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155609-jobs_and_sculley.jpg


Steve Jobs (left) and John Sculley (right) in 1984
Cult of Mac recently conducted an interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley, who headed up the computer maker from 1983 until 1993 and on whose watch Steve Jobs was ousted from the company he founded. The interview offers an interesting glimpse into Jobs' perspective on Apple and how his principles of aesthetic design, minimalism, and perfectionism have influenced Apple over its entire existence.

Sculley emphasizes Jobs' view of the customer experience, incorporating that perspective into every aspect of product design. But even from their earliest days, Jobs and Apple shied away from focus groups, with Jobs arguing that it was impossible to gain feedback on revolutionary new devices when the potential users couldn't understand the leaps Apple was trying to make.
"Steve said: 'How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.' He believed that showing someone a calculator, for example, would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go because it was just too big a leap."
Jobs has also insisted on a high level of personal involvement in product development, with Sculley likening the experience to an artist's workshop, where engineers would work on bits of new hardware or software and Jobs as the master craftsman would wander from employee to employee to critique the work that was being done.
"Steve would shift between being highly charismatic and motivating and getting them excited to feel like they are part of something insanely great. And on the other hand he would be almost merciless in terms of rejecting their work until he felt it had reached the level of perfection that was good enough to go into - in this case, the Macintosh.”
Jobs' insistence on playing an active role in the day-to-day work of his engineers led to his belief that the Mac team should never exceed 100 people. And while the supporting cast of employees around the engineering team could obviously grow much larger, the core team was meant to be kept tightly focused under Jobs.

Sculley also reflects on his role as Apple CEO, having been recruited from a 25-year career at Pepsi to lead a company in an industry he knew nothing about. Sculley goes as far as to call his hiring a "big mistake", with Apple unwilling to allow the still-young Steve Jobs to have full control over the rapidly-growing company and attempting a forced marriage of sorts in which the outsider Sculley and the design-focused Jobs to share the governing duties.

A full transcript of the interview is also available, bringing a fresh perspective on Apple and Steve Jobs from a major player during a time of remarkable growth but significant turmoil for the company striving to revolutionize the computing industry.

Article Link: Former Apple CEO John Sculley Reflects on Steve Jobs
 

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,251
3,534
Tennessee
Really interesting read! I remember that era well. I wonder from time to time what would have happened if Scully hadn't taken over. Those were dark days for Apple during a crucial time in the market.
 

Salacion

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2010
810
0
This is all interesting.

And let's face it, while all you people have no problem lambasting the man for his strict ideologies and business-tactics, it is these very elements that make Apple what it is today. I shudder to think where the industry would be without him, where we'd be stuck with devices and softwares antiquated beyond measure.

If only more people were like him, maybe we'd have less crappy industries all around.
 

desigarms

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2010
9
0
"Steve said: 'How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.' He believed that showing someone a calculator, for example, would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go because it was just too big a leap."


So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,110
87
"Steve said: 'How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.' He believed that showing someone a calculator, for example, would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go because it was just too big a leap."


So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".

No, he just thinks YOU are an idiot. :D
 

rikers_mailbox

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2003
739
0
LA-la-land
What else can you say about Steve Jobs ... the man created the era personal computing. Others were quick to follow and were perhaps more successful, but he originated the vision. MS, for example, simply copied the idea - with very little originality, I might add - and sold it cheaper to indifferent consumers. It happens time and time again across all areas of consumerism. People happily buy cheap knock-off brands after the original designer does all the heavy lifting.

More recently, Jobs has extended his vision beyond the PC into mobile, handheld computing. Yes, some may argue that mobile devices existed before the iPhone. But the iPhone holds some much more potential than other devices, it (and the iPad) will become the ubiquitous computing device for the next era of personal computing.

Simply put, Jobs has redefined the very industry he created.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,613
491
Lagrange Point
"Steve said: 'How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.' He believed that showing someone a calculator, for example, would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go because it was just too big a leap."


So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".

Picture a time when computers had no mice. No one had ever seen a mouse before. Some computers could do some very primitive graphics, but nothing like what they can do today.

