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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Quotations



Steven Paul Jobs is currently the Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., a company he founded with Steve Wozniak in 1976. He was also the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios until it was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2006. Jobs is currently the Walt Disney Company's largest individual shareholder and a member of its Board of Directors. He is considered a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries

Sourced



  • Was George Orwell right about 1984?
    • Keynote address at Apple's annual sales conference first introducing the Macintosh "1984" commercial, which ends with the announcer saying "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984." (October 1983) - (online video)

  • We're gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make "me too" products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it's always the next dream.
    • Interview about the release of the Macintosh (24 January 1984) - (online video)

  • It's rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.
    • At age 29, as quoted in Playboy (February 1985)

  • The Japanese have hit the shores like dead fish. They're just like dead fish washing up on the shores.
    • As quoted in Playboy (February 1985)

  • It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans.
    • On Apple's lawsuit against him, following his resignation to form NeXT, as quoted in Newsweek (1985-09-30)

  • They're babes in the woods. I think I can help turn Alvy and Ed into businessmen.

  • If, for some reason, we make some big mistake and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years.
    • On the early rivalry between Macintosh and "IBM-compatible" computers based on Microsoft's DOS, as quoted in Steve Jobs : The Journey is the Reward (1987) by Jeffrey S. Young, p. 235

  • I feel like somebody just punched me in the stomach and knocked all my wind out. I'm only 30 years old and I want to have a chance to continue creating things. I know I've got at least one more great computer in me. And Apple is not going to give me a chance to do that.
    • On his expulsion from any position of authority at Apple, after having invited John Sculley to become CEO, as quoted in Playboy (September 1987)

  • Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?
    • A comment he made in persuading John Sculley to become Apple's CEO, as quoted in Odyssey : Pepsi to Apple : A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future (1987) by John Sculley and John A. Byrne

  • It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.
    • As quoted in Odyssey : Pepsi to Apple : A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future (1987) by John Sculley and John A. Byrne

  • It'll make your jaw drop.
    • On the first NeXT Computer, as quoted in The New York Times (1989-11-08)


  • My opinion is that the only two computer companies that are software-driven are Apple and NeXT, and I wonder about Apple.
    • As quoted in Fortune (1991-08-26)

  • Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me.
    • On the success of Bill Gates and Microsoft, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993)

  • Unfortunately, people are not rebelling against Microsoft. They don’t know any better.
    • Interview in Rolling Stone magazine, no. 684 (1994-06-16)

  • John Sculley ruined Apple and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place — which was making great computers for people to use.
    • Statement in The Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program oral history, (1995-04-20)

  • We believe it's the biggest advance in animation since Walt Disney started it all with the release of Snow White 50 years ago.
    • On Toy Story as quoted in Fortune (1995-09-18)

  • If I knew in 1986 how much it was going to cost to keep Pixar going, I doubt if I would have bought the company.
    • As quoted in Fortune (1995-09-18)

  • You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.
    • As quoted in Fortune (1995-09-18)


  • When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.
    • Interview in WIRED magazine (February 1996)

  • [Miele] really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years.
    • On design excellence, in WIRED magazine (February 1996)

  • If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.
    • As quoted in Fortune (1996-02-19)

  • I was worth about over a million dollars when I was twenty-three and over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four, and over a hundred million dollars when I was twenty-five and it wasn't that important because I never did it for the money.

  • The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products.
    • Triumph of the Nerds (1996)

  • I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success — I have no problem with their success. They've earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
    • Triumph of the Nerds (1996)


  • The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!
    • On products at Apple, just before his return to it BusinessWeek (July 1997)

  • Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could — I'm searching for the right word — could, could die.
    • On his return as interim CEO of Apple, as quoted in TIME magazine (1997-08-18)

  • Nobody has tried to swallow us since I've been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.
    • At the annual Apple shareholder meeting (1998-04-22)

  • iMac is next year's computer for $1,299, not last year's computer for $999.
    • Introduction of the first iMac computer in Cupertino, Calif., 1998-05-06

  • It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.
    • As quoted in BusinessWeek (1998-05-25)

  • Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.

  • I think Pixar has the opportunity to be the next Disney — not replace Disney — but be the next Disney.
    • As quoted in BusinessWeek (1998-11-23)

  • We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them.
    • On Mac OS X's Aqua user interface, as quoted in Fortune magazine (2000-01-04)

  • You've baked a really lovely cake, but then you've used dog shit for frosting.
    • Steve Jobs commenting on a NeXT programmer's work, as quoted in The Second Coming of Steve Jobs (2000) by Alan Deutschman

  • The G4 Cube is simply the coolest computer ever. An entirely new class of computer, it marries the Pentium-crushing performance of the Power Mac G4 with the miniaturization, silent operation and elegant desktop design of the iMac. It is an amazing engineering and design feat, and we're thrilled to finally unveil it to our customers.
    • At the Macworld Expo (2000-07-19)

  • I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.
    • As quoted in Newsweek (29 October 2001)

  • It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can't overestimate it!
    • On the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, as quoted in Fortune magazine (2003-05-12)

  • There are sneakers that cost more than an iPod.
    • On the iPod's $300 price tag, as quoted in Newsweek (2003-10-27)

  • We don't believe it's possible to protect digital content ... What's new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet — and no one's gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock — open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it — puts it on the Internet. You'll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it.

