Biographies

Book Summary – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

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 The journey is the reward.


Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues- American Biographer Walter Isaacson takes the reader on a journey, the early days of the Apple, becoming the most valuable company in the world, Steves passionate drive of getting things done and creating insanely great product.

Steve revolutionized six industries through Apple, a company he started with his friend -Steve Wozniak. They started Apple in 1976 with $1,300 in working capital and today is the world’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of USD 2.9 trillion. Steve transformed the following industries : personal computers (iMac, MacBook) animated movies (Pixar) , music(iTunes), phones(iPhone), tablet computing (iPad), and digital publishing(iBook). 

The Steve Jobs book is the inspiration for the movie of the same name starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

Think Different

Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently: They developed not merely modest product advances based on focus groups, but whole new devices and services that consumers did not yet know they needed.

He was not a model boss or human being, tidily packaged for emulation. Driven by demons, he could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and passions and products were all interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is thus both instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

Adoption

Steve Jobs knew from an early age that he was adopted. Abandoned. Chosen. Special. Those concepts became part of who Jobs was and how he regarded himself. His closest friends think that the knowledge that he was given up at birth left some scars.

I’ve always felt special. My parents made me feel special.” He would later bristle whenever anyone referred to Paul and Clara Jobs as his “adoptive” parents or implied that they were not his “real” parents. “They were my parents 1,000%,” he said. When speaking about his biological parents, on the other hand, he was curt: “They were my sperm and egg bank. That’s not harsh, it’s just the way it was, a sperm bank thing, nothing more.

Desire for Control

He wants to control his environment, and he sees the product as an extension of himself. – longtime colleague of Jobs

Repeating Patterns

Later in life, when he was the same age his biological father had been when he abandoned him, Jobs would father and abandon a child of his own.

Environmental Influence

Like most kids, he became infused with the passions of the grown-ups around him. “Most of the dads in the neighborhood did really neat stuff, like photovoltaics and batteries and radar,” Jobs recalled. “I grew up in awe of that stuff and asking people about it.”

I was very lucky, because when I was a kid both my dad and the Heathkits made me believe I could build anything

Calling Bill Hewlett

The kids in the Explorers Club were encouraged to do projects, and Jobs decided to build a frequency counter, which measures the number of pulses per second in an electronic signal. He needed some parts that HP made, so he picked up the phone and called the CEO.

Back then, people didn’t have unlisted numbers. So I looked up Bill Hewlett in Palo Alto and called him at home. And he answered and chatted with me for twenty minutes. He got me the parts, but he also got me a job in the plant where they made frequency counters.” Jobs worked there the summer after his freshman year at Homestead High. “My dad would drive me in the morning and pick me up in the evening.

He answered and chatted with me for twenty minutes. He got me the parts, but he also got me a job in the plant where they made frequency counters.

Started Work Early

Jobs liked to work. He also had a newspaper route—his father would drive him when it was raining—and during his sophomore year spent weekends and the summer as a stock clerk at a cavernous electronics store, Haltek.

Early Intellectual Curiosity

He also flowered intellectually during his last two years in high school and found himself at the intersection, as he had begun to see it, of those who were geekily immersed in electronics and those who were into literature and creative endeavors. “I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology—Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear.

Steve Wozniak

While a student in McCollum’s class, Jobs became friends with a graduate who was the teacher’s all-time favorite and a school legend for his wizardry in the class. Stephen Wozniak, whose younger brother had been on a swim team with Jobs, was almost five years older than Jobs and far more knowledgeable about electronics. But emotionally and socially he was still a high school geek.

At the same age when Jobs was puzzling over a carbon microphone that his dad couldn’t explain, Wozniak was using transistors to build an intercom system featuring amplifiers, relays, lights, and buzzers that connected the kids’ bedrooms of six houses in the neighborhood.

Bill Fernandez introducing Wozniak to Jobs

After a pleasant year at De Anza, Wozniak took time off to make some money. He found work at a company that made computers for the California Motor Vehicle Department, and a coworker made him a wonderful offer: He would provide some spare chips so Wozniak could make one of the computers he had been sketching on paper. Wozniak decided to use as few chips as possible, both as a personal challenge and because he did not want to take advantage of his colleague’s largesse.

