Jason Hartman interviews Apple’s former Sr. Vice President of Operations and author of The Steve Jobs Way, Jay Elliot about the true legacy of Steve Jobs, discussing real-life examples of Jobs’ leadership and triumphs, and how these principles can apply to other’s lives and careers. More at: www.HolisticSurvival.com or on iTunes. Apple icon, Steve Jobs, was deemed the “Boy Genius” that transformed with technology the way we work, play, consume, and communicate. For over 35 years, Jay Elliot has practiced his own leadership in the technology, entertainment and health care industries. In his book The Steve Jobs Way, Jay shares with us his first-hand experiences as Apple’s Sr. Vice President of Operations where he worked side-by-side with Steve Jobs on a daily basis. His experience as an executive at both IBM and Intel helped him to recognize how Steve Jobs’ extraordinary leadership propelled Apple Computer to become the most valued brand on earth. Steve Jobs charged Jay Elliot with the responsibility for running the operations at Apple. That tenure lasted from 1980 to 1986, during which time he was responsible for all corporate operations, including Human Resources, Facilities, Real Estate, IT, Education and Pacific Rim Sales. He was also responsible for Apple’s Corporate Business Planning and was a member of the Macintosh organization. During these years, Apple sales grew from $150 million to more than $3 billion.
Prior to his time at Apple, he served as a Site Director at IBM and headed a 16,000-person software division; overseeing several key projects in the disc drive development business. Mr. Elliot left IBM to join Intel where he also served as a Site Director and was the creator of the Intel Foundation (reporting to CEO, Andy Grove and chairman, Gordon Moore). After leaving Apple, Mr. Elliot served as the CEO of San Francisco Studios where he produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Berkeley in the Sixties;” as well as the NBC television series, “Midnight Caller” and numerous sports programs for NBC, CBS, and ABC, including the Barcelona Olympic Games. Later, he served as President of Acclaim West, producing programs for Fox, UPN, the Playboy Channel and Telemundo. Before returning to the technology/software industry, he also served as the Chief Executive Officer of New Health Systems, a network technology company connecting physicians and vendors to patients and affiliated hospitals. Jay Elliot returned to his technology roots when he founded and served as Chairman of Migo Software, Inc., a mobility software company, where he invented its flagship product, Migo. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Nuvel, Inc. based out of Los Gatos, CA. Nuvel offers the emergency smart phone applications vSOS and vSOS Medi-Vac Plus; and is introducing Data Tunnel, allowing accelerated data transfer, and NuVault, a virtual safety deposit box utilizing smart phone bar code readers.
Narrator: Welcome to The Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to today’s show. This is Jason Hartman, your host. And as you may or may not know, every 10th show we kind of do a special tradition here that originated with my Creating Wealth show where we do a topic that is actually off topic on purpose – something just to do with general life and more successful living, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do today with our special guest. Again, 10th show is off topic and it is very much intentional just for personal enrichment, and I hope you enjoy today’s show. And we will be back with our guest in just a moment.
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Start of interview with Jay Elliot
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome J. Elliot to the show. He is the author of something that’s very timely right now, The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation. And since Steve Job’s passing, I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t know about him and I’m sure we’ll learn a few more on this interview today. Jay, welcome. How are you?
Jay Elliot: Fine, thanks. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Jason Hartman: Well, The Steve Jobs Way, we’ve heard a lot about Steve Jobs lately – obviously millions and millions of people have and just this outpouring of news about him and the significance of his life, and it’s really bigger than I thought it was and I’m a huge Apple fan. I’m sitting here with my iPhone and two Apple computers on my desk, and I guess I’m a cult member. I switched from PCs and really never looked back too much. But tell us about the book and your thoughts on all the news recently.
Jay Elliot: The book hit the market actually back in April, so that’s when the book got published. I wrote the book because I was interested in documenting my…I worked for Steve for 5 and a half years directly. With my experience, I also worked previously at IBM and Intel, so I had a pretty good insight to corporate operations. And when I met Steve, he was a lot younger than me, and I had to make the decision even to go to work for him because I had never worked for somebody who was that much younger than myself. And so I did it and it really changed my life and it changed really the direction of how I perceived the way leadership should be in corporations. And the skewed success was no secret to me. I knew he was going to be successful. And so I decided I wanted to document sort of the understanding, the philosophy behind why he was successful and why Apple was successful. So that really is the purpose of the book.
Jason Hartman: Now, you were there. And so, for the listeners, it’s important to understand the context of what you’re saying because when you said you always thought Steve would be successful, so obviously you were there in the early days and I guess your tenure was 1980 to 1986?
Jay Elliot: Yes, that’s true. I started in 1980. I met Steve in a restaurant, in a local restaurant here where I live, and by happenstance. And he was very excited about himself and the company, which at that moment I had never heard of Apple. And I had been at IBM and I went to Intel – I was looking for something new to do and that worked out great. So I worked directly for Steve in two capacities. One is I was Senior Vice President of Operations. So running the corporate operations, working for Steve as chairman of the board and then the company was organized it was the division called The Macintosh Division. So I worked directly for Steve, so I was the right hand guy in building the Macintosh.
Jason Hartman: Amazing. When you talk about management style, I remember when I was just a kid, seeing videos of Steve Jobs and I remember Steve Wozniak in his Us festival. And I remember it being so revolutionary that he had these weekend retreats. And I remember seeing the video of that where everybody was wearing blue jeans. And back in that day, that was sort of unheard of in corporate America, wasn’t it?
