updated 11:15 am EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Ouster from Apple forced Jobs to adapt
A journalist writing for Fast Company, Rob Schlender, says he has discovered hours of unreleased audio interviews with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In all the interviews span a period of 25 years. "Many [tapes] I had never replayed -- a couple hadn't even been transcribed before now," says Schlender. "Some were interrupted by his kids bolting into the kitchen as we talked. During others, he would hit the pause button himself before saying something he feared might come back to bite him."
A good deal of the interviews were recorded during his time at NeXT and Pixar, in between his ejection from Apple in 1985 and his return to the company in the late '90s. Schlender comments that Jobs learned adaptability, as well as how to structure a business, and the usefulness of partnerships. Pixar is said to have given Jobs part of the direction to trim down Apple's product lines and produce a "decade-long string of hits," beginning with the iMac and iPod.
Jobs' wife and kids are noted to have have had a calming effect, and moreover informed him what market Pixar was trying to reach. "In hindsight, Jobs's having a real family might have been the best thing to happen to Pixar. He was most effective as a marketer and a business leader when he could think of himself as the primary customer," says Schlender.
Pixar initially had trouble after Jobs bought it from George Lucas in 1985 for $5 million, but Jobs eventually scaled the business down and narrowed its focus to the animation industry. As a part of the restructuring, creative and technological jobs were valued equally, and Jobs is said to have carried over that philosophy to Apple, where "designers and technologists" were a part of his main team.
Jobs once mentioned that his management style was based on The Beatles. "The reason I say that is because each of the key people in the Beatles kept the others from going off in the directions of their bad tendencies," he explained. "It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts."