You can’t talk about profit; you have to talk about emotional experiences.
On our long walks together around the Apple buildings, Steve hardly ever talked about himself (except, on rare occasions, about his relationship problems), and he talked about other people almost exclusively in terms of their work and ideas, or about how to deal with some particular person who was in some way not measuring up. Mostly, the conversation was focused on products and on Apple.
During one of these walks in the early days, Steve and I explored the possibility of turning Apple into an employee-owned company. I thought, “Wow, will the board go crazy over that idea!” But I had to agree that this would make Steve’s emphasis on the product even more successful. However, based on the feedback we got, it seemed almost impossible to make this happen, particularly with large blocks of Apple stock held by a few people. But it certainly made sense for the type of company we wanted to build.
Steve always admired United Parcel Service (UPS), the global delivery company with the familiar brown trucks. (In Venice, deliveries are made by UPS boats painted in the same brown color.) The attraction for Steve was that UPS is one of the most notable employee-owned companies. Originally started by two teenagers as a message delivery service in 1907—before most people had telephones—it has since 1945 been mostly owned by its employees.
Early ownership ...