Make Something Wonderful

Steve Jobs in his own words

There’s lots of ways to be, as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

And you never meet the people. You never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours. But somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something’s transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are and remember what’s really important to us.

Steve, 2007

Introduction by
Laurene Powell Jobs

The best way to understand a person is to listen to that person directly. And the best way to understand Steve is to listen to what he said and wrote over the course of his life. His words—in speeches, interviews, and emails—offer a window into how he thought. And he was an exquisite thinker.

Much of what’s in these pages reflects guiding themes of Steve’s life: his sense of the worlds that would emerge from marrying the arts and technology; his unbelievable rigor, which he imposed first and most strenuously on himself; his tenacity in pursuit of assembling and leading great teams; and perhaps, above all, his insights into what it means to be human.

Steve once told a group of students, “You appear, have a chance to blaze in the sky, then you disappear.” He gave an extraordinary amount of thought to how best to use our fleeting time. He was compelled by the notion of being part of the arc of human existence, animated by the thought that he—or that any of us—might elevate or expedite human progress.

It is hard enough to see what is already there, to gain a clear view. Steve’s gift was greater still: he saw clearly what was not there, what could be there, what had to be there. His mind was never a captive of reality. Quite the contrary: he imagined what reality lacked and set out to remedy it. His ideas were not arguments, but intuitions, born of a true inner freedom and an epic sense of possibility.

In these pages, Steve drafts and refines. He stumbles, grows, and changes. But always, always, he retains that sense of possibility. I hope these selections ignite in you the understanding that drove him: that everything that makes up what we call life was made by people no smarter, no more capable, than we are; that our world is not fixed—and so we can change it for the better.

Edited by Leslie Berlin

Published by the Steve Jobs Archive

Contents have been edited and excerpted for clarity and privacy.

 indicates that several sentences or paragraphs have been removed from the original.

Two-year-old Steve rides a tricycle with tassels on the handlebars toward the camera.
Steve at two. He later called computers “a bicycle of the mind.”

Preface: Steve on His Childhood and Young Adulthood

Steve typically kept his personal life private, but he did occasionally talk about growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a time when engineers and programmers began flooding into what came to be known as Silicon Valley.

In 1995, he recorded an oral history for the Smithsonian.

I was very lucky. I had a father, named Paul, who was a pretty remarkable man. He never graduated from high school. He joined the Coast Guard in World War II and ferried troops around the world for General Patton, and I think he was always getting into trouble and getting busted down to Private. He was a machinist by trade and worked very hard and was kind of a genius with his hands.

He had a workbench out in the garage where, when I was about five or six, he sectioned off a little piece of it and said, “Steve, this is your workbench now.” And he gave me some of his smaller tools and showed me how to use a hammer and saw and how to build things. It really was very good for me. He spent a lot of time with me, teaching me how to build things, take things apart, put things back together.

One of the things that he touched upon was electronics. He did not have a deep understanding of electronics himself, but he’d encountered electronics a lot in automobiles and other things that he would fix. He showed me the rudiments of electronics, and I got very interested in that.

I grew up in Silicon Valley. My parents moved from San Francisco to Mountain View when I was five. My dad got transferred, and that was right in the heart of Silicon Valley, so there were engineers all around. Silicon Valley, for the most part, at that time, was still orchards—apricot orchards and prune orchards—and it was really paradise. I remember almost every day the air being crystal clear, where you could see from one end of the valley to the other. It was really the most wonderful place in the world to grow up.

There was a man that moved in down the street, maybe about six or seven houses down the block, who was new in the neighborhood with his wife. And it turned out that he was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard and he was a ham-radio operator and really into electronics. What he did to get to know the kids on the block was rather a strange thing: he put out a carbon microphone and a battery and a speaker on his driveway, where you could talk into the microphone and your voice would be amplified by the speaker. Kind of a strange thing when you move into a neighborhood, but that’s what he did. 

I got to know this man, whose name was Larry Lang, and he taught me a lot of electronics. He was great. He used to build Heathkits. Heathkits were really great. Heathkits were these products that you would buy in kit form. You actually paid more money for them than if you just went and bought the finished product, if it was available. These Heathkits would come with these detailed manuals about how to put this thing together, and all the parts would be laid out in a certain way and color coded. You’d actually build this thing yourself.

I would say that gave one several things. It gave one an understanding of what was inside a finished product and how it worked, because it would include a theory of operation. But maybe even more importantly, it gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries anymore. I mean, you looked at a television set, and you would think, “I haven’t built one of those—but I could. There’s one of those in the Heathkit catalog, and I’ve built two other Heathkits, so I could build a television set.” Things became much more clear that they were the results of human creation, not these magical things that just appeared in one’s environment that one had no knowledge of their interiors. It gave a tremendous degree of self-confidence that, through exploration and learning, one could understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment. My childhood was very fortunate in that way. 

School was pretty hard for me at the beginning. My mother taught me how to read before I got to school, and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things: I wanted to read books, because I loved reading books, and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies. You know, do the things that five-year-olds like to do. I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came this close to really beating any curiosity out of me.

By the time I was in third grade, I had a good buddy of mine, Rick Ferrentino, and the only way we had fun was to create mischief. I remember there was a big bike rack where everybody put their bikes, maybe a hundred bikes in this rack—and we traded everybody our lock combinations for theirs on an individual basis. Then [we] went out one day and put everybody’s lock on everybody else’s bike, and it took them until about ten o’clock that night to get all the bikes sorted out. We set off explosives in teachers’ desks. We got kicked out of school a lot.

In fourth grade I encountered one of the other saints of my life. They were going to put me and Rick Ferrentino into the same fourth-grade class, and the principal said at the last minute, “No, bad idea. Separate them.” So this teacher, Mrs. Hill, said, “I’ll take one of them.” She taught the advanced fourth-grade class, and thank God I was the random one that got put in the class. She watched me for about two weeks and then approached me. She said, “Steven, I’ll tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I have this math workbook, and if you take it home and finish it on your own without any help, and you bring it back to me, if you get it 80 percent right, I will give you five dollars and one of these really big suckers.” She [had] bought [a sucker], and she held it out in front of me—one of these giant things.

And I looked at her like, “Are you crazy, lady? Nobody’s ever done this before!” And of course I did it. She basically bribed me back into learning, with candy and money. And what was really remarkable was before very long I had such a respect for her that it sort of reignited my desire to learn. She was remarkable. She got me kits for making cameras. I ground my own lens and made a camera. It was really quite wonderful. I think I probably learned more academically in that one year than I’d ever learned in my life.

In 1984, Steve chatted with reporter David Sheff about how, as young adults, he and others of his generation began to develop their own cultural outlook.

My parents never pushed me to go to college, but they always wanted to make sure that if I wanted to go, they had the resources to do it. And they saved, they really sacrificed some and saved some money up [for me to attend Reed College], but […] after six months, it just, it just seemed really absurd to be spending their life savings putting me through college.

I didn’t know enough about what I wanted to do, and besides that, I figured I could drop out and then drop back in and take the classes anyway and learn just as much. So I dropped out after six months, and then I dropped in for a little over a year.

I spent about a year and a half there, maybe close to two years. And I enjoyed it greatly. It was a hard time in my life, but I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. And Reed was a very intense place, very bright people—everyone out to change the world, but not knowing quite how. 

The early seventies was the time that sort of Eastern mysticism hit the shores of the United States. And we had a constant flow of people traveling through Reed, stopping off at Reed. Everyone from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert to Gary Snyder, people like that. So there’s a constant flow of intellectual questioning about the truth of life and existence. 

The idealistic wind of the sixties was still at our back, and most of the people that I know that are my age have that ingrained in them forever. They have that idealism in them, but they also have a certain cautiousness about sort of ending up working in a natural food store behind the counter when they’re forty-five years old, which is what they saw some of their older friends [doing]—not that that’s bad in and of itself, but it’s bad if that’s not what you really set out to do or what you really wanted to be doing.

So that idealism was formed, but also the feeling that there had to be a more successful way [of] realizing some of that idealism.

Steve also recalled his time in California and India after leaving Reed College.

I came back down [to the San Francisco Bay Area] ’cause I decided I wanted to travel, but I was lacking the necessary funds.

This was California. You can get LSD fresh-made from Stanford University. You can go sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriends and whatever meaningful others. You could … I didn’t really realize how different California was than the middle of America, and even to some extent the East Coast, until I traveled to those places. I’d never been to any of those places until my early twenties. California has a sense of experimentation about it, and a sense of openness about it—openness and new possibility—that I really didn’t appreciate till I went to other places.

So I came back down to get a job, and I was looking in the paper and there was this ad that […] talked about being an engineer and having fun at the same time. It sounded like fun, so I called. It was [video game manufacturer] Atari. And I filled out an application, just listed all the things that I’d done, and the personnel woman said, “Well, don’t call us, we’ll call you!” But then some stroke of luck got my application to a man named Al Alcorn, who was the vice president of engineering at Atari at the time. And he called me up the next day and hired me, and it was great. […] I was there a little less than a year, and they had shipped a bunch of games to Europe that had some engineering defects in them. I figured out how to fix them, but it was necessary for somebody to go over there and actually do the fixing.

So I volunteered to go; well, they asked me if I’d go, and I said I definitely would love to, but I’d like to take a leave of absence when I was there. So they let me do that, and I ended up in Switzerland and flew from Zurich to New Delhi. And I spent some time in India.

I’m stupefied to sort of summarize [my trip to India]. Anyone would have a hard time summarizing a meaningful experience of their life in a page. I mean, if I was William Faulkner, I might be able to do it for you, but I’m not.

Coming back was more of a culture shock than going. All I really wanted to do [after returning to California] was to go find a grassy meadow and just sit. I didn’t want to drive a car. I didn’t want to go to San Francisco or do all these things. I didn’t want to do it.

So I didn’t, for about three months. I just read and sat. When you are a stranger in a place, you notice things that you rapidly stop noticing when you become familiar. I was a stranger in America for the first time in my life, and so I saw things I’d never seen before. And I tried to pay attention to them for those three months because I knew that gradually, bit by bit, my familiarity would be gained again.

A passport for Steven Paul Jobs issued on May 11, 1973, featuring a stamped photo of him with shaggy hair.
Steve’s passport, spring 1973. He was eighteen.
A yellowing postcard with a Buddhist poem handwritten by Steve. The last line reads: Dont waste your life.
A poem sent to a friend in 1974: “Don’t waste your life.”

Part I, 1976–1985

“A lot of people put a lot of love into these products.”

In 1976, when Steve and his friend Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) began assembling what would come to be known as the Apple I in the Jobs family’s garage, the word “computer” conjured images of hulking machines tended by professional programmers. A single company—IBM—dominated the industry. But Steve and Woz were part of a new generation of creative thinkers, engineers, and hobbyists trying to build small, cheap machines that they could program themselves.

When Apple launched, Steve was twenty-one, precocious but inexperienced and unpolished. At Apple’s first board meeting, he put his bare feet on a conference room table, earning a quick rebuke from the board chair. The company’s breakthrough came with the introduction of the Apple II, a machine that could run right out of the box, with cassette storage and a built-in color screen. Within a year, Apple was one of the fastest-growing companies in America—and by the time Steve turned thirty, he was the public face of a Fortune 500 company.

Inside Apple, his ideas and passion were inspiring, but Steve’s management style was divisive. His responsibilities changed almost every year as he was assigned to and removed from various projects and teams. He began clashing with his handpicked CEO, John Sculley. In September 1985, the Apple board fired Steve.

Later, when he talked about these first years at Apple, Steve focused on one thing: Macintosh, the computer that he and a tight-knit team introduced to the world in 1984. To Steve, Macintosh was everything technology should be. It was streamlined and practical, simple and sophisticated, a tool for enhancing creativity as much as productivity.

In another age, Steve believed, the people on the Macintosh team would have been writers, musicians, or artists. “The feelings and the passion that people put into it were completely indistinguishable from a poet or a painter,” he said. He called their work a form of love and their product “a computer for the rest of us,” with a mouse as well as arrow keys, desktop icons instead of programming commands, and, at startup, instead of a blinking cursor: a smile.

Macintosh also represented the first time Steve led a team developing a product that he believed had changed the world. “It ushered in a revolution,” Steve recalled twenty-three years later, during the rollout of another world-changing innovation: the iPhone. “I remember the week before we launched the Mac, we all got together, and we said, ‘Every computer is going to work this way. You can’t argue about that anymore. You can argue about how long it will take, but you can’t argue about it anymore.’”

Steve on Launching Apple

In 1984, Steve recalled the friendships behind Apple.

I met Woz when I was thirteen in a friend of mine’s garage. He was, I think, about eighteen. […] He moved down the street from a friend of mine named Bill Fernandez, and I was over at Bill’s. We were working late one night on a project, and Woz dropped by. We ended up talking for hours. I was real impressed with him. I thought he was great. He had a good sense of humor […] and we had a common interest [in electronics] that sort of bound us together even though we were totally different in every other way possible. 

We’re sort of like two planets in our own orbits that every so often intersect each other. There’s a bond there that will last as long as we both live.

In 1996, the year Apple celebrated its twentieth anniversary, Steve recalled how a teen hobby building computers turned into a business.

The reason we [Woz and I] built a computer was that we wanted one, and we couldn’t afford to buy one. They were thousands of dollars at that time. We were just two teenagers. We started trying to build them and scrounging parts around Silicon Valley where we could. After a few attempts, we managed to put together something that was the Apple I. All of our friends wanted them, too. They wanted to build them. It turned out that it took maybe fifty hours to build one of these things by hand. It was taking up all of our spare time because our friends were not that skilled at building them, so Woz and I were building them for them.

We thought if we could just get what’s called a printed circuit board, where you could just plug in the parts instead of having to hand-wire the whole thing, we could cut the assembly time down from maybe fifty hours to more like an hour. Woz sold his HP calculator, and I sold my VW Microbus, and we got enough money together to pay someone to design one of these printed circuit boards for us. Our goal was to just sell them as raw printed circuit boards to our friends and make enough money to recoup our calculator and transportation.

What happened was that one of the early computer [stores], in fact, the first computer store in the world, which was in Mountain View at the time, said, “Well, I’ll take fifty of these computers, but I want them fully assembled.” Which was a twist that we’d never thought of.

We went and bought the parts to build one hundred computers. We built fifty of them and delivered them. We got paid in cash and ran back and paid the people that sold us parts. Then we had the classic Marxian profit realization crisis, which was our profit wasn’t liquid—it was in fifty computers sitting on the floor.

We decided we had to start learning about sales and distribution so that we could sell the fifty computers and get back our money. That’s how we got in the business. We took our idea [for the computer] to a few companies, one where Woz worked [Hewlett-Packard] and one where I worked at the time [Atari]. Neither one was interested in pursuing it, so we started our own company.

Steve hunches over a wooden desk, his hands on a keyboard hooked up to an Apple I circuit board.
At work on an Apple I, 1976.
An Apple I that Steve kept in his office. Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJAAn open briefcase. The top half houses an Apple I circuit board, wired up to a keyboard in the bottom half.
An Apple I that Steve kept in his office.
A Polaroid of a computer screen, with a fan letter praising Woz and Steve. A handwritten note dates it to 1976.
Apple’s first fan letter, a Polaroid of a computer screen.
Wearing suit pants and a vest, Steve is in front of a small crowd, looking over his shoulder at the camera.
Steve demonstrates the Apple II prototype, 1977.

Interview with The New Yorker

“It’s a domesticated computer.”

Steve’s first appearance in a national publication came in a 1977 issue of The New Yorker. The magazine sent a reporter to the First Annual Personal Computing Expo, held in the New York Coliseum. Most people at the time had never seen a personal computer.

At a booth marked “Apple Computer, Inc.,” we paused to chat with the young man in charge, who introduced himself as Steven Jobs, the company’s vice-president for operations. Mr. Jobs was pleased at the turnout for the exhibition. “I wish we’d had these personal machines when I was growing up,” he said. “People have been hearing all sorts of things about computers during the past ten years through the media. Supposedly, computers have been controlling various aspects of their lives. Yet in spite of that, most adults have no idea of what a computer really is, of what it can or can’t do.

“Now, for the first time, people can actually buy a computer for the price of a good stereo, interact with it, and find out all about it. It’s analogous to taking apart 1955 Chevys. Or consider the camera. There are thousands of people across the country taking photography courses. They’ll never be professional photographers. They just want to understand what the photographic process is all about. Same with computers.

“We started a little personal-computer manufacturing company in a garage in Los Altos in 1976. Now we’re the largest personal-computer company in the world. We make what we think of as the Rolls-Royce of personal computers. It’s a domesticated computer. People expect blinking lights, but what they find is that it looks like a portable typewriter, which, connected to a suitable readout screen, is able to display in color.

“There’s a feedback it gives to people, and the enthusiasm of the users is tremendous. We’re always asked what it can do, and it can do many things, but in my opinion the real thing it is doing right now is to teach people how to program the computer.”

Recalling Mr. Jobs’ wish that he had had such machines when he was growing up, we asked him if he would mind telling us his age.

“Twenty-two,” Mr. Jobs said.

A scruffy-bearded Steve smiles at the camera as he leans back in his office chair and talks on the telephone.
Apple outgrew its headquarters twice in 1977.
With tidy hair and a plaid shirt, Steve poses with an Apple II displaying drawings of Sesame Street characters.
With the Apple II in 1981, the year IBM introduced its PC.
Steve peers through the lens of a Nikon camera as his elbow rests on the Apple II in front of him.
Steve was an avid photographer.
Parked outside his Tudor-style home, Steve shares the seat of his BMW motorcycle with a black and white dog.
He set up his bike in Apple’s lobby for design inspiration.

Speech at the International Design Conference in Aspen

“Computers and society are out on a first date.”

Steve spoke to designers at this annual gathering in Aspen, Colorado, on June 15, 1983, five months after Apple introduced the Lisa computer.

How many of you are over thirty-six years old? You were born pre-computer. Computers are thirty-six years old. I think there’s going to be a little slice in the timeline of history as we look back, a pretty meaningful slice right there. A lot of you are products of the television generation. I’m pretty much a product of the television generation, but to some extent starting to be a product of the computer generation.

But the kids growing up now are definitely products of the computer generation, and in their lifetimes the computer will become the predominant medium of communication, just as the television took over from the radio, took over from even the book.

How many of you own an Apple? Any? Or just any personal computer?


How many of you have used one, or seen one, or anything like that? Good. 

Computers are really dumb. They’re exceptionally simple, but they’re really fast. The raw instructions that we have to feed these little microprocessors—or even these giant Cray-1 supercomputers—are the most trivial of instructions. They get some data from there, get a number from here, add two numbers together, and test to see if it’s bigger than zero. It’s the most mundane thing you could ever imagine.

But here’s the key thing: let’s say I could move a hundred times faster than anyone in here. In the blink of your eye, I could run out there, grab a bouquet of fresh spring flowers, run back in here, and snap my fingers. You would all think I was a magician. And yet I would basically be doing a series of really simple instructions: running out there, grabbing some flowers, running back, snapping my fingers. But I could just do them so fast that you would think that there was something magical going on.

And it’s the exact same way with a computer. It can do about a million instructions per second. And so we tend to think there’s something magical going on, when in reality, it’s just a series of simple instructions. 

One of the reasons I’m here is because I need your help. If you’ve looked at computers, they look like garbage. All the great product designers are off designing automobiles or buildings. But hardly any of them are designing computers. If we take a look, we’re going to sell 3 million computers this year, 10 million in ’86, whether they look like a piece of shit or they look great. People are just going to suck this stuff up so fast no matter what it looks like. And it doesn’t cost any more money to make them look great. They are going to be these new objects that are going to be in everyone’s working environment, everyone’s educational environment, and everyone’s home environment. We have a shot [at] putting a great object there—and if we don’t, we’re going to put one more piece-of-junk object there.

By ’86, ’87, pick a year, people are going to spend more time interacting with these machines than they do interacting with automobiles today. People are going to be spending two, three hours a day interacting with these machines—longer than they spend in the car. And so the industrial design, the software design, and how people interact with these things certainly must be given the consideration that we give automobiles today—if not a lot more.

If you take a look, what we’ve got is a situation where most automobiles are not being designed in the United States. Televisions? Audio electronics? Watches, cameras, bicycles, calculators, you name it: most of the objects of our lives are not designed in America. We’ve blown it. We’ve blown it from an industrial point of view because we’ve lost the markets to foreign competitors. We’ve also blown it from a design point of view.

And I think we have a chance with this new computing technology meeting people in the eighties—the fact that computers and society are out on a first date in the eighties. We have a chance to make these things beautiful, and we have a chance to communicate something through the design of the objects themselves. 

When I was going to school, I had a few great teachers and a lot of mediocre teachers. And the thing that probably kept me out of jail was the books. I could go and read what Aristotle or Plato wrote without an intermediary in the way. And a book was a phenomenal thing. It got right from the source to the destination without anything in the middle.

The problem was, you can’t ask Aristotle a question. And I think, as we look towards the next fifty to one hundred years, if we really can come up with these machines that can capture an underlying spirit, or an underlying set of principles, or an underlying way of looking at the world, then, when the next Aristotle comes around, maybe if he carries around one of these machines with him his whole life—his or her whole life—and types in all this stuff, then maybe someday, after this person’s dead and gone, we can ask this machine, “Hey, what would Aristotle have said? What about this?” And maybe we won’t get the right answer, but maybe we will. And that’s really exciting to me. And that’s one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing.

So, what do you want to talk about?

Steve answered questions at two conference sessions.

How are these computers all going to work together? They’re probably going to work together a lot like people do. Sometimes they’re going to work together really well, and other times they’re not going to work together so well. 

What’s happened, there’s been a few installations where people have hooked these things together. The one installation that stands out is at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, for short. And they hooked about a hundred computers together on what’s called a local area network, which is just a cable that carries all this information back and forth. […]

Then an interesting thing happened. There were twenty people interested in volleyball. So a volleyball distribution list evolved, and then, when the volleyball game next week was changed, you’d write a quick memo and send it to the volleyball distribution list. Then there was a Chinese food cooking list. And before long, there were more lists than people.

And it was a very, very interesting phenomenon, because I think that that’s exactly what’s going to happen as we start to tie these things [computers] together: they’re going to facilitate communication and facilitate bringing people together in the special interests that they have.

And we’re about five years away from really solving the problems of hooking these computers together in the office. And we’re about ten to fifteen years away from solving the problems of hooking them together in the home. A lot of people are working on it, but it’s a pretty fierce problem.

Now, Apple’s strategy is really simple. What we want to do is put an incredibly great computer in a book that you carry around with you, that you can learn how to use in twenty minutes. That’s what we want to do. And we want to do it this decade. And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything—you’re in communication with all these larger databases and other computers. We don’t know how to do that now. It’s impossible technically. 

We’re trying to get away from programming. We’ve got to get away from programming because people don’t want to program computers. People want to use computers. 

We [at Apple] feel that, for some crazy reason, we’re in the right place at the right time to put something back. And what I mean by that is, most of us didn’t make the clothes we’re wearing, and we didn’t cook or grow the food that we eat, and we’re speaking a language that was developed by other people, and we use a mathematics that was developed by other people. We are constantly taking.

And the ability to put something back into the pool of human experience is extremely neat. I think that everyone knows that in the next ten years we have the chance to really do that. And we [will] look back—and while we’re doing it, it’s pretty fun, too—we will look back and say, “God, we were a part of that!” 

We started with nothing. So whenever you start with nothing, you can always shoot for the moon. You have nothing to lose. And the thing that happens is—when you sort of get something, it’s very easy to go into cover-your-ass mode, and then you become conservative and vote for Ronnie. So what we’re trying to do is to realize the very amazing time that we’re in and not go into that mode. 

I can’t tell you why you need a home computer right now. I mean, people ask me, “Why should I buy a computer in my home?”

And I say, “Well, to learn about it, to run some fun simulations. If you’ve got some kids, they should probably know about it in terms of literacy. They can probably get some good educational software, especially if they’re younger.

“You can hook up to the source and, you know, do whatever you’re going to do. Meet women, I don’t know. But other than that, there’s no good reason to buy one for your house right now. But there will be. There will be.” 

I don’t think finance is what drives people at Apple. I don’t think it’s money, but feeling like you own a piece of the company, and this is your damn company, and if you see something … We always tell people, “You work for Apple first and your boss second.” We feel pretty strongly about that. 

When you have a million people using something, then that’s when creativity really starts to happen on a very rapid scale. […] We need some revolutions like [the] Lisa [computer], but we also then need to get millions of units out there and let the world innovate—because the world’s pretty good at innovating, we’ve found.

On the Macintosh

Macintosh was less than a year old—but clearly poised to transform the personal computer industry—when Steve reflected on its significance with reporter David Sheff.

One of the things I love is that with Macintosh, you can write memos that are Times Roman or Helvetica, or you can throw in an Old English if you want to have a little fun for a party, you know, for a volleyball announcement. Or you can use a very serious font for something very serious. And you can express yourself.

It’s sort of like in 1844, the telegraph was invented, and it was an amazing breakthrough in communications. And you actually could send messages from New York to San Francisco in an afternoon. And some people talked about putting a telegraph on every desk in America to improve productivity.

