Uneditted notes on a Q+A with Steve Jobs.
How did you learn about hewett packard?
Just called him up (everything was ina phone book) and asked him for spare parts
How did Xerox Park Die?
When a product company like Pepsi gets big, for them a major change is changing a pepsi bottle, and they can only do that every few years. Thus success goes to the sales and marketting teams who become the leaders.
Thus in the decision making forums, product people are pushed out.
Interestingly, in technology firms the same things happen when you get to be a monopoloy, like IBM Or Xerox, doesn’t matter most of what you do, to move the neeedle it’s sales and Marketting.
So, at Xeros, all the decisiosn where made by sales and marketting people of copiers, adn thus Zeros park was killed.
Value of the eco system?
IBM product sucked, and if it was upto them it would have failed, but they had a brilliant approach, which was they had a bunch of people having a vested interest in thier success, and that network kept them succesful – Think of the PC ecosystem or the wintel allience.
Process vs Content
When companies get biggger they want to replicate that sucess. The assume the ‘magic’ was the process so they instuitionalize the proecss in the hope that’ll bring success. People think the process is the content
Best people are the content, and are a pain in the but to manage, but it’s worth it!
Inspiration vs Perspiration
Disease = Idea is 90% of the work. Tonne of craftmanship into a great product. Building it makes a huge varience to the project, there are a huge # of trade offs into the product. The laws of physics dominate. Design a product is keepng 5000 things in your brain, fitting them all together in the best way possilbe that gets waht you want. Every day you learn something new that changes the equation. That process is the magic of product development.
Old guy takes him out back to make a rock clearn. A bunch of common rocks go in , and then get banged around with friction, and noise, and come out these beautiful polished rocks. Metaphor for a team working hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that bumping up, those arguments, those fights, working together they polish each others, polish the ideas making beuatiful stones.
What does it mean when you say ‘your work is shit’. Usually it means your work is shit. Someimtes it means ‘I think you’re work is shit, but I’m wrong’, but most of the time it means your work isn’t good enough.
Good people, don’t need thier ego’s babied. Most valuable thing you can do is tell them when they aren’t living upto the teams need, but do it in a way that doesn’t question their abilities. Very hard to do, and I do it in a very direct way.
How adobe started
Adobe from Xerox, in garage wanting to be hardware, Apple convinced them to become a software company, and bought a 19.9 % share.
What is MS good at
1) Opportunist, 2) Keep coming (like japanese). The problem though, is they have no taste. No original ideas, no culture in the product. Why important? No problem with success, but products have no spirit or enlightnment, they’re just pedestrian. And most customers don’t have the spirit either. MS is just mcdonanlds. I’m not sad MS won, I’m sad that MS products don’t have more insight and creativity.
The future (from 1995):
The web, goes from being a computing machine to a communication machine. Direct distribution channel (15% of stuff sold via catalog) On the web, the smallest company can look like the largest. And - MS doesnt’ own it! Web defining tech, defining social moment for computing. Personal computer is the bicycle of the mind.
How do you know the right product direction/vision?
Ultimetly it comes down to taste. Expose yourself to the best human race has done and integrate it. Good artists copy, Great Artists steal.