Longwoods Blog


We used to dream about this stuff. Now, we get to build it. It’s pretty neat.

Steven Paul Jobs (24 February 1955 – 5 October 2011) was the Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., a company he founded with Steve Wozniak in 1976. He was also the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios until it was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2006. Jobs was the Walt Disney Company’s largest individual shareholder and a former member of its Board of Directors. He is considered to have been a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries.




We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me too” products.

It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.

I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.

The system is that there is no system…

I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.

And one more thing…


  • Was George Orwell right about 1984?
    • Keynote address at Apple’s annual sales conference first introducing the Macintosh “1984” commercial, which ends with the announcer saying “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” (October 1983) – (online video)
  • We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me too” products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.
    • Interview about the release of the Macintosh (24 January 1984) – (online video)
  • It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.
    • At age 29, as quoted in Playboy (February 1985)
  • “You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”
  • The Japanese have hit the shores like dead fish. They’re just like dead fish washing up on the shores.
    • As quoted in Playboy (February 1985)
  • It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn’t compete with six people in blue jeans.
    • On Apple’s lawsuit against him, following his resignation to form NeXT, as quoted in Newsweek (30 September 1985)
  • Real artists ship.
    • An old saying at Apple Computer, attributed to Steve Jobs, meaning that it is important to actually deliver. [1]
  • They’re babes in the woods. I think I can help turn Alvy and Ed into businessmen.
  • If, for some reason, we make some big mistake and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years.
    • On the early rivalry between Macintosh and “IBM-compatible” computers based on Microsoft’s DOS, as quoted in Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward (1987) by Jeffrey S. Young, p. 235
  • I feel like somebody just punched me in the stomach and knocked all my wind out. I’m only 30 years old and I want to have a chance to continue creating things. I know I’ve got at least one more great computer in me. And Apple is not going to give me a chance to do that.
    • On his expulsion from any position of authority at Apple, after having invited John Sculley to become CEO, as quoted in Playboy (September 1987)
  • Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?
    • A comment he made in persuading John Sculley to become Apple’s CEO, as quoted in Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple: A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future (1987) by John Sculley and John A. Byrne
  • It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.
    • At a retreat in September 1982, as quoted in John Sculley and John A. Byrne, Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple – A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future (1987), p. 157
    • Variant: Why join the Navy . . . if you can be a pirate?
      • As quoted or paraphrased in Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur’s Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own(2009) by Robert Tuchman, p. 18
  • Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan‘s poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff. This was California. You could get LSD fresh made from Stanford. You could sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriend. California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness—openness to new possibilities.
  • Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
    • Quoted in Steve Jobs, the Journey Is the Reward (1988) by Jeffrey S. Young ISBN 155802378X
  • It’ll make your jaw drop.
    • On the first NeXT Computer, as quoted in The New York Times (8 November 1989)
  • My opinion is that the only two computer companies that are software-driven are Apple and NeXT, and I wonder about Apple.
    • As quoted in Fortune (26 August 1991)
  • Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.
    • On the success of Bill Gates and Microsoft, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993)
  • Unfortunately, people are not rebelling against Microsoft. They don’t know any better.
    • Interview in Rolling Stone magazine, no. 684 (16 June 1994)
  • John Sculley ruined Apple and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place — which was making great computers for people to use.
  • We believe it’s the biggest advance in animation since Walt Disney started it all with the release of Snow White 50 years ago.
    • On Toy Story as quoted in Fortune (18 September 1995)
  • If I knew in 1986 how much it was going to cost to keep Pixar going, I doubt if I would have bought the company.
    • As quoted in Fortune (18 September 1995)
  • You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.
    • As quoted in Fortune (18 September 1995)
  • When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.
    • Interview in WIRED magazine (February 1996)
  • [Miele] really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years.
    • On design excellence, in WIRED magazine (February 1996)
  • If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.
    • As quoted in Fortune (19 February 1996)
  • I was worth about over a million dollars when I was twenty-three and over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four, and over a hundred million dollars when I was twenty-five and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.
  • The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.
    • Triumph of the Nerds (1996)
  • I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success — I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
    • Triumph of the Nerds (1996)
  • We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.
    • Triumph of the Nerds (1996)
  • The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!
    • On products at Apple, just before his return to it BusinessWeek (July 1997)
  • Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could — I’m searching for the right word — could, could die.
    • On his return as interim CEO of Apple, as quoted in TIME magazine (18 August 1997)
  • Nobody has tried to swallow us since I’ve been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.
  • iMac is next year’s computer for $1,299, not last year’s computer for $999.
  • But in the end, for something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
  • Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.
  • I think Pixar has the opportunity to be the next Disney — not replace Disney — but be the next Disney.
    • As quoted in BusinessWeek (23 November 1998)
  • We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.
    • On Mac OS X’s Aqua user interface, as quoted in Fortune magazine (4 January 2000)
  • You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting.
    • Steve Jobs commenting on a NeXT programmer’s work, as quoted in The Second Coming of Steve Jobs (2000) by Alan Deutschman
  • It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can’t overestimate it!
    • On the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, as quoted in Fortune magazine (12 May 2003)
  • There are sneakers that cost more than an iPod.
    • On the iPod’s $300 price tag, as quoted in Newsweek (27 October 2003)
  • People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  • We don’t believe it’s possible to protect digital content … What’s new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet — and no one’s gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock — open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it — puts it on the Internet. You’ll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it.
  • The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful.
    • As quoted in “Steve Jobs: The Rolling Stone Interview” in Rolling Stone (3 December 2003)
  • We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.
    • Interview in Macworld magazine (February 2004)
  • Why would I ever want to run Disney? Wouldn’t it make more sense just to sell them Pixar and retire?
    • As quoted in Fortune (23 February 2004)
  • The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer
  • It wasn’t that Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac, it’s that the Mac was a sitting duck for 10 years. That’s Apple’s problem: Their differentiation evaporated.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer
  • I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer
  • I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.
    • As quoted in “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation” in BusinessWeek (12 October 2004)
  • The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.
    But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
    And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.

