Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks out in exclusive interview with Fortune

In an exclusive interview, Apple’s CEO talked with Fortune senior editor Betsy Morris in February in Kona, Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family, about the keys to the company’s success, the prospect of Apple without Jobs, and more.

Excerpts include:
• Birth of the iPhone
• Apple’s connection with the consumer: “It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.””
• Choosing strategy
• What drives Apple employees
• Why people want to work at Apple
• Whether Apple could live without him
• His demanding reputation
• Apple’s focus
• His management style
• Finding talent
• The benefits of owning an operating system
• His marathon Monday meetings
• Dealing with roadblocks
• The iPod tipping point
• What they did next: “The Mac market share is going up every single quarter. We’re growing four times faster than the industry. People are starting to pay a little more attention. We’ve helped it along. We put Intel processors in and we can run PC apps alongside Mac apps. We helped it along. But I think a lot of it is people have finally started to realize that they don’t have to put up with Windows – that there is an alternative. I think nobody really thought about it that way before.”
• Launching the Apple store
• Catching tech’s next wave
• Apple TV 2.0
• Managing through the economic downturn

Full interview – chock full of quotes and highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GmanMac” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

  1. We do no market research. We don’t hire consultants. The only consultants I’ve ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway’s retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple’s retail stores].

    Smart man. Smart company.

  2. Seriously, the book, “From Good to Great” talks about the leaders of the companies that go from good companies to great companies, and Steve Jobs epitomizes the type of leader that makes that kind of change. Apple is one America’s great success stories and Jobs made it happen there twice! He pushed Woz, who was just as happy to tinker in his garage and solder circuit boards for his buddies. He’s pushed many throughout his history, and left many bitter people in his wake. But no matter what adversity has been placed in his way he has always brushed it aside, always moving forward. Through the original Apple where he was pushed out, to Next, to Pixar, and back to a resurgent Apple, Jobs has pumped vision, life and success.

    And from the last section of the article that talks about Apple’s attitude to business through economic slumps it become more apparent why he has been reluctant to spend his $18 billion war chest. While the Dells and HPs will hunker down with layoffs and budget cuts, Apple will pushing further ahead with even more aggressive R&D;, maintaining a loyal group of dedicated employees who know that their jobs are not going to be yanked to satisfy a few Wall Street traders.

    Good on ya, Steve.

  3. The last page addresses Apple’s approach to dealing with an economic downturn. A company greatness depends on its people, and a smart company takes care of its employees for the long term – both financially and in terms of interesting and challenging work with delegated responsibility and authority. As long as Apple sticks to that approach, it will prosper.

    From the article:
    “We’ve had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place — the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact we were going to up our R&D;budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked. And that’s exactly what we’ll do this time.”

  4. Every page a gospel ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />
    That rustling sound you hear is thousands of CEOs and VPs-wanna-be-CEOs around the world printing out this interview, to plaster their walls with it and stick it under their pillows…

    A rare information-gold-nugget in the sea of liquid manure the web usually is…

  5. This could come from Fake Steve Jobs…

    (on roadblocks):
    “Take the iPhone. We had a different enclosure design for this iPhone until way too close to the introduction to ever change it. And I came in one Monday morning, I said, ‘I just don’t love this. I can’t convince myself to fall in love with this. And this is the most important product we’ve ever done.’

    “And we pushed the reset button. We went through all of the zillions of models we’d made and ideas we’d had. And we ended up creating what you see here as the iPhone, which is dramatically better. It was hell because we had to go to the team and say, ‘All this work you’ve [done] for the last year, we’re going to have to throw it away and start over, and we’re going to have to work twice as hard now because we don’t have enough time.’ “

    Just brilliant – but I never want to work there ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

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