Steven Paul Jobs was born in San Francisco, California on February 24 1955. His biological parents, unwed college graduates Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah Jandali, had him adopted by a lower-middle-class couple from south of the Bay Area, Paul and Clara Jobs. Young Steve grew up in a valley of apricot orchards that was already turning into the world center of computer technology: Silicon Valley. It was not uncommon to see engineers fill their garages with all kind of electronic devices in that part of California.
Steve Jobs was fascinated by these, and that’s why, in 1969, he met with a computer whiz kid who shared his interests in electronics: Stephen Wozniak — commonly known as Woz. Steve and Woz quickly became friends even though Woz was five years older. When Steve Jobs reached college age, he decided he would go to Reed College in Oregon. It was an expensive liberal arts college, way too pricey for his modest parents; but they had to keep their promise to Steve’s biological mother, and therefore paid for the tuition.
Steve only stayed at Reed for one semester though, after which he dropped out.
He then spent a lot of time learning about Eastern mysticism and adopted strange diets, fasting or eating only fruits: it was his hippie period. He even traveled to India with a friend to seek enlightenment at age 19. Apple’s early years (1975-81) After Steve came back to the Valley, he focused on Woz’s work on a computer board.
Woz was attending a group of early personal computer hobbyists called the Homebrew Computer Club, where he got the idea of designing his own computer (which consisted only of a circuit board at the time).
Steve Jobs saw that many people were interested in his friend’s brilliant work: he suggested they sell the board to them. Apple Computer was born. Apple’s first year in business consisted of assembling the boards in Steve’s garage and driving to local computer stores to try and sell them. Meanwhile, Woz worked on a new, much improved computer, the Apple II, which he basically finished in 1977. Both Woz and Steve knew the Apple II was a breakthrough computer, much more advanced than anything the market had ever seen.
That’s why Steve set out to find venture capitalists to fund Apple’s expansion. After a while, he made a deal with Mike Markkula, an enthusiastic former Intel executive who invested $250,000 in their business and assured them their company would enter the Fortune 500 list in less than two years. Mike was right. The Apple II soon became the symbol of the personal computing revolution worldwide. It crushed all competition both because of its breakthrough hardware features (including its color graphics) and its very large supply of compatible software.
The key to Apple II’s success was actually VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program ever brought to market. Thousands of people bought Apple IIs just to use it. As a result, the company grew at a very fast rate, and went public after just four years of existence, in December 1980. Steve Jobs’ net worth passed the $200 million mark on that day — he was only 25. But Apple’s success was threatened, as industry giant IBM was planning to enter the personal computer market in 1981. Apple had to fight back or they would go out of business in a couple of years’ time.
Their Apple III computer had already bombed on the marketplace. They focused all their energy on a project headed by Steve Jobs: Lisa. He had named it after his ex-girlfriend’s daughter, although he denied all paternity (that difficult situation actually caused him to miss Time Magazine’s Man of the Year 1982). The Lisa computer was a breakthrough because it used a graphical user interface instead of a command-line interface. This technology, like many others that would revolutionize computing, was invented at Xerox PARC — but Apple was the first company to bring it to market. Macintosh (1981-85)
Yet Steve Jobs was soon thrown out of the Lisa project because he was considered too temperamental a manager. Deeply angry, he took revenge by taking over a small project called Macintosh, determined to make it a cheaper GUI computer that would cannibalize sales of Lisa. Macintosh was in development since 1979 and its concept was “a computer as easy to use as a toaster. ” Steve Jobs recruited brilliant young engineers in his Mac team and invigorated them by insufflating a spirit of entrepreneurship and rebellion, calling them “pirates”, unlike the rest of the company, “the Navy. Even though the Mac project was controversial as it threatened both Apple II and Lisa, and because Steve Jobs antagonized it against the rest of the company, it soon became crucial to Apple’s future because Lisa proved yet another market failure. Steve was supported in his mission by John Sculley, Apple’s CEO, whom he hired in 1983 to help him run the company and groom him into a top executive. In January 1984, he introduced Macintosh in great fanfare. Although Mac’s first months were encouraging, sales soon started to plummet. There was growing fear in the company that this third flop in a row would put Apple out of business.
Besides, Steve Jobs’ continued arrogance drove everyone nuts, starting with CEO John Sculley. After a failed board coup initiated by Jobs in mid-1985, Sculley announced he and the directors had agreed on a new org chart for Apple, in which Steve had no managerial duties whatsoever. He was only to remain chairman of the board. Steve was stunned. Apple was his life, and he was kicked out of it. He started traveling around looking for new ways to spend his energy. It was actually in that second half of 1985 that he was introduced to a small team of brilliant computer graphics experts that George Lucas was trying to sell.
They all shared a common dream of making animated movies with computers. Steve was interested and he eventually bought the company for $10 million in 1986, incorporating it as Pixar. The NeXT years (1985-95) Yet his main passion was still to make great computers. In September 1985, he announced to the Apple board that he was going to found a new company, called NeXT, to build an advanced computer for higher education and scientific research. He was going to take with him some of the best engineers and salesmen from the Mac team. Apple disapproved and threatened to sue him.
It was at that point that Steve left his company for good and sold almost all of his stock in disgust. NeXT started work on its computer in early 1986, after Apple dropped its lawsuit. Steve aimed at the highest possible standards for his new machine: he wanted the best hardware, built in the world’s most automated factory, and running the most advanced software possible. He decided the computer’s operating system, NeXTSTEP, would be based on UNIX, the most robust and most complex system in the world — but that it would also be as easy to use as a Macintosh, thanks to its own graphical user interface.
In addition, it would make software development real easy with its object-oriented programming technology. These ambitious plans put off the release date of the computer — called the NeXT Cube — to October 1988. However great it was, the NeXT Cube didn’t sell. It was overpriced and missing useful software. NeXT struggled for years to sell it, expanding its target from just education to businesses, and introducing a cheaper box, the NeXT Station. Yet the number of computers they sold each month remained in the hundreds.
The company was bleeding money and all its co-founders left one after the other, as well as its first outside investor, Texan billionaire Ross Perot. By 1993, NeXT had to give up its hardware business and focus only on promoting its advanced software technology. NeXT Software, far from beating Apple, had turned into a niche software development business. Steve was devastated. In addition, his investment in Pixar also seemed to lead nowhere. The small company had tried to sell advanced graphic workstations to specialized markets since it had been founded, without success.
