The number of people I get to interact with in this company is probably about 50 on a regular basis. Maybe 100. And one of the things that I’ve always felt is that most things in life, if you get something twice as good as average you’re doing phenomenally well. Usually the best is about 30% better than average. Two to one’s a big delta. But what became really clear to me in my work life was that, for instance, [Steve] Wozniak was 25 to 50 times better than average. And I found that there were these incredibly great people at doing certain things, and you couldn’t replace one of these people with 50 average people. They could just do stuff that no number of average people could do. […]. And so I have spent my work life trying to find and recruit and retain and work with these kind of people. My #1 job here at Apple is to make sure that the top 100 people are A+ players. And everything else will take care of itself.
I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
Steve Jobs, 1994
Apple is the most creative of the PC companies; Pixar is the most technologically advanced entertainment company. Apple releases new products every few months, and top execs make 10 major decisions a day. But the Holy Grail for Pixar is releasing one product, a movie-a-year, and as CEO I might make three really critical decisions a year, and they are very hard to change.
Steve Jobs, 2003
Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal.
I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
Steve Jobs, 2005
We’re still heavily into the box. We love the box. We have amazing computers today, and amazing hardware in the pipeline. I still spend a lot of my time working on new computers, and it will always be a primal thing for Apple. But the user experience is what we care about most, and we’re expanding that experience beyond the box by making better use of the Internet. The user experience now entails four things: the hardware, the operating system, the applications, and the Net. We want to do all four uniquely well for our customers.
Steve Jobs, 2000
I remember reading an article when I was about twelve years old. I think it might have been Scientific American, where they measured the efficiency of locomotion for all these species on planet earth. How many kilocalories did they expend to get from point A to point B? And the condor won, came in at the top of the list, surpassed everything else. And humans came in about a third of the way down the list, which was not such a great showing for the crown of creation. But somebody there had the imagination to test the efficiency of a human riding a bicycle. A human riding a bicycle blew away the condor all the way off the top of the list. And it made a really big impression on me that we humans are tool builders. And that we can fashion tools that amplify these inherent abilities that we have to spectacular magnitudes. And so for me, a computer has always been a bicycle of the mind. Something that takes us far beyond our inherent abilities. And I think we’re just at the early stages of this tool.
Steve Jobs, 1990