约翰·斯卡利谈乔布斯[采访全文]

 

 

【本文原载:Cult of Mac ,链接在此:http://www.cultofmac.com/john-sculley-on-steve-jobs-the-full-interview-transcript/63295

 

乔布斯与约翰·斯卡利,苹果前 CEO ,二人当时被《商业周刊》称为「动态二重奏」

这是约翰·斯卡利就史蒂夫·乔布斯接受采访的文字抄本。文章有些长,但值得阅读,因为其中有一些关于乔布斯如何做事的惊人洞察和见解。这同样也是你能听到的最坦率的 CEO 采访之一。斯卡利完全放开了谈论乔布斯和苹果公司,他承认苹果雇佣他去运营这家公司是一个错误,他表示自己一点也不懂电脑。这对谁来说都很难得,要公开对自己的职业生涯做出诚恳坦率的评价并不容易,何况他曾是风光一时的大公司 CEO 。

你提到了「史蒂夫·乔布斯的方法论」,什么是史蒂夫的方法论?

斯卡利:我给你说个大致概念。我第一次见到乔布斯时,大约是 25 年前,他把一些与今天相同的「基本原则」放到一起,这些「基本原则」也就是我所说的,乔布斯如何打造伟大产品的方法论。

史蒂夫从我遇见他那天起就热爱美妙的产品,尤其是硬件。有次他来我家的时候,被我家的门深深吸引了,因为门上有个特别设计的铰链和锁。我曾有过工业设计师的学习经历,因此连接起史蒂夫和我的是工业设计,而不是计算机。

我当时对计算机几乎一窍不通,当时的其他人也是一样。那时候个人计算机革命才刚刚开始。但我们两个都相信美妙设计的价值,但史蒂夫尤其觉得,你应该从提供良好用户体验的角度开始设计。

他总是以「用户的体验将会因此变成怎样?」这个视角来看待很多事情。但和今天的很多做市场的人不同,他们会走出去做消费者调查,问人们「你们想要什么?」史蒂夫不信这一套。

他说,「我怎么可能去问一个不知图形计算机为何物,一个从没见过图形计算机的人,图形计算机的未来会是怎样?」史蒂夫相信,这就像是拿着一个数学计算器给人看,他们是无法想像出计算机将会发展成怎样的。因为,这个鸿沟太大了。

史蒂夫看待产品的视角总是先从用户体验开始,而工业设计在产品给人印象中占据非常重要的位置。因此,他把我招到苹果,因为他相信计算机最终将称为消费产品。在 1980 年代初期,这种想法是很惊人的,因为当时人们都觉得个人电脑只不过是大型计算机的微缩版本。IBM 就这么看。

当时也有些人觉得,个人电脑的市场和游戏机差不多。当时有些早期的游戏机,结构比较简单,可以连接到电视上玩……但史蒂夫的看法却完全不同,他认为电脑将会改变这个世界,用他的话来说,他觉得电脑将成为「人类思维的自行车」。它将赋予人们之前自己从未想象过的能力。它与游戏机的市场规模无关,也不只是大型计算机的缩小化……

史蒂夫是一个具备强大想象力和愿景的人。而且还是一个执着于每一步细节都要精益求精的人。他在有系统地在关注每一件事情——归根到底,他是一个完美主义者。

如果你回到 Apple II ,史蒂夫是第一个把计算机放进塑料盒子的人,我们今天称之为 ABS 塑料(ABS plastic)的材料,他也是第一个把键盘集成到电脑上的人。今天回过头来看,这似乎是再简单不过,但在当时他创造第一台 Apple II 的时候,1977 年——也是史蒂夫方法论开始的时候,却并非如此。史蒂夫的方法论贯穿到 Macintosh 、NeXT 电脑,以及后来的 Mac 电脑,iMac ,iPod 和 iPhone 都在其中。

让史蒂夫的方法论与其他人的区别开的一点是,他相信你最重要的决定,不是你要做什么——而是你决定不做什么。他是个极简主义者。

 

我记得有次去史蒂夫的家里,他房间里面几乎没有任何家具。只有一幅爱因斯坦的画像,他非常钦佩爱因斯坦;还有一盏蒂凡尼台灯(Tiffany lamp)、一把椅子和一张床。他不仅是不喜欢被太多东西包围,而是对于挑选东西有难以置信的在意。对于苹果他也是一样。有些做用户体验的人,他们觉得工业设计不应该提到与开发科技产品的其他工作相提并论,他们觉得那是做珠宝生意的人该关心的……但回到我刚才说的锁的例子,铰链、精美的黄铜制作的门、精细的工艺、机械装置,我想,这能反映出史蒂夫感受到的一切。

当我第一次看到 Macintosh ——当时它还在开发之中——基本上只是一堆元件安装在我们称之为「面包板」的电路板上。它什么也不是,但史蒂夫拥有那种去接触和发现(他感觉会成为)绝对最优秀、最聪明的人的能力。在激发别人加入到自己的事业中去方面,他拥有异乎寻常的个人魅力和极强的煽动性。即便产品还不存在,他也能让别人相信他的愿景。当我去见麦金塔团队的时候(麦金塔团队最终的人数达到 100 人左右,但在我见他们的时候人数还比较少),当时他们的平均年龄是 22 岁。

有些人很明显从来没有从事过商业产品开发,但他们信任史蒂夫,相信史蒂夫的愿景。史蒂夫能够同时在多个层面工作。

在一个层面上,他的工作是「改变世界」,这是大的层面。在另一个层面上,他的工作又沉至实际打造一款产品,设计软件、硬件、系统设计,甚至应用程序、外围周边产品等成功的必要细节。

在不同的情况下,他总是能够找到在某个领域最棒的人,并且总是亲自完成自己团队的所有招聘工作,他从不将这个工作授权给任何其他人。

关于史蒂夫的另一点是,他从不尊重大的组织。他认为那是官僚且无效的。他基本上叫他们「蠢伙」(bozos),这是他对自己不尊重的组织或机构的习惯叫法。

麦金塔一体式的开发团队,最终人数涨到了 100 个。史蒂夫就给自己定下一个规矩,发誓麦金塔团队的人数永远不超过 100 个。所有,如果要想添新人进来,就得裁另外的人出去。这种思考是典型的乔布斯观察法「我无法记住超过一百个人的姓名,所以,我只想跟我私下认识的人呆在一起。如果团队的人数超过了 100 个,就会强迫我们变成了另外一种组织结构,我无法在那种环境下工作。我喜欢的工作方式是,我可以碰任何事情」。我在苹果期间了解了他,就是这样运营自己的部门的。