    • As quoted in “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation” in BusinessWeek (12 October 2004)
  • Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company.
    • As quoted in Fortune (21 February 2005)
  • They are shamelessly copying us.
    • About Microsoft and the operating system which would be released as Vista, as quoted in “Apple’s Jobs swipes at Longhorn” om cNet News (21 April 2005)
  • Because I’m the CEO, and I think it can be done.
    • On why he chose to override engineers who thought the iMac wasn’t feasible, as quoted in TIME magazine (24 October 2005)
  • Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.
    • On the design of the iPod, as quoted in Newsweek (14 October 2006)
  • We had the hardware expertise, the industrial design expertise and the software expertise, including iTunes. One of the biggest insights we have was that we decided not to try to manage your music library on the iPod, but to manage it in iTunes. Other companies tried to do everything on the device itself and made it so complicated that it was useless.
    • On the design of the iPod, as quoted in Newsweek (14 October 2006)

The art of those commercials is not to be mean, but it is actually for the guys to like each other.

  • I’ve seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.
    • When asked whether he was concerned over Microsoft Zune’s wireless capability, as a product competing with Apple’s iPod, as quoted inNewsweek (14 October 2006)
  • Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. … Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.
  • I found that there were these incredibly great people at doing certain things, and that you couldn’t replace one of these people with 50 average people. They could just do things that no number of average people could do.
    • As quoted in Steve’s Two Jobs, Time (Michael Krantz, Oct. 18, 1999)
  • A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.
    • Interview with the New York Times (5 June 2007)
  • The HD revolution is over, it happened. HD won. Everybody wants HD.
  • Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of – maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.
  • “If it could save a person’s life, could you find a way to save ten seconds off the boot time? If there were five million people using the Mac, and it took ten seconds extra to turn it on every day, that added up to three hundred million or so hours per year people would save, which was the equivalent of at least one hundred lifetimes saved per year.
  • You always have to keep pushing to innovate. Dylan could have sung protest songs forever and probably made a lot of money, but he didn’t. He had to move on, and when he did, by going electric in 1965, he alienated a lot of people. His 1966 Europe tour was his greatest…. The Beatles were the same way. They kept evolving, moving, refining their art. That’s what I’ve always tried to do — keep moving. Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you are not busy being born, you’re busy dying.
    • Last words (5 October 2011), as reported by his sister Mona Simpson in her eulogy for her brother on 16 October 2011, at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University; presented in the New York Times (30 October 2011) (The words were capitalized in the text.) According to Ms. Simpson, these words were spoken hours before his death, and after “he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.”