When it was finished, Fernandez told Wozniak there was someone at Homestead High he should meet. “His name is Steve. He likes to do pranks like you do, and he’s also into building electronics like you are.” It may have been the most significant meeting in a Silicon Valley garage since Hewlett went into Packard’s thirty-two years earlier.

“His name is Steve. He likes to do pranks like you do, and he’s also into building electronics like you are.”

Esquire Article

The ultimate combination of pranks and electronics—and the escapade that helped to create Apple—was launched one Sunday afternoon when Wozniak read an article in Esquire that his mother had left for him on the kitchen table. It was September 1971, and he was about to drive off the next day to Berkeley, his third college.

They Started a project together (The Blue (phreaking) Box)

Following the lead of other phone phreaks such as Captain Crunch, they gave themselves handles. Wozniak became “Berkeley Blue,” Jobs was “Oaf Tobark.” They took the device to college dorms and gave demonstrations by attaching it to a phone and speaker. While the potential customers watched, they would call the Ritz in London or a dial-a-joke service in Australia. “We made a hundred or so Blue Boxes and sold almost all of them,” Jobs recalled.

The Partnership

The partnership paved the way for what would be a bigger adventure together. “If it hadn’t been for the Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple,” Jobs later reflected. “I’m 100% sure of that. Woz and I learned how to work together, and we gained the confidence that we could solve technical problems and actually put something into production.

They had created a device with a little circuit board that could control billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure. “You cannot believe how much confidence that gave us.

Regret – Denying his parents at his matriculation

When it came time for Jobs to matriculate in the fall of 1972, his parents drove him up to Portland, but in another small act of rebellion he refused to let them come on campus. In fact he refrained from even saying good-bye or thanks. He recounted the moment later with uncharacteristic regret:

It’s one of the things in life I really feel ashamed about. I was not very sensitive, and I hurt their feelings. I shouldn’t have. They had done so much to make sure I could go there, but I just didn’t want them around. I didn’t want anyone to know I had parents. I wanted to be like an orphan who had bummed around the country on trains and just arrived out of nowhere, with no roots, no connections, no background.

Popular Mechanics – 1975 Magazine

They were energized by the arrival of the January 1975 issue of Popular Mechanics, which had on its cover the first personal computer kit, the Altair. The Altair wasn’t much—just a $495 pile of parts that had to be soldered to a board that would then do little—but for hobbyists and hackers it heralded the dawn of a new era.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen read the magazine and started working on a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, for the Altair.

It also caught the attention of Jobs and Wozniak. And when an Altair kit arrived at the People’s Computer Company, it became the centerpiece for the first meeting of the club that French and Moore had decided to launch.

The Homebrew Computer Club

The group became known as the Homebrew Computer Club, and it encapsulated the Whole Earth fusion between the counterculture and technology. It would become to the personal computer era something akin to what the Turk’s Head coffeehouse was to the age of Dr. Johnson, a place where ideas were exchanged and disseminated. Moore wrote the flyer for the first meeting, held on March 5, 1975, in French’s Menlo Park garage:

“Are you building your own computer? Terminal, TV, typewriter?” it asked. “If so, you might like to come to a gathering of people with like-minded interests.

About thirty other people showed up, spilling out of French’s open garage door, and they took turns describing their interests. There was a demonstration of the new Altair, but more important to Wozniak was seeing the specification sheet for a microprocessor.

Apple 1

As he thought about the microprocessor—a chip that had an entire central processing unit on it—he had an insight. He had been designing a terminal, with a keyboard and monitor, that would connect to a distant minicomputer. Using a microprocessor, he could put some of the capacity of the minicomputer inside the terminal itself, so it could become a small stand-alone computer on a desktop. It was an enduring idea: keyboard, screen, and computer all in one integrated personal package. “This whole vision of a personal computer just popped into my head,” he said. “That night, I started to sketch out on paper what would later become known as the Apple I.”

“ It was Sunday, June 29, 1975, a milestone for the personal computer. “It was the first time in history,” Wozniak later said, “anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front of them.”

Jobs was impressed. He peppered Wozniak with questions: Could the computer ever be networked? Was it possible to add a disk for memory storage? He also began to help Woz get components. Particularly important were the dynamic random-access memory chips. Jobs made a few calls and was able to score some from Intel for free.

