Steve Jobs, in His Own Words

Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and former CEO who since 1976 has always spoken his mind -- to the delight of his advocates and the dismay of his detractors -- has died. And for Jobs, who's resume twice cites “the vision thing," has given us some truly memorable quotes.

Reprinted with permission from the forthcoming book "I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words," edited by George Beahm, Agate B2, November 2011.

Anxiety before iPad Debut

Even though we’ve been using these internally for some time and working on it for a few years, you still have butterflies in your stomach the week before…the night before introduction…the launch.… You never know until you get it into your customers’ hands and they tell you what they think. The feedback we’ve got has been off the charts. We think this is a profound game-changer. 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 life and what they do. People are getting it very quickly.—Apple event for iPhone 4.0 software, April 8, 2010

Apple’s Existence

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What if Apple didn’t exist? Think about it. Time wouldn’t get published next week. Some 70% of the newspapers in the U.S. wouldn’t publish tomorrow morning. Some 60% of the kids wouldn’t have computers; 64% of the teachers wouldn’t have computers. More than half the Websites created on Macs wouldn’t exist. So there’s something worth saving here. See?Time, August 18, 1997


The problem is, in hardware you can’t build a computer that’s twice as good as anyone else’s anymore. Too many people know how to do it. You’re lucky if you do one that’s one-and-a-third times better or one-and-a-half times better. And then it’s only six months before everybody else catches up.Rolling Stone, June 16, 1994

Computers as Tools

What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.Memory & Imagination, 1990

Customer Loyalty

I get asked a lot why Apple’s customers are so loyal. It’s not because they belong to the Church of Mac! That’s ridiculous. It’s because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. And you think, “Wow, someone over there at Apple actually thought of this!”…. There’s almost no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac. And you have it with an iPod.Bloomberg Businessweek, October 12, 2004


Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could—I’m searching for the right word— could, could die.Time, August 18, 1997

Dent In the Universe

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.—CNNMoney/Fortune, May 25, 1993


Apple’s the only company left in this industry that designs the whole widget. Hardware, software, developer relations, marketing. It turns out that that, in my opinion, is Apple’s greatest strategic advantage. We didn’t have a plan, so it looked like this was a tremendous deficit. But with a plan, it’s Apple’s core strategic advantage, if you believe that there’s still room for innovation in this industry, which I do, because Apple can innovate faster than anyone else.Time, October 10, 1999

Jobs’s Curriculum Vitae (Résumé)

Objective: I’m looking for a fixer-upper with a solid foundation. Am willing to tear down walls, build bridges, and light fires. I have great experience, lots of energy, a bit of that “vision thing” and I’m not afraid to start from the beginning. Skills: That “vision thing,” public speaking, motivating teams, and helping to create really amazing products.—Steve Jobs’s résumé, a placeholder ad to promote iTools, on, January 5, 2000

Jobs’s Legacy at Apple

If Apple becomes a place where computers are a commodity item, where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that an has ever invented, I’ll feel I have lost Apple. But if I’m a million miles away, and all those people still feel those things… then I will feel that my genes are still there.Newsweek, September 29, 1985