But it wouldn’t have worked. It wouldn’t have worked. And the reason it wouldn’t have worked was because you would have had to learn this whole sequence of strange incantations—Morse code in this case, dots and dashes in this case—to use the telegraph. And it took about forty hours to learn how to use Morse code. And a majority of people would never have learned how to use Morse code.

So fortunately, in the 1870s, Alexander Graham Bell filed the patents for the telephone—another radical breakthrough in communications that performed basically the same function, but people already knew how to use it. The neatest thing about it was that, in addition to allowing you to communicate with just words, it allowed you to sing. It allowed you to intone your words with meaning beyond the simple linguistics.

We’re in the same exact parallel situation today. Some people are saying we need to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. But it won’t work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are slash-qz’s and things like that. Most people are not going to learn slash-qz’s any more than they’re going to learn Morse code.

And that’s what Macintosh is all about. It’s the first “telephone” of our industry. But the neatest thing about it to me is, the same as the telephone to the telegraph, Macintosh lets you sing. It lets you use special fonts. It lets you make drawings and pictures or incorporate other people’s drawings or pictures into your documents.

Even in business, you’re seeing five-page memos get compressed down to a one-page memo because there’s a picture to express the key concept. And so we’re seeing less paper flying around and more quality of communication.

And it’s more fun. There’s always been this myth that really neat, fun people at home all of [a] sudden get very dull and boring and serious when they come to work, and it’s simply not true. So if we can again inject that liberal-arts spirit into this very serious realm of business, I think it would be a worthwhile contribution.

Viewed through a conference crowd, Steve - his clean-shaven, grinning face - is displayed on a large screen.
Apple sales conference in Hawaii, 1983.
Steve, wearing a black leather jacket, holds his middle finger up toward a large IBM sign.
Outside the IBM offices in New York.

Speech to Apple Employees

“Was George Orwell right about 1984?”

Steve introduced the Macintosh and its iconic commercial, which ran during the 1984 Super Bowl, at an Apple sales meeting in October 1983.

Hi, I’m Steve Jobs.

It is 1958. IBM passes up the chance to buy a young, fledgling company that has invented a new technology called xerography. Two years later, Xerox is born. And IBM has been kicking themselves ever since.

It is ten years later, the late sixties. Digital Equipment [DEC] and others invent the minicomputer. IBM dismisses the minicomputer as too small to do serious computing, and therefore unimportant to their business. DEC grows to become a multi-hundred-million-dollar corporation before IBM finally enters the minicomputer market.

It is now ten years later, the late seventies. In 1977, Apple, a young, fledgling company on the West Coast, invents the Apple II, the first personal computer as we know it today. IBM dismisses the personal computer as too small to do serious computing and unimportant to their business.

The early eighties, ’81. Apple II has become the world’s most popular computer. Apple has grown to a $300 million company, becoming the fastest-growing corporation in American business history, with over fifty competitors vying for a share. IBM enters the personal-computer market in November ’81 with the IBM PC.

1983. Apple and IBM emerge as the industry’s strongest competitors, each selling approximately one billion dollars’ worth of personal computers in 1983. Each will invest greater than $50 million for R&D and another $50 million for television advertising in 1984, totaling almost one quarter of a billion dollars combined.

The shakeout is in full swing. The first major firm goes bankrupt, with others teetering on the brink. Total industry losses for ’83 outshadow even the combined profits of Apple and IBM for personal computers.

It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM-dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly and desperately turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom.

IBM wants it all, and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? [Audience: No!] The entire information age? [Audience: No!] Was George Orwell right about 1984?

[Steve runs the “1984” commercial. Directed by Ridley Scott, the ad depicts a dystopian, Orwellian world. In one scene, people dressed in gray, their heads shaved, sit expressionless in front of a large screen on which a dictator drones nonsense. A woman in bright red running shorts and a Macintosh shirt bursts into the room. She hurls a hammer at the screen, destroying it. The commercial ends with a promise: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”]

[There is tumultuous applause and shouting from the audience; once it dies down, Steve resumes.] That ad is going to run one week before Macintosh is introduced. And our ad agency that put it together is here today, Chiat/Day. Jay Chiat is here, the principal. Lee Clow and Steve Hayden, [who] wrote the copy and did the creative, are also here.

You might—I guess they just heard what you thought.

A Polaroid of Steve, playing pinball, with a white hooded sweatshirt with the word Mackintosh on the chest.
Enjoying a rare break before the Macintosh release.
Steve is fast asleep on a flight, his seat slightly reclined.
Exhausted after a sales conference in New Orleans, 1984.
29-year-old Steve wearing a black turtleneck and jeans, poses with a Macintosh computer resting in his lap.
Steve’s 1984 shoot for Time at his Woodside home.
Steve, silhouetted, is bent over as he observes a curly-haired woman typing on a Mac in a storefront.
Pausing to watch a Macintosh in action.

Interview with Michael Moritz

“Your aesthetics get better as you make mistakes.”

Steve and Michael Moritz, a reporter who would soon switch careers and become a venture capitalist, spoke at Steve’s office at Apple in May 1984. They covered a wide range of topics, including Steve’s thoughts on product design.

Steve Jobs: I went around and looked at Cuisinarts when we were designing Mac. It was like my Cuisinart week.

Michael Moritz: But no other particular products [influenced you]? Say, from the late seventies or something.

SJ: Well, we’re around automobiles our whole lives. I’ve never been a car guy, but I’ve always loved Volkswagen Beetles. I’ve always loved Volkswagen vans, actually, too.

Just a bunch of little things: wine labels, paintings in galleries. Just simple things. Not anything real profound, just lots and lots of little things. I don’t think my taste in aesthetics is that much different than a lot of other people’s. The difference is that I just get to be really stubborn about making things as good as we all know they can be. That’s the only difference.

MM: Yeah, I think you’re being modest.

SJ: Well, things get more refined as you make mistakes. I’ve had a chance to make a lot of mistakes. Your aesthetics get better as you make mistakes. But the real big thing is: if you’re going to make something, it doesn’t take any more energy—and rarely does it take more money—to make it really great. All it takes is a little more time. Not that much more. And a willingness to do so, a willingness to persevere until it’s really great.

But aesthetics? I think aesthetics are a lot like singing. Joanie [Baez] has a beautiful voice, but the reason her voice is beautiful isn’t because her voice is just beautiful. It’s because she has an incredibly good ear. She can listen to somebody speak for thirty seconds and imitate their voice almost perfectly. Her ear is superb. And I think, in the same way, good aesthetics result from just your eye. An instinct of what you see, not so much what you do. 

SJ: I want to build products that are inherently smaller than any of the products on the market today. And when you make things smaller, you have the ability to make them more precisely. Obviously, a perfect example of that is a watch. It’s beautiful, but the precision has to be the scale of the object itself, and so you make it very precise. And as our products get smaller, we have the opportunity to do that. So, obviously, I would like everything to be smaller.

I also think that it’s really nice to be able to carry products around. Even if they’re not portable, it’s very nice to be able to have a handle on them that says, “Pick me up and move me when you want to change where I am.” Carry them from room to room, or from office to office. Lisa’s too heavy to carry from office to office, or room to room, or home on the weekends. So the question is, “How do we find a way to package that same functionality into something that we can carry around with us and that is smaller, obviously—and be able to express the form of that more precisely?” That’s where we’re going in the future, those directions. 

MM: What are the uglier, offensive designs of products, or are there just too many to list?

SJ: Yeah—pick any car before three years ago, you know? Pick most cars today. Anything. Just look around the room. Tables, chairs: all ugly. You can ask me, what am I doing in this office? But anyway, most things are not very nice.

The telephone’s a perfect example. The only telephone that’s ever been any good is the original one and the Trimline. The Trimline is the only decent one. What they’ve done to the new stuff is just garbage. 

SJ: [At Apple] we’re just getting simpler and simpler and simpler. Very, very simple. Simple. 

SJ: Have you ever seen HP’s buildings over on Page Mill Road, the original ones? They’re really neat. They’ve got these scalloped roofs, and they face the glass north, and you can actually put solar collectors on them, if you wanted to. They stick out. In a building, they make a whole glass wall. And so people work down there, and they get tons of natural light coming in. Just tons.

The problem with these buildings [at Apple] is there’s no light. I mean, you spend five minutes outside, and you walk in here, it’s really dark, and you can’t see anything. And we’re all sort of like living in these little tiny caverns.

I just want a ton of natural light. 

MM: Was all the stuff about Big Brother [in the “1984” commercial] very conscious of the IBM stuff, or was that something that outsiders quickly interpreted, and you guys weren’t exactly going to—

SJ: Deny it?

MM: Deny it.

SJ: Well, the best response to that was the response given, I think, in Fortune, which was, “If seeing Big Brother in 1984 connotes IBM to a large number of people, that says more about IBM’s image problem than our intentions.”

In truth: of course, we saw the analogy. And I think that we were saying two things. I think the first thing we were saying was, this image of computers as sort of a centralized group of people having control of very powerful machines to keep track of us, that iconic fear in our minds—we were commenting on that cultural fear that we have.

And of course, one couldn’t—you’d have to be an idiot not to see the parallels to IBM.

A glamorous magazine shot shows Steve, wearing a double-breasted blazer, with arms crossed and hair blowing in the wind.
Under his double-breasted suit coat, Steve wore jeans.

Interview with Newsweek

“I want to build things.”

Steve left Apple in September 1985, after losing a power struggle with CEO John Sculley. The departure was officially a resignation, but Steve considered it a betrayal. A few weeks later, he spoke to Newsweek.

Newsweek: How did you react when you heard the [Apple] board’s decision [to sue you]? These were people that you knew and worked with for a long time.

Steve Jobs: Oh, yeah. I mean, in my wildest imagination, I couldn’t have come up with such a wild ending to all of this. I had hoped that my life would take on the quality of an interesting tapestry where I would have weaved in and out of Apple: I would have been there a period of time, and maybe I would have gone off and done something else to contribute, but connected with Apple, and then maybe come back and stay for a lengthy time period, and then go off and do something else. But it’s just not going to work out that way. So I had ten of the best years of my life, you know. And I don’t regret much of anything. 

I personally, man, I want to build things. I’m thirty. I’m not ready to be an industry pundit. I got three offers to be a professor during this summer, and I told all of the universities that I thought I would be an awful professor. What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them. I respect the direction that Apple is going in. But for me personally, you know, I want to make things. And if there’s no place for me to make things there, then I’ll do what I did twice before. I’ll make my own place. You know, I did it in the garage when Apple started, and I did it in the metaphorical garage when Mac started. 

SJ: Though the outside world looks at success from a numerical point of view, my yardstick might be quite different than that. My yardstick may be how every computer that’s designed from here on out will have to be at least as good as a Macintosh. 

SJ: I used to go into work, I’d get there, and I would have one or two phone calls to perform, a little bit of mail to look at. But—this was in June, July—most of the corporate management reports stopped flowing by my desk. A few people might see my car in the parking lot and come over and commiserate.

And I would get depressed and go home in three or four hours, really depressed. I did that a few times, and I decided that was mentally unhealthy. So I just stopped going in. You know, there was nobody really there to miss me.

Q: Do you feel that they have taken your company away from you?

SJ: To me, Apple exists in the spirit of the people that work there, and the sort of philosophies and purpose by which they go about their business. So if Apple just becomes a place where computers are a commodity item and where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, then I’ll feel I have lost Apple. But if I’m a million miles away and all those people still feel those things and they’re still working to make the next great personal computer, then I will feel that my genes are still in there. 

SJ: One of the five most difficult days was that day John [Sculley, Apple’s CEO] said at the analysts meeting about there not being a role for me in the future, and he said it again in another analysts meeting a week later. He didn’t say it to me directly; he said it to the press. You’ve probably had somebody punch you in the stomach and it knocks the wind out of you and you can’t breathe. If you relax, you’ll start breathing again. That’s how I felt all summer long. The thing I had to do was try to relax. It was hard. But I went for a lot of long walks in the woods and didn’t really talk to a lot of people. 

Q: You’ve talked about being tough to get along with, having a rough-edge personality. Did you contribute in some way to your own downfall?

SJ: You know, I’m not a sixty-two-year-old statesman that’s traveled around the world all his life. So I’m sure that there was a situation when I was twenty-five that if I could go back, knowing what I know now, I could have handled much better. And I’m sure I’ll be able to say the same thing when I’m thirty-five about the situation in 1985. I can be very intense in my convictions. And I don’t know—all in all, I kind of like myself, and I’m not that anxious to change.

Q: But has this experience changed you?

SJ: Oh, this has—yeah, I think I am growing from this, and I think I’m learning a lot from it. I’m not sure how or what yet. But yes, I feel that way. I’m not bitter; I’m not bitter. 

Q: There’s been a lot in the press about your interest in Buddhism, vegetarianism.

SJ: As we descend into the isms.

Q: The isms. Are you still interested in those things?

SJ: Well, I don’t know what to say. I mean, I don’t eat meat, and I don’t go to church every Sunday.

Q: They said at some point you had thought of going to Japan and sitting in a monastery.

SJ: Yeah, yeah. I’m glad I didn’t do that. I know this is going to sound really, really corny. But I feel like I’m an American, and I was born here. And the fate of the world is in America’s hands right now. I really feel that. And you know, I’m going to live my life here and do what I can to help.

Steve, at home, is dressed in jeans and a sweater. He holds a mug and stares pensively at the camera from his leather sofa.
Steve circa 1985.

Part II, 1985–1996

“You never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times.”

The years after Steve left Apple were among the toughest of his career—and the most formative.

Determined to build a new great computer company, he started NeXT with several members of the Macintosh team. “We’ll make a whole bunch of mistakes, but at least they’ll be new and creative ones,” he predicted.

Around the same time, Steve invested $10 million in a small company called Pixar. It was a tiny computer graphics operation, newly spun off from filmmaker George Lucas’s empire. The technical expertise at Pixar attracted Steve; its initial product was a high-end graphics computer that cost more than $100,000.

Both NeXT and Pixar quickly ran into trouble. The NeXT computer system, which debuted in 1988, was powerful and packed with the humanistic touches Steve loved. It was visually striking and intuitive to use, with high-quality audio and the complete works of Shakespeare built in. But it was also late to market and expensive—and it sold poorly. Within six years of NeXT’s launch, the entire founding team, other than Steve, had resigned.

Pixar, meanwhile, was eking out an existence selling computers and software and, later, animating commercials. The company was also making award-winning short films that charmed Steve. This use of technology in service of brilliant storytelling embodied one of his favorite things: work at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. The short films fired Steve’s enthusiasm and kept him writing check after check to Pixar, ultimately investing some $60 million.

But the films were, as Steve put it, “in the background,” not the company’s focus. He described Pixar’s early business strategy as “find a way to pay the bills,” and he later speculated that the only reason the company didn’t fall apart then was that the leadership team “would all get depressed … but not all of us at once.”

If at times in these years he seemed disappointed by the possibilities of technology—“this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t,” he told a reporter in an uncharacteristic flash of pessimism—his world was also expanding beyond his work. He treasured his privacy, saying of his public persona, “I think of it as my well-known twin brother. It’s not me.”

Steve learned how to hone a company to its essence, even when it was painful. He shifted NeXT’s focus to selling software. The shift meant closing a factory and laying off more than two hundred of NeXT’s five hundred and thirty employees. Meanwhile, Pixar stripped away its advertising and hardware businesses and entered into an agreement with Disney, all to pursue what sometimes seemed an impossible dream: to make fully computer-animated feature films.

After nearly a decade of difficulty, the streamlined NeXT and Pixar both transformed into unlikely success stories. At the end of 1995, Pixar premiered Toy Story in the same month it held its initial public offering. A year later, Apple, in need of operating-system software, bought NeXT for $427 million. “If you really look closely,” Steve liked to say, “most overnight successes took a long time.”

Steve on Starting NeXT

A few weeks after starting NeXT, Steve spoke with Newsweek about the original insight for the company.

I had been reading some biochemistry, recombinant DNA literature. [I had recently met] Paul Berg, the inventor of some of the recombinant techniques. I called him up, and I said, “You remember me. I’m ignorant about this stuff, but I’ve got a bunch of questions about how it works, and I’d love to have lunch with you.” So we had lunch at Stanford. He was showing me how they were doing gene repairing. Actually, it’s straightforward, it’s kind of neat. It smells a lot like some of the concepts you find in computer science. So he was explaining how he does experiments in a wet laboratory and they take a week or two or three to run. I asked him, “Why don’t you simulate these on a computer? Not only will it allow you to run your experiments faster, but someday every freshman microbiology student in the country can play with the Paul Berg recombinant software.” So his eyes lit up. And that was sort of a landmark lunch. Because that’s when I started to really think about this stuff and get my wheels turning again.

On Becoming Majority Shareholder in Pixar

In 1996, the year after Pixar released Toy Story and held its IPO, Steve looked back on the work and ideas that first drew him to the company.

I met Ed Catmull, who was running the computer division of Lucasfilm, in 1985. […] I’d been involved in graphics most of my life. The Apple II, though most people don’t remember, was the first real color computer that you could get your hands on. The Macintosh, obviously, was graphics. The LaserWriter was graphics. But it was all 2-D. We’d done some 3-D work at Apple, and I was certainly aware of the field—but the stuff that Ed and his team were doing was way ahead of anything I’d ever seen anyone do.

On Pixar’s Early Days

In 2003, with Disney and Pixar deep in negotiations over the future of the studio, Steve told filmmaker Leslie Iwerks about Pixar’s start.

Our strategy in the early days of Pixar was: find a way to pay the bills. In the background, we were developing animation software, and John [Lasseter] was making the succession of short films on the way to Toy Story. But we were trying to pay the bills and just buy time. That strategy really turned out not to work. Probably if you look back in the rearview mirror, we would have been better off just funding the animation efforts and not trying to pay the bills through these other products, such as the Pixar Image Computer and software, but that was our best attempt to try to keep the company going. In the end, I just ended up writing checks to keep the company going—and that basically went on for ten years. 

You could see there was magic in [a Pixar animated short film], right from the beginning. With the rest of Pixar’s technology, you had to be an expert to understand it. [… But] you didn’t have to know anything about the technology to enjoy the film. It was incredibly refreshing and really pointed the way to where we wanted to go. We didn’t want to have to convince people that our technology was great—we knew it was great. We wanted to use our technology to make something where nobody needed to know anything about the technology to love it. And that’s what we ended up doing.

Steve gazes into the camera as he cradles his chin in his right hand, his left hand resting on top of a newspaper on the table.
Shortly before becoming the majority shareholder of Pixar.
Steve, in a white shirt, writes on a whiteboard. He has a look of concentration and is sticking out his tongue.
NeXT planned to capture the education market.
A memo from Steve on the NeXT letterhead proposes meeting-free Thursdays and warns against managerial bureaucracy.
NeXT’s ban on Thursday meetings was short-lived.
Steve sits in a chair, hand cradling his head, and stares at a life-size pink foam NeXT computer prototype.
Reviewing a Styrofoam model of the NeXT machine, 1987.
Steve kicks a beach ball in a grassy park. He is dressed in ripped jeans and a patterned shirt with rolled-up sleeves.
Taking a break at a NeXT company picnic in Menlo Park.

Email to NeXT Employees

“Pixar led the way!”

From: Steve Jobs

To: NeXT

Subject: A great day and a half

Date: March 30, 1989, 8:08 p.m.

Well, we did it again. Congrats to all for a real TEAM effort. And, Pixar did it too.

For those of you who didn’t see the Academy Awards last night, Pixar won an award in the category of short animated films: for their computer generated film Tin Toy

Tin Toy is the first computer generated film to ever win an award, and was competing against several very good traditionally animated (non-computer-animated) films!

The computer graphics industry just achieved a major milestone, and Pixar led the way!

Speech at Reed College

“Character is built not in good times, but in bad times.”

When Steve welcomed the incoming class of freshmen at his alma mater, Reed College, on August 27, 1991, NeXT computers were not selling well and Pixar had just had a round of layoffs.

Thank you very much for this. It means a lot to me. I’m a peculiar Reed alumnus, as many of you know. I never graduated from Reed—although that doesn’t make me that unusual, I suppose.

But maybe more unusual: I ran out of money after one semester here at Reed, so I dropped out. But then I dropped in for another year and a half. So, I was actually here by choice, which is somewhat more unusual. And I had some experiences here—that I’m sure many of you will have as freshmen and throughout your years here—that have stayed with me my whole life. I was thinking of some of them to recount to you.

Remember that I’m much older than you now. I’ve always thought that people’s spark of self-consciousness turns on at about fifteen or sixteen. So if we normalize age to fifteen or sixteen, then most of you are two or three or four years old here, as freshmen. I’m about twenty. So that maybe puts in perspective what it’s like to return to Reed after so many years. But a few things stick in my mind that I wanted to pass on that maybe could be of some value. The first was that, as you will be shortly, I was forced to go to humanities lectures—it seemed like every day. I studied Shakespeare with Professor Svitavsky. And at the time, I thought these were meaningless and even somewhat cruel endeavors to be put through. I can assure you that as the patina of time takes its toll, I thank God that I had these experiences here. It has helped me in everything I’ve ever done, although I wouldn’t have ever guessed it at the time.

The second experience that I remember from Reed is being hungry. All the time. The cafeteria here taught me quickly to be a vegetarian. I didn’t have so much money, so I would gather up Coke bottles and take them up to the store to find out how to eat. I discovered the cheapest way to eat was Roman Meal. Have you ever heard of this? It’s cereal. It was invented by a Harvard professor who was a history professor who one day wondered what the Roman legion took with them to eat as they conquered and pillaged these villages, and he found out through his research that it’s Roman Meal. And you can buy it at the local store, and it’s the cheapest way to live. So I lived for many months on Roman Meal.

But also, several of us, after not eating for a few days, would hitchhike across town to the Hare Krishna temple on Sundays, where they would feed all comers. Through practice, we discovered just the right moment to arrive—after their particular religious practices and right before the food. And not having eaten for days, we would eat a lot, and on several occasions stay over, because we were not able to move.

The following morning, they would wake us up at four o’clock in the morning because it was their time to go gather flowers for their temple to honor Krishna. So they would take us with them, predawn, out into the neighborhood—where they would proceed to steal flowers from the neighbors. And the neighbors that lived close to the Hare Krishna temple soon were wise to their pillage and would get up early in the morning and guard their flower beds. And so they would have to go in an ever-wider circumference around their temple. In spending a little time with these people, I noticed some of their other behaviors. They used to sell incense to the local department stores and then go steal it back, so that the department stores would buy more, and they would have a thriving business. And their ethics told them that this was fine, that anything in the service of Krishna was fine. In interacting with them, I think I learned more about situational ethics than I ever did on campus.

The last experience I wanted to recount for you: there is a man—I think he’s here today—named Jack Dudman, who used to be the dean of the school. He was one of the heroes of my life while I was here, because Jack Dudman looked the other way when I was staying on campus without paying. He looked the other way when I was taking classes without being a formal student and paying the tuition. And oftentimes, when I was at the end of my rope, Jack would go for a walk with me, and I would discover a twenty-dollar bill in my tattered coat pocket after that walk, with no mention of it from Jack before, during, or after.

I learned more about generosity from Jack Dudman and the people here at this school than I learned anywhere else in my life. So I wanted to thank this community, because the things I learned here stayed with me. Character is built not in good times, but in bad times; not in a time of plenty, but in a time of adversity—and this school seems to manage to nurture that spirit of adversity, and I think does build some character. So I thank you for teaching me how to be hungry and how to keep that with me my whole life.

Thank you very much.

A note on Pixar letterhead. The handwritten text reads: Steve, President Clinton is holding.
Steve sometimes exchanged calls with President Bill Clinton.
Steve, now wearing glasses, sits cross-legged in a director's chair under an oversized anglepoise Pixar-style lamp.
In 1995, the year Toy Story was released and Pixar had its IPO.
Steve, smiling, poses with Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland.
In 1995, around the time of the Pixar-Disney deal renegotiation.

Email Exchange Between Steve, Intel CEO Andy Grove, and an Intel Engineer

“I have changed my position 180 degrees.”

As Pixar became a leader in graphics, Steve and his mentor, Intel CEO Andy Grove, discussed how Intel might learn from Pixar. When an Intel engineer tried to follow up, Steve resisted.

From: [Engineer 1 at Intel]

To: Steve Jobs

Cc: Andy Grove

Subject: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 22, 1995, 2:04 p.m.


Andy asked me to look into what we should do in dramatically improving the Intel architecture platform’s 3D graphics performance. He indicated that you and key people at Pixar like Ed Catmull have lots of good ideas on what we should do in this area. I actually contacted Ed several months ago but he was real busy and cannot commit to meeting until after Sept. As you know, I am in charge of microprocessors at Intel.

I have located several key Intel 3D experts. One of them, [Engineer 2], came from Sun over a year ago. I would like to have a meeting (at Next, Intel or Pixar) with you, Catmull, and others with me and our graphics experts to discuss your ideas and map out what our action plans are. I am in Tokyo next week but will be back in my office on Monday Oct. 2. I will ask my admin to contact your office to set that meeting up.


[Engineer 1]

From: Steve Jobs

To: [Engineer 1]

Subject: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 23, 1995, 7:11 p.m.