Jobs shut down Pixar’s hardware operations in 1990, decided to focus on developing an advanced 3D language called RenderMan. He kept the animation division, headed by John Lasseter, only because its work on TV commercials were one of the company’s only source of revenues. Hope was brought by a contract with Disney to make a full feature film with computers in 1991. But by the end of 1993, the contract was canceled by Burbank. With both his ventures failing, Steve had reached the nadir of his career. He spent most of his days at home with his young son Reed and his wife Laurene, whom he had married in 1991.
Fortunately, as John Lasseter came back to Disney with an improved script for the feature film, called Toy Story, the project got back on track. The movie was to be released for Thanksgiving 1995. As the date approached, Steve Jobs realized what an incredible power the Disney brand was. He decided Pixar would go public the week after the release of Toy Story, cashing in on the media hype surrounding the first computer-generated animation movie of all time. It worked wonders: Toy Story’s box-office success was only surpassed by the Pixar stock’s success on Wall Street.
Steve Jobs, who owned 80% of the company, saw his net worth rise to over $1. 5 billion — five times the money he had ever made at Apple in the 1980s! Speaking of Apple, the fruit company was in the midst of his worst year ever. After the release of Windows 95, the Mac, which had turned profitable but had failed to evolve for a decade while Steve Jobs was away, started losing market share at an alarming rate. By 1996, the company’s newly appointed CEO, Gil Amelio, was looking for new software to replace the old and bloated Mac OS. He eventually chose Steve’s NeXTSTEP.
Apple paid $400 million to acquire NeXT, and Steve was back to the company that had thrown him out a decade earlier. His official title was that of “informal adviser to the CEO. ” But when Amelio announced Apple’s losses of $700 million for the first quarter of 1997, the board decided it was time to get rid of this terrible manager. Steve Jobs organized a board coup and was named interim CEO of Apple in July 1997. He immediately started an extensive review of the whole company, cutting the number of projects from hundreds to a dozen. The number of hardware products would be cut down to just four.
He also made a shocking announcement at Macworld Boston in August: Apple would be teaming up with its arch-rival Microsoft, in an unprecedented deal that would put an end to interminable patent disputes. Apple back on track (1998-2001) Steve Jobs quickly gave confidence back to the Apple community. The company launched a revolutionary marketing campaign around a new slogan: Think Different, spreading the idea that people who used Macs were dreamers who could change the world. As the Apple brand grew stronger, the company launched a couple of new successful products, the Power Mac G3 and the PowerBook.
Six months after he had come back, Steve Jobs had led the company to profitability. Yet Apple’s resurgence really came a little later, when Steve introduced a new, amazing consumer desktop computer: iMac. Introduced in May 1998, it was Apple’s first really innovative product basically since the original Macintosh in 1984. The iMac’s stunning translucent design blew away the whole personal computer industry, which had failed to produce anything but black or beige boxes for over a decade. Moreover, iMac was a hot seller, and it was essential in bringing back tons of developers to the Mac platform.
Design innovations continued throughout 1998 and 1999 with the colored iMacs and iBook, Apple’s consumer notebook. After three years in charge, Steve Jobs had brought Apple back to greatness. That’s why he finally accepted to become full-time CEO of Apple in January 2000 — the first time one man became CEO of two public companies at the same time. Still, the very reason Steve Jobs was brought back to Apple had not yet materialize — it was to bring NeXT’s software technology to the Mac platform. This eventually happened in early 2001, as Apple released the first version of its breakthrough operating system, Mac OS X.
Mac OS X was really NeXTSTEP with a Mac facade. But it turned out an essential asset to Apple as the company developed breakthrough applications for its Macs as part of the digital hub strategy. The digital hub strategy was unveiled by Steve Jobs at Macworld San Francisco in January 2001. It was a vision for the future of the personal computer. Although many analysts and self-appointed experts were proclaiming PCs would disappear within a couple of years to be replaced by Internet terminals, Apple believed they would evolve into digital centers or hubs for our new digital lifestyles.
In other words, the PC would become the centerpiece of our new lives filled with digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 players, smart phones and other digital devices. The digital hub strategy led Apple to develop a suite of applications designed to manage our new lifestyle, the so-called iApps: iMovie (1999), iTunes (2001), iDVD (2001), iPhoto (2002), iCal and iSync (2002), GarageBand (2004) and finally iWeb (2006). The iApps were a strategic move in Apple’s greater plan to gain market share over the PC, as there was simply no equivalent solution on the Windows platform.
Other moves included an aggressive ad campaign (Switchers) and the start of Apple’s retail operations in mid-2001. The iPod revolution (2001-2006) However the greatest momentum for Apple came from an unexpected source: the iPod. iPod was an integral part of the digital hub strategy. It was started in early 2001, when Steve Jobs realized that he had misplaced his enthusiasm for “desktop video”, i. e. the ability to edit movies on the computer — which was still far from mainstream. What was really hot at the turn of the century was not movies but digital music, as exemplified by the success of Napster.
He focused on catching up and bought an outside hardware developer to work on Apple’s own MP3 player, which was brought to market in record time, just in time for 2001’s holiday season. iPod’s breakthrough features — its beautiful design, its brilliant user interface and click wheel, its fast FireWire connectivity and its ability to sync with iTunes seamlessly — made it a hot seller from the start. For the first time, people were buying Macs just so they could use this little music player the size of a cigarette box.
Apple cashed in on that success and went further in the following years, first by making iPod Windows-compatible in 2002, then by opening the iTunes Music Store and developing a Windows version of iTunes in 2003. As of 2006, after Apple had continually pushed innovation in its music business by introducing iPod mini in 2004, iPod shuffle then iPod nano in 2005, and expanded its Music Store internationally, it had become the undisputed leader of the new digital music era. A significant landmark was passed in 2006 when Apple’s revenues from iPod equaled those made on computers.
