wisdom in that just the way you can and you can see that perspective and how it shows up in iPad and these post PC devices that Apple has created. Couple thoughts on owning the user experience and why that's important. We're the only company that owns the whole widget, the hardware, the software and the operating system. We can take responsibility for the user experience. We can do things that the other guys can't do.

Daniel Scrivner (27:17.01)
I love this, you know, the parts that I underlined here is that they're the only company that want to have the ambition to own the whole thing. And you know, I thought this was really interesting phrasing. We can, you know, we can take full responsibility for the user experience, almost an acknowledgement that I think most people see that as a trade off. And so they're, you know, we're not really going to worry too much about the user experience. We're worried about one piece of the solution. People are going to get other pieces from other people. And just this idea that no, we're going to take not only do we have the ambition, but

to own the whole thing and do the whole widget. But we're also gonna take full responsibility for the user experience. This on passion, I thought was interesting. People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing and it's totally true. And the reason is because it's so hard that if you don't, any rational person would give up. It's really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it, if you don't really love it, you're going to give up. And that's what happens to most people actually.

If you really look at the ones that ended up being successful in the eyes of society, and the ones that didn't, oftentimes it's the ones who were successful loved what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones that didn't love it quite, because they're saying, right, who would want to put up with this stuff if you don't love it? So it's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of worrying constantly. And if you don't love it, you're going to fail.

Daniel Scrivner (28:39.454)
Similar thought on perseverance. I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive, you're going to give up. So you've got to have an idea or a problem or a wrong that you want to write that you're passionate about. Otherwise, you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. And I love this, you know, obviously there's a lot of positive sources of passion.

And that's things that you love, problems that you're excited about, ideas that you that you love and are obsessed about. But there's also a darker side of passion. And this can actually be extremely powerful. And if you look at a lot of successful companies, outlier successes, actually, I think Uber and Travis Kalanick are a wonderful example of this, where really what they're driven by is, sure, there's obviously some positive ambition and passion, but they also have a massive chip on their shoulder and this idea that, you know, Steve cites here.

or a wrong that you want to write that you're passionate about. I think it's interesting to acknowledge that a lot of the best people and companies in history have been more motivated by some right that they are something wrong that they want to write as opposed to just positive forms of passion. It's not, that's a, it's a productive form of passion if you use it in the right way and you should lean into those things. If you have them, a thought on quality, we just wanted to build the best thing we could build. When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back.

even though it faces the wall and no one will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality has to be carried all the way through. And I've often thought of this definition, this idea, it's also been stated as like painting the back of the drawer, as a chest drawer that might go inside something. So Steve is talking here about in the back of a drawer where you're not gonna see, you're in the back of a chest of drawers.

you know, making sure that you're using the same wood that you're using on the front, like the whole, the coherence, the holistic thing matters. I've often thought that idea to me is the real, when I think of the definition of craftsmanship, it's, it's that it's caring as much about the unseen details, about the scene details and the fact that people can sense that stuff. I think there's a lot of wisdom in that and I found that very true myself. Quote on risk, uh, repeating success and one on risking failure. There's a classic thing in business, which is a second product syndrome.

Daniel Scrivner (30:57.598)
Often companies that have a really successful first product don't quite understand why that product was so successful. And so with the second product, their ambitions grow and they get much more grandiose and their second product fails. They fail to get it out. Work fails to resonate with the marketplace because they really didn't understand why their first product resonated with the marketplace. It happens all the time. Risking failure. And again, this is one of, this is Steve Jobs citing one of his other role models from a very different vein of Bob Dylan.

One of my role models is Bob Dylan. As I grew up, I learned the lyrics to all his songs and watched him never stand still. If you look at the artists, if they get really good, it always occurs to them at some point that they can do this one thing for the rest of their lives and they can be really successful to the outside world, but not really successful to themselves. That's the moment that an artist really decides who he or she is. If they keep on risking failure, they're still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure. The Apple thing is that way for me.

I don't want to fail, of course, but even though I didn't know how bad things really were, I still had a lot to think about before I said, yes, I had to consider the implications for Pixar, for my family, for my reputation. I decided that I didn't really care because this is what I want to do. If I try my best and fail, well, I tried my best. And I love this phrase. If they keep on risking failure, they're still artists. I think it's also true about entrepreneurs. If they keep on risking failure, they're still entrepreneurs.

Simplicity, as technology becomes more complex, Apple's core strength of knowing how to make very sophisticated technology comprehensible to mere mortals is an even greater demand. I think this describes so much of Apple's success. There's a very strong DNA within Apple, and that's about taking state-of-the-art technology and making it easy for people, people who don't wanna read manuals, people who live very busy lives. I think another way of thinking about this is, technology has given us so much.