[Engineer 1],

Pixar does indeed possess the knowledge to enable Intel’s processors to render 3D graphics at much high performance and quality. These “secrets” could definitely make their way into future Intel general purpose processor hardware.

We believe this single capability is the key for Intel to dramatically enlarge the PCs market share in the consumer market – by significantly surpassing the dedicated gaming machines (Sega, Nintendo, Playstation, etc) graphics capabilities.

Pixar’s secrets were invented through significant investment over ten years or more, and we value them highly. Even without the secrets implemented in the processor, Pixar can gain significant competitive advantage and differentiation through implementing them in software. By disclosing the “correct” way to do high quality, high performance graphics, Pixar will lose much of this to any and all competitors, with no work on their part. Hence, the need for compensation.

What does Intel propose to give Pixar for disclosing and licensing its secrets to Intel?


From: [Engineer 1]

To: Steve Jobs

Cc: Andy Grove

Subject: Re: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 25, 1995, 11:22 a.m.


We would very much like to have our meeting, but I will put that on hold based on your input. We talked to many key people on ideas to improve the microprocessor capability with the aim that this will benefit the whole industry, and everyone will benefit. We have not entered into any financial arrangement in exchange for good ideas for our microprocessors in the past and have no intention for the future.

[Engineer 1]

From: Steve Jobs

To: [Engineer 1]

Cc: Andy Grove

Subject: Re: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 25, 1995, 5:29 p.m.

This approach has not served you well in the past, as evidenced by your poor graphics architectures and performance. Maybe you should think of changing it for the future…


From: Steve Jobs

To: Andy Grove

Subject: Re: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 25, 1995, 10:27 p.m.


Maybe it’s just me, but I find [Engineer 1]’s approach extremely arrogant, given Intel’s (his?) dismal showing in understanding computer graphics architectural issues in the past…

If I were going to make hundreds of millions of something, I sure as hell would be willing to pay for the best advice money could buy… Any[way], this isn’t a sales pitch; I just wanted you to know what I thought, as always.



From: Andy Grove

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re[2]: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: September 26, 1995, 3:12 p.m.


I am firmly on [Engineer 1]’s side on this one. He is taking your offer to help us very seriously, rounded up the best technical people and was ready to go when you introduced a brand new element into the discussion: money.

You and I have talked many times about this subject; you never suggested or hinted at this being a commercial exchange. I took your offer to help us exactly as that: help, not an offer of a commercial relationship.

You may remember, that from time to time I offered suggestions that pertained to your business. Examples range from porting NextStep to the 486 - - which was in our interest too - - to my presentation to your staff on repositioning NextStep beyond that. I am not suggesting that these are comparable in value to your expertise in graphics, but I gave what I had, put some thought into the problem I saw you were facing - - and it never entered my mind to charge for it. In my view, that’s what friendly companies (and friends) do for each other. In the long run, these things balance out.

I am sorry you don’t feel that way. We will be worse off as a result, and so will the industry.



From: Steve Jobs

To: Andy Grove

Subject: Re[2]: Pixar-3D graphics

Date: October 1, 1995, 3:50 p.m.


I have many faults, but one of them is not ingratitude. And, I do agree with you that “In the long run, these things balance out.”

Therefore, I have changed my position 180 degrees - - we will freely help [Engineer 1] make his processors much better for 3D graphics. Please ask [Engineer 1] to call me, and we will arrange for a meeting as soon as the appropriate Pixar technical folks can be freed up from the film.

Thanks for the clearer perspective.


Email to Pixar Employees

“To $175M and beyond!”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Pixar

Subject: Toy Story Crosses $150M !!

Date: January 2, 1996, 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday Toy Story crossed $150M in domestic box office receipts -- only 13 days after crossing $100M !!

Toy Story was the undisputed blockbuster of the holiday season, topping all other films including Jumanji, Father of the Bride II, Waiting to Exhale and, of course, Balto. Toy Story may even surpass the current 1995 box office leaders, Batman Forever ($184M) and Apollo 13 ($172M), and become the most successful film of 1995.

Toy Story has already become the third most successful animated feature film of all time, topping all of Disney’s classics except “Aladdin” ($217M) and “The Lion King” ($312M).

To $175M and beyond!

Congratulations team,


Interview with Terry Gross

“One of the things I always tried to coach myself on was not being afraid to fail.”

In 1996, Steve and the Fresh Air radio host Terry Gross looked back on his time at Apple and ahead to the future of the computer industry. They spoke shortly after Pixar’s release of Toy Story and its successful initial public offering. NeXT, meanwhile, continued to struggle.

Terry Gross: How do you think that the web might change in the near future with the help of the type of software that you are producing now?

Steve Jobs: I think most large companies and medium-size companies (and even small companies) are starting to look at the web as the ultimate direct-to-customer distribution chain, bypassing all middlemen, going directly from the supplier to the consumer. That’s a pretty powerful concept when you think about it. One of the things that I love is that a very small company, if they invest a lot in their website, can look just as formidable and just as solid on the web as a very large company can. As a matter of fact, some of the smaller companies are more hip on the web, getting more hip to the web sooner, and so they actually look better than some of the large companies do right now. It’s going to be this very leveling phenomenon, but I think a tremendous amount of goods and services is going to be sold, or at least the demand created for such things, over the web.

TG: What else do you see in the near future for the web, besides the ability to shop in a more kind of complete way through the web?

SJ: It’s not just shopping for goods and services. It’s shopping for information. I mean, you’re going to find out … Already, when I want to find out the movies that are playing around Silicon Valley, I just go up on the local web page and check it out. It’s a lot faster than going through the newspaper, and a lot faster than calling the theaters, et cetera. More and more, we’re shopping for information on the web. I just recently bought a Sony, one of the new Sony camcorders. I went on Sony’s web page, and I found out all about the ones they offer and picked the one I wanted right from that web page before I even called the store to try to find it physically. The demand to get me to buy that thing was created from Sony’s web page. I think we’re going to see more and more of that. You’re going to be buying information or finding information, and really making a lot of decisions about what you’re going to do with your life, or what you’re going to purchase, from the web.

TG: Is the whole idea of going to the store to buy software going to become obsolete, too? Do you think we’ll be downloading our software from the web?

SJ: Of course. Yeah, there’s no question about it. There’s no question that that will happen, and I think it will happen in the next twenty-four months. There’s some software right now that’s still very large. The web on-ramps and off-ramps to corporations are now very fast, but the off-ramps to the consumers’ homes are still not so fast. For buying large software, such as CD-ROM games and stuff, they’ll still be distributed on physical media for a while, but when the off-ramps to the consumer get faster, possibly with cable modems in the near future, then that could possibly go fully electronic as well.

TG: Tell me what else you see for the web beyond the world of retail.

SJ: There’s a lot of things happening with the web right now, in terms of allowing people access to information that they would just never have before. What this does is, of course, it lets special-interest groups get together. I know people who have had, as an example, a stroke, and have gotten on the web and found that there are several web pages now devoted to information for stroke victims where they can learn about some of the latest treatments. They can learn about avoidance, the latest in avoidance advice, and things like that. Those things didn’t exist before, as well. 

TG: Do you think that when you were ousted from Apple that people kind of wrote you off? I mean, here you are with these big successes now.

SJ: Oh golly, I don’t know. I’m sure that a lot of people did, and that was fine. It was a very painful time, as you might imagine.

TG: What, to be forced out of the company you created?

SJ: Oh, of course. That was a very painful time, but you just march forward, and you try to learn from it. One of the things I always tried to coach myself on was not being afraid to fail. When you have something that doesn’t work out, a lot of times, people’s reaction is to get very protective about never wanting to fall on their face again. I think that’s a big mistake, because you never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times in the process of getting there. I’ve tried to not be afraid to fail, and, matter of fact, I’ve failed quite a bit since leaving Apple.

TG: Are you surprised at the problems Apple is having now, or did you see that coming?

SJ: I try not to talk about Apple too much. What I will say is that the day I left Apple, we had a ten-year lead over Microsoft. In the technology business, a ten-year lead is really hard to come by. It happens, maybe a company has that once every few decades, whether it be Xerox or IBM with mainframes. Apple had that with the graphical user interface. The problem at Apple was that they stopped innovating. If you look at the Mac that ships today, it’s 25 percent different than the day I left, and that’s not enough for ten years and billions of dollars in R&D.

It wasn’t that Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac. It’s that the Mac was a sitting duck for ten years. That’s Apple’s problem, is that their differentiation evaporated. Unlike Compaq, or others who play in the Intel-Microsoft standard space, where they only … Compaq only has to be 5 percent better than its competitors for everyone to want to buy their computers.

Apple has to be 50 percent or 100 percent better, because when you buy something that is out of the mainstream a little bit, you take a risk, and you want a much bigger reward for taking that risk. […] That differentiation has not completely evaporated, but for the most part it has. That’s the predicament Apple’s in now. That’s why cost-cutting and other things at Apple are not going to be the cure. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament. There’s a lot of good people left at Apple that are capable of doing that with the proper leadership, which is what’s been missing.

TG: Some Mac users are afraid that the Mac operating system is in danger of becoming obsolete in the way that Beta video became obsolete because it was outdone by VHS. What do you think?

SJ: I think with the appropriate leadership at Apple, that’s not going to happen, but I think we have to wait and see.

TG: Do you care? How still involved, invested, do you feel in the future of Apple, the company you co-created?

SJ: I’m happy every time a Mac gets shipped. I still have people sending me emails, telling me how much they love their Macs. It’s sort of … how do you explain it? It’s like the first person you were ever in love with. You know? It’s like your first love, and there will never be another one like it. In my case, we were together for ten years, and that’s a long time. But if you move on in your life, you can’t always stay in love with your first girlfriend. Right? 

TG: What do you think the state of the computer would be if it weren’t for Apple? This is a chance, I guess, for a really self-serving answer. But, I mean, I’m really curious what you think.

SJ: I usually believe that if one group of people didn’t do something, within a certain number of years, the times would produce another group of people that would accomplish similar things. We happened to be at the right place, at exactly the right time, with the right group of people. We did some wonderful work. I’m extraordinarily proud of the work that the team at Apple did when I was there. I think that, personally, our major contribution was a little different than some people might think. I think our major contribution was in bringing a liberal arts point of view to the use of computers.

TG: Yeah, explain what you mean by that.

SJ: What I mean by that is that if you really look at the ease of use of the Macintosh, the driving motivation behind that was to bring—not only ease of use to people so that many, many more people could use computers for nontraditional things at that time—but it was to bring beautiful fonts and typography to people. It was to bring graphics to people, not for plotting laminar flow calculations, but so that they could see beautiful photographs, or pictures, or artwork, et cetera, to help them communicate what they were doing, potentially. Our goal was to bring a liberal arts perspective and a liberal arts audience to what had traditionally been a very geeky technology and a very geeky audience.

TG: What made you think that that more liberal arts direction was the direction to head in?

SJ: Because in my perspective, and the way I was raised, was that science and computer science is a liberal art. It’s something that everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life. It’s not something that should be relegated to 5 percent of the population over in the corner. It’s something that everybody should be exposed to, everyone should have a mastery of, to some extent, and that’s how we viewed computation, or these computation devices.

TG: And you think that concept really caught on in the whole industry, eventually?

SJ: That’s the seed of Apple: computers for the rest of us. I think the liberal arts point of view still lives at Apple. I’m not so sure that it lives that many other places. I mean, one of the reasons I think Microsoft took ten years to copy the Mac was because they didn’t really get it at its core.

TG: Do you think the PC, as we know it, is on the road of changing?

SJ: That’s a really big question. I think the PC as we know it is going to be around for quite some time, but the heart of the question is, are we entering a time window where we might see the first successful post-PC devices? Personal digital assistants, or PDAs, attempted to be that and failed.

The next attempt, I think, is going to be these very low-cost consumer internet appliances. Can somebody make a three-hundred-dollar box that hooks up to your television on one side and maybe hooks up to ISDN or a cable modem on the other side and allows you for, three hundred dollars, to have a web browser on your TV and to access the entire internet? I think that’s entirely possible, and I think that we’re going to see those devices soon, hopefully some innovative marketing and distribution techniques surrounding those devices so that a lot of people can all of a sudden have an internet browser in their living room. I think that’s going to be very exciting, and I think that could be the beginning of the first real post-PC market.

TG: I know at Apple there was, at least early on, a very informal, non-corporate type of atmosphere. I wonder if there are any lessons you learned about what worked and didn’t work in the corporate lifestyle at Apple that you’ve applied to your current companies, NeXT and Pixar.

SJ: Well, I don’t know what a corporate lifestyle is. I mean, Apple was a corporation; we were very conscious of that. We were very driven to make money so that we could continue to invest in the things we loved. I would say Apple was a corporate lifestyle, but it had a few very big differences to other corporate lifestyles that I’d seen. The first one was a real belief that there wasn’t a hierarchy of ideas that mapped onto the hierarchy of the organization. In other words, great ideas could come from anywhere and that we better sort of treat people in a much more egalitarian sense, in terms of where the ideas came from.

And Apple was a very bottoms-up company when it came to a lot of its great ideas. And we hired truly great people and gave them the room to do great work. A lot of companies—I know it sounds crazy—but a lot of companies don’t do that. They hire people to tell them what to do. We hired people to tell us what to do. We figured we’re paying them all this money, their job is to figure out what to do and tell us. And that led to a very different corporate culture, and one that’s really much more collegial than hierarchical.

TG: In spite of this kind of different approach to the corporate hierarchy, it was probably still a very high-stress place.

SJ: Well, we were very young, and most of the folks were not married, and so they could work fifteen-hour days. You didn’t have a typical situation where you worked so that you can support your life. Your work was your life, in many cases.

TG: Right. Do you feel you’ve changed from that? Is that still your life?

SJ: I feel it is still my life, but it’s not all my life. It’s less of a percentage, but I still don’t really … I’ve never been able to think of my work and my life as different things. They’re the same thing. Where it used to be 99 percent of my life, it’s maybe 50 percent of my life now.

Email to NeXT Colleagues

“White House”

From: Steve Jobs

To: [NeXT Colleagues]

Subject: White House

Date: April 2, 1996, 4:17 p.m.

I am sending you this email from the White House !!


Steve’s vintage slide rule sits next to its brown leather case.
Steve’s slide rule. He was born before the electronic calculator.
Steve stands against the white garage door of the house where Apple started in 1976. The house number reads 2066.
1996: At his childhood home, where Apple was founded.
A typed page from a speech at Palo Alto High School, with handwritten notes strewn across the bottom in blue ink.
Steve’s notes on his speech at Palo Alto High School.

Speech at Palo Alto High School

“What you follow with your heart will indeed come back to make your life much richer.”

Steve spoke at the Palo Alto High School graduation in June 1996.

I have been invited here today to address you as you leave high school, and in most cases your parents, too, to venture out into the world on your own. I am supposed to offer you some wisdom and advice that you may remember along your travels.

I will address my remarks to you, the students, rather than to your parents. It is proper that I do so, being that the only wisdom I have comes from my advanced age; your parents are as old as I am, and much wiser, I am sure.

However, I am wiser than you, and maybe you will listen to me more than you listen to your parents. Some of your parents may not agree, or agree fully, with what I will say today. This is OK. I will simply be one of the first in your post-high-school life to fill your head with ideas that they disagree with. Wait until you get to college! But, in any event, if there is any discordance between what they have told you and what you hear from me today, rest assured that I am right.

Be aware of the world’s magical, mystical, and artistic sides. The most important things in life are not the goal-oriented, materialistic things that everyone and everything tries to convince you to strive for. Most of you know that deep inside. Think back on this spring—the last three or four months—when you are winding down high school, know where you are going next year, and begin to really have strong intuitions about the world you will encounter. Maybe you see an image of yourself in Paris, sculpting in an artist’s studio as the setting sun shines in the paned windows. Maybe you’re in India, running a hospital for poor children, and you hear the distant clatter of the outdoor marketplace in the early morning. Maybe you see yourself in a recording studio laying down a track for your album. Maybe you see yourself alone in a rented room at 4:30 in the morning being the only person alive to understand a new law of physics you just figured out.

Whatever it may be, I bet many of you have had some of these intuitive feelings about what you could do with your lives. These feelings are very real, and if nurtured can blossom into something wonderful and magical. A good way to remember these kinds of intuitive feelings is to walk alone near sunset—and spend a lot of time looking at the sky in general. We are never taught to listen to our intuitions, to develop and nurture our intuitions. But if you do pay attention to these subtle insights, you can make them come true.

People will come at you with reasons why you shouldn’t do these things:

You can’t make a living writing songs. (Right, just ask Bob Dylan.)

Helping children in India is nice, but you need to prepare for real life. (Just ask Mother Teresa.)

You could be doing so much more with your life. (You can hear Albert Einstein’s parents encouraging him to get a real job, when he was working a low-level job in the Swiss patent office rather than teaching in a university, so that he could stay up late at night working through his new ideas.)

If you don’t have any of these feelings, called dreams, then you’re in trouble. Before you “spend” four or more years of your life going in a direction your heart may or may not want you to go, you need to recapture them.

Be a creative person. Creativity equals connecting previously unrelated experiences and insights that others don’t see.

You have to have them to connect them. Creative people feel guilty that they are simply relaying what they “see.” How do you get a more diverse set of experiences? Not by traveling the same path as everyone else …

I’ll give you an example. The college I went to was a small liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon, named Reed College. It was, at that time, the center of a calligraphy revival movement in the US. I ended up taking a calligraphy course before I left college, and at the age of eighteen was exposed to a totally new world of typography, graphic layout, font design, and the like. There was no hope of earning any income from this skill or knowledge, and some of my friends derided me for wasting my time and talents on learning how to write with “fancy letters.”

However, years later, when we were designing the Macintosh, it was this very same experience and set of insights which drove me to insist that we find a way to use proportionally spaced type and offer a range of fonts—in essence, to bring a much richer world of typography to the computer world than had ever existed before. And this also led to the LaserWriter printer, so that one could print these letterforms with the quality they deserved. And this set the stage for “desktop publishing.” I tell you truly: none of this would have ever happened at Apple if I had sacrificed that calligraphy class for a more “substantive” class of economics or engineering.

So to be a creative person, you need to “feed” or “invest” in yourself by exploring uncharted paths that are outside the realm of your past experience. Seek out new dimensions of yourself—especially those that carry a romantic scent.

But one has no way of knowing which of these paths will lead anywhere in advance. That’s the wonderful thing about it, in a way. The only thing one can do is to believe that some of what you follow with your heart will indeed come back to make your life much richer. And it will. And you will gain an ever firmer trust in your instincts and intuition.

Don’t be a career. The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.” A career is a concept for how one is supposed to progress through stages during the training for and practicing of your working life.

There are some big problems here. First and foremost is the notion that your work is different and separate from the rest of your life. If you are passionate about your life and your work, this can’t be so. They will become more or less one. This is a much better way to live one’s life.

[The] risk factor quotient goes down as you encounter the real world. Many [people] find what they believe to be safe harbors (lawyers and accountants), only to wake up ten or fifteen years later and discover the price they paid.

Make your avocation your vocation. Make what you love your work.

The journey is the reward. People think that you’ve made it when you’ve gotten to the end of the rainbow and got the pot of gold. But they’re wrong. The reward is in the crossing the rainbow. That’s easy for me to say—I got the pot of gold (literally). But if you get to the pot of gold, you already know that that’s not the reward, and you go looking for another rainbow to cross.

Think of your life as a rainbow arcing across the horizon of this world. You appear, have a chance to blaze in the sky, then you disappear.

The two endpoints of everyone’s rainbow are birth and death. We all experience both completely alone. And yet, most people of your age have not thought about these events very much, much less even seen them in others. How many of you have seen the birth of another human? It is a miracle. And how many of you have witnessed the death of a human? It is a mystery beyond our comprehension. No human alive knows what happens to “us” upon or after our death. Some believe this, others that, but no one really knows at all. Again, most people of your age have not thought about these events very much, and it’s as if we shelter you from them, afraid that the thought of mortality will somehow wound you. For me it’s the opposite: to know my arc will fall makes me want to blaze while I am in the sky. Not for others, but for myself, for the trail I know I am leaving.

Now, as you live your arc across the sky, you want to have as few regrets as possible. Remember, regrets are different from mistakes. Mistakes are those things that you did and wish you could do over again. In some you were a fool (usually concerning women). In others you were scared. In others you hurt someone else. Some mistakes are deep, others not. But if your intent was pure, they are almost always enriching in some way. So mistakes are things that you did and wish you could do over again.

Regrets are most often things you didn’t do, and wish you did. I still regret not kissing Nancy Kinniman in high school. Who knows what might have happened? Maybe she regrets it too …

Interview about Pixar

“To put these stories into the culture … is a rare opportunity.”

On November 22, 1996, Steve discussed leading Pixar, his strategy for the studio’s future, and the privilege of creating stories for future generations.

Q: What kinds of things did you need to do, both personally (learning to become a filmmaker) and as a businessman, to put the company where it is today?

Steve Jobs: Well, Pixar is a studio. I’m not a filmmaker. I don’t direct our films. […] What I try to do is help create the environment where all these incredible people can make films. We’ve got a really unique thing in the industry, in that the very best creative people will only go to work at a few places: Disney, Pixar, possibly DreamWorks. In the same sense, the very best computer scientists in computer graphics will only go to work at a few places. Pixar is one of those, but most of the studios are not because they don’t have [our] level of technical culture there. I think Pixar is the only place in the world that can hire the best from both of these areas. And we’ve worked for ten years to figure out a way to have them all work together, which is not easy, because the Hollywood culture and the Silicon Valley culture are really different. We think we’ve picked the best from both. 

Q: I’ve heard that there are no contracts at Pixar, and that’s different than a lot of Hollywood productions. What’s the philosophy behind that?

SJ: In this blending of [cultures], one of the things that we encountered was that the Hollywood culture and the Silicon Valley culture each use different models of employee retention. Hollywood uses the stick, which is the contract. And Silicon Valley uses the carrot, which is the stock option. We examined both of those in really pretty great detail: economically, but also sort of psychologically and culture-wise. What kind of culture do you end up with?

And while there’s a lot of reasons to want to lock down your employees for the duration of a film, because if somebody leaves, you know you’re at risk, those same dangers exist in Silicon Valley. During an engineering project, you don’t want to lose people, and yet [Silicon Valley] managed to evolve another system other than contracts. And we prefer the Silicon Valley model in this case: give people stock in the company so that we all have the same goal, which is to create shareholder value.

But [not having contracts] also makes us constantly worry about making Pixar the greatest company we can, so that nobody would ever want to leave. When you sign a contract with somebody, you can sort of say, “Well, I don’t have to worry about that person for five years.” You know? And if you’re real sophisticated, you’ll have a little database that tickles you six months before their contract’s up so you can start paying them more attention. And they’re the most important person in the world for six months, and then after they sign up again, you put them in a drawer.

Our system’s a little different than that. Every single day we worry about how we can make Pixar a better company so that nobody will ever want to leave, and so we don’t take anybody for granted. Because if they don’t want to be at Pixar, then probably they should leave anyway—whether or not they would ever have a contract. 

SJ: In technology, and at Pixar on the creative side, you’ve got incredibly talented people who are also rare and in demand. If you don’t treat them right, they can go get another job in ten minutes. Right?

So a strange thing happens: the hierarchy of power sort of inverts, and the CEO is actually at the bottom. I sort of feel like I work for most of these people because they’re the ones that are doing all the brilliant work.

And it’s the same in software. It’s the same thing. The best people are very hard to come by, and so it’s management’s job to support them because they’re on the front lines doing the work. 

Q: How is your relationship with Pixar different than Louis B. Mayer or some of the great studio heads who may not have been directors or producers themselves, but who certainly had a great deal to do with what was done?

SJ: Well, we’re a small studio, and so we don’t want to let any of this go to our heads.

What we’re trying to do is to build a great animation studio. We stay very focused on that. The other great animation studio is, of course, Disney. And they’ve done an incredible job. Feature animation is really at the heart of Disney; they’ve created all the character franchises that really breathe life into the theme parks. And if you look at where [Disney’s] profits come from, a tremendous amount of it is dependent on feature animation, as are the theme parks.

What we’re doing is just a pure play to build a feature animation studio. My role is to try to understand the pieces we need to put in place to do that, to work with everybody to attract and retain the people to do that, and to get a clear strategy in place. And [I] help with the relationships with Disney and other people.

I enjoy it tremendously. We’ve got an incredible collection of people at Pixar, so I learn a lot. I learn a lot. 

SJ: I like to get in there and help where I can. But my greatest joy is when we have people that are much better than I am at something, so I can forget about it, and not worry about it, and get on to something else where I can help. 

SJ: Making an animated film is entirely different than making a live-action film. When you make a live-action film, a director typically shoots between ten and twenty-five times as much footage as will end up on the screen. They take that into the editing room and they build their film. And hopefully they can do a good job, because if they can’t, it’s too late—the actors are gone, the sets are down.

Walt Disney realized many decades ago that animation was so expensive that you couldn’t afford to animate ten times more than what you need. Matter of fact, you don’t want to animate even 10 percent more than what you need. And therefore, the only conclusion you can come to is, you have to edit your film before you make it. Disney pioneered a lot of techniques for doing that, and they’ve refined those over the last sixty years.

