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October 16, 2010

John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript
By Leander Kahney
(2:59 am, Oct. 14, 2010)

Long read but worth it.  “Remember when he came in with the iPod, there were thousands of MP3 players out there.”  Stock price (split-adjusted):  Apr. 17, 2003, $6.56; today $315 (  Jobs does things his way, and that costs him a big % of market share (massive proof at, but he still creates revolutions.

Some memorable lines:

  • “Steve from the moment I met him always loved beautiful products, especially hardware. He came to my house and he was fascinated because I had special hinges and locks designed for doors. I had studied as an industrial designer and the thing that connected Steve and me was industrial design. It wasn’t computing.”
  • “He always looked at things from the perspective of what was the user’s experience going to be?”
  • “Steve was thinking about something entirely different. He felt that the computer was going to change the world and it it was going to become what he called “the bicycle for the mind.” It would enable individuals to have this incredible capability that they never dreamed of before.”
  • “What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.”
  • “The thing that separated Steve Jobs from other people like Bill Gates — Bill was brilliant too — but Bill was never interested in great taste. He was always interested in being able to dominate a market. He would put out whatever he had to put out there to own that space. Steve would never do that. Steve believed in perfection.”
  • “Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO. I was not the first choice that Steve wanted to be the CEO. He was the first choice, but the board wasn’t prepared to make him CEO when he was 25, 26 years old.”
  • “The board decided that we ought to sell Apple. So I was given the assignment to go off and try to sell Apple in 1993. So I went off and tried to sell it to AT&T to IBM and other people. We couldn’t get anyone who wanted to buy it. They thought it was just too high risk because Microsoft and Intel were doing well then. But if I had any sense, I would have said: ‘Why don’t we go back to the guy who created the whole thing and understands it. Why don’t we go back and hire Steve to come back and run the company?'”
  • “It’s so obvious looking back now that that would have been the right thing to do. We didn’t do it, so I blame myself for that one. It would have saved Apple this near-death experience they had.”
  • “I’m actually convinced that if Steve hadn’t come back when he did — if they had waited another six months — Apple would have been history. It would have been gone, absolutely gone.”
  • “Timing in life is everything.”
  • “People used to call us a “vertically-integrated advertising agency” and that was a huge cheap shot. Engineers couldn’t think of anything worse to say about a company than to say it was a “vertically-integrated advertising agency.” Well, guess what? They all are today. That’s the model.”


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