那么当苹果越来越大之后,乔布斯怎么做呢?我是说,现在的苹果已经有上万员工了。

斯卡利:史蒂夫会说:「公司的组织可以长大,但麦金塔团队不能」。麦金塔是以一个产品开发部门设立的——所以苹果公司是一个中心销售组织,是一个后勤总办公室,负责所有其他的行政、法律等事务,还是一个中心制造部门。但真正的团队是麦金塔团队,对高科技公司而言确实如此。建造伟大的产品,并不需要太多人。一般来说,你只会看到数量不多的软件工程师在开发操作系统。事实并非你想的那样,其实只要很小的一支团队。想象一下,它就像一个艺术家的画室,或者一个艺术家的工作间,乔布斯就是主任工匠师傅,他四处走动查看作品并作出判断,很多时候他的判断就是拒绝某些事情。

我能回忆起很多的夜晚,我们都在办公室呆到 12 点或者凌晨一点,因为工程师一般直到午餐时间才现身,然后一直工作到深夜。一个工程师可能把史蒂夫叫过来,向他展示自己最新写成的软件代码。史蒂夫会在看完之后扔给他一句:「还不是足够好。」他会不断地驱使人们提高对于自己能够做到的水平的期望值。所以,人们做出来的作品往往是自己都没有想到自己能做到的。很大程度上,或许因为乔布斯经常在进行角色切换,一会儿他会以其强大的领袖魅力高度赞许员工,刺激他们,让他们觉得自己正在从事一件伟大的事业;另一方面,他在拒绝作品方面又几乎残酷无情,直到他觉得已经达到完美的水平,可以装进产品——这个例子里,是麦金塔电脑。

他自己也清楚地意识到,对吗?这是个非常棒的发现,他并不是个喜怒无常的疯子?

斯卡利:对,史蒂夫让人难以置信的有系统性。他的办公室里总是有一块白板。他很少亲自去画。他的绘画技能并不突出,但他的品味让人叫绝。

把史蒂夫与其他人区分开来的是,比如比尔·盖茨——同样也非常杰出——但比尔对于卓绝的品味并不感兴趣。他感兴趣的是如何占领这个市场,他愿意去推出任何需要推出的产品,只要能够占领市场份额就行。史蒂夫绝对不会这么做。史蒂夫相信尽善尽美。他愿意在新的产品领域做额外的冒险,但从设计师的角度他总能得到特别的优势。所以,当我思考不同类型的 CEO ——有的是优秀的领导,有的是扭亏为盈的大师,有的是聪明的谈判代表,有的很棒的激励者——但史蒂夫最天才的技巧在于,他们是一个伟大的设计师。在苹果的每一件事情,都可以通过设计的镜头来理解。

在苹果公司,无论是用户体验的外观感觉,还是产品的工业设计,软件的系统设计,甚至是主板线路如何安排,都是经过设计的。机箱内部的电路板必须要让史蒂夫看起来觉得漂亮才行。甚至在设计麦金塔电脑的机箱的时候,史蒂夫故意使它设计的让普通消费者难以拆开,因为他不希望有顾客乱改里面的任何东西。

以他的苛刻标准来看,每件事情都必须经过完美的设计,即便很多用户根本看不到它们存在。

直到建造麦金塔制造工厂的时候,这一标准已经被系统化。麦金塔工厂初中仅计划成为一家自动化工厂,但最终成为了拥有自动分拣机器人的总装和测试工厂。今天这并不新鲜,但在 25 年前可不一样。我还能记得通用汽车 CEO 和罗斯·佩罗(Ross Perot)一起参观麦金塔工厂时的情景。我们的工厂只是进行产品总装和测试,但这一切进行的非常完美。因为这个工厂在设计的时候,就已经想得非常透彻,自动化的工厂就像是一个产品。

现在,如果你快进到今天看看史蒂夫创造的产品,如今的科技已经能做更多的事情,这使得产品能够更微型化、商品化,成本也更便宜。现在苹果已经不再制造任何东西。我在苹果的时候,人们常常称苹果为一家「垂直整合的广告代理公司」,这可不是什么恭维的话。

事实上,到今天大家都是如此。惠普、苹果,以及绝大多数科技公司都不再自己制造,而是将制造完全外包给 EMS ——电子制造服务商,也称 OEM 。

 

耐克是不是很类似?

斯卡利: 是的,大概吧,耐克已经很接近了,我想确实如此。我想如果你回头看看当时日本的消费电子厂商,他们都是类似的公司。

史蒂夫当时非常羡慕的公司是索尼。我们曾去拜访过盛田昭夫(Akio Morita),他和史蒂夫对于美妙的产品有着同样的高标准。我记得他送给我和史蒂夫一人一个第一代索尼 Walkman 随身听。在此之前我们从没见过类似的东西,因为根本就没这样的产品。那是 25 年前的事了,当时乔布斯对它非常着迷。他对 Walkman 做的第一件事就是把它拆开,然后观察他的每一个零部件。研究它的外观和质地,看它是如何制造出来的。

他也被索尼的工厂吸引了。我们进入索尼工厂里面。看见不同的人有不同颜色的制服,有的是红色制服,有的是绿色,有些是蓝色的,取决于他们不同的职能。这些都是非常细心的考虑,而工厂干净的几乎一尘不染。这些事都对史蒂夫产生了很大的冲击。

麦金塔的工厂就和索尼的非常像。虽然员工没有彩色的制服,但和索尼工厂一样优雅考究。史蒂夫当时参考的基准对象就是索尼。他非常想让苹果成为另一个索尼。他不想让公司成为 IBM 那样,也不想成为微软。他想要成为索尼。

但挑战在于,那个时候你还很难造出一款很像索尼的数字产品。一切都是模拟的,日本的公司更擅长模拟电子。你可以去阅读密歇根大学普拉哈拉德( C.K. Prahalad)的书《为未来竞争》(Competing for the Future),史蒂夫也学习了这本书。