For the first time in its history, the firm from Cupertino had left its niche markets to become as influential a player in consumer electronics as Microsoft was in the PC space. iPod’s market share was close to 75%! The Pixar-Disney merger (2003-2006) Interestingly enough, iPod also played a critical role in setting Pixar’s future. After having released success after success (A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters Inc. (2001) and Finding Nemo (2003)), the animation studio had decided to let go of its distribution deal with Disney, mainly because of increasing tensions between Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
Steve Jobs openly said he would not make another deal with the Magic Kingdom until Eisner was out. Turns out his opinion was shared by many an executive at Disney — including Walt’s own nephew, Roy Disney, who started a public campaign to oust the company’s CEO. This led to the nomination of Bob Iger as new CEO in March 2005. Steve Jobs and Bob Iger started working together because Apple decided to sell TV shows on its iTunes store. In October 2005, in front of an audience of stunned journalists, Steve Jobs shook hands (as Apple’s boss) with the new CEO of Disney — implying a renewed cooperation with Pixar in the near future.
This eventually led to no less than the merger of both companies, announced in January 2006. Steve Jobs, who still owned half of Pixar’s stock, became Disney’s largest individual shareholder (owning 7% of the company’s stock). As for Pixar executives Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, they were given critical roles in the new studio. Apple Inc. (2006-today) 2006 was a critical year for Apple in three respects. The first was the success of the Mac. Mac sales were finally taking off, and after years of struggle to gain market share, its growth rate was exceeding that of the PC.
Several factors accounted for this historic change: the success of iPod of course, and the positive side effect it had on the Apple brand. The move to Intel as well: after years of fighting the so-called Wintel monopoly, Steve had announced in 2005 that the company would start using Intel processors in their Macs form then on. The entire product line was transitioned over in less than a year. Intel Macs were faster and cheaper, but their main advantage was their ability to run Windows — which was a key argument in making Windows users switch, afraid as they were not to find their favorite software on the Mac.
Finally, Apple was encountering unexpected success with its chain of retail stores, the fastest growing in the US. The second crucial development from 2006 was the full acceptance by Apple of its new status of consumer electronics powerhouse, thanks to the success of iPod, the walkman of the digital age. It became obvious in February 2006, when the company released iPod hi-fi, a boom-box designed to work only with iPod (which was discontinued the following year), and Apple TV less than a year later.
But the biggest move of course came in January 2007, when Steve Jobs introduced iPhone at Macworld. iPhone was arguably the ultimate Apple product. Its beautiful hardware ran no less than Apple’s full operating system, OS X. Its multi-touch technology, Web surfing and iPod capabilities, easy-to-use interface, and more, made it a smartphone “light-years ahead of its competition”, as Steve Jobs said. It shook the phone industry to its core, down to the exclusive deal that Apple cut with AT&T for subscription plans.
Three years after it was introduced, it is already fair to say that iPhone will go down in history as the first digital convergence device, equivalent to putting a computer, an iPod and a phone in your pocket. It was such an obvious part of Apple’s move outside the PC business that Steve announced at the end of Macworld 2007 that the company’s name would be changed from Apple Computer Inc. to Apple Inc. Finally, the third major event of 2006 for Steve was the so-called backdating scandal. Backdating consists of picking a date in the past, when a stock’s value is ower, to assign the exercise price of options. It is an illegal practice that was commonplace in Silicon Valley until it was exposed by a Wall Street Journal article in 2006. Apple swiftly hired lawyers to lead an internal investigation of its own records. They did find irregularities, which were confirmed by the SEC in mid-2007. Two big frauds were unveiled that took place in 2000 and 2001, under Steve Jobs’ leadership. However he was cleared the following year as the SEC found out he had no idea of the legal or accounting implications of the matter.
The SEC only charged Apple’s former CFO and legal counsel with fraud. The scandal was significant in the sense that it raised the issue of Apple’s future without Steve Jobs… But the main occasion this issue was raised was not the SEC investigation, it was unfortunately after Steve’s health problems. In late 2003, Steve was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, his tumor was not of the deadly type: Steve would be saved if he agreed to have surgery. But he didn’t, and for nine long months, followed a special type of diet that he thought would cure him from the disease.
It was only in August 2004 that he agreed to have the surgery. Everybody thought the troubles were over, as he claimed he was “cured”. Of course there is no such thing as being cured from cancer, and in 2008, people started commenting heavily on Steve’s being increasingly thinner. Although he and Apple kept on denying any serious problem, in December 2008, they announced to everyone’s surprise that the CEO would not go on stage for the last Macworld keynote in history in January 2009. Steve Jobs took six months off (the first half of 2009), as he was awaiting a liver transplant — which he got in April 2009.
The whole story of Steve’s cancer raised many a discussion about a public company’s necessary transparency regarding its CEO’s health, especially when that CEO is as essential to its market value as Steve Jobs is to Apple’s. 2010 has seen the incredible rebirth of Steve Jobs as a very active CEO. In sharp contrast with 2009, he came back on stage for many Apple events that year, and surprised the world many times over with insanely great new Apple products. The biggest announcement of all was undeniably iPad, Apple’s iOS-based tablet, which Steve unveiled on January 27, 2010.
At the industry conference D8 in June 2010, Steve Jobs clearly stated that in his opinion, iPad had started the post-PC era, and that PCs would eventually become “like trucks”, a marginal part of a market dominated by portable tablets… If this comes true, this one man Steve Jobs will have played a crucial part in both giving birth and putting an end to the personal computer industry. Conclusion Steve Jobs is undeniably an extraordinary man by any standard. He has left his mark on no less than five industries: personal computers with Apple II and Macintosh, music with iPod and iTunes, phone with iPhone, and animation with Pixar.
The middle-class hippie kid with no college education that he was built a computer empire and became a multi-millionaire in a few years, was fired from his own company before coming back a decade later to save it and turn it into one of the world’s most influential corporations, with millions of fans around the world. He has also contributed to the creation of the new leader in animated movies for decades to come. He has been called a fluke for years, but is now widely acknowledged as one the world’s most eminent business executives and an unrivaled visionary.
He has changed millions of lives by making technology easy-to-use, exciting and beautiful. … And you know what the best part is? He’s not done yet. The trouble with Steve Jobs Back to top This is the title of one of the many press articles about Steve’s difficult character (from Fortune). Asked to comment on it, Stanford management science professor Robert Sutton, author of best-seller The No Asshole Rule, said: “As soon as people heard I was writing a book on assholes, they would come up to me and start telling a Steve Jobs story. The degree to which people in Silicon Valley are afraid of Jobs is unbelievable.
