What was it like to deliver a presentation to Steve Jobs

“I worked at Apple, and had to present to Steve every now and then,” Brett Bilbrey writes for Quora. “I presented new technology to him a number of times. Sometimes it was my ideas, and sometimes it was the work my team did.”

“Over the years, I (and members of my team) did dozens of presentations for Steve. My team was responsible for products like the Mac Mini, Apple TV, and creating many product prototypes,” Bilbrey writes. “Steve was wicked smart. I was always amazed at how sharp he was and how quickly he could focus on what was important. I don’t know ANYONE that even comes close to how good he was at being able to do that.”

“Most of my presentations were to Jony Ive. Jony is a wonderful person to work with. One day my daughter joined me for lunch at the Apple ‘Cafe Macs,’ Steve and Jony were sitting nearby,” Bilbrey writes. “My daughter was going to school for design illustration and asked if she could say hi to Jony. I took her over and expected just to say hi, and leave. But Jony was charming and chatted with my daughter for about 45 minutes. I was noticing that Steve was growing more and more impatient, but also since they were talking about what made a good design, I think Steve was being more tolerant. Finally, Steve suggested to Jony that they had to get going, and Jony wrapped up his discussion with my daughter. She was floating out of the cafe. Jony is a really nice and thoughtful person. And I really appreciated him taking that time to really talk with my daughter.”

Read more in the full article here.

Brett Bilbrey invented the real-time, green-screen, high-definition chroma-key software, first seen in Apple’s Motion software.

8 Comments

  1. Isn’t that Paying It Forward? The principles of great design should not be a secret. You never know when that kid you gave advice to might design something you might buy and use or contribute to the greater good of the culture. Nice story and a tribute to Ives more gentle encouraging nature.

    1. Steve understood. That is why he allowed the little girl to talk with Jony for 45 minutes.

      Steve may have been abrupt and seemingly abrasive at times with staff, but he realized how short life was and may have had an inkling of how short his life might be.

      Steve used his time well. He taught people how to focus and concentrate well to get the best solutions.

      The quip about a presentation of a product that had an unexpected video glitch, where Steve stopped the demo and said fix it was instructive. What Steve communicated was ‘Don’t waste everyone’s time evaluating flawed product, just stop now, have one guy fix it, and we’ll evaluate tomorrow.’

      That was practical leadership on multiple levels.

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