What Steve Jobs is like in a meeting 21 Jul 2006
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Steve Kemper was given complete behind-the-scenes access to Dean Kamen and the Segway design team during the machine’s development and wrote about it in Code Name Ginger. In this excerpt from the book, Kemper describes the meeting where Steve Jobs gave his first impressions.
“Good morning to everyone,” said Tim, smiling at the front of the table. “Before we start, we’d like to ask you to hold your questions until after each presentation…Each pitch is about ten minutes.”…
“I can’t do that,” said Jobs. “I’m not built that way. So if you want me to leave, I will, but I can’t just sit here.”
“Because I see a big problem here,” said Jobs. “I was thinking about it all night. I couldn’t sleep after Dean came over.” There were notes scribbled on the palm of his hand. He explained his experience with the iMac, how there were four models now but he had launched with just one color to give his designers, salespeople, and the public an absolute focus. He had waited seven months to introduce the other models.
“What does everyone think about the design?” asked Doerr, switching subjects…
“I think it sucks!” said Jobs.
His vehemence made Tim pause. “Why?” he asked, a bit stiffly.
“It just does.”
“In what sense?” said Tim, getting his feet back under him. “Give me a clue.”
“Its shape is not innovative, it’s not elegant, it doesn’t feel anthropomorphic,” said Jobs, ticking off three of his design mantras.
“You have this incredibly innovative machine but it looks very traditional.” The last word delivered like a stab…”There are design firms out there that could come up with things we’ve never thought of,” Jobs continued, “things that would make you shit in your pants.”
“I understand the appeal of a slow burn,” he concluded, “but personally I’m a big-bang guy.” For the first time that day he smiled. “The risk with a fast burn,” he continued, “is that it exposes you to your enemies. You’re going to need a lot of money to fight thieves.”
[thanks, John Koetsier]