An advanced UI might have a number of text options on the screen. Each option is numbered. If you want to do option 5, you would type 5 then press enter. Remember, back then, many computers did not have any graphics or the ability to type lower case letters.

When people first started playing with Macs, they needed time to figure out how to move the mouse and how to click without moving. Things like dragging one icon onto another were quite hard.

Most of the top people in the computer industry did not understand the concept of graphics based computers. How could you expect someone who does not know how to change channels on a cable TV to get it?
 

Nilonym

macrumors member
Jan 14, 2007
43
28
Seattle, WA
So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".

People are not all either "idiots" or "geniuses." Jobs wouldn't be considered competent at legal policy, geothermal dynamics, rescuing Chilean minors, or building a global economic coalition to end a recession. That doesn't make him an idiot, and yet I think it would be fair for experts in those fields -- people who live and breath it every day -- to give little weight to his thoughts on such matters.

Conversely, Jobs spent all day, every day, pondering the future of the computer industry, and developing a strong, well considered vision for it. That didn't make the rest of us idiots, but I'm certainly glad that someone who had dedicated his life to it had more say than a mining engineer who had been brought in for a focus test.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,758
4,138
PHX, AZ.
What else can you say about Steve Jobs ... the man created the era personal computing. Others were quick to follow and were perhaps more successful, but he originated the vision. MS, for example, simply copied the idea - with very little originality, I might add - and sold it cheaper to indifferent consumers. It happens time and time again across all areas of consumerism. People happily buy cheap knock-off brands after the original designer does all the heavy lifting.

More recently, Jobs has extended his vision beyond the PC into mobile, handheld computing. Yes, some may argue that mobile devices existed before the iPhone. But the iPhone holds some much more potential than other devices, it (and the iPad) will become the ubiquitous computing device for the next era of personal computing.

Simply put, Jobs has redefined the very industry he created.
Stay in la-la land.
Your version of history is somewhat skewed.
The only heavy lifting Apple or MS did was lifting ideas and code from Xerox.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,613
491
Lagrange Point
People are not all either "idiots" or "geniuses." Jobs wouldn't be considered competent at legal policy, geothermal dynamics, rescuing Chilean minors, or building a global economic coalition to end a recession. That doesn't make him an idiot, and yet I think it would be fair for experts in those fields -- people who live and breath it every day -- to give little weight to his thoughts on such matters.

Conversely, Jobs spent all day, every day, pondering the future of the computer industry, and developing a strong, well considered vision for it. That didn't make the rest of us idiots, but I'm certainly glad that someone who had dedicated his life to it had more say than a mining engineer who had been brought in for a focus test.

Your comment ++

Remember, the very bright top people at Xerox did not understand the value of graphical computing. How could you expect someone who has never used a computer to get it?
 

Hastings101

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2010
2,265
1,155
K
Apparently Jobs was already call things revolutionary devices 30 years ago :eek:, I wonder if magical and intuitive were added later, or if the words just weren't used as much.
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,110
87
Stay in la-la land.
Your version of history is somewhat skewed.
The only heavy lifting Apple or MS did was lifting ideas and code from Xerox.

That's a little skewed yourself, since Apple was working in the same area and hired on PARC engineers to develop stuff XEROX left fallow.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,613
491
Lagrange Point
Stay in la-la land.
Your version of history is somewhat skewed.
The only heavy lifting Apple or MS did was lifting ideas and code from Xerox.

If you have looked at the work from Xerox Parc, it was very primitive in relation to the UI of the first Mac. Also remember, Apple saw the value where Xerox did not and paid good money for the rights.

Apparently Jobs was already call things revolutionary devices 30 years ago , I wonder if magical and intuitive were added later, or if the words just weren't used as much.

When Jobs calls something revolutionary or magical, look out! it will probably make quite a bit of money and completely change the industry.
 

