10 things I learned from the Steve Jobs biography…

I finally got around to reading the Jobs biography. I wanted to wait and see how Apple would do for a year without the commander at the wheel. I’m glad I waited — perspective is a good thing.

I thought I’d heard or read most everything in the book, so I wasn’t overly eager to reread the same stories. I was mistaken. There was much in the book I had not heard about, and that’s what made it a book I really couldn’t put down. I’ve been an Apple user for 30 years, and with my agency, I’ve spent many thousands in Apple products. I have a vested interest in what the company makes, and how the software performs — it’s critical to the production of my office.

Here are the things I didn’t know.

1. Jobs didn’t shower much, completely shunned most food, and turned away from modern medicine when he needed it most.

2. Serious meetings took place during walks in his neighborhood. Lots and lots of walks. He talked stock options on a sidewalk, not in a conference room.

3. He liked the NeXT logo, but asked Paul Rand to modify the color yellow in the e. Rand lashed back and said no, “I’ve been doing this for fifty years, and I know what I’m doing.”

4. John Scully actually said, “High tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product.” Now there’s a visionary for you.

5. Every project Jobs worked on went wrong somewhere along the line and had to be completely torn down and rebuilt before the final delivery. No project was good from start to finish.

6. Jobs created the first Apple store in a secret location and didn’t tell his board of directors until the store was complete. He made every decision about the store, no detail too small.

7. Apple tried to convert the iPod into a phone. The dial on the iPod would become the way you could move names up and down the list, but data entry was difficult. So that plan was scrapped and they stared all over. They did not start with a platform and apps.

8. Others had to convince Jobs to make the iPod mini. Jobs saw no use for the tiny clip-on version music player. He saw no use for it because he never jogged or worked out with music in his ear.

9. Asthetics win. Design wins. Engineers have to bend. “When we took it to the engineers, they came up with thirty-eight reasons they couldn’t do it. And I said, ‘No, no we’re doing this…Because I’m the CEO, and I think it can be done.”

10. Sometimes perfection can lead to indecision. Jobs lived mostly alone in his first home and it was bare. He had a mattress and no furnishings — guests had to sit on the floor. Buying furniture meant endless design decisions, and he could not decide on the perfect design. If he did buy something, it would have taken forever in deciding where to place it.

Source; Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson, Copyright 2011

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