日本公司总是先从元件的市场份额开始,所以往往由一家公司支配一种元件,比如这家公司主导着传感器市场,另一家主导了内存,还有的可能主导了硬盘,等等。然后他们会基于已有元件的市场份额优势去生产一种最终产品。这对模拟型电子产品来说行的通,因为核心竞争聚焦在降低产品的成本——无论谁控制了关键元件的成本,都将是巨大的优势。但这对完全数字化的产品是无效的,因为数字电子的价值链主要不在这一块。你不是从某一个元件开始的,而是从用户体验开始的。

你可以看到今天的索尼存在的巨大问题,这个问题已经存在了至少 15 年,自从数字电子产品出现那天起。他们的组织是一种「烟囱管式」的,做软件的人从来不与做硬件的交谈,做硬件的不与做元件的交谈,做元件的不与做设计的交谈。组织之间相互争辩,而且组织又庞大又官僚。

按理说,应该是索尼先造出 iPod ,但他们没有——而是苹果。iPod 是史蒂夫方法论的完美展现,从用户出发,关注一个完整的端到端(end-to-end)系统。

伴随史蒂夫的永远都是端到端系统。他不是设计师,但却是一个很棒的系统思考者。这是在其他电脑公司所看不到的。后者总是趋向于专注在自己熟悉的部分,然后将其他的都外包出去。

如果你看下 iPod 的情形,它从供应链一路直到 iPod 在中国的制造工厂——其复杂程度不亚于设计这个产品本事。同样的完美苛刻的标准,索尼将其放到供应链的挑战,而苹果将其放到为用户设计。这是两种完全不同的看待事情的方式。

控制整盘全局的想法是怎么来的?就是控制一切、整个系统的这个想法。

斯卡利:乔布斯认为如果你开放了系统,人们就会自己动小手脚进行修改,而这些修改是对用户体验的妥协,而他不会交付一种他自己不想提供的用户体验。

 

译文未完,原文如下:

John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript

By Leander Kahney (2:59 am, Oct. 14, 2010)

 

Steve Jobs and John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple. The pair were dubbed the “dynamic duo.”

 

Here’s a full transcript of the interview with John Sculley on the subject of Steve Jobs.

It’s long but worth reading because there are some awesome insights into how Jobs does things.

It’s also one of the frankest CEO interviews you’ll ever read. Sculley talks openly about Jobs and Apple, admits it was a mistake to hire him to run the company and that he knows little about computers. It’s rare for anyone, never mind a big-time CEO, to make such frank assessment of their career in public.

UPDATE: Here’s an audio version of the entire interview made by reader Rick Mansfield using OS X’s text-to-speech system. It’s a bit robotic (Rick used the “Alex” voice, which he says is “more than tolerable to listen to”) but you might enjoy it while commuting or at the gym. The audio is 52 minutes long and it’s a 45MB download. It’s in .m4a format, which will play on any iPod/iPhone, etc. Download it here (Option-Click the link; or right-click and choose “Save Linked File…”).

 

Q: You talk about the “Steve Jobs methodology.” What is Steve’s methodology?

Sculley: Let me give you a framework. The time that I first met Jobs, which was over 25 years ago, he was putting together the same first principles that I call the Steve Jobs methodology of how to build great products.

Steve from the moment I met him always loved beautiful products, especially hardware. He came to my house and he was fascinated because I had special hinges and locks designed for doors. I had studied as an industrial designer and the thing that connected Steve and me was industrial design. It wasn’t computing.

I didn’t know really anything about computers nor did any other people in the world at that time. This was at the beginning of the personal computer revolution, but we both believed in beautiful design and Steve in particular felt that you had to begin design from the vantage point of the experience of the user.

He always looked at things from the perspective of what was the user’s experience going to be? But unlike a lot of people in product marketing in those days, who would go out and do consumer testing, asking people, “What did they want?” Steve didn’t believe in that.

He 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.

Steve had this perspective that always started with the user’s experience; and that industrial design was an incredibly important part of that user impression. And he recruited me to Apple because he believed that the computer was eventually going to become a consumer product. That was an outrageous idea back in the early 1980′s because people thought that personal computers were just smaller versions of bigger computers. That’s how IBM looked at it.

Some of them thought it was more like a game machine because there were early game machines, which were very simple and played on televisions… But Steve was thinking about something entirely different. He felt that the computer was going to change the world and it it was going to become what he called “the bicycle for the mind.” It would enable individuals to have this incredible capability that they never dreamed of before. It was not about game machines. It was not about big computers getting smaller…

He was a person of huge vision. But he was also a person that believed in the precise detail of every step. He was methodical and careful about everything — a perfectionist to the end.

If you go back to the Apple II, Steve was the first one to put a computer into a plastic case, which was called ABS plastic in those days, and actually put the keyboard into the computer. It seems like a pretty simple idea today, looking back at it, but even at the time when he created the first Apple II, in 1977 — that was the beginning of the Jobs methodology. And it showed up in the Macintosh and showed up with his NeXT computer. And it showed up with the future Macs, the iMacs, the iPods and the iPhones.

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.

 

I remember going into Steve’s house and he had almost no furniture in it. He just had a picture of Einstein, whom he admired greatly, and he had a Tiffany lamp and a chair and a bed. He just didn’t believe in having lots of things around but he was incredibly careful in what he selected. The same thing was true with Apple. Here’s someone who starts with the user experience, who believes that industrial design shouldn’t be compared to what other people were doing with technology products but it should be compared to people were doing with jewelry… Go back to my lock example, and hinges and a door with beautiful brass, finely machined, mechanical devices. And I think that reflects everything that I have ever seen that Steve has touched.

When I first saw the Macintosh — it was in the process of being created — it was basically just a series of components over what is called a bread board. It wasn’t anything, but Steve had this ability to reach out to find the absolute best, smartest people he felt were out there. He was extremely charismatic and extremely compelling in getting people to join up with him and he got people to believe in his visions even before the products existed. When I met the Mac team, which eventually got to 100 people but the time I met him it was much smaller, the average age was 22.

