This book is a biography mostly focused on Jobs’ professional life at Apple. The following are a few of the topics discussed in the book which I enjoyed.
It is often mentioned that Jobs had an incredible reality distortion field. Andy Hertzfeld described it as follows: “The reality distortion field was a confounding message of a charismatic rhetorical style an indomitable will and an eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand. Amazingly, the reality distortion field seemed to be effective even if you were acutely aware of it.” It’s amazing to read about how he was consistently able to get people to push themselves and accomplish the unimaginable.
Looking at the industry’s developments since his death, we can now appreciate his incredible accomplishments. From the PC era to the (and his heroic revival of Apple) iPod to the iPhone to the iPad, he consistently picked product winners. The fuel behind his distortion of reality was his vision and intuition of both new markets and the details that make an experience. He once told John Sculley (then Apple CEO) that “The Macintosh is inside of me and I’ve got to get it out and turn it into a product.”
A small example of his natural ability to understand the user are the color coded (red, green, and yellow) options for minimizing and maximizing a window on the user’s screen (in iOS). The challenge was to simplify the management of various windows on the computer screen. His idea was based on users intuitively associating these colors with their outcomes: red means close (the window), yellow-minimize, and green-maximize.
Unlike most companies, Apple chose vertical integration over horizontal integration. Early on Jobs decided that Macs would not have expansion slots (and would be shut physically), since the customization they enabled typically caused crashes and freezing. Critics decided that Apple’s (vertical integration) stance was due to his controlling ways. Although he was controlling, vertical integration was another way to preserve (and shape) the user’s experience. Apple’s tight control would ensure a reliable, stable, and controlled experience-one Jobs would be proud of.
If you missed the last post, no worries! Check it out here, it’s a book review of The Idealist – Jeffrey Sachs And The Quest To End Poverty by Nina Munk.