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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Steve Describes His Product-Creation Process

In 2007, Steve introduced the iPhone to the world. In his very lengthy (but, as always, gripping) remarks, he described the motivation and process that led to the new phone. The following is Steve Jobs, verbatim, and it’s worth studying because it provides one of the best views ever of how his mind worked. Note the language, as well—not at all the stuffy formality you would expect from the CEO of a giant global company. It’s very you and me.

Steve Jobs:

Smart phones are definitely a little smarter, but they actually are harder to use. They’re really complicated. Just for the basic stuff people have a hard time figuring out how to use them. Well, we don’t want to do either one of these things. What we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been, and super-easy to use. This is what iPhone is. Okay?

So, we’re going to reinvent the phone. Now, we’re going to start with a revolutionary user interface. It is the result of years of research and development, and of course, it’s an interplay of hardware and software.

Why do we need a revolutionary user interface? Here’s four smart phones, right? Motorola Q, the BlackBerry, Palm Treo, Nokia E62—the usual suspects. And what’s wrong with their user interfaces?

Well, the problem with them is . . . they all have these keyboards that are there whether or not you need them to be there. And they all have these control buttons that are fixed in plastic ...

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