These were people who had clearly never built a commercial product before but they believed in Steve and they believed in his vision. He was able to work in multiple levels in parallel.

On one level he is working at the “change the world,” the big concept. At the other level he is working down at the details of what it takes to actually build a product and design the software, the hardware, the systems design and eventually the applications, the peripheral products that connect to it.

In each case, he always reached out for the very best people he could find in the field. And he personally did all the recruiting for his team. He never delegated that to anybody else.

The other thing about Steve was that he did not respect large organizations. He felt that they were bureaucratic and ineffective. He would basically call them “bozos.” That was his term for organizations that he didn’t respect.

The Mac team they were all in one building and they eventually got to one hundred people. Steve had a rule that there could never be more than one hundred people on the Mac team. So if you wanted to add someone you had to take someone out. And the thinking was a typical Steve Jobs observation: “I can’t remember more than a hundred first names so I only want to be around people that I know personally. So if it gets bigger than a hundred people, it will force us to go to a different organization structure where I can’t work that way. The way I like to work is where I touch everything.” Through the whole time I knew him at Apple that’s exactly how he ran his division.

Q: So how did he cope when Apple became bigger? I mean, Apple has tens of thousands of people now.

Sculley: Steve would say: “The organization can become bigger but not the Mac team. The Macintosh was set up as a product development division — and so Apple had a central sales organization, a central back office for all the administration, legal. It had a centralized manufacturing of that sort but the actual team that was building the product, and this is true for high tech products, it doesn’t take a lot of people to build a great product. Normally you will only see a handful of software engineers who are building an operating system. People think that it must be hundreds and hundreds working on an operating system. It really isn’t. It’s really just a small team of people. Think of it like the atelier of an artist. It’s like an artist’s workshop and Steve is the master craftsman who walks around and looks at the work and makes judgments on it and in many cases his judgments were to reject something.

I can remember lots of evenings we would be there until 12 or 1 o’clock in the morning because the engineers usually don’t show up until lunchtime and they work well into the night. And an engineer would bring Steve in and show him the latest software code that he’s written. Steve would look at it and throw it back at him and say: “It’s just not good enough.” And he was constantly forcing people to raise their expectations of what they could do. So people were producing work that they never thought they were capable of. Largely because 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.

Q: He was quite conscious about that, right? This was very well thought out, not just crazy capriciousness?

Sculley: No, Steve was incredibly methodical. He always had a white board in his office. He did not draw himself. He didn’t have particular drawing ability himself, yet he had an incredible taste.

The thing that separated Steve Jobs from other people like Bill Gates — Bill was brilliant too — but Bill was never interested in great taste. He was always interested in being able to dominate a market. He would put out whatever he had to put out there to own that space. Steve would never do that. Steve believed in perfection. Steve was willing to take extraordinary chances in trying new product areas but it was always from the vantage point of being a designer. So when I think about different kinds of CEOs — CEOs who are great leaders, CEOs who are great turnaround artists, great deal negotiators, great people motivators — but the great skill that Steve has is he’s a great designer. Everything at Apple can be best understood through the lens of designing.

Whether it’s designing the look and feel of the user experience, or the industrial design, or the system design and even things like how the boards were laid out. The boards had to be beautiful in Steve’s eyes when you looked at them, even though when he created the Macintosh he made it impossible for a consumer to get in the box because he didn’t want people tampering with anything.

In his level of perfection, everything had to be beautifully designed even if it wasn’t going to be seen by most people.

That went all the way through to the systems when he built the Macintosh factory. It was supposed to be the first automated factory but what it really was a final assembly and test factory with a pick-to-pack robotic automation. It is not as novel today as it was 25 years ago, but I can remember when the CEO of General Motors along with Ross Perot came out just to look at the Macintosh factory. All we were doing was final assembly and test but it was done so beautifully. It was as well thought through in design as a factory, a lights out factory requiring many people as the products were.

Now if you leap forward and look at the products that Steve builds today, today the technology is far more capable of doing things, it can be miniaturized, it is commoditized, it is inexpensive. And Apple no longer builds any products. When I was there, people used to call Apple “a vertically-integrated advertising agency,” which was not a compliment.

Actually today, that’s what everybody is. That’s what HP is; that’s what Apple is; and that’s what most companies are because they outsource to EMS — electronics manufacturing services.

 

Q: Isn’t Nike a good analogy?

Sculley: Yeah, probably, Nike is closer, I think that is true. I think if you look at the Japanese consumer electronics in that era they were all analog companies.

The one that Steve admired was Sony. We used to go visit Akio Morita and he had really the same kind of high-end standards that Steve did and respect for beautiful products. I remember Akio Morita gave Steve and me each one of the first Sony Walkmans. None of us had ever seen anything like that before because there had never been a product like that. This is 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built.

He was fascinated by the Sony factories. We went through them. They would have different people in different colored uniforms. Some would have red uniforms, some green, some blue, depending on what their functions were. It was all carefully thought out and the factories were spotless. Those things made a huge impression on him.

The Mac factory was exactly like that. They didn’t have colored uniforms, but it was every bit as elegant as the early Sony factories that we saw. Steve’s point of reference was Sony at the time. He really wanted to be Sony. He didn’t want to be IBM. He didn’t want to be Microsoft. He wanted to be Sony.

The challenge was in that era you couldn’t build digital products like Sony. Everything was analog and the Japanese companies approached things and you can read Prahalad’s book, from University of Michigan, he studied it. (Note: Sculley is referring to C.K. Prahalad’s “Competing for the Future” (1994))

The Japanese always started with the market share of components first. So one would dominate, let’s say sensors and someone else would dominate memory and someone else hard drive and things of that sort. They would then build up their market strengths with components and then they would work towards the final product. That was fine with analog electronics where you are trying to focus on cost reduction — and whoever controlled the key component costs was at an advantage. It didn’t work at all for digital electronics because digital electronics you’re starting at the wrong end of the value chain. You are not starting with the components. You are starting with the user experience.

And you can see today the tremendous problem Sony has had for at least the last 15 years as the digital consumer electronics industry has emerged. They have been totally stove-piped in their organization. The software people don’t talk to the hardware people, who don’t talk to the component people, who don’t talk to the design people. They argue between their organizations and they are big and bureaucratic.

