Steve Jobs at 44


    Steve Jobs

    (3 of 6)

    Reinventing Apple
    One of the things that happened when we got back to Apple was, we said, Apple's all confused. Apple's forgotten what it is. Who is Apple? Why is Apple here? Remember, the roots of Apple were to build computers for people, not for corporations. At the time we started Apple, IBM built computers for corporations. Now it's Microsoft and Intel. But there was nobody building a computer for people. Funny enough, 20 years after we started Apple, there was nobody building computers for people again. You know? They were trying to sell consumers last year's corporate computers. We said, "Well, these are our roots. This is why we're here. The world doesn't need another Dell or Compaq. They need an Apple." We said, "Our thrust is not going to be to make computers for CEOs and enterprise companies." We have a lot of customers in the enterprise. But we don't ever go talk to the CEO of Time Warner. We talk to the people who put out the magazines.

    The Main Attribute That Apple and Pixar Share
    I remember the first time I saw a piece of paper come out of the laser printer prototype we had. It was running this very sophisticated printer from Canon, this very sophisticated controller we had designed and Postscript software from Adobe. An amazing amount of technology. The piece of paper came out and I looked at it and it was so beautiful, I thought, "We can sell this. Because we don't need to tell anybody anything about what's in this box. All we have to do is hold this piece of paper up and go, Do you want this? If you do, buy this box." That's our whole marketing strategy.

    Well, that's how I've always looked at this stuff. What Apple stands for is this: Technology has exploded. It's getting more complicated by the day. And there are very few ways for us mere mortals to approach all this technology. People don't have a week to research things and figure out how they work. Apple has always been, and I hope it will always be, one of the premiere bridges between mere mortals and this very difficult technology. We may have the fastest PCs, which we do, we may have the most sophisticated machines, which we do. But the most important thing is that Apple is the bridge.

    When I first met Ed Catmull, he told me about all the awesome technology that they at the time were using to create digital imagery. Today we have the biggest computer farm I know of. We're using over 1500 of Sun's fastest processors to make each picture. And the software we've invented, which is all proprietary, is a monumental acheivement. The technologoy that goes into making a Pixar movie is staggering. And yet we sell a consumer product for $7. You pay your $7 and sit down in a movie theater and you don't need to know one iota about the technology that went into making that production order to enjoy that product.

    Apple and Pixar are the same in that regard--they both deliver a product that has immense technology unerpinnings and yet they both strive to say you don't need to know anything about this techology in order to use it. In the case of Apple, we're going to make it easy as possible to use this.

    The Question of Art. Vs. Technology
    I've never believed that they're separate. Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and a great scientist. Michelangelo knew a tremendous amount about how to cut stone at the quarry. The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians. Some are better than others, but they all consider that an important part of their life. I don't believe that the best people in any of these fields see themselves as one branch of a forked tree. I just don't see that. People bring these things together a lot. Dr. Land at Polaroid said, "I want Polaroid to stand at the intersection of art and science," and I've never forgotten that. I think that that's possible, and I think a lot of people have tried.

    You said "corporate" and "technical" as if they go together. Technology has nothing to do with the corporate world. I don't see technology and the corporate world as being necessarily intertwined, any more than art and the corporate world are intertwined. Yes, I knew a lot of people when I was in my formative years who were very clear that they didn't want to grow up and work for some faceless corporation. They wanted to do something different with their lives, and a lot of them did. But that has nothing to do with science and technology and art. A lot of scientists have never worked in a corporation. And a lot of them started their own.

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