I designed the Apple I because I wanted to give it away for free to other people.- Wozniak

Jobs convinced Wozniak to stop giving away copies of his schematics. Most people didn’t have time to build it themselves anyway, Jobs argued. “Why don’t we build and sell printed circuit boards to them?” It was an example of their symbiosis. “Every time I’d design something great, Steve would find a way to make money for us,” said Wozniak. Wozniak admitted that he would have never thought of doing that on his own. “It never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, ‘Let’s hold them in the air and sell a few.’

Why don’t we build and sell printed circuit boards to them?

Starting Apple

Jobs knew how to appeal to Wozniak. He didn’t argue that they were sure to make money, but instead that they would have a fun adventure. “Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company,” said Jobs as they were driving in his Volkswagen bus. “For once in our lives, we’ll have a company.” This was enticing to Wozniak, even more than any prospect of getting rich. He recalled, “I was excited to think about us like that. To be two best friends starting a company. Wow. I knew right then that I’d do it. How could I not?

Selling their possession to start Apple

In order to raise the money they needed, Wozniak sold his HP 65 calculator for $500, though the buyer ended up stiffing him for half of that. For his part, Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus for $1,500. But the person who bought it came to find him two weeks later and said the engine had broken down, and Jobs agreed to pay for half of the repairs. Despite these little setbacks, they now had, with their own small savings thrown in, about $1,300 in working capital, the design for a product, and a plan. They would start their own computer company.

Apple Is Born

Now that they had decided to start a business, they needed a name. Jobs had gone for another visit to the All One Farm, where he had been pruning the Gravenstein apple trees, and Wozniak picked him up at the airport. On the ride down to Los Altos, they bandied around options.

They considered some typical tech words, such as Matrix, and some neologisms, such as Executek, and some straightforward boring names, like Personal Computers Inc. The deadline for deciding was the next day, when Jobs wanted to start filing the papers. Finally Jobs proposed Apple Computer.

I was on one of my fruitarian diets,” he explained. “I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’ Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.” He told Wozniak that if a better name did not hit them by the next afternoon, they would just stick with Apple. And they did.

Ron Wayne

Wayne, middle-aged engineer at Atari who had once started a slot machine company. Wayne was offered 10% stake in the new partnership, turning him into a tie-breaker if Jobs and Wozniak disagreed over an issue.

The Agreement

On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak went to Wayne’s apartment in Mountain View to draw up the partnership agreement. But the division of shares and profits was clear—45%-45%-10%—and it was stipulated that any expenditures of more than $100 would require agreement of at least two of the partners.

Wozniak shall assume both general and major responsibility for the conduct of Electrical Engineering; Jobs shall assume general responsibility for Electrical Engineering and Marketing, and Wayne shall assume major responsibility for Mechanical Engineering and Documentation.

Wayne sell his shares

Wayne then got cold feet. As Jobs started planning to borrow and spend more money, he recalled the failure of his own company. He didn’t want to go through that again. Jobs and Wozniak had no personal assets, but Wayne (who worried about a global financial Armageddon) kept gold coins hidden in his mattress. Because they had structured Apple as a simple partnership rather than a corporation, the partners would be personally liable for the debts, and Wayne was afraid potential creditors would go after him.

“By virtue of a re-assessment of understandings by and between all parties, Wayne shall hereinafter cease to function in the status of ‘Partner.’” It noted that in payment for his 10% of the company, he received $800, and shortly afterward $1,500 more.”

 Today that 10% stake would be worth over $200 billion.

Offering to sell Apple

In September Chuck Peddle of the Commodore computer company came by the Jobs house to get a demo. “We’d opened Steve’s garage to the sunlight, and he came in wearing a suit and a cowboy hat,” Wozniak recalled. Peddle loved the Apple II, and he arranged a presentation for his top brass a few weeks later at Commodore headquarters. “You might want to buy us for a few hundred thousand dollars,” Jobs said when they got there. Wozniak was stunned by this “ridiculous” suggestion, but Jobs persisted.

The Commodore flirtation brought to the surface a potential conflict between Jobs and Wozniak: Were they truly equal in what they contributed to Apple and what they should get out of it?

Passion for Perfection – Lessons from his dad

Jobs’s father had once taught him that a drive for perfection meant caring about the craftsmanship even of the parts unseen. Jobs applied that to the layout of the circuit board inside the Apple II. He rejected the initial design because the lines were not straight enough.

This passion for perfection led him to indulge his instinct to control. Most hackers and hobbyists liked to customize, modify, and jack various things into their computers. To Jobs, this was a threat to a seamless end-to-end user experience.