Sony should have had the iPod but they didn’t — it was Apple. The iPod is a perfect example of Steve’s methodology of starting with the user and looking at the entire end-to-end system.

It was always an end-to-end system with Steve. He was not a designer but a great systems thinker. That is something you don’t see with other companies. They tend to focus on their piece and outsource everything else.

If you look at the state of the iPod, the supply chain going all the way over to iPod city in China – it is as sophisticated as the design of the product itself. The same standards of perfection are just as challenging for the supply chain as they are for the user design. It is an entirely different way of looking at things.

Q: Where did he get the idea for controlling the whole widget? The idea to be in charge of everything, the whole system?

Sculley: Steve believed that if you opened the system up people would start to make little changes and those changes would be compromises in the experience and he would not be able to deliver the kind of experience that he wanted.

Q: But this control extends to every aspect of the product – even to opening the box. The experience of opening the box is designed by Steve Jobs.

Sculley: The original Mac really had no operating system. People keep saying, “Well why didn’t we license the operating system?” The simple answer is that there wasn’t one. It was all done with lots of tricks with hardware and software. Microprocessors in those days were so weak compared to what we had today. In order to do graphics on a screen you had to consume all of the power of the processor. Then you had to glue chips all around it to enable you to offload other functions. Then you had to put what are called “calls to ROM.” There were 400 calls to ROM, which were all the little subroutines that had to be offloaded into the ROM because there was no way you could run these in real time. All these things were neatly held together. It was totally remarkable that you could deliver a machine when you think the first processor on the Mac was less than three MIPs (Million Instructions Per Second), which today would be — I can’t think of any device which has three MIPS, or equivalent. Even your digital watch is at least 200 or 300 times more powerful than the first Macintosh. (NOTE. For comparison, today’s entry-level iMac uses an Intel Core i3 chip, rated at over 40,000 MIPS!)

It’s hard to conceive how he was able to accomplish so much with so little in those days. So for someone to build consumer products in the 1980s beyond what we did with the first Mac was literally impossible. In the 1990s with Moore’s Law and other things, the homogenization of technology, it became possible to begin to see what consumer products would look like but you couldn’t really build them. It really hasn’t been until the turn of the century that you sort of got the crossover between the cost of components, the commoditization and the miniaturization that you need for consumer products. The performance suddenly reached the point where you could actually build things that we can call digital consumer products. Because Steve’s design methodology was so correct even 25 years ago he was able to make a design methodology – his first principles — of user experience, focus on just a few things, look at the system, never compromise, compare yourself not to other electronic products but compare yourself to the finest pieces of jewelry — all those criteria — no one else was thinking about that. Everyone else was just going through an evolution of cheap products that are getting more powerful and cheaper to build. Like the MP3 player. Remember when he came in with the iPod, there were thousands of MP3 players out there. Can anyone else remember any of the others?

His tradeoff was he believed that he had to control the entire system. He made every decision. The boxes were locked.

Steve Jobs circa 1984. Illustration by Matthew Phelan

Q: But the motivation for this is the user experience?

Sculley: Absolutely. The user experience has to go through the whole end-to-end system, whether it’s desktop publishing or iTunes. It is all part of the end-to-end system. It is also the manufacturing. The supply chain. The marketing. The stores. I remember I was brought in because I had a design background and because I was a marketer. I had product marketing experience. Not because I knew anything about computers.

Q: I find that pretty fascinating. You say in your book that first and foremost you wanted to make Apple a “product marketing company.”

Sculley: Right. Steve and I spent months getting to know each other before I joined Apple. He had no exposure to marketing other than what he picked up on his own. This is sort of typical of Steve. When he knows something is going to be important he tries to absorb as much as he possibly can.

One of the things that fascinated him: I described to him that there’s not much difference between a Pepsi and a Coke, but we were outsold 9 to 1. Our job was to convince people that Pepsi was a big enough decision that they ought to pay attention to it, and eventually switch. We decided that we had to treat Pepsi like a necktie. In that era people cared what necktie they wore. The necktie said: “Here’s how I want you to see me.” So we have to make Pepsi like a nice necktie. When you are holding a Pepsi in your hand, its says, “Here’s how I want you to see me.”

We did some research and we discovered that when people were going to serve soft drinks to a friend in their home, if they had Coca Cola in the fridge, they would go out to the kitchen, open the fridge, take out the Coke bottle, bring it out, put it on the table and pour a glass in front of their guests.

If it was a Pepsi, they would go out in to the kitchen, take it out of the fridge, open it, and pour it in a glass in the kitchen, and only bring the glass out. The point was people were embarrassed to have someone know that they were serving Pepsi. Maybe they would think it was Coke because Coke had a better perception. It was a better necktie. Steve was fascinated by that.

We talked a lot about how perception leads reality and how if you are going to create a reality you have to be able to create the perception. We did it with something called the Pepsi generation.

I had learned through a lecture that Dr. Margaret Mead had given, an anthropologist in the 60’s, that the most important fact for marketers was going to be the emergence of an affluent middle class — what we call the Baby Boomers, who are now turning 60. They were the first people to have discretionary income. They could go out and spend money for things other than what they had to have.

When we created Pepsi generation it was created with them in mind. It was always focusing on the user of the drink, never the drink.

Coke always focused on the drink. We focused on the person using it. We showed people riding dirt bikes, waterskiing, or kite flying, hang gliding — doing different things. And at the end of it there would always be a Pepsi as a reward. This all happened when color television was first coming in. We were the first company to do lifestyle marketing. The first and the longest-running lifestyle campaign was — and still is — Pepsi.

We did it was just as color television was coming in and when large-screen TVs were coming in, like 19-inch screens. We didn’t go to people who made TV commercials because they were making commercials for little tiny black-and-white screens. We went out to Hollywood and got the best movie directors and said we want you to make 60-second movies for us. They were lifestyle movies. The whole thing was to create the perception that Pepsi was number one because you couldn’t be number one unless you thought like number one. You had to appear like number one.