Working with Disney gave us access to that wisdom that you can’t buy for love or money: the wisdom and experience of having made tens of feature animated films. And I think we learned a tremendous amount. 

SJ: Ten years ago, when we made the landmark short film Luxo Jr., it took about three hours on average to render each frame. Fast-forward to today. Computers are a hundred times faster, and yet in Toy Story it took three hours on average to render each frame. And the reason was the frames were a hundred times more complex in many cases.

And we’re throwing between five and ten times more computer power at our second feature film, code name Bugs, than we did at Toy Story. And it’ll still take three hours to render each frame. Our ambitions visually are growing as fast as the technology can feed them. And so I think the visual worlds which we’ll be able to create will be much richer over time.

On the creative side, though, I think the art of storytelling is very old. And no amount of technology can turn a bad story into a good story. […] Storytelling is a real art, and that’s something that we’re always going to be working on very, very hard. I don’t think it’s changed in a long time, and I’m not sure it will. And I don’t think it’s something that the technology has anything to do with. 

SJ: You can hardly find an Apple II around too much anymore. You still can in the schools, but that’s about it. It’s not clear whether you’ll be able to boot up a Macintosh five years from now or not. All these technology boxes and all this software: it has a life of a year or two, if you’re very lucky. If it has a life of five years, it’s extraordinary. And every once in a while, something has a life of ten to fifteen years—and I’ve been lucky to be associated with a few of those products as well. But sooner or later, they all become part of the sedimentary layer that is the foundation for new innovation.

[By contrast] Disney released its first animated feature film, Snow White, in 1937. That’s sixty years ago. A few years ago, they rereleased it on video and sold 28 million copies, making probably around a quarter billion dollars of profits—sixty years after its initial release!

And I have a young son. We got Snow White, and he loved it. He watched it thirty, forty times. And it really struck me that I know people on most of the continents of this world, and I think everyone I know knows the story of Snow White. I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t seen it.

Watching my son watch this, it really hit me that these stories renew themselves with each generation of young children. You read Joseph Campbell; these are our myths. Here’s something that’s sixty years old that’s regenerating itself in my son and other young children.

And I think people are going to be watching Toy Story in sixty years. Not because of the computer graphics, but because of the story about friendship. And that’s something really amazing to me, something very different than the industry I worked in in the past.

To have the opportunity to put these stories into the culture like this, if we can work really hard and be lucky again and again, is a rare opportunity. And I think everybody at Pixar feels really, really privileged to have this opportunity.

Email to Pixar Employees

“The Pixar Holiday Waltz”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Pixar

Subject: Pixar Holiday Waltz

Date: December 12, 1996, 4:03 p.m.

I am told that around 40 of us are feeling uncomfortable coming to the Pixar Holiday Waltz because we don’t have a guest or because we feel it’s a “hoity toity*” affair that does not reflect “who we are.”

I think very few of us belong to the waltz crowd, nor often attend formal affairs like this (my last waltz was ten years ago). That’s exactly why this promises to be so much fun – it’s a chance to see ourselves and our colleagues in a strange costume (tuxedo) doing a totally foreign activity (waltzing). This may be your last chance during this lifetime to see your favorite TD trying to dance in a tuxedo.

As for being single, all I can say is that cutting in on a lovely lady or elegant gentleman during a waltz is considered proper and flattering. You might also enjoy the food, music, friends and ambience.

I do hope those of you not planning to attend reconsider joining your friends and colleagues at our Pixar Holiday Waltz. We will miss you if you don’t come. What do you have to lose? You just might love it.


*hoity-toity adj (1690)

1: thoughtlessly silly or frivolous: FLIGHTY

2: marked by an air of assumed importance:


A ticket to the event on December 14, 1996, illustrated with a tuxedoed man waltzing with a woman in a flowing gown.
A staff invitation to the Pixar Holiday Waltz.

Interview for In the Company of Giants

“The worst thing that someone can do in an interview is to agree with me.”

In the 1990s, when Steve was running NeXT and Pixar, two Stanford Business School students won a lunch with him at a charity auction. They later interviewed him for a book profiling business leaders in technology.

Steve Jobs: You’d better have great people, or you won’t get your product to market as fast as possible. Or you might get a product to market really fast, but it will be really clunky and nobody will buy it. There are no shortcuts around quality, and quality starts with people. Maybe shortcuts exist, but I’m not smart enough to have ever found any.

I spend 20 percent of my time recruiting, even now. I spend a day a week helping people recruit. It’s one of the most important things you can do.

Q: If finding the A players is so important, how can you tell who is an A player and who isn’t?

SJ: That’s a very hard question. Ultimately there are two paths. If a candidate has been in the workplace for a while, you have to look at the results. There are people who look so good on paper and talk such a good story but have no results behind them. They can’t point to breakthroughs or successful products that they shipped and played an integral part in. Ultimately the results should lead you to the people. As a matter of fact, that’s how I find great people. I look at great results and I find out who was responsible for them.

However, sometimes young people haven’t had the opportunity yet to be in a position of influence to create such results. So here you must evaluate potential. It’s certainly more difficult, but the primary attributes of potential are intelligence and the ability to learn quickly. Much of it is also drive and passion—hard work makes up for a lot.

When you recruit, you’re rolling the dice. No matter what, you’re rolling the dice because you’ve only got an hour to assess the candidate. The most time I spend with somebody is an hour, and I must then recommend whether we hire the person or not. Others will recommend, too, so I won’t be the only one, but I’ll still have to throw my vote in the hat.

Ultimately it comes down to your gut feeling. Your gut feeling gets refined as you hire more people and see how they do. Some you thought would do well don’t, and you can sense why. If you study it a bit you might say, “I thought this person was going to do well, but I overlooked this aspect,” or, “I didn’t think this person would do well, but they did and here’s why.” As you hire people over time, your gut instinct gets better and more precise.

Over time, my digging in during an interview gets more precise. For example, many times in an interview I will purposely upset someone: I’ll criticize their prior 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 did you work on that?” I shouldn’t say this in your book, but the worst thing that someone can do in an interview is to agree with me and knuckle under.

What I look for is for someone to come right back and say, “You’re dead wrong and here’s why.” I want to see what people are like under pressure. I want to see if they just fold or if they have firm conviction, belief, and pride in what they did. It’s also good every once in a while to really piss somebody off in an interview to see how they react because, if your company is a meritocracy of ideas, with passionate people, you have a company with a lot of arguments. If people can’t stand up and argue well under pressure, they may not do well in such an environment. 

Q: What do you think your weaknesses are when it comes to management?

SJ: I don’t know. People are package deals; you take the good with the confused. In most cases, strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin. A strength in one situation is a weakness in another, yet often the person can’t switch gears. It’s a very subtle thing to talk about strengths and weaknesses because almost always they’re the same thing.

My strength probably is that I’ve always viewed technology from a liberal arts perspective, from a human culture perspective. As such, I’ve always pushed for things that pulled technology in those directions by bringing insights from other fields. An example of that would be—with the Macintosh—desktop publishing: its proportionately spaced fonts, its ease of use. All of the desktop publishing stuff on the Mac comes from books: the typography, that rich feel that nobody in computers knew anything about. I think that my other strength is that I’m a pretty good judge of people and have the ability to bring people together around common vision.

Q: Well then, when are your strengths—judgment of character and liberal arts perspective—your weaknesses?

SJ: In certain cases, my weaknesses are that I’m too idealistic. [I need to] realize that sometimes best is the enemy of better. Sometimes I go for “best” when I should go for “better,” and end up going nowhere or backwards. I’m not always wise enough to know when to go for the best and when to just go for better.

Sometimes I’m blinded by “what could be” versus “what is possible,” doing things incrementally versus doing them in one fell swoop. Balancing the ideal and the practical is something I still must pay attention to.

Q: In terms of going for the best, you have a widely held reputation of being extremely charismatic—someone who is always able to draw out the best in other people. How have you been able to motivate your employees?

SJ: Well, I think that—ultimately, it’s the work that motivates people. I sometimes wish it were me, but it’s not. It’s the work. My job is to make sure the work is as good as it should be and to get people to stretch beyond their best. But it’s ultimately the work that motivates people. That’s what binds them together.

Q: Yet in the case of the Macintosh, you got tremendous output from people. Regardless of the type of work, not everybody can elicit that type of commitment.

SJ: Well, I’m not sure I’d chalk that up to charisma. Part of the CEO’s job is to cajole and beg and plead and threaten at times—to do whatever is necessary to get people to see things in a bigger and more profound way than they have, and to do better work than they thought they could do.

When they do their best and you don’t think it’s enough, you tell them straight: “This isn’t good enough. I know you can do better. You need to do better. Now go do better.”

You must play those cards carefully. You must be right a lot of the time because you’re messing with people’s lives. But that’s part of the job. In the end, it’s the environment you create, the coworkers, and the work that binds. The Macintosh team, if you talk to most of them—a dozen years since we shipped the product—most will still say that working on the Mac was the most meaningful experience of their lives. If we’d never shipped a product they wouldn’t say that. If the product hadn’t been so good they wouldn’t say that. The Macintosh experience wasn’t just about going to camp with a bunch of fun people. It wasn’t just a motivational speaker. It was the product that everybody put their heart and soul into, and it was the product that expressed their deep appreciation, somehow, for the world to see.

So, in the end, it’s the work that binds. That’s why it’s so important to pick very important things to do because it’s very hard to get people motivated to make a breakfast cereal. It takes something that’s worth doing.

Email to Pixar Employees

“Apple Acquires NeXT.”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Pixar

Subject: Apple Acquires NeXT

Date: December 20, 1996, 9:24 p.m.

Today Apple announced that it is acquiring NeXT! This is great for Apple -- it gives them a very advanced object-oriented operating system, OpenStep, that can leapfrog Microsoft Windows.

This is great for NeXT -- OpenStep will become mainstream and be used by millions of people; this has been a dream of everyone at NeXT for ten years.

This is great for Pixar -- it will free me up from running two companies, so I can devote even more of my energies to Pixar. There may even be some possibilities for Pixar and Apple to work together in the future (if creatively driven!).

And, this is really great for me. I have been working with a group of wonderful colleagues at NeXT for over a decade, and having our work finally become mainstream will be very gratifying (a feeling everyone at Pixar already knows). I will be advising Apple on their product strategy, and I will get to spend even more of my time at Pixar :).

I am very happy and excited.


PS: For more details, check out NeXT’s website at

Part III, 1996–2011

“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”

The Apple that Steve returned to after its purchase of NeXT at the end of 1996 scarcely resembled the company he remembered. Apple had lost $800 million that year. Steve had so little trust in the board that he insisted all but two directors resign.

But he also found many employees whose talents and love for Apple struck him as “phenomenal.” He assured a doubtful NeXT colleague, “There’s something there worth saving.”

Steve remained driven by the same mission he articulated in his early years, to “put something back into the pool of human experience.” And in his years away—longer than his first time at the company—he had matured and learned how to lead.

As CEO of Apple and Pixar (he held both roles until Disney acquired Pixar in 2006), he saw his job as “number one, recruit; number two, set an overall direction; and number three, inspire and cajole and persuade.” He said, “You’re not grabbing the pencil out of the twenty-five-year-old’s hand to do it better than they are. If you’re smart, you’re hiring twenty-five-year-olds who are smarter than you.” He gave particular thought to his responsibility for the business aspects of a creative company. A “risk-taking creative environment on the product side,” he said, required a “fiscally conservative environment” on the business side. “Creative people are willing to take a leap in the air, but they need to know that the ground’s going to be there when they get back.”

At Apple, making sure the ground was still there meant streamlining, a skill Steve had mastered in the lean years at NeXT and Pixar. His second tenure at Apple was a study in focus. Soon after he returned, he slashed the company’s product offerings from seventeen to four. This upset some fans and led to thousands of job losses, but he was unwavering in his belief that it was necessary to save the company. “You’ve got to choose what you put your love into really carefully,” he said.

A stream of Apple breakthroughs—including iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad—reflected that focused love, as did Pixar’s blockbuster and award-winning films from the same period: A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. Steve saw every product and film as “a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation.” Apple technology offered tools to make something wonderful. And Pixar films, he believed, had the “rare opportunity to put stories into the culture,” stories that would speak to “our grandkids’ grandkids’ grandkids.”

Steve wanted to build a foundation for Pixar and Apple that would last beyond his lifetime. When Disney acquired Pixar, the deal included language protecting Pixar’s culture and independence. He was intimately involved in the design of campuses for both companies, with beautiful physical environments—an orchard, a café, a headquarters constructed of handmade bricks—that encouraged serendipitous encounters and reflected his reverence for craft.

Six Pixar films won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature during this third act of Steve’s life. And when he resigned from Apple, six weeks before his death from pancreatic cancer in 2011, his beloved company, with its sixty thousand employees, seasoned leadership team, and clear mission guiding its future, was the most valuable in the world.

“It is always a team of people, and the chemistry between that team of people, that makes great results,” Steve once said. Under his leadership, the teams at Apple and Pixar transformed four very different industries: computing, telecommunications, music, and film. The engine driving these transformations was a remarkably consistent set of values that Steve held dear: Life is short; don’t waste it. Tell the truth. Technology should enhance human creativity. Process matters. Beauty matters. Details matter. The world we know is a human creation—and we can push it forward.

Steve on Returning to Apple

Speaking to Stanford business school students in 2003, Steve recalled his internal struggle, seven years earlier, over whether to return to Apple.

I’m working away at NeXT, working away at Pixar, reading the rumors in the papers that Apple is going to buy a company, this other company, for their operating system. And one of our guys said, “We should sell NeXT to them. We’ve got a much better operating system.”

And I said, “Forget it. It will never happen.”

So this is one of those cases where, when you hire the right people, they don’t always listen to you in key moments in time. So this person, being very smart, didn’t listen to me. And he went over and talked to Apple and said, “You ought to buy NeXT.” And they were interested.

Then he comes back and says, “They want to talk to us.”

And I was like, “No. Go away. You’re making this up.”

He did this twice. Finally I said, “OK. Fine. Let’s talk to them.” I couldn’t believe it. They really were interested. And so we ended up selling them NeXT.

And the CEO running Apple at that time made it clear he didn’t want me around, which was fine. And so I stayed on just as a consultant to him, to try to help him a little bit, because the management team he was inheriting from NeXT was actually quite a bit better than the one he had at Apple. And so I was trying to make sure these people didn’t get totally crushed.

And … I have to be careful what I say here. Let me just say that you need a license to drive a car, but you don’t need a license to be the CEO of a company. And maybe you should need one.

Anyway, so I was pretty much out of the picture. Then one of Apple’s board members called me. I had never met this person. And he said, “Look, I want your straight scoop on what you think of the CEO here.” And I thought, “I don’t even know this person. Whatever I tell them, they’ll probably go tell the CEO, and then I will be persona non grata, and I will not have a chance to help my team not get crushed by these other folks there.” And I thought a lot.

And then I thought, “You know, this is a director of a company that I started and that I loved for many years—and still do to some extent. And so how can I not tell them the truth?”

So I spilled out my guts—and never heard from him again. And so I figured, fine. I was spending my days at Pixar and having a great time. It was springtime, going into summer. And six years ago a few weeks from now, I got a call back from him [the director], and he said, “We are going to dismiss our CEO, and we would like you to come back and run the company.”

And I said, “I can’t do that. I’m the CEO of Pixar. It’s a publicly traded company. We have all these wonderful employees. We have these shareholders. And I can’t go be CEO of another public … I can’t desert them. So I can’t do this. I’ll help you any way I can, but I can’t.”

He called back a few days later and he said, “We’d like you to come back as an interim leader and help us find a new CEO.”

And I said, “Well, I have to think about that.” And I was thinking about it and called up a friend of mine, a really smart guy, a good friend I’d known for a long time that works at another company in the industry. And I probably woke him up in the morning, about eight o’clock one morning, and I was telling him about my struggles about, should I, could I do this? Should I not? And this and that …

And finally, he interrupted me after about four minutes and he said, “Steve, I don’t give a shit about Apple. Why are you telling me all this?”

And I said, “Oh, OK. I’m sorry.” And I hung up the phone.

And I realized: You know, I do give a shit about Apple.

And that’s kind of what crystallized it for me. And so I went back there as an interim CEO.

And I was terrified because I was afraid our Pixar employees and shareholders would feel like I was deserting them. And that’s why I went back just as an interim CEO. I only planned to stay ninety days. But Apple was in a pretty tough situation, and the candidates it was attracting for the CEO job, they were not so good. And I almost hired one, and at the last minute I just said, “I can’t do this to these guys.”

I just thought, “Well, it will take another ninety days to find somebody.” And that turned into a year. And I decided right up front that I was just going to act like I was the permanent CEO, because they didn’t need a caretaker. This thing was in intensive care. It was about ninety days away from bankruptcy. It was in pretty bad shape.

Steve has his back turned to the camera as he writes on a whiteboard. He wears a black turtleneck, shorts and sneakers.Steve stands in a dimly-lit stairwell opposite a large brick wall. He wears a vest over a white shirt.Steve sits in a conference room, leaning his head on his hand. A projector and whiteboard are blurred in the background.Steve stands in a courtyard, deep in thought, with his head down and his chin resting in the palm of his hand.
Steve leans back on his chair in a conference room. He is wearing shorts, legs stretched out and feet on the table.Steve lies on his back on a carpeted floor, talking on a cellphone and looking at the ceiling with his hand on his head.In his dark home office, a small lamp illuminates Steve as he sits at a cluttered desk.Steve in his signature turtleneck, eyes cast upward and fingers knitted, shortly after returning to Apple.
A selection of photos from Steve’s return to Apple.

Email to Apple Employees

“A More Entrepreneurial Apple.”

Steve was not yet CEO when he sent a company-wide email laying out plans to “take Apple back to its roots.”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: A More Entrepreneurial Apple

Date: August 12, 1997, 8:20 a.m.

Renewing Apple is a journey, and we have begun that journey during the past four weeks by taking some decisive first steps—a new Board of Directors, a new product strategy and product roadmap, a decision to really focus on two market segments (education and creative content), a new advertising agency, and a detente and working partnership with Microsoft. Last week we announced some of these steps at MacWorld, and so far our shareholders and the public seem to approve.

Today we are taking a few more steps which will begin to take Apple back to its roots as a more egalitarian, entrepreneurial company. They are:

1. Stock Options - From now on, we will be using stock options as a primary form of “beyond-salary” compensation. Stock options are egalitarian (when anyone’s stock goes up $1 per share, everyone’s stock goes up $1 per share) and they are the best way to give our employees a true stake in the company’s future success. And, we want our employees to be rewarded by the company’s success in the same way that our public shareholders are: through stock appreciation. To lead the way, the Executive Team has agreed to forfeit their current and future cash bonus plans in exchange for more stock options.

As you know, we repriced all stock options to $13.25 on July 11th. In addition, I am pleased to announce that on August 5th our Board approved new stock option grants totaling six million shares at the price of $19.75. Those receiving these new grants will get the good news later this week.

Apple has granted stock options for over 10 million shares since the beginning of this calendar year, and employees now hold stock options for over 20 million shares - which is more than 16% of Apple’s total outstanding shares. This is a very high percentage for a company of Apple’s size, and comparable to many valley start-ups. As we restore Apple’s fortunes, our public shareholders and our employee stock option holders will all benefit in harmony.

2. New Severance Plan - Effective today, we are changing our severance plan for all employees to be more in line with an entrepreneurial company. There will now be only one severance plan for all employees. This plan, like the previous plans, will provide a 60 day notice period, with full pay and benefits. In addition, employees will be eligible to receive one additional week of severance pay for each full year of service. For example, if you have worked at the company for more than three but less than four years, you will receive your pay and benefits during the 60 day notice period plus severance payments equal to three weeks of pay. This new severance plan applies to all employees of Apple, Claris, and Newton in the US - there is no longer a separate executive severance plan.

We will be changing our international severance policies to be in line with this new plan to the extent permitted under local laws.

3. Sabbatical Program - Apple needs all hands on deck for the foreseeable future as we turn our company’s fortunes around. We are therefore discontinuing the sabbatical program at the end of our current fiscal year. Employees who have earned their sabbatical as of September 26, 1997, will be eligible to take their sabbatical at a mutually agreeable time during fiscal year 1998. This applies to all employees of Apple, Claris, and Newton worldwide.

4. Corporate Travel - Corporate travel will continue to be constrained to essential trips. Our egalitarian travel policy specifies coach class travel for everyone on trips lasting less than 10 hours, and business class travel for everyone on trips of 10 hours or longer. Of course individuals may use their personal funds or mileage awards to upgrade their seating class. For clarification, flights between San Francisco and Tokyo (either direction) are eligible for business class travel.

5. Facilities - We will continue to move as many employees as possible onto our R&D Campus site. We will greatly benefit by the resulting “beehive” effects, including faster communication paths and more unplanned interactions between the various groups. Reflecting this consolidation, we are renaming the R&D Campus to the Apple Campus, beginning today.

Thank you for your support as we work together to renew Apple.

Steve and the Executive Team

Email Exchange with Avie Tevanian

“There is something good here worth saving.”

Avie Tevanian ran software engineering at NeXT and assumed the same role at Apple when it acquired NeXT. He told Steve that the Apple culture at the time of the acquisition was so bad that perhaps the best move might be to sell the company.

From: Avadis Tevanian

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Apple engineers

Date: August 14, 1997, 9:31 p.m.


The last couple of weeks have been quite interesting. With this kernel issue spinning out of control it is clear to me that the “cancer” within Apple, which we had put into remission (at least in SW engineering) a few months ago, came back with a vengeance. I am now applying a new chemo treatment in an attempt to put it back into remission—and I think it will be successful—but we will definitely have another wave of resignations from the sharks that smelled the blood in the water. A bunch of people will get over it, but many will not.

The net is the really bad Apple culture we’ve heard about still lurks out there. And I am convinced that a major problem with past management was their inability to deal with it. While I am a strong-willed person who can survive almost anything (hey, you’ve seen it first hand), I must admit these guys are wearing me down. Without any emotional tie to Apple (I, of course, have none) it gets increasing difficult to come to work each day. And while I can certainly treat the patient this time I wonder how long it will be before the cancer comes out of remission again. The context of a continuation of revenue decrease, losing quarters and ongoing restructuring does not help.

In the case of the kernel issue & OS roadmap I know the decisions we’ve made are the right decisions. And each day, as I discuss it with more and more people, I believe it even more. In fact, I’ve discovered just how conniving some of these folks can be just to push their agenda—including pretty severe obfuscation of facts. While the source of this is probably only a few people, they are able to quickly spread “evil thoughts” throughout the population that is just looking for a place to make a stand.

Combine this all with the reaction to the sabbatical program—which has been very poorly received in engineering (I’ve heard threats of a “sick-out”), and it makes me think this company isn’t worth saving. At least not for the sake of the employees. Yes, I feel for the customers. Yes, the shareholders deserve fair value. And yes, I worry about the ex-NeXTers we dragged into this. But it is not at all clear to me that the employees deserve to “win.” This, of course, is an overgeneralization, and there are some very good folks here, but you get the gist of this.

It really makes me think that maybe now is the time to seriously consider selling the company. It’s not clear we’ll ever again have the positive aura that we have now—at least temporarily.

Anyway, we should get together and discuss all this sometime—face to face, 1-1—not on the phone. Not urgent—I’m a survivor—but when we both have some time.


From: Steve Jobs

To: Avadis Tevanian

Subject: Apple engineers

Date: August 14, 1997, 10:02 p.m.


You know, I have had the same feeling lately—that Apple employees don’t deserve to be saved. They think they work so hard—heck, I don’t see it. They also think they have no responsibility for any of the mess that Apple’s in.

I don’t know who they think engineered and shipped such bad products, who created and authorized such bad marketing, who caused the support to be so bad, etc… They just don’t want to share any responsibility for the current state of the company…

But, there is something good here worth saving. I don’t quite know how to express it, but it has to do with the fact that Apple is the ONLY alternative to Windows and that Apple can still inject some new thinking into the equation.

Let’s go for a walk and talk about this sometime soon,


From: Avadis Tevanian

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Apple engineers

Date: August 25, 1997, 10:05 p.m.

We really need to get together to discuss this and other issues related to the “product strategy” and overall management of the company. I am worried about a number of the pieces of the puzzle and as a result am completely unmotivated to do what it takes to turn this company around. And for the first time in 10 years I don’t even feel like challenging your ideas when I disagree—which scares me because I believe as a “team” we work best when we challenge each other and come out all-the-better for it.

I am going to sleep on this some more tonight (I feel fried already and it’s only Monday evening—even the weekends aren’t sufficient to recharge these days). I have a pretty hectic schedule tomorrow (except for late in the day) but have lots of available time on Wednesday. Let me know when you’re available.


From: Steve Jobs

To: Avadis Tevanian

Subject: Re: Apple engineers

Date: August 25, 1997, 10:26 p.m.

Please continue to challenge me. It’s the way we get to the right decisions, and I enjoy it too.


A photograph from a reel shows Steve in portrait. Only the left side of his face is visible; the rest is in deep shadow.
Steve wanted to mimic the album art from Meet the Beatles.

Speech to Apple Employees

“We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

Steve introduced the “Think Different” advertising campaign to a small group of Apple employees on September 23, 1997. The ad would go on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial.