 Mike Markkula

Markkula was referred to Jobs by Don Valentine (Founder of Sequoia Capital, a pioneering venture capital firm). 

Markkula offered to guarantee a line of credit of up to $250,000 in return for being made a one-third equity participant. Apple would incorporate, and he along with Jobs and Wozniak would each own 26% of the stock. The rest would be reserved to attract future investors. The three met in the cabana by Markkula’s swimming pool and sealed the deal. “I thought it was unlikely that Mike would ever see that $250,000 again, and I was impressed that he was willing to risk it,” Jobs recalled.

Apple Corporation

On January 3, 1977, the new corporation, the Apple Computer Co., was officially created, and it bought out the old partnership that had been formed by Jobs and Wozniak nine months earlier.

The Apple Marketing Philosophy

“Markkula wrote his principles in a one-page paper titled “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” that stressed three points.

  • The first was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer
  • Focus: In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.
  •  Impute. It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.Leonardo da Vinci

Jobs Marketing Obsession

For the rest of his career, Jobs would understand the needs and desires of customers better than any other business leader, he would focus on a handful of core products, and he would care, sometimes obsessively, about marketing and image and even the details of packaging.

Partnership Issues between Jobs and Wozniak

Wozniak began to rankle at Jobs’s style. “Steve was too tough on people. I wanted our company to feel like a family where we all had fun and shared whatever we made.” Jobs, for his part, felt that Wozniak simply would not grow up. “He was very childlike. He did a great version of BASIC, but then never could buckle down and write the floating-point BASIC we needed, so we ended up later having to make a deal with Microsoft. He was just too unfocused.

Chrisann Brennan

When they moved back to Los Altos, their relationship drifted into being, for the most part, merely friendly. He lived at home and worked at Atari; she had a small apartment and spent a lot of time at Kobun Chino’s Zen center. By early 1975 she had begun a relationship with a mutual friend, Greg Calhoun. “She was with Greg, but went back to Steve occasionally,” according to Elizabeth Holmes. “That was pretty much the way it was with all of us. We were sort of shifting back and forth; it was the seventies, after all.

Lisa

Living in the house at times rekindled the physical relationship between Brennan and Jobs, and within a few months she was pregnant. “Steve and I were in and out of a relationship for five years before I got pregnant,” she said. “We didn’t know how to be together and we didn’t know how to be apart.

When Jobs did not want to deal with a distraction, he sometimes just ignored it, as if he could will it out of existence. At times he was able to distort reality not just for others but even for himself. In the case of Brennan’s pregnancy, he simply shut it out of his mind. When confronted, he would deny that he knew he was the father, even though he admitted that he had been sleeping with her.

I wish I had handled it differently. I could not see myself as a father then, so I didn’t face up to it. But when the test results showed she was my daughter, it’s not true that I doubted it. I agreed to support her until she was eighteen and give some money to Chrisann as well. I found a house in Palo Alto and fixed it up and let them live there rent-free. Her mother found her great schools which I paid for. I tried to do the right thing. But if I could do it over, I would do a better job.

Xerox PARC

This graphical user interface—or GUI, pronounced “gooey”—was facilitated by another concept pioneered at Xerox PARC: bitmapping. Until then, most computers were character-based. You would type a character on a keyboard, and the computer would generate that character on the screen, usually in glowing greenish phosphor against a dark background.

Xerox’s venture capital division wanted to be part of the second round of Apple financing during the summer of 1979. Jobs made an offer: “I will let you invest a million dollars in Apple if you will open the kimono at PARC.” Xerox accepted. It agreed to show Apple its new technology and in return “got to buy 100,000 shares at about $10 each.”

Jobs kept saying that he couldn’t believe that Xerox had not commercialized the technology. “You’re sitting on a gold mine, I can’t believe Xerox is not taking advantage of this.

Great Artists Steal

The Apple raid on Xerox PARC is sometimes described as one of the biggest heists in the chronicles of industry. Jobs occasionally endorsed this view, with pride. As he once said, “Picasso had a saying—‘good artists copy, great artists steal’—and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

good artists copy, great artists steal- Pablo Picasso

One Billion Dollars Valuation in Four Years

When Mike Markkula joined Jobs and Wozniak to turn their fledgling partnership into the Apple Computer Co. in January 1977, they valued it at $5,309. Less than four years later they decided it was time to take it public. It would become the most oversubscribed initial public offering since that of Ford Motors in 1956. By the end of December 1980, Apple would be valued at $1.79 billion.