Steve loved those ideas. A lot of the stuff we were doing and our marketing was focused on when we bring the Mac to market. It has to be done at such a high level of perception of expectation that he will sort of tease people to want to find out what the product is capable of. The product couldn’t do very much in the beginning. Almost all of the technology was used for the user experience. In fact we did get a backlash where people said it’s a toy. It doesn’t do anything. But eventually it did as the technology got more powerful.

 

Q: Of course, Apple is famous for the same kind of lifestyle advertising now. It shows people living an enviable lifestyle, courtesy of Apple’s products. Hip young people grooving to iPods…

Sculley. I don’t take any credit for it. What Steve’s brilliance is, is his ability to see something and then understand it and then figure out how to put into the context of his design methodology — everything is design.

An anecdotal story, a friend of mine was at meetings at Apple and Microsoft on the same day and this was in the last year, so this was recently. He went into the Apple meeting (he’s a vendor for Apple) and when he went into the meeting at Apple as soon as the designers walked in the room, everyone stopped talking because the designers are the most respected people in the organization. Everyone knows the designers speak for Steve because they have direct reporting to him. It is only at Apple where design reports directly to the CEO.

Later in the day he was at Microsoft. When he went into the Microsoft meeting, everybody was talking and then the meeting starts and no designers ever walk into the room. All the technical people are sitting there trying to add their ideas of what ought to be in the design. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Microsoft hires some of the smartest people in the world. They are known for their incredibly challenging test they put people through to get hired. It’s not an issue of people being smart and talented. It’s that design at Apple is at the highest level of the organization, led by Steve personally. Design at other companies is not there. It is buried down in the bureaucracy somewhere… In bureaucracies many people have the authority to say no, not the authority to say yes. So you end up with products with compromises. This goes back to Steve’s philosophy that the most important decisions are the things you decide NOT to do, not what you decide to do. It’s the minimalist thinking again.

Having been around in the early days, I don’t see any change in Steve’s first principles — except he’s gotten better and better at it.

Another example, which has been brilliant, is what he did with the retail stores.

He brought one of the top retailers in the world on his board to learn about retail (Mickey Drexler from The Gap, who advised Jobs to build a prototype store before launch). Not only did he learn about retail, I’ve never been in a better store than an Apple store. It has the highest revenue per square foot of any store in the world but it’s not just the revenue, it’s the experience.

Apple stores are packed. You can go to the Sony center — go in the San Francisco center at the Moscone. There’s nobody there. You can go into the Nokia store, they have one in New York on 57th St. There’s nobody there.

But other people have the stores. They have the products to look at. You can touch and feel them but you walk into an Apple store and it’s just like an amazing experience. It is as much the people who are there shopping alongside you.

Again, it is like necktie products. It’s like being in an Apple store says, “here’s how I want you to see me. I’m here. I’m at the genius bar. I’m trying out the products. Look at me: I’m like the other people in the store.”

The user experience is taken all the way from the experience of using the product, to the advertising of how it is presented, to the design of the product. Steve is legendary for his fit and finish requirements on a product. Looking at the radius and parting lines and bezels and all these little details that designers pay attention to.

He will reject something which no one will see as a problem. But because his standards are so high, people sit there and say, “How does Apple do it? How does apple have such incredible products?”

I remember one of the things we talked about, Steve used to ask me: “How did Pepsi get such great advertising?” He asked if it was the agencies that you picked? And I said what it really is. First of all you have to have an exciting product and you have to be able to present it as an opportunity to do bold advertising.

But great advertising comes from great clients. The best creative people want to work for the best clients. If you are a client who doesn’t appreciate great work, or a client who won’t take risks and try new stuff, or a client who can’t get excited about the creative, then you’re the wrong kind of client.

Most big companies delegate it way down in the organization. The CEO rarely knows anything about the advertising except when it’s presented, when it’s all done. That’s not how we did it at Pepsi, not how we did it at Apple, and I’m sure it’s not how Steve does it now. He always adamantly involved in the advertising, the design and everything.

Q: Right. I hear Lee Clow flies up to Apple every week to meet with Jobs.

Sculley: Once you realize that Apple leads through design, than you can start to see, that’s what makes it different. Look at the stores, at the stairs in the stores. They are made of some special glass that had to be fabricated. And that’s so typical of the way he thinks. Everyone around him knows he beats to a different drummer. He sets standards that are entirely different than any other CEO would set.

He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. It’s not simplistic. It’s simplified. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity.

If you are someone who doesn’t care about it, you end up with simplistic results. It’s amazing to me how many companies make that mistake. Take the Microsoft Zune. I remember going to CES when Microsoft launched Zune and it was literally so boring that people didn‘t even go over to look at it… The Zunes were just dead. It was like someone had just put aging vegetables into a supermarket. Nobody wanted to go near it. I’m sure they were very bright people but it’s just built from a different philosophy. The legendary statement about Microsoft, which is mostly true, is that they get it right the third time. Microsoft’s philosophy is to get it out there and fix it later. Steve would never do that. He doesn’t get anything out there until it is perfected.

 

Q: Let’s talk about advertising, which is so important to Apple. In you book you talk about ‘strategic advertising’ – advertising as strategy. That’s a very interesting idea…

Sculley: At the time I came to Silicon Valley there was no advertising… The only one who was really interested in doing advertising was Apple. H-P didn’t advertise in those days. No one advertised in those days on a big brand basis. One of the things that I was recruited to Apple to help do was to bring big brand advertising to Apple.

The Apple logo was multicolor because the Apple II was the first color computer. No one else could do color, so that’s why they put the color blocks into the logo. If you wanted to print the logo in a magazine ad or on a package you could print it with four colors but Steve being Steve insisted on six colors. So whenever the Apple logo was printed, it was always printed in six colors. It added another 30 to 40 percent to the cost of everything, but that’s what Steve wanted. That’s what we always did. He was a perfectionist even from the early days.

Q: That drives some people a little bit crazy. Did it drive you crazy?

Sculley: It’s okay to be driven a little crazy by someone who is so consistently right. What I’ve learned in high tech is that there’s a very, very thin line between success and failure. It’s an industry where you are constantly taking risks, particularly if you’re a company like Apple, which is constantly living out on the edge.