And yet the way that technology is packaged matters an immense amount. And when you can package something extremely sophisticated in a simple interface that we can all use and easily understand as humans, you unlock something magical. You know, like a topical thought about this is I think this is actually behind a lot of the success of chat GPT, is it's incredibly powerful technology and yet the surface area what you and I interact with and what that looks like is extraordinarily simple.

Daniel Scrivner (33:21.358)
It's literally a chat box that you were using to go back and forth and interface with this very powerful technology. And I think that that, you know, like, the last thing I will say is that again, that interface is so important because that is a source of leverage. Like technology is only useful if you and I can use it. And I think a core insight that Apple had was, was just that, that they need to focus on usability and simplicity and understandability because that's actually how most people

we'll be able to get the benefits of technology without that. It doesn't matter. I think to Steve's point, it's wonderful. If you have all this fancy technology floating on the ether, it's what it coheres together as that is what matters. You know, if the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software in them is their soul. That was an interesting, it's interesting insight into how Steve thought about the difference between hardware and software and an interesting insight into why Apple software in many cases is so personified has

you know, wonderful motion, it has wonderful sounds. I think a big part of that is this idea, it's the soul. It's the soul of this otherwise, you know, basically glass and metal and you know, a lot of wires. So this is on Apple during his decade long absence. The trouble with Apple is it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. We succeeded so well, we got everyone else to dream the same dream. The rest of the world became just like it. The trouble is the dream didn't evolve. Apple stopped creating.

This was interesting. It's another example of I think, you know, Steve Jobs was very astute in many different areas. And one, it was understanding incentives. And I thought this was a really interesting, subtle thing that he did when he returned to Apple. At Apple, we gave all of our employees stock options very early on. We were among the first in Silicon Valley to do that. And when I returned, I took away most of the cash bonuses and replaced them with options. No cars, no planes, no bonuses. Basically, everybody gets a salary in stock. It's a very egalitarian way to

that Hewlett Packard pioneered. Again, the founder of Hewlett Packard is one of other Steve Jobs' other mentors. And that Apple, I would like to think, help established. And so again, this idea that we don't do bonuses, we don't do cars, we don't do planes. Everybody shares the upside of what we're creating. And the best way to do that is with stock. And as much as stock options are derided, I think Steve does a great job of framing it up into why it actually matters, which is its incentives. We're all rowing in the same direction. We all care about the same thing.

Daniel Scrivner (35:45.662)
This is interesting. It's another insight that Steve pulled from Pixar and then applied to Apple. We've pioneered the whole medium of computer animation, but John Lasseter once said, and this really stuck with me, no amount of technology will turn a bad story into a good story. That dedication to quality is really ingrained in the culture of this studio.

Daniel Scrivner (36:06.91)
thinking through the problem. Once you get into the problem, you see that it's complicated and you come up with all these convoluted solutions. That's where most people stop. And the solutions tend to work for a while, but the really great person will keep going, find the underlying problem and come up with an elegant solution that works on every level. That's what we wanted to do with the Mac. Again, this relates to a quote we had earlier about peeling the onion and the fact that you just have to keep engaging, keep stripping away layers, keep answering questions.

This is from Steve's commencement address at Stanford University. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. It's such an interesting insight. Dogma is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other people's opinions drown out your own inner voice and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Daniel Scrivner (37:08.558)
quote on vision. We're gambling on our vision and we would rather do that than make me two products. Let some other company do that. For us, it's always the next dream. Steve also really prized wisdom. He's a student of history. I don't think he gets enough credit for that. This quote was interesting. It's from 2001. I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

And you know, this is share. So Steve, this is also in that Stanford University commencement address, shared this. And I think it's really interesting, because obviously Steve had this experience where he gets booted out of Apple, this company that he creates that was wildly successful in the early days. And that's obviously, there's a ton of trauma. There's a ton of baggage that comes with that, negative baggage that comes with that. But I thought this insight that Steve had was very powerful. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.

It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. An allusion to the popular saying by Zen master Shunru Suzuki, in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities but in the experts there are a few. There are only a few.

And that's it for more. I highly encourage you to read the book. It's again, I Steve jobs in his own words. There's many books written about Steve. This one is great. And what I read to you again was probably 10% of the quotes in here. They are my favorites. I highly encourage you to get your own copy and you know, go and underline your own quotes. You can purchase it. Again, there's a link in the show notes. You can also go and find all of my highlights all of these quotes as well as a transcript of this episode at outlieracademy.com/steve-jobs-quotes.

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