Al Gore: Steve Jobs told Apple execs ‘Don’t ask yourself ‘what would Steve do?’ Follow your own voice’

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg spoke with Apple Board of Directors member Al Gore at AllThingsD’s AsiaD.

Some snippets of Gores’ comments, paraphrased and quoted mixed:

• [Steve Jobs’ memorial service was] a beautiful and moving event… It’s a terrible loss, of course, for the entire world. We’ll all miss Steve. But for all of his inventions — “among them all, I actually think his greatest work was Apple itself.” …Steve cultivated a team, “and we had discussions at every single board meeting, for several years, about cultivating that team.” No one will replace him, and he’s totally unique. “And yet, he also served on the board of Disney … and he used to talk initially about how, after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking ‘what would Walt do in this situation?’ And he made it very clear: ‘I don’t want that.’ He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else. ‘Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.'”

• You have more pollution than ever… Mossberg: “But wait — isn’t a democrat in the White House? Isn’t that your party?” Gore: I’ve expressed disappointment. I give [Obama] advice, and most of the problem is in the Senate, which is totally broken. But the White House has pulled back from enviornmental reform, and that’s disappointing.

• As for Apple board, I won’t talk about what goes on inside. But I will say this “I have the deepest respect for my fellow board members, we’re all very good friends… I think that people who specialize in kibitzing about these things — I respect them, it’s good for them to think about this kind of stuff, but I wouldn’t change a thing about the way the Apple board has operated.” We handled privacy and medical issues and succession all corrrectly there. “If you were running a corporation, and you had a star-studded executive team, would you really think it would be a smart thing to lay out in public, your thinking about who’s going to move to what position over the next couple years? Of course not!”

Tons more about including Google, environmental issues, television and more in the full article here.

27 Comments

      1. There are certain Steve things that they need to remember. To just forget everything Steve Jobs stood for, why he was different, and why he made Apple different, would be a real error.

        1. Yes, and one of those “Steve things” was bringing Al Gore on to the Apple board. So YOU can “shut up” about your feelings towards Gore. Like many MDN commenters, you spew partisan hate where and when it isn’t deserved.

  1. 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. – Steve Jobs

  2. Smart of Steve to say that, but I hope they don’t decide to be like other companies and make phones and computers with cheap plastic. Steve should have said that you SHOULD ask what Steve wouldn’t do.

    1. As long as Jonathan Ive is there, that will *NOT* happen. And with the recent revelation that Steve set it up so that Jony has near absolute power over the designs, I don’t think you need worry about a cheapening of design materials any time soon.

      And why would they? They currently enjoy amazing margins while using the best manufacturing materials due to their operational and manufacturing efficiency (wizardry?).

  3. It still irks me that Gore sits on Apple’s Board. It has nothing to do with political leanings; the man has no relevant private sector experience or corporate experience to bring to the table. He should not be there.

    1. Obviously, Steve Jobs had a serious lapse of judgement when he selected someone like Al Gore for Apple’s Board of Directors.

      A man like Al Gore, who was the Vice President of the United States of America for 8 years and before that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1977–85), and the U.S. Senate (1985–93), would have absolutely NO connections to anyone, anywhere. Certainly no one in any sort of government positions in the US or anywhere else in the world.

      Honestly, some people here are mind-numbingly dim.

      @macromancer… EXACTLY!

  4. Steve had two faults, IMHO:

    1) Liberal politically despite horrific, long-term consequences to America morally and economically thanks to loser progressives. Men marrying me, pot legal, prostitution legal, white Christians hated, 70% out of wedlock births in black communities, demonizing job creators, shall I go on? How such a brilliant man could surround himself with moally challenged job killers like Gore, Pelosi and occasionally Obama after prospering so much in capitalism is beyond me!

    2) New-age vegan lifestyle made him suspicious of traditional medical treatments and probably shortened his life. He delayed surgery 9 months experimenting with dead-end, natural remedies. We r fkng omnivores, people – not herbivores!

    He was a great man who I hope died happy! I’ll take that any day over being successful!

    1. If America is falling apart because of poor leadership, look no further than the G.O.P.
      Nixon (R) 6 Years
      Ford (R) 2 Years
      Carter (DINO) 4 Years
      Reagan (R) 8 Years
      Bush The Elder (R) 4 Years
      Clinton (DINO) 8 Years
      Bush The Idiot (R) 8 Years
      Obama (DINO) 3+

      We haven’t had a real Democrat (progressive/liberal) in a very long time. Clinton, Carter and Obama are very conservative for Democrats (DINO) despite the rantings of the NeoCon Reich Wing.
      BTW- Clinton did what no Republican since Eisenhower has done- balance a budget. So much for Republicans being better with the money.

      1. Clinton’s balanced budget was accounting fraud. The U.S. debt went up every year he was in office.

        He borrowed money from the social security trust fund to “balance” his budget.

    2. Liberal politically despite horrific, long-term consequences to America morally and economically thanks to loser progressives. Men marrying me

      I agree that men marrying you is probably a horrific thing: have you ever thought of saying ‘no’ when the minister asks you to affirm your vows

      pot legal

      No expert, but I think conservatives have also been known to smoke the odd exotic cheroot

      prostitution legal

      in Nevada…one state. The most expensive licenses ($100,000 per year) for a brothel in Nevada are in Storey County, which in the recent special election for the NV-2 district was 58% R to 32% D. I think that says something about something…I’ll let you work it out.

      white Christians hated

      S’funny – I hear a lot of stuff about how Mormons are a cult. Mainly from white Christians. Admittedly, that’s just a way for evangelicals to try and throw Romney under the bus (no need to worry about Huntsman, he won’t have the fare to even turn up at the bus stop). Also, wasn’t it Herman Cain (admittedly black, but still a Christian) who once said he wouldn’t have Muslims in his cabinet.

      70% out of wedlock births in black communities

      A stat wheeled out by people who want to cause a ruckus: the birth-rate for married black women has actually now declined to the point that the figure for unmarried black women has risen to 80%. Actually, the birth rate for black community overall isn’t moving one way or the other.

      demonizing job creators

      You know what one of the primary qualifications are for being a “job creator” ? I’ll give you a clue, it involves creating jobs.

      Since the tax cuts created by the Bush 41 admin and the 107th/108th congress, the US nation effectively borrowed over one trillion dollars to incentivise the top 5% to be “job creators”: somehow, someone failed to get the message because – across the Bush 41 terms – the net job growth was a loss of 1.8 million jobs.

      You can’t demonise something that simply doesn’t exist. You can, however, be sceptical about the wisdom of structuring a tax system that exacerbates income and wealth inequality

      You can be equally sceptical when those structures fail to provide real incentives for those who benefit most to invest in the nation’s small and medium-sized businesses which are the ones that create jobs at home and build communities.

      Many small business owners have gone on record to say that the tax rate doesn’t affect whether or not they recruit: those decisions are dictated by real customer demands. And many of those same small business owners say that the failure to invest in the nation’s infrastructure and education may force existing employees to leave and affect their ability to recruit replacements.

      shall I go on?

      Would you mind awfully if I asked you not to?

  5. Grumble, Gore, grumble, liberal, complain, marxist-nazi, moan, progress idiot, invented the internet, bitch moan, wooden stiff, whine, . . . .Apple would be way way better off right now if it was run by righteous right wing Republicans.
    Stupid ignorant, evil, liberals

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