” This reputation Steve earned since his very first years at Apple. As early as 1981, Macintosh project founder Jef Raskin wrote a note to Apple president Mike Scott complaining about the chairman of the board-enfant terrible that seemed to grow an interest in his pet project. It said: 1. Jobs regularly misses appointments 2. He acts without thinking and with bad judgement 3. He does not give credit where due 4. Jobs often reacts ad hominem 5. He makes absurd and wasteful decisions by trying to be paternal 6. He interrupts and doesn’t listen . He does not keep promises or meet commitments 8. He makes decisions ex cathedra 9. Optimistic estimates 10. Jobs is often irresponsible and inconsiderate There are indeed several accounts of Steve getting angry at random employees and firing them on the spot for trivial reasons. Such famous (and likely exaggerated) examples are: Steve firing an employee in the elevator at Apple, firing an assistant for having brought him the wrong brand of mineral water, or calling a prospective employee a virgin (this particular example appears in the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley).
Steve’s bad temper has notoriously caused him to break important business relationships. He fired Raskin after he learned about the note. He had Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith leave the company after they had a loud argument which involved Alvy mocking Steve’s NeXT and Steve deriding Alvy’s Southwestern accent. And he trashed an IBM contract crucial to NeXT’s future because he declared he wouldn’t sign anything more than ten pages long. Terror in Cupertino: Apple’s cult of secrecy Apple employees are well aware of their boss’ reputation, and it shows.
A former Apple employee told Valleywag: “No one greets him or says hi to him. Low ranking employees are afraid of him. I remember him walking around the campus one time and groups of people in his way would just split and let him walk through. ” Another testified on his blog: “the level of paranoia was directly related to the closeness to the top floor at One Infinite Loop” (Steve’s office). Employees are careful what they do. They know some mistakes are not forgivable: “You’d ask your coworkers, ‘Can I send this email, or file this report? People would say, ‘you can do whatever you want on your last day at Apple. ’” They are watchful when talking to F. O. S. (Friends of Steve), people who know him quite well. And none of them, including his executive team, would get anywhere near one of his famous pet peeves, the white board in his office (for a video of Steve using the white board at NeXT, click here). But the biggest reason for fear among Apple employees is the company’s cult of secrecy, a brainchild of Steve.
He had practiced the art of enforcing omerta during his NeXT days: before they were hired, his employees weren’t even allowed to see the machine they would have to work on. This was called “a leap of faith”. When Steve came back to Apple, the place was constantly feeding the press and business partners with rumors about their ongoing projects. The minute he was in charge, it was over. He hung a WWII poster in his desk: “Loose lips might sink ships,” and made it clear to anyone that talking to the press would get them out the door, and quick.
This obsession of secrecy is not a subject of shame at Apple. While still a senior executive there, Jon Rubinstein laughed: “We have cells, like a terrorist organization! Everything is on a need-to-know basis. ” this is because secrecy is an integral part of Apple’s marketing strategy, as discussed in Steve on stage. Rumors that start months before a product is released offer a ton of free publicity, especially since they are now relayed by the mass media. To keep employees from knowing too much, nothing seems excessive.
Software engineers work on big boxes and hardware engineers never see the software that will run on their machines — less than a dozen people had actually seen an actual iPhone before Steve unveiled it at Macworld 2007; this is an incredible achievement considering the number of people involved in its creation! In a recent Times article, one could also read that “executives feed deliberate misinformation into one part of the company so that any leak can be traced back to its source. Workers on sensitive projects have to pass through many layers of security.
Once at their desks or benches, they are monitored by cameras and they must cover up devices with black cloaks and turn on red warning lights when they are uncovered. ” It is rumored that on Apple’s campus, Steve would often ask for an employee’s iPhone at random, and fire that person if her iPhone is not password-protected. These extreme measures are usually described as annoying and unproductive by Apple employees (wishing to remain anonymous of course). There was especially a big controversy when one of Apple’s sub-contractor in China lost an iPhone prototype, and eventually killed himself as he couldn’t stand he guilt… But most Apple employees can also recognize the value of keeping the company’s plans very hush-hush. None of them complains of the incredible attention the firm gets in the media. As Woz, who doesn’t hesitate to criticize his old friend, puts it: “I was glad that Apple tightened things up. That’s part of what creates the passion — a new product comes and it seems new. ” A controversial character Of course there wouldn’t be an Apple if there were only negative sides to Steve Jobs’ personality. He is a very complex guy.
As one can see from his public performances, the thing that strikes people most is how charming he can be, when he is willing to be. His co-workers experience that every day. This contrast has become famous under the name of “hero/shithead roller-coaster. ” That term was coined at NeXT to describe how a given employee could switch from being called a “bozo” whose work was “worthless shit,” work real hard to improve it, then hear he was a “genius. ” This had the ability to drive some people nuts. Those that could stand it still work for Steve, some of them in his top executive team.
One of the reasons for this is the very nature of Steve’s character. “That’s the way it went with Steve — flip-flopping from a soaring high, when he was an absolute delight to be around, to a mood of extreme anger or intense gloom that excluded any rational or civil conversation. I would get to see so many varieties of moods that I never knew exactly who I would be facing,” said former Apple CEO Gil Amelio. Same could be said of Steve’s famed flip-flops: “He has this ability to change his mind and completely forget his old opinion about something,” according to an anonymous former colleague of him. It’s weird. He can say, ‘I love white; white is the best. ‘ And then three months later say, ‘Black is the best; white is not the best. ‘ He doesn’t live with his mistake. It evaporates. ” This is not conscious on Steve’s part. In his sister’s novel about him, A Regular Guy, the girlfriend of the Tom Owens/Steve Jobs character says of him: “He’s like that. He forgets. ” But not everything Steve does is unconscious. Some of it is totally deliberate: “Steve might be capable of reducing someone to tears,” according to NeXT former director Pat Crecine, “but it’s not because e’s mean-spirited; it’s because he’s absolutely single minded, almost manic, in his pursuit of quality and excellence. ” John Sculley adds: “He possessed an innate sense of knowing exactly how to extract the best from people. ” Even Steve admits to this: “My job is not to be easy on people. My jobs is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better. ” In addition to the hero/shithead roller-coaster, another popular method of his are the public dressing-downs.
