Steve Jobs used his vacation time to pepper Apple staffers with questions

As with most endeavors, even Steve Jobs’ vacations differed from most people. He used his “downtime” to step outside the Apple box to ponder directions forward for the company, peppering his closets lieutenants with questions via phone and email.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

Megan Sauer for CNBC:

Like most employees, Tony Fadell used to silently rejoice when his boss went on vacation.

Then, Fadell joined Apple in 2001 and realized that Steve Jobs’ downtime was different than most bosses’ vacations. On a recent podcast episode of “The Tim Ferriss Show,” Fadell – known as the inventor of the iPod and co-creator of the iPhone – said that when Jobs left the office, Apple’s employees would get two or three days of relative silence. Then, often without warning, they’d start getting calls from Jobs with new ideas.

“Steve would be on vacation and he would be pondering … the next product, the next direction for Apple, new technologies,” said Fadell, a former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division who worked with Jobs for nearly 10 years. “He used that vacation as a time to expand his thinking and get outside of Apple’s day-to-day.”

Fadell says that when Jobs was off the clock, he’d read new books and seek out conversations about up-and-coming technologies to help him find inspiration in unexpected places.

Jobs’ vacation habits were sometimes challenging for the people around him: Fadell said Apple employees would hear from Jobs up to six times per day. “He would start thinking about, ‘Oh, let’s go buy a music company’ or ‘Should we go and do this kind of product?’ ‘What technology would it take to achieve this?’”

Typically, Fadell said, you’d need to quickly type up some research and send it to Jobs via email. Often, Jobs would call back within 15 minutes with another idea, Fadell added.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs used his vacations to innovate, except for his vacation in the summer of 2010. That’s when the iPhone 4 “Antennagate” crisis hit, sp Jobs cut his Hawaiian vacation short so that he, other high level executives, and his son Reed Jobs, then a high school senior, could spend two straight days hammering out a PR strategy.

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31 Comments

  1. I find it hilarious when people complain about executive pay think that CEOs spend all their time golfing and screwing around. CEOs are on the clock 24×7. They have to spend their time developing new ideas for a company and new strategies to drive it forward. They work more hours then Joe Smith in retail who thinks he deserves $30/hour to ring up someone’s iPhone and swipe a credit card.

    Executives get paid a lot because they have leadership skills and must constantly come up with new ways to improve the company. It’s also in a company’s best interest to keep the leadership stable and not have the executives changing constantly and lose focus.

    The next time you complain about executive pay on social media, just remember that the executive you are criticizing is working while you are spending your free time bitching on Twitter.

    1. Biden doesn’t deserve his pResidential high pay though. I mean, if you could rely on Biden to ring up the iPhone properly, not call it a Samsung, and then swipe the card properly so that the money is deducted properly with decimal points in the right places, then sure, he might be worth $15 an hour. As President he is worth less than zero dollars and hour, he should be paying us to be there, because he really is that bad.

          1. The only BS at this time was emanating from tequila’s nappy, as he was a little sh!t when adults like Jobs were changing the world, and criminals like Biden were establishing their crime families even deeper into American life. Hey tequila, you overblown entitled democrat a-hole, you’ve been blowing Biden for years, so be happy with that, you disgusting scum

        1. Wrong. I can think of Democrat talking points I have heard how bad Biden is from his hometown in Scranton, PA. Turn on local talk news radio it’s there all day, everyday…

          1. I’m going to assume that “Got” and “Gone” are the same person, but who knows. As I said, Gone, I’m looking for their own opinion, not those of others. But those who have nothing to say just insult. Says it all really.

    2. I wonder what his accomplishments were for his pay? Besides firing Steve Jobs.

      I bet “Joe Smith in retail who thinks he deserves $30/hour to ring up someone’s iPhone and swipe a credit card” wouldn’t have made that business decision.

    3. We’re talking about mercurial CREATIVE genius Steve Jobs ideas always ON here.

      We’re not talking about creative DEFICIENT beancounter Tim Cook lounging around squeezing more profits always on.

      I suspect Cook spends his vacation unhinged on woke issues and not creatively moving Apple forward. Unless removing features, ports, iPhone cables and chargers to make more money is somehow creative, which it is not.

      No, throughout history CEOs make way too much for way too little, Cook the gold standard riding the iPhone gravy train Jobs handed over.

      iCEO Steve accepted one dollar salary and we marvel at the company he built. Cook is Steve’s worst mistake, vastly overpaid and underwhelming — Apple needs a creative leader NOW more than ever…

  2. While on vacation, I can only guess that TC ponders what other product/service can be subscription-ized? He’s a real forward thinking CEO when it comes to making Apple like an insurance company.

  3. The difference between Steve Jobs and that woke bean counter in the CEO chair is like night & day. I’d say the sooner Jobs’s successor (I refuse to call him by name) is gone the better off we’ll all be but I fear the damage has already been done.

      1. A pile of dog sh** or a ball of lint could do a better job. He’s been coasting on the legacy of Jobs and now that he has nothing to distinguish himself other than his limp wrist his incompetency is showing

        1. “limp wrist”.

          You can’t just criticize his performance, you have to bring that into the conversation? Sad. Basically moots everything else you have said.

  4. Anyone who. dopesnt understand work/life balance is an ass fuck.No good ever came from draconian slave driving to achieve a result. What bullshit this is.

    1. Clearly you have never met anyone who is passionate about their work. They love what they do so much they think about it 24×7 and constantly come up with new ways of doing things. This is not slave driving. Guys like Steve Jobs surround themselves with people that have the same level of passion and enthusiasm for their work, and that kind of thinking is what leads to the iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc. I’m sure these folks had no problem taking calls from Steve and listening to his ideas because it’s what they love to do. They wanted to make a difference.

      Clock punchers who are just there to collect a paycheck do not innovate and do not result in these game changing types of products.

      1. Where the Hell was Steve vacationing when the iMac ‘lamp’, the hockey puck mouse, Apple’s foray into BoomBox radios, the Butterfly Keyboard and the cheap plastic sheathing on their charging cables were.envisioned?

        1. I still have an iMac lamp, it’s great. But what you need to understand is why Apple made products like the iMac lamp. It was to get attention in a market that was overwhelmingly dominated by the PC.

          1. I still have a 17″ iMac ‘lamp’ and it ‘outshines’ the two iMacs that replaced it (2006 20″ InteLiMac and 2010 27″ iMac) because it still works while the other two fried their MotherFboards up (twice each).

            However, the 2013 iMac Monster that Apple gave me for all that trouble is still going strong 9 years later, along with a 2012 MacBook Pro laptop.

            (cue Bowie’s “Golden Years” or Springsteen’s “Glory Days”…)

    2. Snowflakes out the kitchen, they melt at point of contact… real men and women have been bustin ass since the dawn of time to build the civilization you so pathetically enjoy.

  5. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. – Steve Jobs.

    Perhaps this is what Timmy the Cook has been thinking? But unsuccessfully. It’s unfortunate for all of us… Or, is it?

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