Chris's Reviews > Inside Steve's Brain

Inside Steve's Brain by Leander Kahney
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's review
Aug 23, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009, biographies

Affirmation of Rygh's Law: Apple has become the perfect vehicle to realize Jobs' long-held dreams: developing easy-to-use technology for individuals. He's made-and remade-Apple in his own image. "Apple is Steve Jobs with ten thousand lives," Guy Kawasaki, Apple's former chief evangelist, told me. Few corporations are such close mirror images of their founders. "Apple had always reflected the best and worst of Steve's character," said Gil Amelio.

At Apple, the corporate culture trickles down from Jobs.

Jobs has taken his interests and personality traits--obsessiveness, narcissism, perfectionism--and turned them into the hallmarks of his career.

What Jobs is good at: 1) developing new products, 2) product presentations, 3) cutting deals. What Jobs is not good at: 1) directing movies, 2) dealing with Wall Street, 3) Operations, 4) Staying focused.

One of Jobs' favorite mantras at Apple is: "Focus means saying no."

Jobs said to Ratzlaff: "This is the first evidence of three-digit intelligence at Apple I've seen yet."

For each element . . .. Jobs requested several variations that he could select the best ones.

Jobs wanted to avoid what's known as the Osborne effect, where a company commits suicide by announcing cool technology still under development.

Sculley said Jobs concentrated as much on what was left out as on the stuff that was included. "What makes Steve's methodology different than everyone else's is that he always believed that the most important decisions you make are not the things you do, but the things you decide not to do.

One of the most important parts of Apple's design process is simplification.

"unashamed sense of simplicity"

Jobs always focused on the user experience. "He always looked at things from the perspective of what was the users experience going to be, " Sculley said.

Jobs can't innovate by asking a focus group what they want--they don't know what they want. Like Henry Ford once said: "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."

"Jobs doesn't think like an engineer. He thinks like a layman . . . It's a great asset"

"Market research for Steve Jobs is the right hemisphere talks to the left hemisphere."

For Jobs, design is the way a product works. Design is FUNCTION, not form . . . The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked.

As the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi said: "Simplicity is complexity resolved."

The really great person will keep going, find the underlying problem, and come up with an elegant solution that works on every level.

Jobs' insistence on excellence sometimes delays products . . . Apple products are never rushed out of the door until they are polished to his satisfaction.

Whenever he talks about his work, Ive always emphasizes the team. He has no ego . . . His work is used by creative people across the world every day but he has no ego about it. Ive talks about "deep collaboration" "cross pollination" and "concurrent engineering"

"Generate and test." It's a form of trial and error, but not as random.

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