After a team has failed, is late or simply does not meet Steve’s standards, he would go to them, ask for some people’s names and publicly humiliate or fire them in front of their peers. Many Apple employees have testified of this, and they all acknowledge it is obviously a calculation on their CEO’s part. A recent example would be the ouster of several MobileMe team members in public after the several troubles experienced during that product’s launch. To make it short, calling people names then flattering them is Steve’s way of motivating his teams. And, despite what can be learned in most schools of management, it works.
When asked about his friend’s temper, Steve Wozniak said: “When you judge Steve as a person — the great things he brings to the world versus, maybe, these encroachments on personal decency or personal honesty with other people or disrespect of people when they’ve worked very hard and do a great job and he’ll say, “Oh, that’s just shitty,” that sort of thing — those are probably outweighed by the good that he does for the world. ” Jean-Louis Gassee, a former Apple executive who was instrumental in Steve’s ouster in 1985, put it in those words: “Democracies don’t make great products.
You need a competent tyrant. ” (For a funny look on all this, check out this Fake Steve Jobs post: Regarding my management style) Yet it will never be stressed enough that what makes it all works is the charm Steve deploys with the very same people. He can be the most convincing of men, especially when trying to recruit someone he was told was the best in his field. Examples abound, from this Andy Hertzfeld story to a former NeXT employee whose recruiting call from Steve began by: “Hey, I hear you’re the hottest designer on the planet. (He can also be a bit blunter: Engineer Bob Belleville recalls Jobs recruiting him from Xerox in 1982 with the words: “I hear you’re great, but everything you’ve done so far is crap. Come work for me. ”) Of all people, journalists also experience such ambivalence, and it is therefore widely documented. In the Wall Street Journal, Forbes editor Rich Karlgaard, who during the NeXT years was planning on writing a story about the company’s failure, wrote: “On the phone Mr. Jobs cooed and threatened, including warnings to ‘watch my backside’ and, strangely, ‘don’t ride a bicycle alone on dark roads. ” Yet he also confesses: “America loves Steve Jobs. Me, too, though I shouldn’t. ” This is exactly the kind of emotion Steve Jobs conveys to anyone dealing with him. Despite that he is well known for playing off journalists’ rivalries in order to get maximum coverage for a given product, and to basically think of them as insects, the same journalists always seem delighted to be around him for an interview. A mellowed Steve? When Steve Jobs came back at Apple in 1997, it was not uncommon to read that the dreadful manager had mellowed into a patient, much more reasonable manager.
For example, Pixar employee Pamela Kerwin said in a 1997 article: “After the first three words out of your mouth, he’d interrupt you and say, ‘O. K. , here’s how I see things. ‘ It isn’t like that anymore. He listens a lot more, and he’s more relaxed, more mature. ” Steve himself acknowledged this change by saying in a 1998 interview: “So when we laid some people off at Apple a year ago, or when I have to take people out of their jobs, it’s harder for me now. Much harder. I do it because that’s my job. But when I look at people when this happens, I also think of them as being 5 years old.
And I think that person could be me coming home to tell my wife and kids that I just got laid off. Or that could be one of my kids in 20 years. I never took it so personally before. ” This personal change is also documented in Mona Simpson’s A Regular Guy: basically, growing a family and facing the failure of his grandiose NeXT plans humbled him quite a bit. Yet it is hard to know whether that situation still holds. Most Apple employees confessed (off-record) that since Apple’s resurgence to greatness, the impetuous Steve has come back.
Alan Deutschman argues in his biography The Second Coming of Steve Jobs that this whole talk of a nicer Steve is pure spin. It is plausible since one could read the same words quite often in the early days of NeXT, yet everybody who worked there acknowledged the situation hadn’t gotten better than Apple — it had gotten worse. A common joke at NeXT was: “You put in your two cents’ worth; Jobs puts in his $50 worth. ” In any event, certainly a most credible source is Steve’s long-time friend and father figure John Warnock, who admits: “I think he mellowed during the NeXT years and he’s not so mellow anymore. Steve’s work habits at Apple Back to top What does Steve do at Apple? “My job is thinking and working with people and meeting and email,” says he. Let’s explore this in more details. A typical working day Steve already described his typical day to journalists (although it was in the late 1990s and might have changed since). He said all his files were stored on a server and he carried none of them with him. He has very high-speed access to them either from his home or office computer, “so [his] office is at home too. ” He added: “when I’m not in meetings, my work is fundamentally on email.
So I’ll work a little before the kids get up. And then we’ll all have a little food and finish up some homework and see them off to school. If I’m lucky I’ll stay at home and work for an hour because I can get a lot done, but oftentimes I’ll have to come in. I usually get here about 9. 8 or 9. Having worked about an hour or half or two at home. ” He also said often that he can call anyone even late at night if he has a bright idea and wants to share it (especially since the advent of iChat AV). One can therefore conclude that he works basically all day, but that doesn’t mean he is at the office all day — unlike in the early days.
In addition, he does have a very strong sense of family duties: when Maria Shriver asked him to come to the ceremony inducting him into the California Hall of Fame, he said he wouldn’t on the claim that it conflicted with his family night (he came eventually). So clearly his family has changed how much time he devotes to his work — just like many entrepreneurs. What Steve works on “I did everything in the early days — documentation, sales, supply chain, sweeping the floors, buying chips, you name it. I put computers together with my own two hands. And as the industry grew up, I kept on doing it. This is Steve’s way of saying he is still very involved in an unusually wide array of activities at Apple, way beyond the usual work of a CEO. Vision: Steve’s real genius As Apple’s uber-boss, Steve has to set the direction the company is going. This involves mainly two things: following industry trends carefully, and using his own guts. For the first task, it mainly consists of keeping up with industry news as well as simply checking his email. “There’s a certain amount of homework involved, true; but mostly it’s just picking up on things you can see on the periphery. [… I subscribe to a half-dozen Internet news services, and I get 300 emails a day, many from people I don’t know, hawking crazy ideas. And I’ve always paid close attention to the whispers around me. ” In another interview, he said: “All these customers email me all these complaints and questions, which I actually have grown to like. It’s like having a thermometer on practically any issue. If somebody doesn’t flush a toilet around here, I get an email from Kansas about it. I zing ’em around, and it’s good to keep us all in touch. ” For the second, the guts, we are dealing with what may be Steve Jobs’ real genius.