Howdy. Good morning. We were up till three o’clock last night finishing this advertising, and I want to show it to you in a minute—see what you think of it.

I’ve been back about eight to ten weeks, and we’ve been working really hard. What we’re trying to do is not something really highfalutin. We’re trying to get back to the basics. We’re trying to get back to the basics of great products, great marketing, and great distribution. I think that Apple has pockets of greatness but in some ways has drifted away from doing the basics really well.

We started with the product line. We looked at the product road map, going out for a few years, and we said, “A lot of this doesn’t make sense, and it’s way too much stuff, and there’s not enough focus.” We actually got rid of 70 percent of the stuff on the product road map. I couldn’t even figure out the damn product line after a few weeks. I kept saying, “What is this model? How does this fit?”

I started talking to customers, and they couldn’t figure it out either.

You’re going to see the product line get much simpler, and you’re going to see the product line get much better. There’s some new stuff coming out that’s incredibly nice. In addition, we’ve been able to focus a lot more on the 30 percent of the gems and add some new stuff in that is going to take us in some whole new directions. So we are incredibly excited about the products. I think we’re really thinking differently about the kinds of products we have to build. The engineering team is incredibly excited. I mean, I came out of the meeting with people that had just gotten their projects canceled, and they were three feet off the ground with excitement ’cause they finally understood where in the heck we were going, and they were really excited about the strategy.

In the same way we, I think, have not been as … we have not kept up with innovations in our distribution. I’ll give you an example. I’m sure it was talked about this morning, but we’ve got anywhere from two to three months of inventory in our manufacturing supplier pipeline, and about an equal amount in our distribution channel pipeline. We’re having to make guesses four or five, six months in advance, about what the customer wants.

We’re not smart enough to do that. I don’t think Einstein’s smart enough to do that. So what we’re going to do is get really simple and start taking inventory out of those pipelines so we can let the customer tell us what they want, and we can respond to it super fast. You’re going to see us be doing a lot of things like that. Today is just the first of many things we’re going to be doing with you.

We’re going to be not only, I think, catching up to where the best of the best are in distribution, but we’re going to actually be innovating and be breaking some new ground, I think, in the coming several months. I’m pretty excited about that as well, in the distribution manufacturing side of things.

That gets us to the marketing side of things.

To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world, and we’re not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is.

And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us. Now, Apple, fortunately, is one of the half-a-dozen best brands in the whole world—right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony. It is one of the greats of the greats, not just in this country but all around the globe.

But even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality. And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about speeds and feeds. It’s not to talk about MIPS and megahertz. It’s not to talk about why we are better than Windows. The dairy industry tried for twenty years to convince you that milk was good for you. It’s a lie, but they tried anyway. And the sales were going like this [hand mimics a line running down and to the right]. And then they tried “Got Milk?” and the sales started going like this [hand goes up and to the right]. “Got Milk?” doesn’t even talk about the product! As a matter of fact, the focus is on the absence of the product.

But the best example of all, and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen, is Nike. Remember: Nike sells a commodity! They sell shoes! And yet when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the products. They don’t ever tell you about their air soles, and why they are better than Reebok’s air soles. What does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are. That’s what they are about.

Apple spends a fortune on advertising. You’d never know it. You’d never know it.

So when I got here, Apple had just fired their agency, and there was a competition with twenty-three agencies, and, you know, four years from now, we would pick one. We blew that up, and we hired Chiat/Day, the ad agency I was fortunate enough to work with several years ago. We created some award-winning work, including the commercial voted the best ad ever made, “1984,” by advertising professionals.

We started working about eight weeks ago. The question we asked was, “Our customers want to know: Who is Apple, and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world?”

And what we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody, in some cases.

But Apple is about something more than that. Apple, at the core—its core value—is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe.

And we’ve had the opportunity to work with people like that. We’ve had the opportunity to work with people like you, with software developers, with customers, who have done it—in some big and some small ways.

And we believe that in this world, people can change it for the better. And that those people that are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do.

And so, what we’re going to do, in our first brand-marketing campaign in several years, is to get back to that core value. A lot of things have changed. The market is a totally different place than it was a decade ago. And Apple’s totally different, and Apple’s place in it is totally different. And believe me: the products, and the distribution strategy, and manufacturing are totally different—and we understand that. But values and core values: those things shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believed in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today. And so we wanted to find a way to communicate this. And what we have is something that I am very moved by. It honors those people who have changed the world. Some of them are living. Some of them are not. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, you know that if they ever used a computer, it would have been a Mac.

And the theme of the campaign is “Think Different.” It’s honoring the people who think different and who move this world forward. It is what we are about. It touches the soul of this company.

So I’m going to go ahead and roll it, and I hope that you feel the same way about it that I do.

[Steve runs the video.]

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Email to Pixar’s Leadership

“My grades as of today.”

As 1997 drew to a close, Steve graded Pixar’s performance: four A’s, one B, and two F’s.

From: Steve Jobs

To: ec, jl, lawrence, sarahmc

Cc: sj

Subject: Pixar Milestones

Date: December 21, 1997, 9:26 a.m.

From my files, dated Monday, October 28, 1996, with my grades as of today:


1. Make BUGS Great – A

2. Ship Two Strong Interactive Products – F (but A for getting out)

3. Enter Sequel Business – A (and almost exit sequel business)

4. Greenlight Film #3 – F (but B for great progress)

5. Manage Growth – A (hired >100 people, Pixar U, expanded infrastructure)

6. Longer Term:

- keep a larger percentage of the profits – A

- increase Pixar’s brand awareness – B (mostly due to Apple goings on)

Let’s set our 1998 milestone goals soon after the holidays.


Email to Pixar’s Leadership

“This list is to remind us of the ‘forest.’”

Steve’s 1998 goals for Pixar included beginning animation on the film that would become Monsters, Inc.

From: Steve Jobs

To: ec, jl, lawrence, sarahmc

Subject: Pixar Milestones

Date: December 26, 1997, 10:00 a.m.

Here are proposed key 1998 milestones for us as a senior management team. The purpose of this list is to remind us of the “forest” from time to time, and to help prod us into taking corrective action when we get off track. Please feel free to shoot full of holes with your comments.



1. A Bug’s Life opens in November to very strong critical and box office success

2. PR efforts yield Pixar branding and creative credit for A Bug’s Life

3. Toy Story 2 becomes a great feature film

4. Hidden City is on schedule to begin animation by April ’98

5. Film #5 development begins by April 1

6. Emeryville groundbreaking in May

7. Breakthrough new animation system demonstrated by summer

8. Secure shorts projects to defray carrying costs of ABL crew through Spring ’99

9. Execute equity financing in Spring/Summer if necessary

Email to Apple Employees

“Newton protest today.”

When Steve returned to Apple, he jettisoned many product lines developed during his time away. His goal was to focus the company’s offerings. Some fans rebelled.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: Newton protest today

Date: March 6, 1998, 8:09 a.m.

Some people are understandably upset that Apple has decided to stop developing future Newton OS based computers, especially the MessagePad. Today some of them are coming to Apple to protest our decision. This is OK. We are reserving a space for them on our campus and will provide them with coffee and other hot drinks (it may be cold out there!).

Our decision to end Newton development was not taken lightly, and is unlikely to be reversed. Even so, let’s welcome the Newton customers and developers who come to protest this decision. Hopefully they will feel our enthusiasm about the future of Apple, and leave more settled than they arrived.



Speech at Macworld

“Apple is coming back in a very big way.”

Steve was still interim CEO of Apple when he gave the keynote address at Macworld in New York City in July 1998.

Thank you very much. This is good. I just got off a red-eye to get here. I didn’t think I could be here today, and I managed to make it, so this is good. We’ve got some great stuff to talk about today, so let’s get into it.

An American named Abraham Maslow came up with a theory that he called the human hierarchy of needs. And this theory was a simple one in concept, [though] somewhat profound in its implications. This theory was that humans have needs that must be met, and these needs can be stratified into certain levels. [Humans] need the bottom needs to be met first, and then they progress to the next level. And when those [needs] are met, they progress to the next level.

So, you start off with the physiological needs: food, clothing, and shelter, let’s say. If those are met, or once those are met, you then start to be concerned more with the safety of your environment—and eventually with love, with esteem, with self-actualization. I don’t know if this is true or not, but this is what Abraham believed.

And I thought this was a good model, so I borrowed it today to construct … Steve Jobs’s version of this [audience laughs], which I call the Apple Hierarchy of Skepticism.

Let me explain this to you. When I came to Apple a year ago, all I heard was, “Apple is dying. Apple can’t survive.”

And it turns out that every time we convince people that we’ve accomplished something at one level, they come up with something new.

I used to think this was a bad thing. I thought, “Oh, jeez, when are they ever going to believe that we’re going to be able to turn this thing around?” But actually, now I think it’s great, because what it means is we’ve now convinced them that we’ve taken care of last month’s question—and they’re onto the next one.

So I thought, “Well, let’s get ahead of the game. Let’s try to figure out what all the questions are going to be and map out where we are.” So that’s what the Apple Hierarchy of Skepticism is. And it borrows from Dr. Maslow.

So the first level, what we encountered a year ago, was survival. [Audience applauds.] A lot of people thought Apple was in some sort of death spiral, which I think there was some truth to. What did we do? We did many, many things, but the three things that stood out in people’s minds were: we brought in a new management team to run the company, a new board of directors that’s got some phenomenally experienced people on it, and we did a deal with Microsoft. The largest software company in the world want[ing] to help Apple was a fact that didn’t escape very many people, and it added a lot of credibility to what we were doing.

The combination of these three things and a lot of other medium-sized things, I think, convinced people fairly rapidly that survival, at least in the short term, was not an issue. And it gave us some time to demonstrate that we could accomplish some other things.

Immediately, once we did these things, then everybody moved up a level. […] If it wasn’t about survival, it was, “Well, but there’s no stable business in the Mac market.” That was the next level of the hierarchy. So we had to start demonstrating that we had a stable business, and that one could be made from the Macintosh market, because it’s a great market.

So what did we do? Well, the most important thing was profits. In the end, that’s what a lot of people look at. And the first full quarter of the new management team, Apple delivered profits of $47 million […]. And in the next fiscal quarter […] Apple delivered a quarter with $55 million of profits. [Audience applauds.] This went a long way to convincing a lot of the skeptics. And we will be announcing the results of our third fiscal quarter, the one that just ended at the end of June, a week from today. And I’m very pleased to tell you that it will be our third consecutively profitable quarter. […]

In terms of people, our retention has gone way up. We’re losing hardly any people from the company now, and we’re hiring incredibly good people into the company. We also realigned our distribution channels […] and we began an advertising campaign for brand—around “Think Different”—and for some very specific product advertising. […] We invested in an online store. […] We are one of the largest ecommerce sites now on the internet. […] And that’s terrific.

So the aggregate of all of these things was that the market value of Apple’s risen from about $1.8 billion a year ago, to about $4 billion yesterday. I don’t know what it is today.

What this means is that people are seeing a stable business, which is good, and a business that is under control, which is also good.

So what do they do, then? Well, they don’t send us a card or anything. They just go onto the next one. What’s the next one? “Well, if you’ve survived and you’ve got a stable business, well, what’s your product strategy? You’re a product-driven company; you better have a doggone good product strategy.” 

When we got to the company a year ago, there were a lot of products. There were the product platforms—fifteen product platforms—and a zillion variants of each one. I couldn’t even figure this out myself. After about three weeks, I said, “How are we going to explain this to others when we don’t even know which products to recommend to our friends?” There was no way to do it.

So we went back to Business School 101 and said, “What do people want?” Well, they want two kinds of products. They want consumer products […] and we need pro products because our design and publishing market wants pro products. […] And in each of those two categories, we need desktop and portable models.

What this told us was if we had four great products, that’s all we need. And as a matter of fact, if we only had four, we could put the A team on every single one of them. And if we only had four, we could turn them all every nine months instead of every eighteen months. And if we only had four, we could be working on the next generation or two of each one as we’re introducing the first generation. So that’s what we decided to do—to focus on four great products.

And the first one that we introduced, of course, was the desktop pro product, which was the Power Mac G3. […] The next product was the pro portable. And as you know, that is our new PowerBook G3. […] Now, we also announced on May 6th that we are developing a consumer portable product, and that we will announce it in the first half of next year. And we’re hard at work on that, and I think it’s going to be quite nice.

Which brings us to our consumer desktop product and something we’re going to spend a fair bit of time on today, which, of course, is the iMac, which combines the excitement of the internet with the simplicity of a Macintosh. And that was our goal in this product.

When we got to Apple a year ago, it was very clear within the first month that Apple was walking away from the consumer market because Apple didn’t have a compelling product under $2,000 and had not had one for some time. We immediately began a program to build the most kickass consumer product we knew how to do—and that’s the iMac.

So we’re really, really happy with this thing. It’s gorgeous. We believe it’s going to change the way computers look and should look. 

So we’ve survived. We’ve demonstrated that we’ve got a really great, stable business. We’ve laid out the road map of a fantastic product strategy. And we’re getting apps back on the Mac in unprecedented numbers. So, what more could you ask for?

Well, there’s always something, right? The last one is growth! “Well, if all this stuff’s so good, show me some growth. How are you going to grow?”

Right. And again: when I hear these things, I think it’s great, because what it means is we’re building the layers below and people are looking at the next layer. […] What’s the next thing to be skeptical about? Growth. So what are we going to do about growth?

A year ago, when the new management team got to Apple, we looked at the marketplace and we said that although Apple’s market share has declined, it’s still extraordinarily strong in the design and publishing market, where Apple’s market share is between 50 and 90, depending on what segment you look at. And [market share is also strong] in the education market, where Apple owns over half of the installed base and about 35 percent of the new selling units—bigger than anybody else.

What we didn’t say was that Apple had declined rapidly in the consumer market, a market that it invented. Apple invented the market for selling computers to consumers, and yet it had failed to come out with compelling products at consumer price points for several years. So even though we didn’t talk about it, we began a program to get back into the consumer market with a vengeance. And this is where we see a tremendous amount of growth for ourselves. We are doing extremely well in the design and publishing market, and starting to do much better in the education market—but adding the consumer market to that will make both of those even stronger. And we’re going to do it with the iMac. 

There is no brand in the computer industry that is remotely as strong as Apple’s. Apple’s brand around the world is right up there with Disney and Sony and Nike in terms of recognition and in terms of consumer loyalty. Now, it’s also worth pointing out that the other three brands on this slide have all had serious problems. Look at Disney when Michael Eisner got there. Look at Nike and Sony over the last half-dozen years. But when these companies have straightened out their problems, their brands have come back stronger than ever. Brands take decades to build. And we think we have one of the best in the world. 

We believe that as the price points come down, as the consumer market blossoms, design and fashion become even more important. Let me give you an example. This is [an image of] the most popular watch in the world. And it’s popular not because it tells time better than any other watch. It’s popular because of its design. I’ll give you an interesting statistic: ten years ago, the average American owned one watch. Because of design entering the watch market, today the average American owns seven watches. OK? Seven watches because of design. Because of fashion.

Now, when we dream, we dream of this. Right? [Audience laughs.] And one of the great joys that I found at Apple a year ago was the best industrial design team I’ve ever seen in my life. The designs for the new PowerBook G3 and the iMac—they’re all done inside Apple by some brilliant, brilliant, super hardworking people. And you’re going to see a continual stream of very innovative design out of Apple—I think the best in the industry by a mile. 

These are four incredibly powerful, unique, compelling assets: the brand, the installed base, especially in the consumer and education markets, the ability of our design to really take these products into that consumer space of fashion, and the fact that our products are dramatically simpler to set up and use than our competition’s. […]

So, again, going back to Abraham Maslow: he created his hierarchy of needs, and we’ve borrowed it today to take a look at a hierarchy of skepticism that’s followed us for the last year as we’ve slowly demonstrated, step by step, that Apple is coming back in a very big way.

Steve relaxes with his feet up in a full-sized model of the chair of the queen from the Pixar movie A Bugs Life.
In the queen’s chair from A Bug’s Life.
A Toy Story snow globe that Steve kept in his office, with a three-eyed alien and a base that reads: Ooooh!
Steve kept this snow globe in his home office.

Email to Pixar Employees

“A Bug’s Life Sweeps.”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Pixar

Subject: A Bug’s Life Sweeps Thanksgiving Weekend Box Office

Date: November 30, 1998, 7:19 a.m.

A Bug’s Life swept the Thanksgiving box office with a record-setting $46.5 million for the five-day weekend, breaking the previous Thanksgiving weekend record of $45 million set by Disney’s 101 Dalmatians (live-action) in 1996. A Bug’s Life also set a new three-day (Fri-Sat-Sun) Thanksgiving weekend record of $33.6 million.

The exit polls are exceptionally positive. The audience was equally split between males and females (very high ratio of males), and 16% were the highly-desirable non-family “date” audience (we didn’t get this high of a non-family audience for Toy Story until two weeks after its opening). Audiences loved A Bug’s Life, and are telling their friends to see it.

As for the competition, over the five-day weekend Rugrats drooled a respectable $27.6 million, Babe: Pig in the City squealed across the finish line with just $8.5 million, and Antz was squashed with just $1.2 million.

Congratulations go to John, Andrew, Darla, Kevin and entire A Bug’s Life crew. What a special present you have given the world. All of us at Pixar feel so proud to be associated with such excellence. Congratulations also go to Jan, Karen and the Geri’s Game crew for their magical short (audiences around the country loved it too).

If you divide our Thanksgiving weekend box office of $46.5 million by the average ticket price of around $6 -- it tells us that around 7.5 million people saw our movie this weekend!! Few people ever get the chance to make 7.5 million people laugh so much and feel so good. Or 450 people at Pixar feel so proud.



Email to Apple Employees

“We Did It!”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: We did it!

Date: December 23, 1998, 9:31 a.m.

Yesterday the market data was released, and …. (drum roll) …. iMAC WAS THE NUMBER ONE SELLING COMPUTER IN THE U.S. during the month of November in U.S. retail and mail order channels, outselling all other brands!!

iMac captured 7.1% of unit volume and 8.2% of dollar volume, propelling Apple’s overall market share in retail and mail order to double from about 5% in August to 10% in November. You can read all about it on our website ( in hot news section) or in today’s Wall Street Journal (US Edition, page A1 and B7).

This incredible achievement is the result of our hard work. Please take a moment and reflect on how far we have come in the last 18 months. It’s amazing what we have all accomplished together. I am very proud of our team, and feel so excited to be at Apple. Have a wonderful holiday.


Email to Apple Employees

“Macintosh Turns Fifteen.”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: Macintosh Turns Fifteen

Date: January 24, 1999, 7:49 p.m.

Fifteen years ago today, on January 24, 1984, Apple launched the first Macintosh at Flint Center in Cupertino, California. Its revolutionary ease of use made computing accessible to “the rest of us”, and its infusion of graphics and typography placed the Macintosh at the intersection of computer science and liberal arts. The Macintosh went on to become the second revolution in personal computing (the Apple II was the first), and its revolutionary ideas and benefits spread beyond Apple - they have changed the face of an entire industry and touched hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Apple has a lot to be proud of here.

While I am not normally one to look back, today is a good day to remember Apple’s legacy, which is to bridge the gap between sophisticated technology and “the rest of us” who make up most of humanity. It’s our job to make complex technology easy to use and fun to use. The need for this bridge is even greater today than it was in 1984 when the Macintosh debuted. Back then, users didn’t have to deal with the complexities of connecting to networks and the Internet, setting up email, managing device drivers and init files, and all of the other things that drive today’s computer users mad.

The computer world shows no signs of getting simpler as we enter the coming century. And no other company has yet taken Apple’s place as the bridge builder. As we return to our roots and once again begin delivering simpler and better ways to use computers, Apple’s future looks both bright and secure.

It’s been an amazing journey so far, yet we have barely begun.


Email from Steve to Himself

“Apple’s Reason For Being.”

Steve often captured his thoughts by emailing himself notes.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Apple’s reason for being

Date: October 29, 2000, 4:39 p.m.

Apple is the world’s premier company at building high technology products that are easy to learn and use by mere mortals. Beginning over 20 years ago, Apple has consistently set the standard for easy to use computer systems and software. Why do we do this? Because we are in love with the potential for personal computers to enhance and enrich the lives of regular people - not just with spreadsheets and databases, but with creative

We’re a creatively driven company in everything we do. From breakthrough product features and operating systems to culturally leading product design and advertising. Heck, we INVENTED the personal computer, spawned desktop publishing and are now bringing desktop movies to millions. And our engineers are hard at work on several more exciting breakthroughs you’ll see in 2001.

Apple marries state of the art technology with Apple’s legendary ease-of-use to create products that enable users to do more

Apple is the world’s premier bridge builder between mere mortals and the exploding world of high technology. Apple enables mere mortals around the world to grasp by making it easy to learn and use

Apple is the premier company in the world at making the exploding world of high technology easy to learn and use, thereby enabling mere mortals to enrich their lives using it.

Demystified technology, it will have a much greater impact than any other thing we can do. The stores need to be thought of as a mecca for understanding technology and making all of the digits a part of your life. All things digital, digital music, digital photography, people who’ve migrated to broadband, people/families who want to build a home network

Speech to Pixar Employees

“Hopefully we captured a bit of Pixar’s soul in this building.”

In November 2000, Steve officially opened Pixar’s headquarters building in Emeryville, California.

I just wanted to say a few words as we sort of come together to live here. You know, I have seen this building, every square millimeter of this building, in almost every stage of its planning and development and construction—except for one thing, which is I have never seen people in it. It makes all the difference. This big space here looks pretty big without people in it, and with all of us in it, it looks just right.

We are moving from Point Richmond, where we have lived for eleven years, to our new home here, where I think we are going to live forever. We have land to expand here, and I think a lot of us will spend the rest of our corporate lives here.

We are moving from four buildings to one. One of the things people have said this morning is they are seeing people for the first time that work at our company. That’s both startling and kind of exciting. We have designed this building to be a more urban environment—that’s what this is, this is Town Square right here—and it’s a place for you to meet people you have never met before, a place for us to interact and collaborate, which is really the basis of our success. So it’s a very different feeling to get us all into one building, and yet provide us a nice park so we can get away from everybody else when we need to.

We bought this land four years ago. It was a giant Del Monte Fruit Cocktail factory. It had been abandoned and was decrepit. It was falling apart, and for some reason, we saw the land underneath it that no one else saw. We bought it. We bought sixteen gorgeous acres of land, which is one of the rare large parcels of land left in the Bay Area.

Deciding what building to build was really hard. When you are in rented buildings, it is easy because they don’t define who you are—they define who the landlord is! But when you decide to design your own building, you have to ask the question, “Who are we?” Because you want to capture some of the soul of the company in the building and reflect who we are.

The design proceeded much like one of our films. First, a treatment; throw it away. Then another; throw it away. And finally, one that is worth developing—and then zillions and zillions of iterations, model after model after model, detail after detail. We drove our architects crazy. And three years of development—again, much like one of our films.

And hopefully we captured a bit of Pixar’s soul in this building. Our architects did an amazing job. This is also a hand‑made building. All the steel is hand-joined on this site and bolted together, not welded. Just the drawings to define every connection for every place where steel is bolted to steel were twenty-five hundred pages. Every brick was custom hand‑made, with an old, not-seen-today process, and then hand-laid on the site. John [Lasseter] even laid a brick—right over there. And every floorboard was hand-laid and sanded on the site. This is a handmade building, just like one of our films.

And the workers discovered that this crazy owner was letting them build a building like they always had dreamed of, like none other built these days. And they brought their families to the construction site on weekends to see their craftwork like no one else is doing today—just like all of us feel about our films. And though a little blood was spilled, no one was seriously hurt building this building, just like one of our films.

This land and building and grounds cost just shy of $100 million, about the same as it costs to make one of our films. This equals around one year’s salary and benefits for everybody in our studio: to build this whole place, to buy the land, to build the grounds. We are making this investment in our future because we want the best place in the world to support the best talent in the world making the best animated features in the world.

And we paid for it in cash. We have no debt on this building. We own it. Basically, this building was paid for with the profits we made from A Bug’s Life. And we still have over $200 million of cash in the bank. This building will be a solid investment, just like one of our films.

Pixar’s home was in Point Richmond for eleven years. Now our home is here, and many of us will spend the remainder of our professional lives here.

We are having an open house and holiday party here on Saturday, December 9, in the afternoon and early evening, when you can bring your family to see our new home. This home has been lovingly built by talented workers; the building has good karma already. But its purpose is not just to be a cool building or to impress anyone on the outside. It is to house and inspire the most talented group of filmmakers in the world—that’s you. And so today, the architects, Tom, Craig, and the amazing crew that we have here at the company, all of the facilities crew and the I.S. [Information Systems] crew, and everybody who has moved us seamlessly over the last week, we are officially turning the building over to you: the creative owners.

So go make some history here!

Steve smiling, wearing his signature black turtleneck and round glasses.
Steve, 2000.
Steve takes a break during stage rehearsals for MacWorld. Sitting on a stool, he leans forward with his hand on his chin.
Rehearsing for Macworld keynote, Tokyo, 2001.

Speech Introducing the First Apple Store

“Wouldn’t it be great if when … you had any questions, you could ask a Genius?”

