Steve Jobs in his own words: 20 of his best quotes

Steve JobsIt really shouldn’t have been such a shock. Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a notoriously harsh version of the disease, in 2004, and whispers of his impending demise have circulated ever since.


But such is Jobs’ impact been on the worlds of business, technology and innovation, his loss, at the age of 56, is a blow to the legions of entrepreneurs who have, directly or indirectly, been aided by his vision.


As we pointed out when Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO in August, start-ups can glean a great deal from his focus on customers, talented staff and learning from failure.


Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, says: “Steve Jobs was an iconic figure, and one whose impact on the technology industry and the world at large are hard to measure.”


“In just the last four years, he has reinvented the smartphone and the tablet computer, and previously he had also changed the music industry dramatically with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes.”


“His death will be felt deeply at Apple, the company he founded and recently led for 14 years, but also throughout the industry.”


Plenty of other pundits will have their say in the coming days. But what about the man himself? We’ve pulled together 20 of his most insightful quotes on life, death and everything in-between.



On technology

“It takes these very simple-minded instructions – ‘Go fetch a number, add it to this number, put the result there, perceive if it’s greater than this other number’ – but executes them at a rate of, let’s say, 1,000,000 per second. At 1,000,000 per second, the results appear to be magic.”


Playboy, 1985.


“I think it’s brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything.”


“The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television — but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.”


Rolling Stone, 2003.


“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything… One is very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate it’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.”


Announcement of the iPhone, 2007.



“We think when people look back some number of years from now, they’ll see this as a major event in personal computation devices. What’s been really great for me is how quickly people have got it.”


“You know, I’ve gotten a few thousand emails from people I’ve never talked to before just telling me how much they think this product is going to change their lives and what they do. People are getting it very quickly.”


Apple event for iPhone 4.0 software, 2010.


On innovation

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”


“The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it.”


“It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.”


“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”


“That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.


“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences.”


“So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”


Wired, 1996.


“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”


Fortune, 2000.



On money

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”


The Wall Street Journal, 1993.


“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D.”


“It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”


Fortune, 1998.


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