It is important to recall that he has no formal training whatsoever: not in management, and certainly not in engineering. Yet many engineers he’s worked with are amazed at his capacity to take critical engineering decisions solely based on his instinct. Often times, he was proven right. Woz said of it: “Steve did an excellent job of melding the marketing, operations and technology. He understood which technology was good and what people would like. It was a weird situation. He couldn’t design a computer — he was never a designer or a programmer — but he could understand it well enough to understand what was good and what was bad. Even Bill Gates said it was what he envied most in him: “I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste. I think in terms of intuitive taste, both for people and products, you know, we sat in Mac product reviews where there were questions about software choices, how things would be done, that I viewed as an engineering question, because that’s just how my mind works. And I’d see Steve make the decision based on a sense of people and product that is even hard for me to explain. The way he does things is just different, and I think it’s magical. This amazing ability he has is clearly a decisive factor in his rise as the world’s top technology democratizer. And this he had from day one, as if it were innate. Product development The one domain where Steve is probably the most hands-on, and the one he enjoys the most, is product development: “we’ve got such great people [in the top executive team] that I’ve been able to move about half of the day-to-day management of the company to them, so I can spend half my time on the new stuff,” says he. “I get to spend my time on the forward-looking stuff. My top executives take half the other work off my plate.
They love it, and I love it. ” And indeed, this is overall the most important part of Apple’s business, its very raison d’etre, since the company describes itself as a product company. Everything starts and ends with the product. Steve is at the core of the process, rejecting or pushing forward ideas, as well as putting his own contribution. This is why he is listed as co-inventor on over a hundred separate Apple patents, from the iPod user interface to the support system for the glass staircase used in Apple’s retail stores (he loves architecture too). Essential to this process is Steve’s testing of the products.
As Fake Steve Jobs/Dan Lyons puts it: “he is the ultimate end-user, the guy who is on our side. ” Steve himself often admitted to that. He’s gonna use the product for some time and give its engineers a lot of feedback. This is why Apple doesn’t use consumer testing: it doesn’t need it. Steve Jobs alone is Apple’s consumer testing. The exceptional ease-of-use that distinguishes Apple from its competitors is largely attributable to this technique. Steve will not green-light a product that does not fully satisfy his standards — and these standards are pretty high. .. and the rest Steve Jobs used to focus almost only about product development, but these days are over. Member of the board Ed Woolard said, referring to Steve’s comeback: “It wasn’t like he was some mythical creative genius and leaving the rest of the company to itself. It may have been true in the past. It was not true when he came back. He clearly was deeply involved in all the practical operations of Apple. ” Steve is especially focused on marketing, which has always been one of his premier domains of expertise.
He is well known for having worked on a large number of Apple’s TV commercials and promotional videos, starting with the 1984 and Think Different ads, some of Apple’s most brilliant pieces of marketing. Of course this all culminates in his keynotes, which are discussed in Steve on stage. But besides that, he cares about many different parts of Apple’s business (leaving perhaps finance on the side). For instance, he admitted having run Apple’s operations for several months before he could find the genius he was looking for, in the person of Tim Cook.
He personally checks everything of importance to him, down to the fine prints of Apple’ press releases. But he does leave behind things most CEOs of Fortune 500 companies think of major importance, such as Wall Street analysts conferences. Who Steve works with Obviously, Steve mostly works with his top executive team. Other than them and perhaps the level below them, he is a fairly private person on campus. “I don’t get a chance to interact with 10,000 people. The number of people I get to interact with in this company is probably about 50 on a regular basis. Maybe 100,” said he.
Yet he knows his employees very well. He knows a large number of engineers and designers and why they are at his company. If he needs something and knows who’s likely to get it done, he will pick up his phone and ask it directly to her. In this regard he has no respect for the hierarchy. The hierarchy at Apple is actually very flat, with only six levels from the very bottom to the iLeader. One other thing that’s typical of him is actually his life-long habit of dropping in unannounced on different departments or teams and ask their members what they’re working on.
It keeps most people on their toes, thus compelling them to do great work even when their boss is not around. “You might go awhile without seeing him,” confessed a former software engineer. “But you are constantly aware of his presence. You are constantly aware that what you’re doing will either please or displease him. I mean, he might not know who you are. But there’s no question that he knows what you do. And what you’re doing. And whether he likes it or not. ” As far as Steve’s executives are concerned, he considers them all exceptionally bright and that’s why he feels no restraint in delegating work to them.
They are also just as important in advising Steve on Apple’s goals: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why a lot of people at Apple get paid a lot of money, because they’re supposed to be on top of these things. ” We’ve already talked about how he recruited people usually regarded as the best in their fields: “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,” Steve once said. “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, Woz 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. ” Steve’s elitism has for consequence another key part of his job, to attract great talents. And keep them with generous stock options. How does it all work? The organization of Apple Inc. is quite peculiar.
We’ve mentioned its very flat hierarchy before. It is in part due to Steve’s entrepreneurial belief that small groups of smart people work better than anything else: “small and medium-sized teams of these [very bright] people can accomplish extraordinary things and run circles around large large teams of normal people. ” But the most striking difference between Apple and other technology companies is the way products are developed. Head of design Jony Ive says it best: “We get involved really early on. There’s a very natural, consistent collaboration with Steve, with the hardware and software people.
I think that’s one of the things that’s distinctive at Apple. When we’re developing ideas there’s not a final [technical] architecture established. ” Apple employees refer to that as “cross-pollination” or “concurrent engineering. ” It means that the development of new products isn’t sequential, passing from team to team; it’s all simultaneous and organic. Products get worked on in parallel by all departments at once — design, hardware, software — in endless rounds of interdisciplinary design reviews. There is a lot of debates and arguments at Apple. Steve encourages them and delights in them.
Another side to this comprehensive approach to the business is Steve’s habit of holding Monday morning executive committee meetings. This is when all of his top executives meet with him and when big decisions are taken. These meetings reflect the company’s philosophy in both the way they work (simply and effectively) and what they deal with: “We don’t sit around talking about how to drive up the stock or how to stick it to the competition. It’s always about the products,” said Jon Rubinstein while still at Apple.