In May 2001, Steve recorded a private tour of the first Apple Store for an audience of software developers. He had once suggested that the Genius Bar be called the Geek Bar.

[From the sidewalk outside the store]

Hi, I’m Steve Jobs, and I’m here at Tysons Corner Mall in Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. And I’m standing in front of this wood barricade we’ve built in front of our first retail store, that’s going to open in six days. Now, nobody’s seen inside here yet. And I’d like to take you inside for a secret little private tour. [Beckons toward the store]

So come on in. Now, this is our store. And the store’s divided into four parts. The first quarter of the store has our home section, with great home and education products. And our Pro section, with all our great Pro products. Every product we make is in this first 25 percent of the store. You can see the whole product line.

So come on over here. Let me show you what we’ve got going in the home section. 

We decided carrying our own products wasn’t enough, so we’re carrying six digital camcorders, six digital cameras, six MP3 players, and six handheld organizers. So you can come in here, and not only can you buy these digital devices, but you can actually hook them right up to the Macs and take them for a spin.

Wouldn’t it be great if when you went to buy a computer—or after you bought a computer—if you had any questions, you could ask a Genius? Well, that’s what we’ve got. This is called the Genius Bar.

I’m not a Genius, but I’ll stand behind here. There’ll be somebody here who can do service right in the store and who could answer any questions you’ve got about your Mac or any of the peripherals or software that work with it. And if that person doesn’t know the answer, they’ve got a hotline to call us in Cupertino at Apple headquarters, where we have somebody who does.

But maybe the most exciting part of the back of the store is our theater. We’ve got an exceptional rear projection screen. We can play our latest commercials back here, we can play some incredible videos back here, and of course we can play iTunes visualizations back here.

One last thing I want to show you is all our great software. Look at this stuff. We have over three hundred titles, from games to the most sophisticated pro applications. There’s something for everybody.

We can’t wait to feature your software right here, in every single one of our stores. So go write some more for us, and we’ll build more shelves for as much as you can write.

Take care.

Email to Apple Employees

“Message from Steve.”

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: Message from Steve

Date: September 17, 2001, 7:15 a.m.


Last week’s devastating and tragic events have touched everyone at Apple. We are all grieving for the victims and their families. Thankfully, no Apple team members were among them. I know many of you have taken time to support various relief efforts, give blood, and support those around you. We all appreciate your extra efforts to do so.

I want to let you know that Apple is donating one million dollars to the families of the firefighters, police and other emergency response personnel who lost their lives, through the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, we will donate one iBook to each of these families with children this holiday season.

Also, today we are announcing the cancellation of Apple Expo 2001, which was scheduled to take place in Paris on September 26-30. We are very sorry to disappoint our customers and developers, but their safety must be our primary concern at this time. Apple is a very visible American company, and having a highly publicized event at this time would be irresponsible.

We are also taking extra precautions to insure our safety. Apple security will remain on heightened alert at all our facilities around the world for the foreseeable future. Please immediately report any suspicious events or personnel to security.

It’s going to take time for the world to return to “normal”, and some things will never return to the way they were. The next few months may be rocky. Please take the time you need for your families, and please lean on one another. Together, we will all get through this.

I want to commend everyone for their efforts throughout this difficult time. As always, I am very proud of this team.


Email to Apple Employees


Steve said this was his favorite quote.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: Aristotle

Date: January 20, 2002, 12:47 p.m.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

A first generation iPod belonging to Steve, with clickwheel and blank screen.
Steve’s iPod. “Bring the joy of music to even more people.”
An autographed 45 of Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, with bright yellow Sun records label.
A treasured gift Steve kept in his office.

Emails from Steve to Himself

“This song moves me like few others.”

Steve drafted playlists of his favorite songs and why he loved them in 2003, the year the iTunes Music Store debuted.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Celebrity Playlist

Date: April 16, 2003, 9:02 p.m.

1. Sligo River Blues, In Christ There is No East or West, John Fahey

2. If I Laugh, Cat Stevens (or Trouble)

3. Every Grain of Sand, Bob Dylan

4. Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Bob Dylan, 66 tour,live, She Belongs to Me, Desolation Row, Just Like A Woman, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

5. Vince Guaraldi, Never Never Land

6. Sweet Jane, Velvet Underground

7. Here Comes the Sun, Beatles (Ticket To Ride,

Yesterday, Nowhere Man, In My Life)

8. Little Green, Joni Mitchell

9. Camelot, Lerner & Loewe

10. Suite Judy Blue Eyes, Crosby, Stills & Nash (Wooden Ships)

11. Neil Young, Harvest

12. Hey Joe, Jimi Hendrix

13. How Long Has This Been Going On, Audrey Hepburn, Funny Face

14. Good Shepherd, Jefferson Airplane

15. You’re Still My Woman, B.B. King

16. For A Dancer, Jackson Browne

17. New Morning, Bob Dylan

18. Take Me to the River, Talking Heads,

Stop Making Sense

19. Angel From Montgomery, Bonnie Raitt

20. Father and Son, Cat Stevens

21. Minor Swing, Django Reinhardt

22. Where to Now St. Peter, Elton John

23. Colors/Dance, George Winston

24. The Dark End of the Street, James Carr

25. Come On, Let’s Go, Ritchie Valens

26. Tupelo Honey, Van Morrison

27. Judy Garland, Over the Rainbow, Live

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Celebrity Playlist--writeup

Date: December 27, 2003, 4:58 p.m.

For a Dancer

I first heard this on my car radio while driving down Highway 280, and I started crying. I had not listened to much Jackson Browne at that time, and was just blown away by the lyrics. I have since listened to many more of his songs, but this one is still my favorite.

Little Green

This is an autobiographical song by Joni Mitchell about giving a daughter up for adoption. Maybe it’s because I’m adopted, but this song moves me like few others. After I realized what this song was about, I cry every time I hear it. She wrote it when she was young, and it remains one of the best of her many great songs.

I Get A Kick Out of You

From Ella’s incomparable Cole Porter Songbook album.

All I Have to Do is Dream

This song was a hit when I was very young, and I remember listening to it as my parents listened to it, which brings back great memories. It was a transition period from the 50s to the 60s -- Buddy Holly was dead, the Beatles hadn’t arrived yet, and groups like The Everly Brothers filled the gap nicely.

Email from Steve to Himself

“This is what it feels like to be living in—and creating—a Golden Age.”

Steve sent himself notes to prepare for a talk on Pixar.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Golden Age

Date: May 3, 2003, 5:08 p.m.

Websters Dictionary states that the term Golden Age dates from 1555 and means: a period of great happiness, prosperity, and achievement.

Pixar is in a Golden Age. With our soon-to-be-released Finding Nemo, we have completed 5 computer animated feature films, with three more in some stage of production. All original Pixar stories. Our track record of 4 for 4, and hopefully 5 for 5, is unparalleled in the history of animation, and indeed in the history of film.

Our real Golden Age is being fueled by the maturing of our people. I have seen Pete, Andrew and Lee grow into the second generation of Pixar Directors, all with the experience of leading the creation of a feature film under their belts. I have seen Darla and Graham grow into our industry’s best producers, producing our films with greater and greater mastery. I have seen Rob Cook and his R&D team ushering in a new, second golden age of amazing new Pixar science and technology. And I see more directors and producers coming right behind them. In every aspect of our studio, I see the kind of sprouting that signals Springtime—and I think the world, which is already amazed at what we have done so far, is going to be even more amazed at what’s in store for them in the coming years.

Tonight is a night for celebration, but don’t forget to pause for a moment and realize that this is what it feels like to be living in—and creating—a Golden Age. And, 25 years from now, when a kid—maybe even your grandkid—asks you what it was like to be at Pixar during its Golden Age, you’ll know—if you can only find the words to describe it.

Interview with Leslie Berlin

“I think I got lucky and had the chutzpah to call these guys up.”

On May 24, 2003, Steve spoke with Leslie Berlin about his mentor Robert Noyce. Noyce co-invented the microchip and co-founded Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, the first successful silicon microchip company in Silicon Valley.

Leslie Berlin: Why’d you decide to join the Grinnell College board?

Steve Jobs: Bob asked me to do it. I went to a small liberal arts college. Six months officially, and for two years I was kind of a drop-in. And so I’ve always had a soft spot for private liberal arts colleges. You really only find them in America, and they’re a very wonderful thing.

It was a fun experience. And the funnest part was just traveling down with Bob. We almost died together; I don’t know if you know about this.

LB: No.

SJ: Well, Bob’s a pilot, as you know. He flew all kinds of planes. He bought a Seabee. Have you heard about that?

LB: I’ve heard that he had this plane.

SJ: It was a Seabee. And a Seabee was a World War II plane. They stopped making them probably at the end of the forties. And there were like a hundred of them left. It was a plane whose fuselage was in the shape of the hull of a boat. Its wings were on top; and it could land on a runway or in the water.

He bought one. He had just gotten it, and he called me up and said, “Hey, there’s a Seabee fly-in up at Trinity Lake. […] Do you want to go?” I said, “Sure. Let’s go.” So, we get in the Seabee plane […] and we land in Lake Shasta. We got out and went for a swim, and it was really great. Really great. So we take off again, and it’s getting kind of hot. Bob pulls a lever that he thinks is the air ventilation. But he pulls the wrong lever. He pulled the lever that locks the wheels.

We get to Trinity Lake, and he’s landing on the runway […] and we hit the tarmac. The wheels on the wings, of course, are locked, so the plane immediately lunges forward. Sparks start flying. We very nearly flipped the plane over. It was only due to his excellent piloting that we survived.

And I was imagining, as this was all happening, the headlines: “Bob Noyce and Steve Jobs Killed in Fiery Plane Crash.” I think it was pretty close. 

SJ: I was young. I was in my late twenties. And Bob was—gosh, he must have been in his later forties.

LB: He was born in ’27.

SJ: Yeah, and I was born in ’55. So almost thirty years. Yeah, so, he was in his—well, Jesus—in his early fifties. And now that I’m approaching fifty, it’s easy to see how people in their fifties know more than people in their twenties.

He just kind of tried to give me the lay of the land and tried to give me a perspective that I could only partially understand.

I think he was interested in what someone in their twenties thought too. And he was fascinated by the personal computer. The personal computer and Intel had nothing to do with each other at that time. So he was fascinated by that stuff. That was it. So we just, we just became buddies.

LB: Do you recall any specific conversations or any situations where you were thinking one thing and he was suggesting otherwise, and you did or didn’t listen?

SJ: The things I remember are not the business things. It’s actually more personal stuff. I remember him trying to teach me how to ski better. I remember when I got fired from Apple, he was one of the first people to call me.

He just had a lot of soul. And I think he was the soul of Intel. Gordon [Moore] and Andy [Grove] are fantastic, but I think Bob, Bob was the soul of that place. 

LB: One of my favorite quotes from him is where he says that optimism is the essential ingredient for innovation.

SJ: Well, it’s optimism and passion, because it’s really hard. And if you don’t really, really care about what you’re doing, you’re gonna give up if you’re a sane person—because it’s just super hard. I’m sure it was extremely hard for him at times. 

SJ: When you get into your fifties—I’m forty-eight, I’m kind of there, pretty much—you’re not grabbing the pencil out of the twenty-five-year-old’s hand to do it better than they are. If you’re smart, you’re hiring twenty-five-year-olds who are smarter than you. You know things that they don’t know, and they know things that you don’t know, and it all works.

It shouldn’t have been Bob that was designing the breakthrough chips, and if it was, then he ain’t running the company. His job was to, number one, recruit; number two, set an overall direction; and number three, you know, inspire and cajole and persuade. And if that’s what he’s known for, that means he’s doing the job. He had his day when he was the young hotshot, and he came through. But that wasn’t the job. 

SJ: I called up him and Andy and a few other people, Jerry Sanders [the founder of microchip company AMD]. I just called them up and I said, “Look, I’m young and I’m trying to run with this company. I’m just wondering if I could buy you lunch once a quarter and pick your brain.”

And everybody I ever asked said yes. It was nice. Bob said yes. Andy Grove said yes; that was how I met Andy. Jerry Sanders said yes. It was pretty wonderful. I was very, very lucky, because I got to meet and get to know a little bit of Hewlett and Packard, too.

I sort of feel like that second era of the Valley, the semiconductor companies kind of leading into the early computer companies—I got to smell that, and I always held that very near and dear. And Bob was sort of why.

LB: Do you think this sort of generational link you’re describing here, in terms of your own relationship with Bob and, to a lesser extent, your relationship with Hewlett and Packard—do you think it’s a feature of the valley, or do you think you just got lucky and had the chutzpah to call these guys up?

SJ: Well, I think I got lucky and had the chutzpah to call these guys up. However, there are other people who have chutzpah to call people up too. The Google guys called me up, so I had lunch with them. And so I think it still happens a little. I don’t think it ever happened a lot, and I don’t think it happens a lot now. But I think it still happens—it happened a little, and it still happens a little. Maybe most people aren’t interested. They have their own things to worry about. 

SJ: I think there’s a tradition here [in Silicon Valley]. And that doesn’t mean that it’s a well-worn groove that you drop into. It’s not that easy. But there’s role models, and there’s legends, and there’s all sort of folklore—the kind of thing that makes a culture. And many people don’t spend the time to learn about it, which is fine. But some people find themselves in it, and slowly start to absorb it and get curious as to what came before them.

LB: And when you think of Bob giving you the lay of the land, is it along these sorts of lines, in some sense?

SJ: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s sort of like … you know your olfactory sense is your most poignant sense in terms of its connection to your memory? You can smell something, in your thirties, and it’ll take you right back to when you were seven years old. The gift that Bob gave me was that connection and sense of smell, that strong connection back to some wonderful era of this valley that I lived in but [only] through him got a very strong sense of what it was.

It’s hard to explain. But if you could sort of transmit—when you smell that smell, and it takes you back to when you were seven—if you could give that to somebody else, that was kind of what he was able to give to me. And I don’t know how it happens, but you know it. And I was curious.

LB: Why does that sense of connection matter? Why is it so important to you?

SJ: There’s a human drama to most everything. You look at it sometimes, and it seems dry as history. But if you peel the onion, there’s humanity underneath.

Just to understand what’s going on now—you can’t really do that unless you understand how it got here. There’s a great quote by Schopenhauer. It’s a great quote. I should pull this up. I’ll get it all wrong. I’ve got to go up and get it.

[Goes upstairs, grabs Schopenhauer’s On the Suffering of the World, and then reads from it on the stairs.] “He who lives to see two or three generations is like a man who sits some time in the conjurer’s booth at a fair and witnesses the performance twice or thrice in succession. The tricks were meant to be seen only once; and when they are no longer a novelty and cease to deceive, their effect is gone.” 

SJ: The other thing I admired about Bob was that he gave up the CEO job at Intel. You know, he really did give it up. He wasn’t trying to run it from a back room.

He understood how important it was to have a succession, to keep the company going, not have it just be a one-man show.

Speech at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

“You never know what’s around the next corner.”

On May 29, 2003, Steve gave a talk to MBA students about his experience as CEO of Pixar and Apple. Two years later, he would deliver his seminal Stanford commencement address on the same campus.

Pixar is a very different kind of company than Apple. Apple is a company that has new products every few weeks. It’s a company where you make ten important decisions a day, but if some of them are wrong, most of them are not terribly hard to correct a few months down the road.

Pixar is a company that has one new product a year, at best. That’s the holy grail for us: to have a movie a year, and we are just about there. As CEO, you make a few important decisions a quarter—maybe three—but they are very hard to change if you decide you want to change them.

So, they are very, very different sides of the spectrum. However, you can look at Apple and say Apple is the most creative of the technology companies, and you can look at Pixar and say Pixar is by far the most technical of the creative companies, and in that sense, maybe they are striving for some ideal in the middle, coming from different ends of the spectrum. 

If we [Apple] come up with a dozen innovations in a year, we can maybe advertise four or five of them. We can’t advertise more than that because, even if we had all the money in the world, the customer would get very confused with all these messages coming at them on TV. What do you do with the other half-dozen innovations you come up with? You know: six, seven, eight, nine, ten innovations? You have to communicate those with the customer at the point of sale. And it [the existing distribution channel] was not capable of that. So we decided to start our own. So that’s why we got into retail.

We did things a little differently. Our goal in retail was not just to sell to the 5 percent of people who own our products today; it was to go for the other 95. And we decided they would not drive ten miles to look at an Apple Store if they weren’t at all interested in buying our products.

We decided we had to ambush them. What that meant was that we had to go to high-traffic locations and put stores there. They [customers] didn’t have to take the risk of driving ten miles to find out they weren’t interested. They just had to take the risk of walking ten feet because they were walking by anyway, and they knew they could escape rapidly if it was something they hadn’t wanted. So we paid extra money for great locations and put them on great streets like University Avenue [in Palo Alto] and the A [-grade] malls across the country. And the real estate we’ve got is just A+. 

I learned this at Pixar: technology companies and content companies have absolutely no understanding of each other. None. It’s worse than you’d ever imagine. In Silicon Valley, most people think the creative process is a bunch of guys in their early thirties sitting on a couch, drinking beer, and thinking up jokes. Really. They really do.

And yet I’ve watched people at Pixar making these films, and they work as hard as I’ve seen anybody in a technology company ever work. The creative process is as disciplined as any engineering process I’ve ever seen in my life. And they’re as passionate about it as any technical person I’ve ever seen.

On the other hand, the content companies have no appreciation of the creative process in the technical companies. They think that technology is something that you write a check for and buy. That’s it. And they do not understand that there’s a wide, dynamic range of capability and elegance. They don’t understand the creativity in the process. So these are like ships passing in the night. 

The most important lesson I ever learned was that you have to hire people better than you are. […] In normal life, the difference in dynamic range from average to best is usually 30, 40, 50 percent. Twice as good: rarely. So the difference between an average meal in downtown Palo Alto tonight and the best one—maybe it’s two to one. Flight home, if you’re going home for the holidays: 50 percent difference. Rental cars, breakfast cereals. I don’t know, pick one.

But I saw that Woz [Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak]—one guy—having meetings in his head could run circles around two hundred engineers at Hewlett-Packard. That’s what I saw. And I thought, “Wow.” And I didn’t really understand it at first.

Then I started to understand it. It took me about ten years to actually try to put it into practice. Because you’d try to hire and find those people. And they’re really hard to find. And everyone says they are all prima donnas. But it turns out that when they work with each other, they’re not prima donnas. They really like it. The first time I tried to build that organization—that was the Mac team. And it really worked. I saw a team of fifty people do something that literally hundreds, or thousands, of people at other companies couldn’t do. And so I’ve since then always tried to find really great people who love what they are doing and are extremely good at it. And sometimes they have experience, and sometimes they’re really young. They’re diamonds in the rough—and you hire them and take chances on them. But that’s been the most important lesson I’ve learned in business: that the dynamic range of people dramatically exceeds things you encounter in the rest of our normal lives—and to try to find those really great people who really love what they do. 

I was basically fired from Apple. And that was really hard. So I’m sure I learned a lot from that. [Audience laughs.] I did. I did learn a lot from that. And as a matter of fact, there would have been no Pixar if that hadn’t happened. Life’s funny in this way. Sometimes your greatest strengths are your greatest weaknesses. Sometimes your greatest adversities, you learn the most from. I don’t know.

But there wouldn’t be a Pixar if it hadn’t been for that. But life is funny, you know? I never would have thought I’d end up back at Apple, but here I am. So it’s a circus world, and you never know what’s around the next corner.

People say you learn more from failures than you do from successes, and that’s probably true. And I’ve made more mistakes than most people I know. But getting older does that [helps you grow] too. You get married. You know, you have a family. And your perspective starts to change on things.

When I was young, if I had to fire somebody, I didn’t think—to be honest, I didn’t think twice about it. When you get a little older, and maybe you have kids, you realize that the person you have to fire—even if they totally screwed up, they should be fired, you should have fired them months ago, anyone else would have fired them last year—even so, you realize that that person is going to have to go home to their wife and their children and tell them they got fired today and that they don’t have a job anymore. You realize that.

So part of it is nothing that you do yourself, no accomplishments you achieve. It’s just the process of getting older and kicked around, and maybe a little wiser in the process. That’s, more than anything, probably what it is. 

[When I returned to Apple in 1997,] the individual contributors were phenomenal. And I asked a lot of these guys, “Why did you stay?” And they said, “Because we bleed six colors.” I heard that from a lot of people—there were six colors in the old Apple logo. It was management that was a problem. So we actually got rid of most of the management team and promoted a lot of these young people into management positions.

And what I found is that nobody in their right mind wants to be a manager. [Audience laughs.] It’s true. It’s a lot of work, and you don’t get to do the fun stuff. But the only good reason to be a manager is so some other bozo doesn’t be the manager—and ruin the group you care about.

Really. And if you’ve lived through a bad situation where you’ve had bad management, you’ll do anything to not have your group destroyed by that again. And you will even step up and be the manager yourself, even though you don’t want to do that.

And I talked a few hundred people into doing that. And 90, over 90 percent of them have turned into extraordinary managers. Extraordinary. So that’s what saved Apple, those people right there. And it’s been one of the great experiences of my life to have the privilege of working with them. 

There’s a lot of management techniques. I’m sure you study a lot of management techniques. When I was younger, it was management by objective. It’s all a crock. They’re all after-the-fact management techniques: “You’ve failed, and I know that because we are going out of business tomorrow.” All after the fact. “You’ve ruined this department; all the good people have left. So now I’m firing you.” “You’ve accomplished none of your objectives.” It doesn’t work.

And a really smart guy I met a long time ago who used to teach at Disney University—Walt Disney recruited him to run Disney University, actually—he told me about his point of view, which I’ve remembered to this day. He called it management by values. What that means is you find people that want the same things you want, and then just get the hell out of their way.

The way I describe it is, let’s say we’re all going to take a trip together. The first thing is to figure out where we all want to go. The worst thing is if we all decide we want to go to different places. You can never manage it. [Pointing] You want to go to New Orleans. You want to go somewhere else. I want to go to San Francisco. You want to go to San Diego.

It doesn’t work. Right?

But if we all want to go to San Diego, that’s the key. Then we can argue about how to get there. [Pointing] You think it’s better to walk. You think it’s better to take a plane. You think it’s better to take a train. We’ll figure that [part] out. Because if I say, “I want to take a train to San Diego,” and somebody goes, “That’s really stupid! It will take three days! We can fly and be there in an hour,” I’ll go, “Oh. OK.” Because, actually, I want to go to San Diego. So if I can get there in an hour [flying], I’ll ditch my idea about the train.

That’s what management by values is. It’s finding people with passion that want to go to San Diego—who want to go to the same place you want to go to! Right? That’s the key.

And so, what happened at Apple was that Apple’s goals used to be to make the best personal computers in the world. And then the second goal was to make a profit so we could keep on doing number one. Right?

What happened was that, for a time, those got reversed: “We want to make a bunch of money, and so, OK, to do that, we’re going to have to make some good personal computers.” But it didn’t work. It never works. And so things start to fall apart.

Those subtle changes in values can mean everything. The higher up in the organization they are, the more pervasive influence they have. So if you want to preserve something, what you want to do is have a good enough place to go, that’s got a long enough focal length that it will survive over time, that everybody agrees on—and not codify how you’re going to get there. So that each generation can argue anew about the best way to get to San Diego, and they’re not just taking your footsteps on how you got there. You see what I’m saying? But all the people want to go to the same place.

And that’s one of my mantras around Apple and Pixar: that recruiting is the most important thing that you do. Finding the right people—that’s half the battle.

Well, thank you guys for the chance to be with you. I appreciate it very much.

A stack of 20 Bob Dylan CDs from the collection belonging to Steve.
“He’s my favorite of all time.”
Eight bright metal harmonicas, from brands such as Marine Band and Hohner, that Steve collected.
Steve’s harmonicas. He learned to play while hitchhiking.
Steve sits cross-legged on the phone in his home office. The floor is strewn with boxes, papers, a tripod, and a trumpet.Steve leans across a cluttered desk to use his Mac. Behind him, shelves are piled with books and boxes litter the floor.
In his home office, 2004.

Drafting the Stanford Commencement Address

In January 2005, John Hennessy, the president of Stanford, asked Steve to give the commencement address to that spring’s graduating class. Steve agreed.

On and off for the next six months, Steve took stabs at writing his talk. He emailed stories and memories to himself. He asked friends, Apple colleagues, and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for their thoughts. In the end, however, he wrote the speech on his own. Even three days before the event, Steve was unsatisfied with his talk. He sent it to a friend, warning, “I’ll send it to you, but please don’t puke. I never do stuff like this.” He was still refining the speech the morning that he gave it. Uncharacteristically, Steve read from the lectern, rather than memorizing his text (as he did with Apple keynotes) or speaking extemporaneously from a few scrawled notes (as he did in nearly every other talk).

Steve was happy with the speech—he emailed himself a copy a few days after giving it—but he generally deflected the praise that he received for it. “I bought it on,” he joked to one person. The commencement address has been viewed millions of times online and is included in school curricula around the world. The following are ideas Steve emailed to himself as he drafted the talk.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Commencement

Date: January 15, 2005, 10:35 a.m.

