When you're designing and inventing the way I did, every minute of your life is put - every neuron in your brain into trying to think about the little code and how you can maybe have one less line of code and a little bit more straightforward from the beginning to the answer. And you don't have time to think about companies and products and how would I build this. So Steve Jobs and I were a very necessary pair.
All through time in Apple products, even from our very first ones, that's how he [ Steve Jobs] looked at the world, that you don't really want a piece of technology, a certain type of chip. What you want is a solution to a problem in life, some cause, some issue that you want in your life that'll help you. And it's how do you make that almost one step - say it and it happens.
I saw lots of music devices. I loved playing with music devices. And like most of the world, I thought of a music device as a music device. Steve Jobs tends to look beyond that, and he doesn't see a music device as having any importance at all,he sees music itself to a person as a being the important thing.
I acquired a central ability that was to help me through my entire career: patience. I'm serious. Patience is usually so underrated. I mean, for all these projects, from third grade all the way to eighth grade, I just learned things gradually, figuring out how to put electronic devices together without so much as cracking a book... I learned to not worry so much about the outcome, but to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it.
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As soon as he said it was okay to do engineering, that really freed me up. My psychological block was really that I didn't want to start a company. Because I was just afraid. In business and politics, I wasn't going to be a real strong participant. I wasn't going to tell other people how to do things. I wasn't going to run things ever in my life. I was a non-political person and I was a very non-forceful person. It dated back to a lot of things that happened during the Vietnam War. But I just couldn't run a company.
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When you're about 20 years old, you kind of think out - I figured out that it was better - less good to be successful and better to have a laughing life, laugh more than you frown all through your life. Because on the day you die, which one would you have said had the happier life, the better life? And so I put a lot of humor in my life.
I do not like to talk about the future. I don't like to be one of those people. It's so easy to have a very vague idea and say, oh, computers will be 3D-ish and then 10 years later I'll say I predicted it 10 years ahead. I don't think that's honest and I don't think that's valid and worth anything.
I have never left the company. I keep a tiny residual salary to this day because that's where my loyalty should be forever. I want to be an "employee" on the company data base. I won't engineer, I'd rather be basically retired, due to my family. (talking about his relationship with Apple Inc)
I started passing out the schematics and the code listings for the computer, telling everyone here it is. It's small, it's simple, it's inexpensive: Build your own. No idea to start a company. Steve Jobs came by later and say, you know, people are interested. Why don't we start a company?
I was kind of amazed because I first found out about blue boxes in an article in Esquire magazine labeled fiction. That article was the most truthful article I've ever read in my life. That article was so truthful, and it told about a mistake in the phone company that let you dial phone calls anywhere in the world. What an amazing thing to discover.
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Like people including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted, I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people. If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently,
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You have to seek the simplest implementation of a problem solution in order to know when you've reached your limit in that regard. Then it's easy to make tradeoffs, to back off a little, for performance reasons. You can simplify and simplify and simplify yet still find other incredible ways to simplify further.
Pretty much I want to be Steve Wozniak, who I decided I was at a young age and not change. I want to go back to school and get my college degree like I would have without Apple.I want to teach young kids like I would have without Apple. And part of it is I'm accessible. I'm open. And so many people e-mail me and get me. And as much as I can I try to answer people, listen to them, be polite and say yes.
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Steve Jobs made the case to Xerox PARC execs directly that they had great technology but that Apple knew how to make it affordable enough to change the world. This was very open. In the end, Xerox got a large block of Apple stock for sharing the technology. That's not stealing outright.
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Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on? I don't know about that ... But when I got that thinking in my head about if I'm going to be treated in the future as a pet to these smart machines ... well I'm going to treat my own pet dog really nice.
I had no money. I had no savings account.So I would bring down my color TV set, a Sears TV with a cable snaked into it - they had no video-in back in those days - and hooked it up to the circuit of very few chips and then a little keyboard you could type on. And I was trying to impress people with how did he do it with fewer chips than anyone could ever imagine?
I went and I started teaching computers to young kids, to fifth graders at first, later to sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth graders. I also started teaching teachers. And that was back in the days when we'd wire up the labs ourselves and crimp on the Ethernet connectors and then we would...
I hope you're as lucky as I am. The world needs inventors--great ones. You can be one. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it really takes, it's within your reach. And it'll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It'll be worth it, I promise.