Steve’s influence on Apple Back to top “He didn’t create anything really, but he created everything. ” – Former Apple CEO John Sculley on Steve Jobs’ contribution to Macintosh “His DNA was built into this company. And when he came back, everything fell into place — a return to excellence in design, to listening to the consumer, to developing cool products. ” – Heidi Roizen, one of Steve’s long-time business partners “The Mac is the expression of his creativity, and Apple as a whole is an expression of Steve. ” – Larry Ellison, one of Steve’s best friends
As you can see, the case of whether or not Apple is an emanation of Steve Jobs is pretty much closed. Yes, it is large company whose products are the result of the work of thousands of astounding employees. Yes, it is a public company whose best interests are those of its shareholders. But its very soul, its DNA as he himself puts it, has only one source: Steve himself. Among the many traits that Apple “inherited” from its father Steve, one can underline: His great aesthetic sense Whether it be hardware of software, Steve has always pushed for excellency in the look of Apple’s products, starting with the Apple II’s plastic case.
His sense of design, what he describes as “taste”, really made a difference in the computer industry as a whole. According to Steve: “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. 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. ” We’ve seen a consequence of this philosophy in Apple’s product development method. Another consequence is Steve’s fanatical obsession about the inside of his machines.
This is another of his pet peeves; he insisted the Mac team redesign the computer’s main circuit board because he thought it wasn’t pretty. Of course it didn’t work… But later, at NeXT, where his will was never challenged, he actually succeeded in making a motherboard that worked AND that he considered beautiful. The NeXT Cube was one of the last computers to have all its components on a single board, and a picture of it was put on every brochure. This obsession can still be seen today: just watch the latest MacBook presentation video, in which Jony Ive keeps repeating how the laptops are beautiful inside.
There are also long shots of the factory, another of Steve’s obsession, as exemplified in this anecdote out of an article about NeXT: “Jobs watches as robot hands install the state-of-the-art chips that will power the computer. For a second, he looks almost teary. ‘It’s beautiful’, he says softly. ” Another way of seeing this trait of Steve is his constant talk about merging art and 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. He also keeps repeating that he never distinguished between great computer scientists and great artists; this can all be traced back to his Macintosh days. His perfectionism Steve will only settle for the absolute best in everything he does (even in his private life, for that matter). This standard of excellence drives many of his employees crazy, but, as stated above, it also pushes them to their very best and make them achieve extraordinary performances. If an employee is not able to meet Steve’s standards, he will not hesitate to fire him — hence many of his critics.
But he always had excellent relationships with exceptionally bright people for the same reason: they understand his quest for the best. A striking example of Steve’s perfectionism is the number of Apple projects that he had started over or even canceled at the very last moment. We know now that he canceled an Apple PDA and a set of Web services at the very last minute. The original iMac, the Apple retail stores, the iPhone, and the rumored Apple tablet have allegedly been started over too. As a result of this philosophy, Apple does not produce bottom-line computers.
Steve reminded a journalist of this at a press conference in 2007: “We can’t ship junk. We just can’t do it. ” He refuses that the company build commodity products that he would not use himself. His sense of mission Steve found out about his destiny pretty early on in life, and that was to change the world by making computer power available to the masses. Woz recalled: “He really wants to move the world forward and not be just another company making the same old thing to earn a buck. That was exactly what he wanted the day I met him when we were in high school. He admired these top people in the world — the Newtons and the Shakespeares.
He thought that there were very few people who had really changed life forever for all of us. He obviously wanted to be one of them”. The way to do that was to build the best possible computers… this is at the core of Apple’s philosophy. As said earlier, Apple is a product company: “our primary goal here is to make the world’s best PCs — not to be the biggest or the richest. ” Every Apple employee is expected to share that vision. They are highly skillful people out there to change the world for the better by making superior, easy-to-use, mind-blowing hi-tech products.
Steve is not ashamed to say this is part of his company’s essence: “The people around here — some of them left,” he confessed. “Actually, some of them I got rid of. But most of them said, ‘Oh, my God, now I get it. ‘ We’ve been doing this now for seven years, and everybody here gets it. And if they don’t, they’re gone. ” What Apple is experiencing right now is Steve’s dream coming true. For example, he always talked about how he admired Sony, how the Japanese consumer electronics company was a model for him, even back in the 1980s.
At first he just wanted Apple to be “the Sony of the computer business,” and it certainly was that. But now, Apple is even better; it’s out-done Sony in its own market! Ever since the iPod came out, and now with the iPhone (iPod hi-fi and Apple TV have not met great success), Apple is a leader in the consumer electronics business… What a success for Steve — and what a vision he imposed on his company. Just read what John Sculley wrote about his plans after he had Steve leave Apple in 1985: “Apple was supposed to become a wonderful consumer products company… This was a lunatic plan.
High tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product. ” Enough said. His arrogance One quality that Steve Jobs doesn’t have is modesty. As an Apple employee put it, “Steve is always the smartest guy in the room — and he knows it. ” This is another of Apple’s characteristics. To paraphrase the quote above: Apple does the best products in the world — and they know it. Steve is the first ambassador of this spirit of course: “he oozes smug superiority, lacing his public comments with ridicule of Apple’s rivals, which he casts as mediocre, evil, and — worst of all — lacking taste. You can find examples of such (delightful) comments in the Movie Theater section. Apple’s arrogance also transpires in its advertising, which of course is largely based on Steve’s view of the company. Such ads as “Snail” (depicting the Pentium as a snail because it’s so slow), “Move to Intel” (“the Intel chip – for years it’s been trapped inside PCs, inside dull little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks, when it could have been doing so much more… tarting today, the Intel chip will be set free, and get to live life inside a Mac”), or the whole “I’m a Mac – I’m a PC” campaign, are famous examples of that presumption. But it is safe to assume that this pride is essential to keep insufflating the passion into Apple, both its employees and customers. Especially since the company still has a one-digit market share of the PC industry. As journalist David Plotnikoff put it: “There is simply no way the Mac could have been born without that supreme confidence. Steve at Pixar Back to top Before Pixar merged with Disney in 2006, Steve Jobs was also CEO of the leading animation studios. Interestingly enough, his management of Pixar was entirely different from his work at Apple or NeXT. For basically the first decade of his Pixar ownership, he was just focused on NeXT, and considered Pixar his “hobby. ” Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith had to drive down to Redwood City to let him know how the business was doing. It remained so until it became obvious that Toy Story would end up a huge success.