50548

Guest
Apr 17, 2005
5,039
2
Currently in Switzerland
People are not all either "idiots" or "geniuses." Jobs wouldn't be considered competent at legal policy, geothermal dynamics, rescuing Chilean minors, or building a global economic coalition to end a recession. That doesn't make him an idiot, and yet I think it would be fair for experts in those fields -- people who live and breath it every day -- to give little weight to his thoughts on such matters.

Conversely, Jobs spent all day, every day, pondering the future of the computer industry, and developing a strong, well considered vision for it. That didn't make the rest of us idiots, but I'm certainly glad that someone who had dedicated his life to it had more say than a mining engineer who had been brought in for a focus test.

Actually Apple has benefitted from what happened in a strange yet interesting way...SJ AT THAT TIME was, indeed, intoxicated with pride and impulsiveness, notably due to the company's astounding early successes.

But his ousting allowed him to take a deeper breath and understand that such a behavior would lead him nowhere; exactly at this point his true creative genius and managerial focus were unleashed. Otherwise we would have seen many more "Apple IIIs" in Apple's history...less hubris led to more seriousness.

Anyway, it's nice to see Sculley performing some well-needed self-criticism...:rolleyes:
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
170
Stay in la-la land.
Your version of history is somewhat skewed.
The only heavy lifting Apple or MS did was lifting ideas and code from Xerox.

xerox had it locked away in a lab with no plans to sell it. MS and Apple did the development work to get it working as a product people would buy and write the API's for developers to code apps for
 

ziggyonice

macrumors 68020
Mar 12, 2006
2,385
1
Rural America
Apple's downfall wasn't your fault, John. Nor was it Steve's.

It was Apple as a whole that was the problem. Its wild success in the 80s was just that: wild. It would take years for the company to reset itself and find the right position in order to market itself more appropriately, and perhaps more maturely. Apple's current success has been a result of the years they were failing. When Steve returned to the company, he knew it was time to make Apple grow up if they wanted to survive.

While I believe that Steve's presence and his decisions the past several years have almost singlehandedly turned the company around, I'm not sure that Apple would be the same company it is today, should Steve had never left. Maybe Apple's downfall in the 90s is part of what makes it so successful today?

Who knows what Apple would be today, if Steve had remained CEO all these years...?
 

n8mac

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2006
418
46
Ohio
Problem...
So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".

Answer...
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
Henry Ford

I love that quote.
 

NebulaClash

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
1,810
0
I agree that it worked out better, in the long run, for Steve Jobs to have left Apple and then returned. He learned some interesting lessons, and got involved in some new technology, that he might not have had if he had remained at the helm of Apple all along.
 

ziggyonice

macrumors 68020
Mar 12, 2006
2,385
1
Rural America
Picture a time when computers had no mice. No one had ever seen a mouse before. Some computers could do some very primitive graphics, but nothing like what they can do today...

When people first started playing with Macs, they needed time to figure out how to move the mouse and how to click without moving. Things like dragging one icon onto another were quite hard.


"The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'. There is no evidence that people want to use these things."

— John C. Dvorak, San Francisco Examiner 19 Feb. 1984
 

SandynJosh

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2006
1,652
2
"Steve said: 'How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.' He believed that showing someone a calculator, for example, would not give them any indication as to where the computer was going to go because it was just too big a leap."

So basically Jobs thinks everyone is an idiot hence the iron grip on the UI, everything going through iTunes....all in the name of the end user's "experience".

Your comment is a beautiful example of what Jobs point was all about. People just can't think beyond their own experience level.
 

aristotle

macrumors 68000
Mar 13, 2007
1,768
5
Canada
Stay in la-la land.
Your version of history is somewhat skewed.
The only heavy lifting Apple or MS did was lifting ideas and code from Xerox.
Speaking of skewed.... Apple "PAID" Xerox in Apple shares to see their "RESEARCH LAB" and later hired away engineers from Xerox Parc because that company did not see the value of GUIs.

Later, Bill Gates was given a prototype of the Lisa and later the Macintosh in order to develop software for the platform in time for launch. MS Word and Excel first appeared on the mac before windows was even what you could define as "GRAPHICAL". MSFT did not have to visit Xerox because they had the Lisa and Macintosh to copy off.
 
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