Leadership Insight

Steve Jobs made some interesting observations at an industry interview last night.

On his return to Apple in the 1990s:

“Apple was about 90 days from going bankrupt. It was much worse than I thought back then. I expected all the good people had left, but I found many of them still there, and I asked them, “Why are you still here?” They said it was because they believed in Apple.”

On the platform wars between Microsoft, Google and Apple:

“I don’t see it. We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that’s why we lost. We think about the competition, but we’re focused on building a better product.”

On passing Microsoft’s market capitalization:

“It doesn’t matter very much. It’s not what’s important. It’s not what makes you come to work in the morning. It is a little surreal.”

On Google:

“They decided to compete with us. We didn’t go into the search business! We want to create better products than them. If people like our products, we get to come to work for tomorrow. Just because we’re competing doesn’t mean we have to be rude.”

On journalists and, er, bloggers:

“The foundation of a free society is free press, and some of the newspapers are in real trouble. I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I’m all for anything that can help newspapers with new ways of expressing themselves and getting paid. We need editorial oversight now more than ever.”

On the future of PCs. They become farm trucks:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms. But cars eventually became more prevalent is people moved to cities. PCs will be like trucks…they are still going to be around, but there is a transformation coming, and it will make some people uneasy. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years from now?”

On his work:

“I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to come in and work with some of the most brilliant people in the world. We play in the best sandbox. We’re structured like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet. And we all meet once a week to discuss our business…and there’s tremendous teamwork at the top and that filters down to the other employees.”

On his Stanford address:

“Probably I would just turn up the volume on it. The last few years have reminded me that life is fragile.”

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