Hectomillionaire at 25

Apple went public the morning of December 12, 1980. By then the bankers had priced the stock at $22 a share. It went to $29 the first day. Jobs had come into the Hambrecht & Quist office just in time to watch the opening trades. At age twenty-five, he was now worth $256 million.

Gift to parents

His biggest personal gift was to his parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, to whom he gave about $750,000 worth of stock. They sold some to pay off the mortgage on their Los Altos home, and their son came over for the little celebration.

Reality Distortion Field.

“His reality distortion is when he has an illogical vision of the future, such as telling me that I could design the Breakout game in just a few days. You realize that it can’t be true, but he somehow makes it true.” – Wozniak

Knowing that he can crush you makes you feel weakened and eager for his approval, so then he can elevate you and put you on a pedestal and own you.

Real artists ship

Another of Jobs’s maxims at the retreat was “It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.” He wanted to instill a rebel spirit in his team, to have them behave like swashbucklers who were proud of their work but willing to commandeer from others.

It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, despite their similar ambitions at the confluence of technology and business, had very different personalities and backgrounds. Gates’s father was a prominent Seattle lawyer, his mother a civic leader on a variety of prestigious boards. He became a tech geek at the area’s finest private school, Lakeside High, but he was never a rebel, hippie, spiritual seeker, or member of the counterculture.

Their differences in personality and character would lead them to opposite sides of what would become the fundamental divide in the digital age. Jobs was a perfectionist who craved control and indulged in the uncompromising temperament of an artist; he and Apple became the exemplars of a digital strategy that tightly integrated hardware, software, and content into a seamless package.

Gates was a smart, calculating, and pragmatic analyst of business and technology; he was open to licensing Microsoft’s operating system and software to a variety of manufacturers.

Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.

think-different-ad-campaign-apple

The Think Different Apple Ad Campaign

“It was about creativity.” It was directed not only at potential customers, but also at Apple’s own employees: “We at Apple had forgotten who we were. One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are. That was the genesis of that campaign.

Lessons Learned from Hp (Internship at 12)

One of his motivating passions was to build a lasting company. At age twelve, when he got a summer job at Hewlett-Packard, he learned that a properly run company could spawn innovation far more than any single creative individual. “I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company,” he recalled. “The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating. When I got the chance to come back to Apple, I realized that I would be useless without the company, and that’s why I decided to stay and rebuild it.”

The Bozo Explosion

His goal was to be vigilant against “the bozo explosion” that leads to a company’s being larded with second-rate talent:

For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. What I saw with Woz was somebody who was fifty times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players.

A players like to work with A players, they just didn’t like working with C players.

Collaborative Hiring

You need to have a collaborative hiring process. When we hire someone, even if they’re going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers. My role model was J. Robert Oppenheimer. I read about the type of people he sought for the atom bomb project. I wasn’t nearly as good as he was, but that’s what I aspired to do.

Hitting the Rewind Button

“Jobs liked to tell the story—and he did so to his team that day—about how everything that he had done correctly had required a moment when he hit the rewind button. In each case he had to rework something that he discovered was not perfect. He talked about doing it on Toy Story, when the character of Woody had evolved into being a jerk, and on a couple of occasions with the original Macintosh. “If something isn’t right, you can’t just ignore it and say you’ll fix it later,” he said. “That’s what other companies do.”

The Apple Store

The stores would impute the ethos of Apple products: playful, easy, creative, and on the bright side of the line between hip and intimidating.

The average annual revenue per store was $34 million, and the total net sales in fiscal 2010 were $9.8 billion. But the stores did even more. They directly accounted for only 15% of Apple’s revenue, but by creating buzz and brand awareness they indirectly helped boost everything the company did.

The Top 100

Once a year Jobs took his most valuable employees on a retreat, which he called “The Top 100.” They were picked based on a simple guideline: the people you would bring if you could take only a hundred people with you on a lifeboat to your next company. At the end of each retreat, Jobs would stand in front of a whiteboard (he loved whiteboards because they gave him complete control of a situation and they engendered focus) and ask:

“What are the ten things we should be doing next?”

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile -info@lanredahunsi.com