Jay Elliot, you worked for many years with Steve Jobs as Apple Senior Vice President, you shared with him a part of your life and you wrote in the book that Steve Jobs was incredibly appealing: what did you learn from him the most? How Steve Jobs changed you?
I worked to over five years for Steve Jobs. The biggest lesson I learned from Steve was that it is all about the product and the users. You to be absolutely focused on the product and have great passion for the users. My time with Steve was an absolute change in my attitude about business and the product focus. I never worked for another company after leaving Apple in 1986, but founded my own companies.
Steve Jobs was attentive to any particular of the product he wanted to realize, he was always curious, simple, he seeked the perfection and was satisfied if and only if the product was perfect, his passion seemed to be endless. Where all this stem from? It simply was “his nature” or there is something more?
I think it was his nature but I also believe that the Buddist training he went through in India had a profound impact on his insight to simple natural things. This combined with his high level energy mixed with passion is what he was about. Simplicity also came from his short time at Reed college and some of the courses he took.
In Italy it isn’t common to see people love a “businessman”, privates are often seen as enemies. But almost everyone loved Steve Jobs, as in other parts of the world. What is his secret?
The love for Steve came from his customers love for his products. All Apple users are grateful for the great products from Apple that have changed their life and the way they interact with information. Since Steve is the face of Apple that love is passed to him. This has never happened to any other head of business around the world.
The idea that a beautiful design can be even not functional to the product is widespread. Instead, for Steve Jobs a good design is not only the image, something superfluous, but matches with the perfect function of the product. Don’t you think it is a kind of revolution?
Yes. Design in the total experience from development to the store. One of the reasons I wrote the book was to hopefully spread this type of new business philosophy to all business people. I also hope that businesses around the world take note of the love Steve’s clients have for their Apple products, that should be the same for all products we use.
Is it clever, in this period of crisis, to create and sell expensive product?
It is not about expensive products, it’s about the right price for the value you are buying. Apple products are valued by what they do for the user, a great deal.
Will Apple be the same without Steve Jobs?
Apple will move ahead on the same path for years, they have plenty of products in their pipeline and Steve’s vision goes on. They will never be able to replace Steve Jobs, but they have a great team in place to implement his dreams.
In a famous speech Steve Jobs said: «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». What did Steve Jobs believe and trust in?
Steve believed that since he was a great user of products, his consumer instincts never failed him. In his mind the product is what life is about and it’s about giving people these incredible tools that will change their life. If people have great access to information, it will change the world. He did!