[edit]WWDC 2005

Keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, where Jobs announced plans for Mac OS 10.5 “Leopard,” and a switch from IBM PowerPC to Intel processors. (6 June 2005)

Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life — for the past five years.

  • Yes, it’s true.
    • On the plans for Apple Computer, Inc. to begin using Intel processors in its Macintosh computers during 2006 and 2007. About twenty two minutes into his address. Rumors of such plans had existed for years, but had been growing more credible and prolific for about a week before his announcement.
  • Now, I have something to tell you today. Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life — for the past five years. There have been rumors to this effect… but this is Apple’s campus in Cupertino — let’s zoom in on it — in that building right there… we’ve had teams doing the “just-in-case” scenario; and our rules have been that our designs for OS X must be processor independent, and that every project must be built for both the Power PC and Intel processors. And so today for the first time, I can confirm the rumors that every release of OS X has been compiled for both Power PC and Intel — this has been going on for the last five years. Just in case.
  • So Mac OS X is cross-platform by design, right from the very beginning. So Mac OS X is singing on Intel processors, and I’d just like to show you right now. As a matter of fact… this system I’ve been using here… Let go have a look… [reveals that the system he had been using for the presentation was running Mac OS X 10.4.1 on a machine using a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 processor] So.. we’ve been running on an Intel machine all morning.
  • We intend to release Leopard at the end of 2006 or early 2007, right around the time when Microsoft is expected to release Longhorn.

[edit]Address at Stanford University (2005)

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)

Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

  • When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
  • I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
  • Death is the destination we all share, no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life.
  • Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
  • Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
  • No one wants to die. Even people who wanna go to heaven don’t wanna die to get there.
  • When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
  • I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to [learn calligraphy]. I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful. Historical. Artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture. And I found it fascinating. None of this had any hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never have multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.
  • Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
  • Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.



  • Good artists copy; great artists steal.
    • This is a favorite phrase of Jobs, but he is (mis)quoting Pablo Picasso. “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal” is similarly attributed to Igor Stravinsky, but both sayings may well originate in T. S. Eliot‘s dictum: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn.”
  • My girlfriend always laughs during sex — no matter what she’s reading.
    • This has appeared rather prominently on the internet, usually without indications of a source, and is often attributed to Jobs, but it was actually part of the comedy routines of Emo Philips, who used “giggles” rather than “laughs” on his comedy album Emo.
  • The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated (At the Apple Music Event 9th September 2008)
    • Originally from Mark TwainThe report of my death was an exaggeration.

[edit]Quotes about Jobs

I never really get to see, except second hand, how abrupt he is with people. ~Steve Wozniak

  • If you just want to say, “Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,” that’s fine. If you’re interested, [Vista development chief] Jim Allchin will be glad to educate you feature by feature what the truth is. … Let’s be realistic, who came up with “File/Edit/View/Help”? Do you want to go back to the original Mac and think about where those interface concepts came from?
  • Steve insists that we’re shipping in early 1982, and won’t accept answers to the contrary. The best way to describe the situation is a term fromStar TrekSteve has a reality distortion field.… In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules.
  • I never really get to see, except second hand, how abrupt he is with people. I couldn’t be that way with people. But maybe that’s what you need to run a business, to find things that are worthless and get rid of them.
    • Steve Wozniak, quoted in Fire in the Valley (2000) by Freiberger and Swaine

[edit]External links


Wikipedia has an article about:


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This entry was posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013 at 9:03 am and is filed under Longwoods Online.