This is the closest I’ve ever come to graduating from college

- they’ve asked me to say a few things today that you can learn from

- I should be learning from you

1. Habits are very powerful things

- 20 years - now until you’re 42

- meditate 20 minutes a day

- walk to work (30 minutes × 2 = 1 hour/day × 5 days/week

= 250/yr × 20 years = 5000hrs / 10 hours per day = 500 days = >1 year

2. You are what you eat

- how many cows, chickens, milk, soda, coffee

- fasting (jesus) 1 day per week

3. Curiosity

- autobiography of a yogi quote “what is miraculous is all around us”

4. When I was 20 years old I took classes here just as Apple was getting started

- no money

- my wife and I donating in your name one free scholarship per year for offbeat student

You are going into a crazy world

- nuclear, biological weapons, less than great leadership, etc Gandhi quote - become the change you want to see in the world

So, I’m going to focus on you - your inner world - how you approach your life

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Stanford Speech

Date: May 1, 2005, 11:10 p.m.

I never graduated from college. Matter of fact, this right here is the closest I’ve ever got to a college graduation. So, if you’re foolish enough to listen to me today, I want to give you three pieces of advice as you leave college.

First, when I was around your age I made the public statement “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Of course I meant it at the time. Now I am 50 years old, and it’s funny how, when you get to be my age, you begin to see more value in experience. But whether its sheer IQ points or life’s experience, the first piece of advice I want to give you is to try to always surround yourself with people smarter than you. This is how you get smarter and deeper. It doesn’t matter what their field is. They can be from a completely different walk of life than you - in fact, that’s even better. Not long after we started Apple I hired a genius engineer who was terribly old at the time - I think he was in his 40s - who was, in addition to being the best analog engineer on the planet, was also a revolutionary socialist. He turned me on to Das Kapital and America’s 60 Families and things I had never been exposed to before.

You have begun your 20s, and during this decade you will meet many amazing people. And some great teachers - mentors - who you will never forget. But remember, a teacher is someone who stands with you in the dark and holds their flashlight just long enough for you to find your own flashlight.


Third, we are all going to die. You are going to die

Added May 2, 7:20 p.m.

A wise observer of the economic scene once commented that “what can be left to later, usually is -- and then, alas, it’s too late.” I don’t want to let that stand as the epitaph of what has been an unparalleled period of success for the American economy and of enormous potential for the world at large.

Added May 5, 6:55 a.m.


Reed - taking calligraphy - no practical value - learned about typography, fonts, etc - 10 years later working on mac - if I had never taken class then no multiple fonts, proportional spaced multiple fonts on Macs or PCs


When I was your age there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog which influenced my generation. It was created not far from where we stand today. They put out several issues, and then when it had run its course put out a final issue which, on the back cover had a photograph of a country road in the morning, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous, with the saying “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It was their farewell morsel of wisdom to us all. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And I wish that for you.

Thank you very much.

Added May 5, 9:09 a.m.

When I was your age there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog which influenced my generation. It was created in Menlo Park, not far from where we stand today. They put out several issues, and then when it had run its course put out a final issue. That was 1974, and I was your age. One the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous, with the words: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It was their farewell jewel of wisdom as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And [now] I wish that for you. Thank you very much.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life

Date: June 7, 2005, 11:46 p.m.

You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life. I am invited to speak at Stanford’s business school once or twice a year, and I always try to do it. I had accepted an invitation to speak one Thursday late in the afternoon, and I wasn’t feeling very well and I had a dinner later that evening with some important customers up at a winery on Page Mill Road. The room for my talk wasn’t large enough, and all the seats were full so some of the students were sitting in the aisles. One of the professors asked them to clear the aisles in case a fire marshal should appear, and one girl who was being evicted quickly sat down in one of the four seats they had left vacant in the front row for me and whatever entourage I might be bringing. When I arrived alone and sat down in the front row, it didn’t take me long to notice this really cute girl sitting next to me. I think she was stunned when it was me that got up to speak. And I knew something was up when I was staring at her, forgetting what I was talking about mid-sentence. After my talk, I stayed around to speak with some students, and she stayed too. But then she left. I didn’t know who she was, and thought I might never see her again. So I wound things up and left too, and I caught up with her in the parking lot. I asked her if she would have dinner with me on Saturday.

She said yes and gave me her phone number. As I was walking to my car, I asked myself: “If this was the last day of my life, would I rather have dinner with the important customers or her?” I raced back to her car, just as she was about to drive off, and asked her “How about dinner tonight?” She said: “Sure,” and we were married 18 months later. Yea, it might have worked out if I had waited until Saturday night, and those customers might have given us a few more orders if I had shown up.

But who knows, maybe she had a hot date Friday night and things would have turned out much differently… . You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life. It just happens. Maybe its random, maybe its fate. Either way, you can’t plan for it. But you want to recognize it when it happens, and have the courage and clarity of mind to grab onto it.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Starting Apple

Date: June 7, 2005, 11:55 p.m.

When my partner, Steve Wozniak, and I started Apple, most of our friends and our family told us we were nuts. Woz had a great job designing handheld calculators at Hewlett Packard and I had a fun job designing games at Atari. And we were giving them up to start this company to make a primitive computer on a PC board that a handful of hobbyists, mostly our friends, might buy for less than it costs us to make. I remember talking to Woz, and saying: “We may fail, but we have no responsibility now, no wives, no kids, no house payments, nothing. If we don’t do this now, we never will. We have nothing to lose - the worst we’ll get out of this is that we’ll have the memories of having gone for it.” To give ourselves the experience of participating in what Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard did-- to start a company. So rather than invest in better cars, or better apartments, or our bank accounts, we decided to invest in ourselves.

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Story #3?

Date: June 9, 2005, 10:15 p.m.

The most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices is to remember that I’ll be dead soon. I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. And when I remember this, I realize that all of the expectations and standards and restrictions of others and society mean nothing in the end. I realize that I have nothing to lose by following my heart and intuition, even if I embarrass myself or fail in the eyes of others. Because I’ll be dead soon. And I realize that I don’t have forever to decide to find what my intuition tells me is waiting out there for me.

When I was 17, I read a quote that said something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” And since I was 17, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And when the answer has been “NO” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something in my life.

Another way to think about this is that your life is a story. It’s hard to see it that way when you’re looking forward at 22. But imagine yourself as an old person looking back on your life. Your life will be a story. It will be your story, with its highs and lows, its heros and villains, its forks in the road that mean everything.

And if you can remember that your life is a story in the making, it will help you make those important decisions. When you have to decide between taking the prestigious job that pays well, or the offbeat job with no future that makes your heart sing, just imagine yourself looking back on your life in 50 years and you’ll know what path is yours. You will give yourself the right advice. You will intuitively know if something is part of your story or not.

I’m 50 years old now, and my story is entering its third act. I can tell you with certainty that those times when I have followed my gut, heart and intuition …

Steve smiles at the lectern in graduation robes while giving the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University.
At the lectern at Stanford.

Commencement Address at Stanford University

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

On June 12, 2005, Steve delivered the commencement address at Stanford University.

I am honored to be with you today for your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. Truth be told—I never graduated from college. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months but then stayed around as a drop-in for another eighteen months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said, “Of course.” My biological mother found out later that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would go to college. This was my start in life.

And seventeen years later I did go to college. But I naïvely chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out, I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms. I returned Coke bottles for the five-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example.

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus, every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky—I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was twenty. We worked hard, and in ten years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over four thousand employees. We had just released our finest creation—the Macintosh—a year earlier, and I had just turned thirty. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew, we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge, and eventually we had a falling-out. When we did, our board of directors sided with him. So, at thirty, I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down—that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the Valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me—I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. 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.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, and I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometime life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death. When I was seventeen, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past thirty-three years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for “prepare to die.” It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next ten years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach, and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas, and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery, and thankfully, I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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. Don’t let the noise of others’ 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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand, not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, thirty-five years before Google came along. It was idealistic, overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then, when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early-morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Thank you all very much.

The front of the 1974 Whole Earth Epilog, featuring a picture taken from the Moon of the Earth rising above the horizon.The back of the 1974 Whole Earth Epilog. A handwritten message in white ink reads: For Steve —Stewart Brand.
After the address, Stewart Brand gave Steve a signed catalog.

Email Exchange Between Steve and an Apple Customer

“Please ‘reset’ the iPod.”

From: [ ____ ]

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: ipod malfunctioning

Date: July 27, 2005, 11:16 p.m.

Hi, my name is [ ____ ], and my father has an ipod. recently (1-2 days ago), he was charging his ipod and then, the next morning, when he checked it, it wouldn’t turn on, he checked the hold button but it wasn’t it, so, he realized that the ipod had just “died”.

We live in venezuela and want to know where can we fix the ipod. I think its still on warranty, because, we bought it around 11 months ago, so we would like to know what to do, if theres any store autorized by apple here in Caracas-Venezuela, so we can take the ipod and check it to see whats wrong and if you guys can fix it. well thanks for the help.

[ ____ ]

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

From: Steve Jobs

To: [ ____ ]

Subject: Re: ipod malfunctioning

Date: July 28, 2005, 7:19 a.m.

Please “reset” the ipod by holding down the center button and the Menu button at the same time for at least 5 seconds. This should work.


Speech to Apple Employees

“We thought we could make a contribution by making something truly great that we loved.”

The day before the release of the iPhone in 2007, Steve held a meeting with Apple employees. In his invitation, he wrote, “We’re launching the most revolutionary and exciting product in Apple’s history this Friday. And given Apple’s legacy of breakthrough products, that’s saying a lot.”

You know, one of the reasons we started doing this [was] we could see that we were getting better and better at iPods, and we could see that there was an opportunity to maybe do the next thing—and what should it be?

And it wasn’t driven by a bunch of market research or financial spreadsheets about how big certain markets were. It wasn’t driven by that at all. It was driven by the fact that we all hated our phones. We talked to all of our friends and all the people we knew, and they all hated their phones.

And we thought, “This is a really important device, and everybody hates it. They don’t know how to use even 10 percent of the features that are on these phones!”

I mean, I’ll use this as an example: you’ve seen how slick it is to set up a conference call on an iPhone, right? You know, almost every phone lets you set up a conference call. Nobody knows it! They’ll never figure it out! It’s on page 93 of the manual they didn’t read, and it’s seven, eight cryptic keys! And you can do it, and nobody ever does it—because they don’t know it’s there. And that’s true of feature after feature after feature.

And what our competence is, is making complex technology easy to use and self-discoverable. And we’ve done it in spades on the iPhone. So that’s how we got here. We thought we could make a contribution by making something truly great that we loved.

And we’ve done it. We love this thing. And starting tomorrow at 6 p.m., we’re going to find out if other people love it as much as we do.

Speech at Macworld

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”

Steve introduced the iPhone on January 9, 2007.

This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two and a half years.

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been—well, first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.

In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry.

Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.

The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough internet communications device.

An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … Are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices; this is one device. And we are calling it iPhone.

Today … today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is. [The screen displays an iPod with a rotary phone-style dial where the click wheel would be.]

No, actually, here it is. [Slides an iPhone out of his pocket.]

But we’re going to leave it there for now. [Pockets the iPhone again.]

So, before we get into it, let me talk about a category of things. The most advanced phones are called smartphones. So they say. And they typically combine a phone, plus some email capability, plus they say it’s the internet—it’s sort of the baby internet—into one device. And they all have these plastic little keyboards on them.

And the problem is that they’re not so smart, and they’re not so easy to use. So if you kinda make a Business School 101 graph of the smart axis and the easy-to-use axis—phones, regular cellphones, are kinda right there. [Points to a spot indicating “not so smart, somewhat easy to use.”] They’re not so smart, and they’re not so easy to use. Smartphones are definitely a little smarter, but they actually are harder to use. They’re really complicated. Just for the basic stuff, people have a hard time figuring out how to use them.

Well, we don’t want to do either one of these things. What we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been and super easy to use. This is what iPhone is. OK?

So we’re going to reinvent the phone. Now, we’re going to start … with a revolutionary user interface … the result of years of research and development, and, of course, it’s an interplay of hardware and software. Now, why do we need a revolutionary user interface? I mean, here’s four smartphones, right? Motorola Q, the BlackBerry, Palm Treo, Nokia E62the usual suspects. And what’s wrong with their user interfaces? Well, the problem with them is really sort of in the bottom forty [keys] there. It’s, it’s this stuff right here. They all have these keyboards that are there whether you need them or not to be there. And they all have these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application.

Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? You can’t run around and add a button to these things. They’re already shipped. So what do you do? It doesn’t work, because the buttons and the controls can’t change. They can’t change for each application, and they can’t change down the road if you think of another great idea you want to add to this product.

Well, how do you solve this? Hmm. It turns out, we have solved it! We solved it in computers twenty years ago. We solved it with a bitmapped screen that could display anything we want. Put any user interface up. And a pointing device. We solved it with the mouse. Right? We solved this problem.

So how are we going to take this to a mobile device? What we’re going to do is get rid of all these buttons and just make a giant screen. A giant screen. Now, how are we going to communicate with this? We don’t want to carry around a mouse, right? So what are we going to do? Oh, a stylus, right? We’re going to use a stylus. No. No. Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away, and you lose them. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus. So, let’s not use a stylus.

We’re going to use the best pointing device in the world. We’re going to use a pointing device that we’re all born with—we’re born with ten of them. We’re going to use our fingers. We’re going to touch this with our fingers. And we have invented a new technology called multitouch, which is phenomenal. It works like magic. You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches, it’s super smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it. And boy, have we patented it.

So, so, we have been very lucky to have brought a few revolutionary user interfaces to the market in our time. First was the mouse. The second was the click wheel. And now we’re going to bring multitouch to the market. And each of these revolutionary user interfaces has made possible a revolutionary product—the Mac, the iPod, and now the iPhone. So, a revolutionary user interface.

We’re going to build on top of that with software. Now, software on mobile phones is like, is like baby software. It’s not so powerful. Today we are going to show you a software breakthrough. Software that’s at least five years ahead of what’s on any other phone. Now, how do we do this? Well, we start with a strong foundation: iPhone runs OS X.

Now, why, why would we want to run such a sophisticated operating system on a mobile device? Well, because it’s got everything we need. It’s got multitasking. It’s got the best networking. It already knows how to power manage. We’ve been doing this on mobile computers for years. It’s got awesome security. And the right apps. It’s got everything from Cocoa and the graphics, and it’s got core animation built in, and it’s got the audio and video that OS X is famous for. It’s got all the stuff we want. And it’s built right into iPhone. And that has let us create desktop-class applications and networking, right. Not the crippled stuff that you find on most phones. This is real, desktop-class applications.

Now, you know, one of the pioneers of our industry, Alan Kay, has had a lot of great quotes throughout the years. And I ran across one of them recently that explains how we look at this—explains why we go about doing things the way we do, ’cause we love software. And here’s the quote: “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” You know, Alan said this thirty years ago, and this is how we feel about it. And so we’re bringing breakthrough software to a mobile device for the first time. It’s five years ahead of anything on any other phone.

Steve holds a first generation iPhone up to his face and smiles; the phone is out of focus.
“This is going to change everything,” 2007.
Steve, holding an iPhone, smiles and looks to the side as a pair of hands enters the frame, holding a color chart.
The day Steve introduced the iPhone, 2007.
Steve shown in profile with stubbly beard and glasses. The photo is taken over his shoulder.
In 2007, Apple Computer Inc. was renamed “Apple Inc.”

Interview at the All Things Digital D5 Conference

“There’s something exciting around the next corner.”

In a rare joint interview, Steve and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates spoke with journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg onstage in May 2007.

Kara Swisher: The first question I was interested in asking is what you think each has contributed to the computer and technology industry—starting with you, Steve, for Bill, and vice versa.

Steve Jobs: Well, Bill built the first software company in the industry. And I think he built the first software company before anybody really in our industry knew what a software company was, except for these guys. And that was huge. That was really huge. And the business model that they ended up pursuing turned out to be the one that worked really well for the industry. I think the biggest thing was, Bill was really focused on software before almost anybody else had a clue that it was really the software that—

KS: Was important?

SJ: That’s what I see. I mean, a lot of other things you could say, but that’s the high-order bit. And I think building a company’s really hard, and it requires your greatest persuasive abilities to hire the best people you can and keep them at your company and keep them working, doing the best work of their lives, hopefully. And Bill’s been able to stay with it for all these years.

Walt Mossberg: Bill, how about the contribution of Steve and Apple?

Bill Gates: Well, first, I want to clarify: I’m not Fake Steve Jobs. What Steve’s done is quite phenomenal, and if you look back to 1977, that Apple II computer, the idea that it would be a mass-market machine, you know, the bet that was made there by Apple uniquely. There were other people with products, but the idea that this could be an incredible, empowering phenomenon—Apple pursued that dream. Then one of the most fun things we did was [developing software for] the Macintosh, and that was so risky. People may not remember that Apple really bet the company. Lisa hadn’t done that well, and some people were saying that general approach wasn’t good, but the team that Steve built even within the company to pursue that, even some days it felt a little ahead of its time; I don’t know if you remember that Twiggy disk drive and …

SJ: 128K.

KS: Oh, the Twiggy disk drive, yes.

BG: Steve gave a speech once, which is one of my favorites, where he talked about, in a certain sense, “We build the products that we want to use ourselves.” And so he’s really pursued that with incredible taste and elegance that has had a huge impact on the industry.

And his ability to always come around and figure out where that next bet should be has been phenomenal. Apple literally was failing when Steve went back and reinfused the innovation and risk-taking that have been phenomenal. So the industry’s benefited immensely from his work. We’ve both been lucky to be part of it, but I’d say he’s contributed as much as anyone.

SJ: We’ve also both been incredibly lucky to have had great partners that we started the companies with, and we’ve attracted great people. I mean, so, everything that’s been done at Microsoft and at Apple has been done by just remarkable people, none of which are sitting up here today. 

SJ: [When I returned to Apple,] there were too many people at Apple and in the Apple ecosystem playing the game of, for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. And it was clear that you didn’t have to play that game because Apple wasn’t going to beat Microsoft. Apple didn’t have to beat Microsoft. Apple had to remember who Apple was because they’d forgotten who Apple was. So, to me, it was pretty essential to break that paradigm. And it was also important that Microsoft was the biggest software developer outside of Apple developing for the Mac. So it was just crazy what was happening at that time. And Apple was very weak, and so I called Bill up and we tried to patch things up.

BG: And since that time, we’ve had a team that’s fairly dedicated to doing the Mac applications, and they’ve always been treated kind of in a unique way so that they can have a pretty special relationship with Apple. And that’s worked out very well. In fact, every couple years or so, there’s been something new that we’ve been able to do on the Mac, and it’s been a great business for us.

SJ: The relationship between the Mac development team at Microsoft and Apple is a great relationship. It’s one of our best developer relationships.

KS: And do you look at yourselves as rivals now? Today, as the landscape has evolved—and we’ll talk about the internet landscape and everything else and other companies that have [gone] forward—but how do you look at yourselves in this landscape today?

WM: Because, I mean, you are competitors in certain ways, which is the American way, right?

KS: We watch the commercials, right?

WM: And you get annoyed at each other from time to time.

KS: Although, you know what? I have to confess, I like PC guy.

WM: Yeah, he’s great.

KS: Yeah, I like him. The young guy, I want to pop him.

SJ: The art of those commercials is not to be mean, but it’s actually for the guys to like each other. Thanks. PC guy is great. Got a big heart.

BG: His mother loves him.

SJ: His mother loves him. 

SJ: There’s a lot of things that happened that I’m sure I could have done better when I was at Apple the first time, and a lot of things that happened after I left that I thought were wrong turns, but it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter, and you kind of got to let go of that stuff, and we are where we are. So we tend to look forward.

And, you know, one of the things I did when I got back to Apple ten years ago was I gave the museum to Stanford, and all the papers and all the old machines, and kind of cleared out the cobwebs and said, “Let’s stop looking backwards here. It’s all about what happens tomorrow.” Because you can’t look back and say, “Well, gosh, you know, I wish I hadn’t have gotten fired, I wish I was there, I wish this, I wish that.” It doesn’t matter. And so let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.

KS: We’re going to talk a little bit about tomorrow, but let’s talk about today, the landscape of how you see the different players in the market and how you look at what’s developing now. […] There are many, many companies that are becoming quite powerful. How do you look at the landscape at this moment and what’s happening, especially in the internet space?

SJ: I think it’s super healthy right now. I think there’s a lot of young people out there building some great companies, who want to build companies, who aren’t just interested in starting something and selling it to one of the big guys, but who want to build companies. And I think there’s some real exciting companies getting built out there. Some next-generation stuff that, you know, some of us play catch-up with, and some of us find ways to partner with, and things like that. But there’s a lot of activity out there now, wouldn’t you say?

BG: Yeah, I’d say it’s a healthy period. The notion of what the new form factors look like, what natural interface can do, the ability to use the cloud, the Internet, to do part of the task in a complementary way to the local experience, there’s a lot of invention that the whole approach of start-ups, the existing companies who do research—we’ll look back at this as one of the great periods of invention.

SJ: I think so, too. There’s a lot of things that are risky right now, which is always a good sign. You can see through them, you can see to the other side and go, “Yes, this could be huge,” but there’s a period of risk that nobody’s ever done it before.

KS: Do you have an example?

SJ: I do, but I can’t say. But I can say: when you feel like that, that’s a great thing. That’s what keeps you coming to work in the morning, and it tells you there’s something exciting around the next corner. 

WM: Five years from now, what’s going to be on that pocket device?

SJ: I don’t know. And the reason I don’t know is because I wouldn’t have thought that there would have been maps on it five years ago, but something comes along, gets really popular, people love it, get used to it, and you want it on there. So people are inventing things constantly, and I think the art of it is balancing what’s on there and what’s not on there—the editing function. And clearly, most things you carry with you are communications devices. You want to do some entertainment with them as well, but they’re primarily communications devices, and that’s what they’re going to be. 

KS: Steve? I know you’re working on something, it’s going to be beautiful; we’ll see it soon.

WM: And you can’t talk about it.

SJ: Yeah.

WM: Bill discusses all his secret plans. You don’t discuss any.

SJ: I know, it’s not fair. But I think the question is a very simple one, which is how much of the really revolutionary things people are going to do in the next five years are done on the PCs, or how much of it is really focused on the post-PC devices? And there’s a real temptation to focus it on the post-PC devices because it’s a clean slate, and because they’re more focused devices, and because they don’t have the legacy of these zillions of apps that have to run in zillions of markets.

And so I think there’s going to be tremendous revolution, you know, in the experiences of the post-PC devices. Now, the question is how much to do in the PCs. And I think—I’m sure Microsoft is—we’re working on some really cool stuff, but some of it has to be tempered a little bit because you do have, you know, these tens of millions in our case, or hundreds of millions in Bill’s case, users that are familiar with something. You know, they don’t want a car with six wheels. They like the car with four wheels. They don’t want to drive with a joystick. They like the steering wheel.

And so, as Bill was saying, in some cases you have to augment what exists there, and in some cases you can replace things. But I think the radical rethinking of things is going to happen in a lot of these post-PC devices. 

KS: What’s the greatest misunderstanding in your relationship and about each other? What would you say would be—this idea of catfight? Which one of the many?

SJ: We’ve kept our marriage secret for over a decade now.

KS: Canada. That trip to Canada.

[Audience laughs and applauds.]

BG: I don’t think either of us have anything to complain about, in general. And I know that the projects, like the Mac project, was just an incredible thing, a fun thing where we were taking a risk. We did look a lot younger in that video.

SJ: We did.

KS: You looked twelve in the first one.

BG: That’s how I try and look.

SJ: He was twelve.

BG: But no, it’s been fun to work together. I actually kind of miss some of the people who aren’t around anymore. You know, people come and go in this industry. It’s nice when somebody sticks around, and they have some context of all the things that have worked and not worked. The industry gets all crazy about some new thing, you know. There’s always this paradigm of “the company that’s successful is going to go away” and stuff like that. It’s nice to have people seeing the waves and waves of that and yet, when it counted, to take the risk to bring in something new.

WM: One last question and then we’ll go to the audience.

KS: Oh, no, he didn’t answer us.

WM: Sorry, what?

SJ: I haven’t answered.

WM: Oh, I’m sorry.

KS: He only talked about his secret gay marriage, so …

WM: Oh, I thought that was your answer.

SJ: No, that wasn’t my answer. You know, when Bill and I first met each other and worked together in the early days, generally, we were both the youngest guys in the room, right? Individually or together. I’m about six months older than he is, but roughly the same age. And now, when we’re working at our respective companies, I don’t know about you, but I’m the oldest guy in the room most of the time. And that’s why I love being here.

WM: Happy to oblige. Happy to oblige.

SJ: And, you know, I think of most things in life as either a Bob Dylan or a Beatles song, but there’s that one line in that one Beatles song, “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” And that’s clearly true here.

Email Exchange with Art Levinson

“Sic Transit Gloria.”

In November 2007, Fortune named Steve “CEO of the Decade.” Art Levinson, the CEO of Genentech and chair of Apple’s board, sent a congratulatory note.

From: Art Levinson

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Fortune

Date: November 27, 2007, 11:26 a.m.

The “Beethoven of business” - not sure it gets any better than that.