He took the company public and started to get increasingly involved in the studio’s affairs. However his aura was never the same at Pixar as it was at his computer firms. He was considered a genius and visionary in the PC industry, but of course for Pixar employees he was just the owner of their company, whose leadership clearly belonged to Catmull and Lasseter. As a result, he could not impose his views so easily at Pixar. After Steve returned to Apple, he focused all his energies on the fruit company, and things went back the way they were before Toy Story.
Steve’s involvement was not in the production of films, but in the implementation of Pixar’s business strategy. He took the company public, cut major deals with Hollywood, and partook in the planning of the Emeryville campus — but he clearly spent his days at Apple, not Pixar. Director Brad Bird had a funny way of putting it: he would describe the Catmull-Lasseter-Jobs triumvirat as “the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. ” Steve Jobs’ keynote speeches Back to top One of the reasons Steve Jobs has become such an icon in the tech world is his master showmanship.
His performances are awaited all around the globe by millions of Apple fans who crave their excitement and surprises. The shows are mainly part of a marketing strategy typical of Apple, since its early days. Yet it was dramatically reinforced since Steve’s return to the company in 1997. These infomercials are inseparable from the cult of secrecy of the company (see Steve at work on that). Typically, Steve Jobs takes the stage and, after giving information on how the company is doing and what broad directions they are heading to, introduces new products to amazed fans and media.
The excitement of the unveiling of new products comes both from their intrinsic greatness and the total surprise — this is why every such keynote speech is preceded by a flow of rumors from all kinds of website and blogs in the Apple community, which are now relayed even in the mainstream media since Apple’s incredible recent growth. When Steve came back at Apple, he would typically do five to eight such public shows a year (for example he did seven of them in 1999: Macworld San Francisco, Macworld Tokyo, Macworld New York, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Seybold San Francisco, Apple Expo, and a Special Event for iMacs).
However, this steady succession of public appearances has changed in recent years. There is now only one show that is semi-open to the public: that’s WWDC, held every summer in San Francisco. It is not open to anybody as you need to be a registered Apple developer and pay a substantial fee to attend. All the public shows are gone: the main one, Macworld San Francisco, which used to be held at Moscone Center every January; Macworld Tokyo, in February; Macworld New York, in July; Seybold (a publishing industry conference), in August; and Apple Expo Paris, in September.
Nowadays, Apple usually hosts what it calls “Special Events” that are open only to the media. Steve is in front of smaller audiences, usually always at the same places (the Cupertino De Anza Auditorium, the Cupertino Flint Center for the Performing Arts, the San Francisco Yerba Buena Center, the San Jose Auditorium — or even Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium on the Cupertino campus). The decline in the frequency of Steve’s public appearances can be attributed to several factors.
First, with the advent of broadband Internet, any show can now be watched online throughout the globe; this was not possible in the late 1990s, and Steve had to move personally to evangelize Apple products for customers and the media all around the country and abroad. This is why many shows used to be very alike (e. g. Macworld SF and Tokyo, only one month apart). The second reason is the so-called Osborne effect: customers would stop purchasing a month or so before any event, in anticipation of potential new products that would make their purchase obsolete.
This was disastrous for business. Third is the official reason invoked by Apple, namely the incredible showcase provided by its retail stores. The company has over 200 stores worldwide and they are worth 100 Macworlds of visitors every week. They do a much more efficient job at evangelizing Apple products to potential and current customers. The Reality Distortion Field Back to top The Reality Distortion Field or RDF is a term coined by Apple engineer Burrell Smith to describe Steve’s charisma and his ability to convince you of just about anything.
The term was used in the context of working with Steve Jobs (see Steve at work), but is now widely used to describe his charisma in general, especially on stage. Journalist Alan Deutschman appropriately said of him that “what really gets you is the way he talks — there’s something about the rhythm of his speech and the incredible enthusiasm he conveys for whatever it is he’s talking about that is just infectious. This is one of the elements of Steve’s charm, along with his delicate use of humor, a collection of surprise guests, his perfect timing and ability to build up suspense, as well as his own contagious excitement regarding his announcements. Steve’s sister Mona Simpson wrote in her novel A Regular Guy that Steve was “flirting” with his audiences. And one of his long-time friend, alan Kay, said, after watching Jobs unveil the iPhone: “Steve understands desire. And knows how to use it well. Such keynotes are an integral part of Steve’s job at Apple. He is the company’s ultimate salesman. At NeXT he was even dubbed so because the company seemed able to close deals only after he showed up and personally convinced prospective customers. It is actually at NeXT that Steve brought his art of delivering keynotes to perfection, the way we are used to it now. Some of his traditional tricks he invented there, e. g. is use of a black and white gradient in the slides background, or some typical Steve phrases such as “it just works”. Former Apple employee Mike Evangelist has written several articles on the subject in his blog, especially The Wizard of Pods – Behind the Curtain with Steve Jobs, in which he shows that Steve’s keynotes are extremely well prepared months in advance. Their genius is that they seem so natural when they are watched — all you can see is Steve’s magical touch. And it is delightful to watch.
One last thing to note about Steve’s public performance, and interviews he gives to journalists, is his use of the pronoun “we”. He will almost never say “I” but in fact, 90% of the time he is using “we”, he means “I”. This was particularly evident when, during an interview at D5, while Steve was telling an anecdote about Apple’s early days, Walt Mossberg asked him “who’s “we”? ” Steve replied: “Well, ME! ” In Mona Simpson’s novel about her brother, we learn that this habit of his is also true in private conversation.
Some of Steve’s typical gestures Back to top I have gathered in the Movie Theater several movies that will give you a sense of this matter. In the Steve Jobs LIVE!!! section, you will find excerpts from Steve’s performances. In Behind the RDF, you will find a collection of phrases, jokes and tricks that Steve often uses on stage. In the same line of thinking, below are pictures of typical Steve gestures that he often does in public (as well as private) speaking.