  • The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful.
    • As quoted in "Steve Jobs : The Rolling Stone Interview" in Rolling Stone (3 December 2003)]



  • We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.
    • Interview in Macworld magazine (February 2004)

  • Why would I ever want to run Disney? Wouldn't it make more sense just to sell them Pixar and retire?
    • As quoted in Fortune (2004-02-23)

  • The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0 : The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer

  • It wasn't that Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac, it's that the Mac was a sitting duck for 10 years. That's Apple's problem: Their differentiation evaporated.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0 : The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer

  • I'm the only person I know that's lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year.... It's very character-building.
    • As quoted in Apple Confidential 2.0 : The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer


  • I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.
    • As quoted in "The Seed of Apple's Innovation"in Business Week (12 October 2004)


  • The system is that there is no system. That doesn't mean we don't have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that's not what it's about. Process makes you more efficient.
    But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we've been thinking about a problem. It's ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
    And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We're always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
    • As quoted in "The Seed of Apple's Innovation"in Business Week (12 October 2004)


  • Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company.
    • As quoted in Fortune (2005-02-21)

  • They are shamelessly copying us.
    • About Microsoft and the operating system which would be released as Vista, as quoted in "Apple's Jobs swipes at Longhorn" om cNet News (21 April 2005)

  • Because I'm the CEO, and I think it can be done.
    • On why he chose to override engineers who thought the iMac wasn't feasible, as quoted in TIME magazine (2005-10-24)

  • Click. Boom. Amazing!
    • MacWorld "Intel Inside" keynote address (January 2006)

  • Everyone wants a MacBook Pro because they are so bitchin'.
    • Statement at the Apple Annual Shareholder Meeting (April 2006)



  • Our friends up north spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple.
    • On Microsoft, at the Worldwide Developer's Conference (August 2006)

  • Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they're really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.
    • On the design of the iPod, as quoted in Newsweek (2006-10-14)

  • We had the hardware expertise, the industrial design expertise and the software expertise, including iTunes. One of the biggest insights we have was that we decided not to try to manage your music library on the iPod, but to manage it in iTunes. Other companies tried to do everything on the device itself and made it so complicated that it was useless.
    • On the design of the iPod, as quoted in Newsweek (2006-10-14)


  • I've seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left! You're much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you're connected with about two feet of headphone cable.
    • When asked whether he was concerned over Microsoft Zune's wireless capability, as a product competing with Apple's iPod, as quoted in Newsweek (2006-10-14)

  • Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It's very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. ... Apple's been very fortunate in that it's introduced a few of these.

  • You had me at scrolling.
    • On the features of the iPhone at its introduction at Macworld '07




  • The art of those commercials is not to be mean, but it is actually for the guys to like each other.
    • On the "P.C. and Mac" commercials, at the All Things Digital Conference 5 (30 May 2007)

  • Gil was a nice guy but he had a saying, "Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water, and my job is to get the ship pointed in the right direction."
    • On taking over Apple from Gil Amelio, at the D5 Conference (30 May 2007).

  • People think it's this veneer -- that the designers are handed this box and told, 'Make it look good!' That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

WWDC 2005

Keynote address at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, where Jobs announced plans for Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard", and a switch from IBM PowerPC to Intel processors. (2005-06-06)

  • Yes, it's true.
    • On the plans for Apple Computer, Inc. to begin using Intel processors in its Macintosh computers during 2006 and 2007. About twenty two minutes into his address. Rumors of such plans had existed for years, but had been growing more credible and prolific for about a week before his announcement.

  • Now, I have something to tell you today. Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life — for the past five years. There have been rumors to this effect... but this is Apple's campus in Cupertino — let's zoom in on it — in that building right there... we've had teams doing the "just-in-case" scenario; and our rules have been that our designs for OS X must be processor independent, and that every project must be built for both the Power PC and Intel processors. And so today for the first time, I can confirm the rumors that every release of OS X has been compiled for both Power PC and Intel — this has been going on for the last five years. Just in case.

  • So Mac OS X is cross-platform by design, right from the very beginning. So Mac OS X is singing on Intel processors, and I'd just like to show you right now. As a matter of fact... this system I've been using here... Let go have a look... [reveals that the system he had been using for the presentation was running Mac OS X 10.4.1 on a machine using a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 processor] So.. we've been running on an Intel machine all morning.

  • We intend to release Leopard at the end of 2006 or early 2007, right around the time when Microsoft is expected to release Longhorn.

Address at Stanford University (2005)

Stanford University commencement address (2005-06-12)

  • When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

  • I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

  • Death is the destination we all share, no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life.

  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

  • Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

  • No one wants to die. Even people who wanna go to heaven don't wanna die to get there.

  • When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

  • I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to [learn calligraphy]. I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful. Historical. Artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture. And I found it fascinating. None of this had any hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never have multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them.

  • Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. 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.
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.

  • Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Misattributed

  • My girlfriend always laughs during sex — no matter what she's reading.
    • This has appeared rather prominently on the internet, usually without indications of a source, and is often attributed to Jobs, but it was actually part of the comedy routines of Emo Philips, who used "giggles" rather than "laughs" on his comedy album Emo.

  • Good artists copy; great artists steal.
    • This is a favorite phrase of Jobs, but he is (mis)quoting Pablo Picasso. "Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal" is similarly attributed to Igor Stravinsky, but both sayings may well originate in T. S. Eliot's dictum: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."

  • The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated (At the Apple Music Event 9th September 2008)
    • Originaly from Mark Twain: The report of my death was an exaggeration.

External links