"Steve [Jobs] would wig before keynotes. But it’s like the diva right before the opera. And Steve was brilliant at doing those presentations. And he’d spend months preparing. I mean, he was very passionate about this. He did a phenomenal job."
“I can picture Steve [Jobs] running into the Macintosh design group and saying really excitedly, ‘We’ve got this fantastic concept.’ His idea was that a nontechnical secretary should be able to go into a room alone with a Mac in a box and a letter opener and be doing useful work in one hour.”
“All of the wonks were saying the personal computer was dead. And then one day—you never quite knew where Steve would get his ideas, because he would sometimes lay claim to others’ ideas as his own—Steve woke up and decided not only was the computer not dead, but it was more important than ever. The computer was the center of this ecosystem and there were spokes: pictures, work, music.”
"I designed the boot image-a happy Mac-because we wanted the computer to be friendly. That was a word we tossed around a lot. The icon was inspired by those yellow smiley-face buttons, of course, and by the kind of things I used to draw when I was fourteen years old. We did the happy Mac, and then we did the unhappy Mac, which was never supposed to be seen. You know, like the bomb.”
Our new book, “Design Crazy," is the first oral history of Apple design, as told by the designers who were there. It’s fascinating. Check it out.
"We’d meet with Steve [Jobs] on Tuesday afternoons. He would come up with the craziest ideas. At one point, Steve wanted to do all of our error messages as haikus. He would leave, and we would all think, What is he smoking?”
“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 product, they don’t ever talk about their air soles, how they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What’s Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are. That is what they are about.”
“I was trying to think of a phrase to convey how extreme your attention to users should be, and I realized Steve Jobs had already done it: insanely great. Steve wasn’t just using “insanely” as a synonym for “very.” He meant it more literally—that one should focus on quality of execution to a degree that in everyday life would be considered pathological.”
Now let us return to the tale of C1. Or should I say, MacMan. The agency team was heartbroken to learn that Steve had fallen in love with such a disappointing name as “MacMan.” Unlike C1 itself, for which our feelings had evolved from shock to love, there could be no love for “MacMan.” Ever. It had so many things wrong with it, we didn’t know where to start. Phil Schiller, Apple’s worldwide marketing manager, was in the room, and Steve revealed that “MacMan” was Phil’s contribution.
“I think it’s sort of reminiscent of Sony,” said Steve, referring of course to Sony’s legendary Walkman line of personal music players. “But I have to tell you, I don’t mind a little rub-off from Sony. They’re a famous consumer company, and if MacMan seems like a Sony kind of consumer product, that might be a good thing.” It was hard to know where to start picking at that argument. It seemed that Apple, more than any company in the world, stood for originality. Having a name that so blatantly echoed another company’s style couldn’t be the right way to go. We were also disturbed by the “man” part of “Mac-Man,” with its obvious gender bias. And then there was the fact that the name just gave us hives, but we’d need to be a bit more tactful on that one.
According to J. Crew CEO and Apple board member Mickey Drexler, Jobs even envisioned rethinking the automotive industry. Speaking at Fast Company's recent Innovation Uncensored conference, Drexler clued the audience in on some insider Apple knowledge.
"Look at the car industry; it’s a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?" Drexler said. "Steve’s dream before he died was to design an iCar."
My model of management is the Beatles. The reason I say that is because each of the key people in the Beatles kept the others from going off in the directions of their bad tendencies.
They sort of kept each other in check. And then when they split up, they never did anything as good. It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts. And so John kept Paul from being a teenybopper and Paul kept John from drifting out into the cosmos, and it was magic. And George, in the end, I think provided a tremendous amount of soul to the group. I don’t know what Ringo did.
That’s the chemistry [at Pixar] between Ed [Catmull] and John [Lasseter] and myself. It’s worked pretty doggone well. We talk about things a lot, and sometimes one of us will want to do something that’s really stupid, or maybe not stupid but … oh, I don’t know … maybe not the wisest thing in the long run for the studio. And, you know, at least one of the other two will say, ‘Hey, you know, I think there’s a better way to do that.’ So we’ll all slow down and think it through, and we usually come up with a much better way.
"I had covered Jobs for Fortune and The Wall Street Journal since 1985, but I didn’t come to fully appreciate the importance of these “lost” years until after his death last fall. Rummaging through the storage shed, I discovered some three dozen tapes holding recordings of extended interviews—some lasting as long as three hours—that I’d conducted with him periodically over the past 25 years. (Snippets are scattered throughout this story.) Many I had never replayed—a couple hadn’t even been transcribed before now. Some were interrupted by his kids bolting into the kitchen as we talked. During others, he would hit the pause button himself before saying something he feared might come back to bite him. Listening to them again with the benefit of hindsight, the ones that took place during that interregnum jump out as especially enlightening.”