‘I want to put a dent in the universe.’
These words best describe the tenacity and vision of Stevie Jobs; the man who turned a drab technology
company into a pop-culture phenomenon.
I never personally interacted with Stevie (rrreally, you might ask as you roll your eyes), and yet I do it —
we all do it —every day when picking up an iPod or working on a macbook. These devices aren’t dumb
terminals. Each one has a story, both in creation and execution.
So while he may not be with us anymore, he has still managed to leave a lasting impression in our
minds, our hands, and our ears. Let us get to know our friend a little better.
1. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences,” he once said. “So they don’t
have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions.” Billy Gates, he suggested,
would be “a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger”.
2. “I don’t wear the right kind of pants to run this company,” he told a small gathering of Apple
employees before he left in1985, according to a member of the original Macintosh development team.
He was barefoot as he spoke, and wearing blue jeans.
3. When asked what market research went into the iPad, he replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job
to know what they want.”
4. He was the ultimate arbiter of Apple products, and his standards were exacting. Over the course of
a year he tossed out two iPhone prototypes before approving the third, and began shipping it in June
5. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was
assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett spoke with the
boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern.
6. In 1971, he collaborated with Steve Wozniak on designing, building, and selling blue boxes: devices
that were widely used for making free – and illegal – phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the
7. In 1980, he lured John Sculley to Apple to be its chief executive. A former Pepsi-Cola chief executive,
Sculley was impressed by Stevie’s pitch: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared
water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
8. In September 1985, after leaving Apple, he started NeXT Inc, with the intention of building a
workstation computer for the higher education market. Although NeXT never became a significant
computer industry player, it had a huge impact: a young programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, used a NeXT
machine to develop the first version of the World Wide Web at the Swiss physics research center CERN
9. If he had a motto, it may have come from “The Whole Earth Catalog,” which he said had deeply
influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005,
ends with the admonition “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
10. Stevie was a stickler for design details. Bruce Tognazzini, a former user-interface expert at
Apple who joined the company in 1978, once said that Jobs was adamant that the keyboard not
include “up,” “down,” “right,” and “left” keys that allow users to move the cursor around their computer
11. His pursuit of aesthetics sometimes bordered on the extreme. George Crow, an Apple engineer in
the 1980s and again from 1998 to2005, recalls how Stevie wanted to make even the inside of computers
attractive. On the original Macintosh PC, Crow says Jobs wanted the internal wiring to be in the colors of
Apple’s early rainbow logo. Crow says he persuaded Jobs it was an unnecessary expense.
12. Within months of taking control at Apple once again in May 1998, Stevie flexed his power on Apple’s
Cupertino, Calif., campus. He replaced four of the five top executives with former NeXT underlings. He
issued emails forbidding employees to bring pets to the office or to smoke, even in parking lots. He
threatened to fire anyone caught leaking company documents.
13. Stevie was typically hands-on in the creation of the iPhone. People familiar with the matter say
the former CEO was the one who made a decision to change the screen of the iPhone from plastic to
glass after he unveiled the product at the Macworld trade show in 2007. The iPhone team scrambled
to procure glass that would meet his standards, so the devices could be manufactured in time for the
14. Those who knew Stevie say one reason why he was able to keep innovating was because he didn’t
dwell on past accomplishments and demanded that employees do the same. Hitoshi Hokamura, a
former Apple employee, recalls how an old Apple I that was displayed by the company cafeteria quietly
disappeared after Jobs returned in the late 1990s.
15. He insisted that the first Macintosh should have no internal cooling fan, so that it would be silent – putting user needs above engineering convenience. He called an engineer at Google one weekend with an urgent request: the colour of one letter of Google’s on-screen logo on the iPhone was not quite the right shade of yellow. He often wrote or rewrote the text of Apple’s advertisements himself.
16. Stevie was said by an engineer in the early years of Apple to emit a “reality distortion field”, such
were his powers of persuasion.
17. When Jobs and Wozniak were designing the first Macintosh computer, he remembered the
calligraphy lessons he had taken after dropping out of college in 1972. He decided to incorporate the
fonts he had learned into the Mac. “It was the first computer with beautiful typography,” said Jobs.
Windows would later use these fonts as models.
18. A significant thing about Stevie’s public performance and interviews was his use of the
pronoun “We”. Almost every time Jobs spoke, he never said “I”, and said “We” instead. During an
interview at D5, Walt Mossberg curiously asked him, “Who’s ‘we’?” Jobs replied, “Well, ME!”
19. Stevie had been a dedicated vegan ever since his teenage years. At the age of 19, in Reed College, he
explored strange diets which, according to him, would let him get rid of all mucus and hence the need to
20. A title of one of the press articles written about Stevie’s difficult character was “The Trouble
with Steve Jobs.”According to Robert Sutton, Stanford management science professor and author of
best-seller “The No Asshole Rule,” “The degree to which people in Silicon Valley are afraid of Jobs is
unbelievable. He made people feel terrible; he made people cry.”
21. Stevie studied Zen Buddhism in his youth. He used to say that he wanted to become a monk in a
monastery in Japan instead of starting Apple. But his guru Kobun Chino Otogowa later made him think
22. Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of News Corp.’s Fox Filmed Entertainment, recalls an incident. “He
came into a meeting one day and said, ‘Hey, you want to see something cool?’ And he reached into
his jacket and pulled out the first prototype of the iPhone,” Gianopulos said.”It was like someone had
shown you the first rocket ship.”
One could go on. But one shall not. For one is free.
One could, however, direct you to http://www.indiareads.com/book/steve-jobs-exclusive-biography :
where you may buy or rent (for a frraction of the price) Stevie’s exclusive biography written by Walter
Issacson; Harvard Graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and long time Stevie confidante.