Your chance of being on one side of that line or the other side of the line is about equal. Sometimes… he was wrong tactically on a number of things. He wouldn’t put a hard drive in the Macintosh. When someone asked him about communications, he just threw a little disk across the room and said, “That’s all we’ll ever need.” On the other hand, Steve led the development of what was called AppleTalk and AppleLink. AppleTalk was the communications that enabled the Macintosh to communicate to the laser printer that enabled… desktop publishing.

AppleTalk was brilliant in its day. It was as brilliant as the Macintosh. It was another example of using a minimalist approach and solving a problem that no one else thought was a problem that needed to be solved. Steve was solving problems back in the 80s that turned out 15, 20 years later to be exactly the right problems to be working on. The challenge was we were decades away from when the technology would be homogenized enough and powerful enough to be able to make all those things mass market. He was just, in many cases, he was way ahead of his time.

Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO. I was not the first choice that Steve wanted to be the CEO. He was the first choice, but the board wasn’t prepared to make him CEO when he was 25, 26 years old.

They exhausted all of the obvious high-tech candidates to be CEO… Ultimately, David Rockefeller, who was a shareholder in Apple, said let’s try a different industry and let’s go to the top head hunter in the United States who isn’t in high tech: Gerry Roche.

They went and recruited me. I came in not knowing anything about computers. The idea was that Steve and I were going to work as partners. He would be the technical person and I would be the marketing person.

The reason why I said it was a mistake to have hired me as CEO was Steve always wanted to be CEO. It would have been much more honest if the board had said, “Let’s figure out a way for him to be CEO. You could focus on the stuff that you bring and he focuses on the stuff he brings.”

Remember, he was the chairman of the board, the largest shareholder and he ran the Macintosh division, so he was above me and below me. It was a little bit of a façade and my guess is that we never would have had the breakup if the board had done a better job of thinking through not just how do we get a CEO to come and join the company that Steve will approve of, but how do we make sure that we create a situation where this thing is going to be successful over time?

My sense is that when Steve left (in 1986, after the board rejected his bid to replace Sculley as CEO) I still didn’t know very much about computers.

My decision was first to fix the company, but I didn’t know how to fix companies and to get it back to be successful again.

All the stuff we did then were all his ideas. I understood his methodology. We never changed it. So we didn’t license the products. We focused on industrial design. We actually built up our own in-house design organization, which they have to this day. We developed the PowerBook… We developed QuickTime. All these things were built around Steve’s philosophy… It was all about sales and marketing and the evolution of the products.

All the design ideas were clearly Steve’s. The one who should really be given credit for all that stuff while I was there is really Steve.

I made two really dumb mistakes that I really regret because I think they would have made a difference to Apple. One was when we are at the end of the life of the Motorola processor… we took two of our best technologists and put them on a team to go look and recommend what we ought to do.

They came back and they said it doesn’t make any difference which RISC architecture you pick, just pick the one that you think you can get the best business deal with. But don’t use CISC. CISC is complex instructions set. RISC is reduced instruction set.

So Intel lobbied heavily to get us to stay with them… (but) we went with IBM and Motorola with the PowerPC. And that was a terrible decision in hindsight. If we could have worked with Intel, we would have gotten onto a more commoditized component platform for Apple, which would have made a huge difference for Apple during the 1990s. In the 1990s, the processors were getting powerful enough that you could run all of your technology and software, and that’s when Microsoft took off with their Windows 3.1.

Prior to that you had to do it in software and hardware, the way Apple did. When the processors became powerful enough, it just became a commodity and the software can handle all those subroutines we had to do in hardware.

So we totally missed the boat. Intel would spend 11 billion dollars and evolve the Intel processor to do graphics… and it was a terrible technical decision. I wasn’t technically qualified, unfortunately, so I went along with the recommendation.

The other even bigger failure on my part was if I had thought about it better I should have gone back to Steve.

I wanted to leave Apple. At the end of 10 years, I didn’t want to stay any longer. I wanted to go back to the east coast. I told the board I wanted to leave and IBM was trying to recruit me at the time. They asked me to stay. I stayed and then they later fired me. I really didn’t want to be there any longer.

The board decided that we ought to sell Apple. So I was given the assignment to go off and try to sell Apple in 1993. So I went off and tried to sell it to AT&T to IBM and other people. We couldn’t get anyone who wanted to buy it. They thought it was just too high risk because Microsoft and Intel were doing well then. But if I had any sense, I would have said: “Why don’t we go back to the guy who created the whole thing and understands it. Why don’t we go back and hire Steve to come back and run the company?”

It’s so obvious looking back now that that would have been the right thing to do. We didn’t do it, so I blame myself for that one. It would have saved Apple this near-death experience they had.

One of the issues that got me fired was that there was a split inside the company as to what the company ought to do. There was one contingent that wanted Apple to be more of a business computer company. They wanted to open up the architecture and license it. There was another contingent, which I was a part of, that wanted to take the Apple methodology — the user experience and stuff like that — and move into the next generation of products, like the Newton.

But the Newton failed. It was a new direction. It was so fundamentally different. The result was I got fired and they had two more CEOs who both licensed the technology but… they shut down the industrial design. They turned out computers that looked like everybody else’s computers and they no longer cared about advertising, public relations. They just obliterated everything. We’re just going to become an engineering type company and they almost drove the company into bankruptcy during that.

I’m actually convinced that if Steve hadn’t come back when he did — if they had waited another six months — Apple would have been history. It would have been gone, absolutely gone.

What did he do? He turned it right back to where it was — as though he never left. He went all the way back.

So during my era, really everything we did was following his philosophy — his design methodology.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t as good at it as he was. Timing in life is everything. It just wasn’t a time when you could build consumer products and he wasn’t having any more luck at NeXT than we were having at Apple — and he was better at it than we were. The one thing he did do better: he built the better next-generation operating system, which eventually was merged into Apple’s operating system.

 

Q: People say he killed the Newton – your pet project – out of revenge. Do you think he did it for revenge?

Sculley: Probably. He won’t talk to me, so I don’t know.

