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Humour and innovation: Getting into the mind of Steve Jobs

Today’s is Apple founder Steve Jobs‘ first death anniversary. Jobs, died on 5 October 2011, after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. He is credited not just with founding Apple but also the company’s most successful turn-around after he rejoined Apple in 1996, when the company bought out NEXT, the second company that Jobs founded.

One year after his death, the Apple founder still remains a source of inspiration and fascination for a lot of Apple fans across the world.

Forbes is publishing a special piece on Steve Jobs with some previously untold stories around Jobs. The article highlights ‘untold stories’ around Jobs revealing the different sides of the visionary founder, who was often seen as dictatorial and obsessive.  (The article which will be published in the 22 October issue of the magazine is available online. Click here for the complete story.)

Jobs might have had his quirks but he wasn’t one without a business sense . Sample this, Jobs and Software engineer, Randy Adams, had bought a Porsche 911 each while they were at NEXT in 1985. But Ross Perot, came to invest in the company, this is what Jobs said:

‘Randy, we have to hide the Porsches. Ross Perot is coming by and thinking of investing in the company, and we don’t want him to think we have a lot of money.” They moved the cars around to the back of NEXT’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif. and Perot invested $20 million in the company in 1987 and took a seat on the board.

He also had the potential to be witty with his employees. Adams recount what Jobs, a vegetarian would say when he passed engineers enjoying their meaty subs. “Oh, the smell of burnt animal flesh. How delightful.”

And yes he was completely obsessed with perfection when it came to design. When the first Apple mini-store was being launched in Palo Alto, California, Jobs completely lost it as the store design that looked so great on paper didn’t stand up to real-world use.

The reporter Connie Guglielmo tells how later Jobs had all of the designers return to the store after it opened on Saturday, and spend the night on their hands and knees cleaning the white surface, because the walls weren’t white enough.

It also seems that the Apple founder had a good understanding of consumers. Marc Andreessen, a venture capitalist, who asked Jobs if the lack of a keyboard on the iPhone would be a problem for users. His reply,

He looked me right in the eye with that piercing gaze and said, ‘They’ll get used to it.’

Jobs was definitely right on that account as massive sales of the iPhone 5 have proved that the touchscreen smartphone by Apple was not only a hit but it also sparked off a smartphone revolution which saw various other touchscreen devices being launched.

Of course Jobs wasn’t too happy about that and ranted and raved that he would spend all of Apple’s money in the bank and was willing to go thermonuclear against Android, which he felt was a stolen system.

And if you want to listen to Jobs vision of the 1980s, this new tape of him speaking at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen is just the thing.  It will show you how far ahead the Apple founder thought even back then.

Jobs speaks about the potential of computers and explains about how fast a computer is and goes on to say that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with their personal computers than with cars. The animation in Jobs’ voice is clearly palpable as he talks about radio links, voice controls, and other possibilities of computers.

He also said Apple’s strategy is to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes. Think iPad.

The tape reveals how futuristic and correct Jobs was.

The New York Times  also reports that Jobs’ ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter Lisa  Brennan-Jobs, Chrisann Brennan is also writing a memoir on her relationships with the Apple founder. She is currently a painter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

by FP Staff
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