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.
Woz is living his own life now. He hasn’t been around Apple for about five years. But what he did will go down in history.
I met Woz when I was 13, at a friend’s garage. He was about 18. He was, like, the first person I met who knew more electronics than I did at that point. We became good friends, because we shared an interest in computer and we had a sense of humor. We pulled all kinds of pranks together.
Woz and I are different in most ways, but there are some ways in which we’re the same, and we’re very close in those ways. We’re sort of like two planets in their own orbits that every so often intersect. It wasn’t just computers, either. Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan’s poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff. This was California. You could get LSD fresh made from Stanford. You could sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriend. California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness, openness to new possibilities.
Steve Jobs, 1985
Apple was about as pure of a Silicon Valley company as you could imagine. We started in a garage. Woz and I both grew up in Silicon Valley. Our role model was Hewlett-Packard. And so I guess that’s what we went into it thinking. Hewlett-Packard, you know, Jobs and Wozniak.
Steve Jobs, 1985