The Newton was a terrific idea, but it was too far ahead of its time. The Newton actually saved Apple from going bankrupt. Most people don’t realize in order to build Newton, we had to build a new generation microprocessor. We joined together with Olivetti and a man named Herman Hauser, who had started Acorn computer over in the U.K. out of Cambridge university. And Herman designed the ARM processor, and Apple and Olivetti funded it. Apple and Olivetti owned 47 percent of the company and Herman owned the rest. It was designed around Newton, around a world where small miniaturized devices with lots of graphics, intensive subroutines and all of that sort of stuff… when Apple got into desperate financial situation, it sold its interest in ARM for $800 million. If it had kept it, the company went on to become an $8 or $10 billion company. It’s worth a lot more today. That’s what gave Apple the cash to stay alive.

So while Newton failed as a product, and probably burnt through $100 million, it more than made it up with the ARM processor… It’s in all the products today, including Apple’s products like the iPod and iPhone. It’s the Intel of its day.

Apple is not really a technology company. Apple is really a design company. If you look at the iPod, you will see that many of the technologies that are in the iPod are ones that Apple bought from other people and put together. Even when Apple created Macintosh, all the ideas came out of Xerox and Apple recruited some of the key people out of Xerox.

Everything Apple does fails the first time because it is out on the bleeding edge. Lisa failed before the Mac. The Macintosh laptop failed before the PowerBook. It was not unusual for products to fail. The mistake we made with the Newton was we over-hyped the advertising. We hyped the expectation of what the product could actually, so it became a celebrated failure.

Q: I want to ask about Jobs’ heroes. You say Edwin Land was one of his heroes?

Sculley: Yeah, I remember when Steve and I went to meet Dr Land.

Dr Land had been kicked out of Polaroid. He had his own lab on the Charles River in Cambridge. It was a fascinating afternoon because we were sitting in this big conference room with an empty table. Dr Land and Steve were both looking at the center of the table the whole time they were talking. Dr Land was saying: “I could see what the Polaroid camera should be. It was just as real to me as if it was sitting in front of me before I had ever built one.”

And Steve said: “Yeah, that’s exactly the way I saw the Macintosh.” He said if I asked someone who had only used a personal calculator what a Macintosh should be like they couldn’t have told me. There was no way to do consumer research on it so I had to go and create it and then show it to people and say now what do you think?

Both of them had this ability to not invent products, but discover products. Both of them said these products have always existed – it’s just that no one has ever seen them before. We were the ones who discovered them. The Polaroid camera always existed and the Macintosh always existed — it’s a matter of discovery. Steve had huge admiration for Dr. Land. He was fascinated by that trip.

Q: What other heroes did he talk about?

Sculley: He became very close with Ross Perot.

Ross Perot came and visited Apple several times and visited the Macintosh factory. Ross was a systems thinker. He created EDS (Electronic Data Systems) and was an entrepreneur. He believed in big ideas; change the world ideas. He was another one.

Akio Morita was clearly one of his great heroes. He was an entrepreneur who built Sony and did it with great products — Steve is a products person.

Q: How about Hewlett-Packard? Jobs has said in the early days that HP was a big influence when he worked there briefly with Woz.

Sculley: HP was not a model for Apple. I’ve never heard that. HP had the “HP way,” where Bill Hewitt and David Packard would wander people would leave their work out on their desk at night and they’d wonder around and look at it. So it was very open and it was an engineers company. Apple is a designers company, not an engineers company. HP was never in those days known for great design. It was known for great engineering, not great design. No, I don’t remember HP being a model for Apple at all.

Q: Didn’t Jobs also manage by walking around?

Sculley: He did that. Everyone did that in Silicon Valley. That was what HP contributed to the way Silicon Valley does business. There are certain characteristics that all Silicon Valley startups have and that’s one of them. That clearly came from HP.

HP was the father of the walking around style of management. And HP was the father of the engineer being at the top of the hierarchy in companies.

Engineers are far more important than managers at Apple — and designers are at the top of the hierarchy. Even when you look at software, the best designers like Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Capps, were called software designers, not software engineers because they were designing in software. It wasn’t just that their code worked. It had to be beautiful code. People would go in and admire it. It’s like a writer. People would look at someone’s style. They would look at their code writing style and they were considered just beautiful geniuses at the way they wrote code or the way they designed hardware.

Q: Steve Jobs is famous for being a student of design. He’d run around looking intently at all the Mercedes in the Apple car park.

Sculley: Steve was a fanatic on looking at how things were printed: the fonts, the colors, the layouts. I remember once after Steve had left, one of our tasks was to go and build the business in Japan. Apple had a $4 million of turnover and we were being sued by the Japanese FTC and people saying we ought to close the office down — it’s losing money. I remember going over and to make a long story short, four years later we were a $2 billion dollar business and the number two company in Japan selling computers.

A big part of it was that we had to learn to make products the way the Japanese wanted products. We were assembling products in Singapore and sending them to Japan. And the first thing the customer saw when they opened the box was the manual, but the manual was turned the wrong way around – and the whole batch was rejected. In the United States, we’d never experienced anything like that. If you put the manual in this way or that way — what difference did it make?

Well, it made a huge difference in Japan. Their standards are just different than ours. If you look at Apple and the attention to detail. The “open me first,” the way the box is designed, the fold lines, the quality of paper, the printing — Apple just goes to extraordinary lengths. It looks like you are buying something from Bulgari or one of the highest in jewelry firms. At the time, it was the Japanese.

We used to study Italian designers when we were looking for selecting a design company before we selected Hartmut Esslinger from Frog to do what was called the Snow White design. We were looking at Italian car designers. We really did study the designs of cars that they had done and looking at the fit and finish and the materials and the colors and all of that. At that time, nobody was doing this in Silicon Valley. It was the furthest thing on the planet from Silicon Valley back then in the 80’s. Again, this is not my idea. I could relate to it because of my interest and background in design, but it was totally driven by Steve.

At the time when Steve was gone and I took over I was highly criticized. They said, “How could they put a guy who knows nothing about computers in charge of a computer company?” What a lot of people didn’t realize was that Apple wasn’t just about computers. It was about designing products and designing marketing and it was about positioning.

People used to call us a “vertically-integrated advertising agency” and that was a huge cheap shot. Engineers couldn’t think of anything worse to say about a company than to say it was a “vertically-integrated advertising agency.” Well, guess what? They all are today. That’s the model. The supply chain is managed somewhere else.

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