From: Steve Jobs

To: Art Levinson

Subject: Re: Fortune

Date: November 27, 2007, 12:43 p.m.

Sic Transit Gloria. (All glory is fleeting.)


Speech to the Press

“Five months ago, I had a liver transplant.”

Steve spoke to the press at a music and media event on September 9, 2009.

Good morning. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. [Sustained audience applause.] Thanks. I know. I’m very happy to be here today with you all.

As some of you may know, about five months ago, I had a liver transplant. So I now have the liver of a mid-twenties person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. And I wouldn’t be here without such generosity. So I hope all of us can be as generous and elect to become organ donors.

I’d like to take a moment and thank everybody in the Apple community for the heartfelt support I got, too. It really meant a lot. And I’d also like to especially thank Tim Cook and the entire executive team of Apple. They really rose to the occasion and ran the company very ably in that difficult period. So thank you, guys.

Let’s give them a round of applause.

So I’m vertical. I’m back at Apple, loving every day of it. And I’m getting to work with our incredibly talented teams to come up with some great new products for you all in the future.

So it’s, it’s wonderful—and thank you. So today, we get to talk about music …

Viewed from over his shoulder, Steve considers a range of swatches made from materials proposed for use in Apple Park.
Thinking through the Apple Park design, 2010.

Steve on the iPad

A week after the introduction of the iPad in 2010, Steve held a meeting for employees in Apple’s “Town Hall.” He reflected on what made the device—and the company—special to him.

The great thing about what we do is we approach it like—like Pixar approaches their movies. I know that sounds funny, but I will explain.

Pixar doesn’t make kids’ films. Walt Disney’s definition of family entertainment was it’s entertaining to every member of the family: kids, the teens, the adults. That’s what Pixar’s always tried to do. There’s a lot of layers in one of their films if you’ve seen them, and they’re really fun for kids, but they’re also incredibly great films for adults, if you’ve seen Ratatouille or Up or Finding Nemo—or any one of their films.

And when we sit down to design products [at Apple], we don’t think, “Oh, well, our target audience is fifteen to twenty-nine, male.” We don’t think that way. We think about making a great product for just about everybody. And the beauty of the products we make is they can be tailored with software to do almost anything.

So we weren’t thinking, in the iPad, of any specific audience, but we’re thinking about everybody. 

We don’t have to go home at night and tell our kids when they say, “Well, what do you do? What did you do today?” “Well, I worked on our next-generation server, you know, that’ll be powering something or other.” We can say, “I worked on our next-generation iPad. You know, the ones that you use in school.”

And that’s a really wonderful thing.

Speech at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford

“One simple question.”

In March 2010, Steve advocated for a bill requiring the California Department of Motor Vehicles to ask driver’s license applicants if they want to register as organ donors. The bill, which later passed and was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, also established a state registry for people to donate kidneys during their lifetime.

Thank you, Governor Schwarzenegger.

Last year, I received a liver transplant. I was very fortunate, because many others died waiting to receive one. Last year in California, there were six hundred and seventy-one liver transplants. But last year there were also over thirty-four hundred people waiting for a liver, and over four hundred of them died waiting in California.

I was almost one of the ones that died waiting for a liver in California last year. I was receiving great care here at Stanford, but there were simply not enough livers in California to go around, and my doctors here advised me to enroll in a transplant program in Memphis, Tennessee, where the supply-demand ratio of livers is more favorable than it is in California here. And I was lucky enough to get a liver in time. As a matter of fact, this coming week is my one-year anniversary.

So why aren’t there more organs available in California? Because in California, like most other states in the nation, you must specifically request to become an organ donor at the Department of Motor Vehicles, when you’re there to get or renew your driver’s license. No one asks you if you want to become a donor. And there’s no marketing campaign to make you aware of this opportunity either, so unless you know about it and unless you specifically ask, nobody is going to ask you. Nobody is going to give you this opportunity.

And yet even with this obscure procedure, over 20 percent of Californians have signed up to be organ donors, which is fantastic.

But imagine what it could be if everyone knew of this opportunity.

And that’s what the governor’s bill will do. It will simply require the DMV to ask you if you’d like to become an organ donor. That’s it. Asking this one simple question may double the number of transplant organs available in California. One simple question. And that’s a very high return on investment, especially for the over twenty thousand Californians currently waiting for an organ transplant.

So, Governor, thank you for your leadership on this bill. And now I’d like to introduce Senator Alquist.

Thank you.

Email to Apple Employees


From: Steve Jobs

To: Apple employees

Subject: Today

Date: May 26, 2010, 5:59 p.m.


As most of you already know, at the close of today’s stock market, Apple’s market cap (stock price × number of shares) surpassed Microsoft’s market cap.

As I once said in a company email sent a long time ago: “Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today.” And so it is again.

Walt Disney used to say to his team: “We’re only as good as our next picture.” Well, we’re only as good as our next amazing new product.

Back to work…


Email from Steve to Himself

[No Subject]

From: Steve Jobs

To: Steve Jobs


Date: September 2, 2010, 11:08 p.m.

I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow I did not breed or perfect the seeds.

I do not make any of my own clothing.

I speak a language I did not invent or refine.

I did not discover the mathematics I use.

I am protected by freedoms and laws I did not conceive of or legislate, and do not enforce or adjudicate.

I am moved by music I did not create myself.

When I needed medical attention, I was helpless to help myself survive.

I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor, object oriented programming, or most of the technology I work with.

I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being.

Sent from my iPad

Dressed in dark colors, Steve walks away from the camera through a full-scale mockup of a corridor at Apple Park.
Walking through a mockup for Apple Park, 2010.
Steve is on stage. Behind him are two oversized, intersecting street signs: one says Technology, the other Liberal Arts.
“Technology alone is not enough,” 2011.
Steve gestures with his hands as he presents the plans for Apple Park to the Cupertino City Council.
Presenting plans to the Cupertino City Council, 2011.
A candid photograph of Steve, wearing a baseball cap and black T-shirt, as he talks on his iPhone outdoors.
Steve on his iPhone, circa 2010–2011.
The official resignation from Steve on August 24, 2011, written on Apple letterhead.
Steve’s resignation from Apple, August 2011.
A pair of round-rimmed glasses belonging to Steve sit on a table.

Key Events

January 1975—Popular Electronics publishes a story about the Altair 8800, sparking the microcomputer revolution. That same year, Bill Gates drops out of Harvard to design programming languages for the Altair. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, a club launches for people who want to build their own computers: the Homebrew Computer Club, which Steve occasionally attends with Steve Wozniak.

April 1976—Steve and Woz co-found Apple Computer to sell the Apple I, designed by Woz. (A third co-founder, Ron Wayne, drops out ten days after joining.) Apple I buyers must supply their own keyboards and television monitors, as well as know how to write hexadecimal code and use a soldering iron.

January 1977—Apple incorporates, with ownership split evenly among Steve, Woz, and the angel investor Mike Markkula.

April 1977—The Apple II, a more user-friendly computer, debuts at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. At $1,298, the Apple II costs about twice as much as a year of in-state tuition at the University of California.

May 1978—Lisa Brennan Jobs is born.

May 1979—Apple’s publications department manager, Jef Raskin, begins work on an inexpensive computer he calls Macintosh.

December 1979—During a visit to Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, Steve sees, for the first time, a networked computer with a mouse, windows, icons, menus, and multiple typefaces. “I was so blown away,” he later recalled. He brings the technology, and several PARC researchers, to Apple.

September 1980—Steve takes over the high-profile Lisa computer project. He is removed nine months later, after the team rebels against his management style.

December 1980—Apple goes public in one of the most successful initial public offerings in American history up to that time.

February 1981—Ten years after dropping out of the University of California, Berkeley, Woz leaves Apple to re-enroll.

Steve takes over the Macintosh project.

August 1981—Apple faces its first real competition when IBM introduces its personal computer. IBM’s market share soon surpasses Apple’s.

January 1983—Time shakes up its “Man of the Year” tradition to choose the computer as “Machine of the Year.”

Apple introduces the Lisa computer, priced at $10,000, targeting business users. It fails in the market.

April 1983—Jobs recruits the Pepsi executive John Sculley to be Apple’s CEO, using the memorable line, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

January 1984—Macintosh debuts.

June 1985—When Macintosh sales fall far short of projections, Apple lays off 20 percent of employees and announces the first quarterly loss in its history.

September 1985—After losing a power struggle with Sculley, Steve leaves Apple with five Mac team members in tow. Within days, Apple sues for breach of fiduciary responsibility and charges Steve with masterminding a “nefarious” scheme to steal trade secrets for his new computer company, NeXT.

January 1986—Steve becomes the majority shareholder in Pixar, after the pioneering computer scientist Alan Kay introduces him to the company’s leaders, Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith.

NeXT and Apple settle their lawsuit over NeXT’s launch and Steve’s recruitment of Mac team members out of court.

August 1986—Steve attends the premiere of Pixar’s first animated short, Luxo Jr., at a graphics industry conference. Luxo Jr. showcases Pixar’s software, but it is the audience’s standing ovation for the storytelling that catches Steve’s attention.

October 1988—Steve unveils the NeXT Computer System at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. A highlight is the machine’s five-minute performance of a Bach violin concerto, accompanied by a violinist from the symphony. The computer did not sell well but had its fans; Tim Berners-Lee wrote the code for the World Wide Web on a NeXT computer.

March 1989—Pixar’s film Tin Toy wins an Oscar for Best Animated Short, a first for a computer-animated movie.

March 1991—Steve marries Laurene Powell in a ceremony at Yosemite.

July 1991—Facing heavy financial pressure, Pixar signs a deal with Disney that is far more favorable to the larger company. In exchange for financing up to three Pixar films, Disney owns the films and their characters, receives most of the films’ profits, and prohibits Pixar from pitching to another studio any ideas that Disney rejects.

September 1991—Reed Jobs is born.

February 1993—Steve ends NeXT’s production of computers to focus entirely on software.

October 1993—With Apple losing tens of millions of dollars every quarter, CEO John Sculley, who pushed Steve out of Apple in 1985, resigns. Apple will cycle through two more CEOs in the next three years but fail to regain its footing.

August 1995—Erin Jobs is born.

November 1995—Toy Story, the world’s first full-length fully animated feature film, earns $29 million in its opening weekend. It goes on to become the top-grossing animated movie of the year.

A week after Toy Story opens, Pixar holds a successful initial public offering. It was a bold bet placed months earlier; if Toy Story had been a bust, the IPO would have been one, too.

December 1996—In need of a new operating system, Apple acquires NeXT for $427 million. As part the agreement, Steve rejoins Apple as a special adviser to the CEO, Gil Amelio.

February 1997—The success of Toy Story and Pixar’s IPO give Steve leverage to negotiate a more favorable agreement with Disney. The companies sign a five-picture deal.

June 1997—In a public show of no confidence in Amelio, Steve sells a huge block of the Apple shares he received in the NeXT acquisition. Three months later, Steve is named interim CEO.

August 1997—Bill Gates appears on a giant video screen at Macworld to announce Microsoft’s commitment to developing Microsoft Office for Mac. When the audience begins heckling, Steve reprimands them: “We have to let go of […] this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.”

September 1997—Apple introduces the “Think Different” advertising campaign. One year later, it wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial.

March 1998—Steve hires Tim Cook as Apple’s chief of operations.

July 1998—Eve Jobs is born.

August 1998—Apple debuts the Bondi Blue iMac. The “i” stands for “internet,” targeting consumers who want to “surf the web” as easily as catching a wave at Australia’s Bondi Beach.

October 1998—Apple announces its first profitable year since 1995.

January 2000—In the last three minutes of his Macworld presentation, Steve surprises the audience with the announcement that he will drop “interim” from his CEO title.

March 2000—The wave of internet optimism crashes. The NASDAQ loses nearly $1 trillion in a single month, and hundreds of start-up companies fail in a “dotcom bust.”

November 2000—Pixar’s new campus in Emeryville, California, opens. Steve has been so involved in the headquarters design—from the town hall atrium to the bathrooms—that people call it “Steve’s movie.”

May 2001—The first Apple retail stores open in Tysons, Virginia, and Glendale, California.

March 2001—Apple releases OS X, an operating system based on the NeXTStep software developed at NeXT. Updated versions of the operating system remain at the heart of many Apple products today.

October 2001—Apple introduces the iPod. It’s a new kind of product for the company, not a computer but a portable device built to sync with a computer. Apple built a music player, Steve says, because “We love music, and it’s always good to do something you love.”

April 2003—Apple opens the iTunes Music Store, making it easy to buy individual songs online. The store is only available for Apple computers, but users download one million tracks in the first week. Six months later, at the urging of his executive team, Steve agrees to make the store compatible with non-Apple computers.

March 2004—Pixar’s fifth film, Finding Nemo, wins an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

July 2004—Steve undergoes surgery to remove a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

January 2006—Disney acquires Pixar for $7.4 billion in stock. Steve becomes Disney’s largest shareholder and joins the board of directors, while John Lasseter and Ed Catmull assume leadership of Disney Animation.

January 2007—The iPhone debuts. Steve calls it “the most revolutionary and exciting product in Apple’s history.”

March 2009—On leave from Apple, Steve receives a liver transplant in Memphis, Tennessee.

January 2010—Steve introduces the iPad, calling it “a magical and revolutionary device.”

August 2010—Toy Story 3 becomes the highest-grossing animated movie of all time.

August 2011—Six weeks before his death, Steve resigns as Apple’s CEO and recommends that Tim Cook replace him. In his resignation letter, Steve writes, “I’ve made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.”

One More Thing …

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact—and that is: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

And you can change it.

You can influence it.

You can build your own things that other people can use.

And the minute you can understand that you can poke life, and if you push in, then something will pop out the other side; that you can change it, you can mold it—that’s maybe the most important thing: to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there, and you’re just going to live in it versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important, and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better. Because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Steve, 1994

Copyright © 2023 Steve Jobs Archive.
All rights reserved.

Make Something Wonderful

Steve Jobs in his own words

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Speeches, Interviews and Photos

“There’s lots of ways to be, as a person,” speech at Apple Town Hall, 2007; Steve on his Childhood, courtesy Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, 1995; Interviews by David Sheff, 1984, courtesy SJA; “A lot of people put a lot of love into these products,” courtesy Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, 1995; Steve on Launching Apple, interview by David Sheff, 1984, courtesy SJA; Fresh Air with Terry Gross interview reprinted with the permission of WHYY, Inc., 1996; “It’s a domesticated computer,” Talk of the Town: Digitizing, by Thomas Whiteside, reprinted courtesy Thomas Whiteside / The New Yorker © Condé Nast, 1977; “Computers and society are out on a first date,” speech at the International Design Conference in Aspen, 1983; On the Macintosh, interview by David Sheff, 1984, courtesy SJA; “Was George Orwell right about 1984?” speech at an Apple sales meeting, 1983; “Your aesthetics get better as you make mistakes,” interview by Michael Moritz, 1984, courtesy SJA; “I want to build things” interview reprinted with permission of Newsweek (1985) courtesy EnVeritas Group Inc.; “You never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times” Fresh Air with Terry Gross interview reprinted with the permission of WHYY, Inc., 1996; Steve on Starting NeXT interview reprinted with permission of Newsweek (1985) courtesy EnVeritas Group Inc.; On Becoming Majority Shareholder in Pixar, interview produced by Joel Bloom, 1996, courtesy SJA; On Pixar’s Early Days, interview by Leslie Iwerks, courtesy The Walt Disney Company, 2003; “Character is built not in good times, but in bad times,” speech at Reed College, 1991; “One of the things I always tried to coach myself on was not being afraid to fail,” Fresh Air with Terry Gross interview reprinted with the permission of WHYY, Inc., 1996; “What you follow with your heart,” speech at Palo Alto High School, 1996; “To put these stories into culture,” interview produced by Joel Bloom, 1996, courtesy SJA; “The worst thing that someone can do in an interview is agree with me,” from In the Company of Giants: Candid Conversations with the Visionaries of the Digital World, by Dr. Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz, reprinted courtesy McGraw Hill © 1997; “Much of what I stumbled into,” from commencement address at Stanford University, 2005; “Steve on returning to Apple,” speech at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, 2003; “We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better,” speech to Apple employees, 1997; “Apple is coming back in a very big way,” speech at Macworld in New York City, 1998; “Hopefully we captured a bit of Pixar’s soul,” speech to Pixar Employees at opening of Pixar’s headquarters in Emeryville, California, 2000; “Wouldn’t it be great if,” introduction to Apple Store, 2001; “I think I got lucky,” interview with Leslie Berlin, 2003, courtesy SJA; “You never know what is around the next corner,” speech at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, 2003; “Stay hungry. Stay foolish,” Commencement Address at Stanford University, 2005; “We thought we could make a contribution,” speech to Apple employees, 2007; “Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along,” speech at Macworld, 2007; Interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, reprinted with permission of the Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide; “Five months ago, I had a liver transplant,” speech at Apple music and media event, 2009; Steve on the iPad, speech at Apple Town Hall, 2010; “One simple question,” speech at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, 2010; “One more thing,” interview with Silicon Valley Historical Association, 1994.

Information on Apple’s trademarks is available at
Apple emails courtesy of Apple.

Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

A Polaroid of young Steve, with long hair and mustache, wearing a tuxedo with a lop-sided bow tie.
Photographer unknown, 1976
Two-year-old Steve rides a tricycle with tassels on the handlebars toward the camera.
Photographer unknown, 1957
A passport for Steven Paul Jobs issued on May 11, 1973, featuring a stamped photo of him with shaggy hair.
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy SJA
A yellowing postcard with a Buddhist poem handwritten by Steve. The last line reads: Dont waste your life.
Courtesy Elizabeth Holmes
Steve hunches over a wooden desk, his hands on a keyboard hooked up to an Apple I circuit board.
Photo by Joe Melena courtesy of Apple, 1976
An Apple I that Steve kept in his office. Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
An open briefcase. The top half houses an Apple I circuit board, wired up to a keyboard in the bottom half.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
A Polaroid of a computer screen, with a fan letter praising Woz and Steve. A handwritten note dates it to 1976.
Photo by Dean Phillips, 1976
Wearing suit pants and a vest, Steve is in front of a small crowd, looking over his shoulder at the camera.
Photographer unknown, 1977
A scruffy-bearded Steve smiles at the camera as he leans back in his office chair and talks on the telephone.
Photo by Bill Kelley, 1977
With tidy hair and a plaid shirt, Steve poses with an Apple II displaying drawings of Sesame Street characters.
Photo by Ted Thai, 1981
Steve peers through the lens of a Nikon camera as his elbow rests on the Apple II in front of him.
Photo by Andrée Abecassis, 1981
Parked outside his Tudor-style home, Steve shares the seat of his BMW motorcycle with a black and white dog.
Photo by Ted Thai, 1981
Viewed through a conference crowd, Steve - his clean-shaven, grinning face - is displayed on a large screen.
Photo by Jean Pigozzi, 1983
Steve, wearing a black leather jacket, holds his middle finger up toward a large IBM sign.
Photo by Jean Pigozzi, 1983
A Polaroid of Steve, playing pinball, with a white hooded sweatshirt with the word Mackintosh on the chest.
Photo by Bill Atkinson, 1983
Steve is fast asleep on a flight, his seat slightly reclined.
Photo by Jean Pigozzi, 1984
29-year-old Steve wearing a black turtleneck and jeans, poses with a Macintosh computer resting in his lap.
Photo by Norman Seeff, 1984
Steve, silhouetted, is bent over as he observes a curly-haired woman typing on a Mac in a storefront.
Photo by Jean Pigozzi, 1984
A glamorous magazine shot shows Steve, wearing a double-breasted blazer, with arms crossed and hair blowing in the wind.
Photo by Norman Seeff, 1984
Steve, at home, is dressed in jeans and a sweater. He holds a mug and stares pensively at the camera from his leather sofa.
Photo by Steve Ringman / San Francisco Chronicle / Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images, 1985
Steve gazes into the camera as he cradles his chin in his right hand, his left hand resting on top of a newspaper on the table.
Photo by Jeffrey Aaronson, 1984
Steve, in a white shirt, writes on a whiteboard. He has a look of concentration and is sticking out his tongue.
Photo by Doug Menuez, 1986
A memo from Steve on the NeXT letterhead proposes meeting-free Thursdays and warns against managerial bureaucracy.
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy of Apple
Steve sits in a chair, hand cradling his head, and stares at a life-size pink foam NeXT computer prototype.
Photographer unknown, 1987
Steve kicks a beach ball in a grassy park. He is dressed in ripped jeans and a patterned shirt with rolled-up sleeves.
Photo by Doug Menuez, 1987
A note on Pixar letterhead. The handwritten text reads: Steve, President Clinton is holding.
Photo by Ben Blackwell, © Disney / Pixar
Steve, now wearing glasses, sits cross-legged in a director's chair under an oversized anglepoise Pixar-style lamp.
Photo by Louie Psihoyos, 1995, © Disney / Pixar
Steve, smiling, poses with Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland.
Photographer unknown, 1995, © Disney
Steve’s vintage slide rule sits next to its brown leather case.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
Steve stands against the white garage door of the house where Apple started in 1976. The house number reads 2066.
Photo by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel / Contour RA / via Getty Images, 1996
A typed page from a speech at Palo Alto High School, with handwritten notes strewn across the bottom in blue ink.
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy SJA
A ticket to the event on December 14, 1996, illustrated with a tuxedoed man waltzing with a woman in a flowing gown.
© Pixar, 1996
Steve has his back turned to the camera as he writes on a whiteboard. He wears a black turtleneck, shorts and sneakers.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve stands in a dimly-lit stairwell opposite a large brick wall. He wears a vest over a white shirt.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve sits in a conference room, leaning his head on his hand. A projector and whiteboard are blurred in the background.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve stands in a courtyard, deep in thought, with his head down and his chin resting in the palm of his hand.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve leans back on his chair in a conference room. He is wearing shorts, legs stretched out and feet on the table.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve lies on his back on a carpeted floor, talking on a cellphone and looking at the ceiling with his hand on his head.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
In his dark home office, a small lamp illuminates Steve as he sits at a cluttered desk.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
Steve in his signature turtleneck, eyes cast upward and fingers knitted, shortly after returning to Apple.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 1997
A photograph from a reel shows Steve in portrait. Only the left side of his face is visible; the rest is in deep shadow.
Photo by Jeffery Newbury, 1997
Steve relaxes with his feet up in a full-sized model of the chair of the queen from the Pixar movie A Bugs Life.
Photo by Brant Ward / San Francisco Chronicle / Polaris, 1998, used by permission of Disney / Pixar
A Toy Story snow globe that Steve kept in his office, with a three-eyed alien and a base that reads: Ooooh!
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy SJA, snow globe © Disney / Pixar
Steve smiling, wearing his signature black turtleneck and round glasses.
Photo by Christian Witkin, 2000
Steve takes a break during stage rehearsals for MacWorld. Sitting on a stool, he leans forward with his hand on his chin.
Photo by Brent Schlender, 2001
A first generation iPod belonging to Steve, with clickwheel and blank screen.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
An autographed 45 of Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, with bright yellow Sun records label.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
A stack of 20 Bob Dylan CDs from the collection belonging to Steve.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
Eight bright metal harmonicas, from brands such as Marine Band and Hohner, that Steve collected.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA
Steve sits cross-legged on the phone in his home office. The floor is strewn with boxes, papers, a tripod, and a trumpet.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 2004
Steve leans across a cluttered desk to use his Mac. Behind him, shelves are piled with books and boxes litter the floor.
Photo by Diana Walker / SJA / Contour RA via Getty Images, 2004
Steve smiles at the lectern in graduation robes while giving the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University.
Photo by Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service, 2005
The front of the 1974 Whole Earth Epilog, featuring a picture taken from the Moon of the Earth rising above the horizon.
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy SJA
The back of the 1974 Whole Earth Epilog. A handwritten message in white ink reads: For Steve —Stewart Brand.
Photo by Ben Blackwell courtesy SJA
Steve holds a first generation iPhone up to his face and smiles; the phone is out of focus.
Photo by Peer Grimm / Alamy, 2007
Steve, holding an iPhone, smiles and looks to the side as a pair of hands enters the frame, holding a color chart.
Photo by Joe Pugliese courtesy of Apple, 2007
Steve shown in profile with stubbly beard and glasses. The photo is taken over his shoulder.
Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images News via Getty Images, 2007
Viewed from over his shoulder, Steve considers a range of swatches made from materials proposed for use in Apple Park.
Photo courtesy Foster + Partners, 2010
Dressed in dark colors, Steve walks away from the camera through a full-scale mockup of a corridor at Apple Park.
Photo courtesy Foster + Partners, 2010
Steve is on stage. Behind him are two oversized, intersecting street signs: one says Technology, the other Liberal Arts.
Photo by Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP via Getty Images, 2011
Steve gestures with his hands as he presents the plans for Apple Park to the Cupertino City Council.
AP / City of Cupertino, 2011
A candid photograph of Steve, wearing a baseball cap and black T-shirt, as he talks on his iPhone outdoors.
Photo by Jean Pigozzi, 2010
The official resignation from Steve on August 24, 2011, written on Apple letterhead.
Courtesy of Apple, 2011
A pair of round-rimmed glasses belonging to Steve sit on a table.
Photo by Barbara Kinney courtesy SJA.