Jay Elliot: Yeah. And even Silicon Valley, when I first met Steve he was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans and Birkenstock shoes. And Silicon Valley at that time was dominated pretty much by IBM and HP, Fairchild and Intel. So they were much more button down, more formal kind of corporations. And I see a guy who’s only 25 years old who is the CEO of a corporation that really wasn’t the way it was. And obviously even that set a whole new standard for what silicon valley is today. And so going to work for Apple is interesting because I had been used to wearing the suits and ties and white shirts, and then to go to work with a company where you can wear Levi’s and a t-shirt is a whole different experience.
Jason Hartman: So 1980 at Apple to 1986, I mean give us an idea of what the company was like back then. How many employees are we talking about? I mean we’re out of the garage by 1980, right?
Jay Elliot: Yes. The time that I joined in 1980, the company was doing about $10 million dollars a month in sales, so the Apple II was starting its ramp-up, was starting to do very well, so doing about $10 million dollars in sales. By 1986, when I left, we were doing $3 billion dollars in sales, so you can see the kind of ramp-up that was occurring. The other time of it, the Apple 2 was a great little product. It was selling well. It was a softer product called VisiCalc which was one of the first applications and drove its sales. And also school teachers loved it because they could customize it for their classes.
But Steve and I, we took a very famous tour to a place called Xerox Park. And this was a research center here in Palo Alto, California that really was a driver of technology. And Xerox, when we got there, one of the things that we saw which was revolutionary which changed the whole direction was a thing called The Mouse. And actually Xerox had built a mouse back in 1978. In fact, most of the modern technology today that we use came from Xerox. Most of the things like USB drives and firewire and all the current stuff really was all developed by Xerox in the 70s. Unfortunately, Xerox did nothing with it and they were using it sort of in the printer technology but not in computers. And so when Steve saw the mouse his eyes lit up because he knew that the interface needed to be simple because people in those days looked at computers to be sort of fearful of them and didn’t know how to use them and what he saw was this release that anybody could use a computer. And you’ll see today that’s where we are. Today anybody from 4 years old to 90 years old can use it because of the interface technology developed by the Mac team.
Jason Hartman: So some people might say…I mean, look, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, they were in the right place at the right time. I mean how much luck was involved? I mean I know Steve Jobs definitely was a brilliant man and I love his products, but at the beginning, back in the old days of Apple and Microsoft, how much of that was just right place, right time?
Jay Elliot: Well, I think timing was important, but if you think about it, IBM was the number 2 corporation in the world. IBM was huge, it was rated number 2 in the world. It had incredible research, it had all this stuff. In fact, the reason I left IBM is because I felt they should go into this direction, but they chose to protect their turf, protect their computer rooms and not really go for putting computers in the hands of people. And even on both sides – so here’s these two guys, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, sort of stumble into this market that actually IBM did not want anybody to develop, but they showed all of a sudden that, hey, people want to use these computers and not be connected to a computer room.
And Microsoft, and the other side, it was brilliant to note Bill Gates was that he understood that he was the driving force for IBM. And what IBM again made a huge mistake is is allowing clones. All of a sudden the Microsoft software was being run in anybody who had a computer from Dell to anybody else. So IBM made some massive mistakes. So one way you could look at it would be luck. The other side of it is here’s the major computer corporation in the world that made some massive mistakes and they paid for it.
Jason Hartman: Sure. They definitely did. I think that had to be a huge hit their ego in those days. But this philosophy of how Apple was so different in wanting to control the hardware and the software versus Microsoft that seems like the more open or maybe democratic idea of we’ll make software and other people can make hardware and people can have more choice. And I would certainly say that really won for many, many years until Steve came back and then they started making such great hardware products. And people came into Apple in the last 10 years sort of in reverse. They bought their iPod, loved it. Maybe they got an iPhone, loved it. And then they finally got a Mac. Strange way to acquire customers really.
Jay Elliot: Steve’s always philosophy, which I agree with, and that was always the debate we had was that you should have the whole product. So the product should be all in one. It shouldn’t be part of it’s hardware and part of it’s software, you’re dealing with two different companies. I think a lot of the problems with the Microsoft software has been that the hardware that it’s placed on isn’t up to running it. I think that was the big problem with Vista. A lot of the hardware manufacturers put it on PCs that weren’t really designed powerful enough to run the software.
So, secondly, the other part of it is to make it all compatible. So the other thing about Apple is all these products that they build today are all compatible with each other. If you buy a Samsung phone and a Samsung computer, they’re not compatible. One’s running Windows and one’s running Android. So I think that the whole secret is to be this product-centric that it all runs together and then obviously iTunes became really the glue that ran it all totally together. That sort of went out and then obviously adding the retail strategy to it, it’s amazing what it’s done for the Apple business. And I think that, to me, is the centerpiece of what the business should be going forward.
Jason Hartman: And I just have to make a personal user/consumer based comment about that is that of course I have Microsoft Office on my Apple computers, but it is such a hassle. Every time you get a new Mac, everything just switches over beautifully except the darn Microsoft products. That’s always the snag.
Jay Elliot: And now with the iCloud, it is all synced. So now if you are connected to iCloud, you don’t need to worry about backing up – it’s all done for you. And it’s all synced across all your products, so again it’s a philosophy of the legacy I believe for Steve is a philosophy that it’s all together as one family of products.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. And see, sort of the hacker type mentality, those people, we both have friends that are like that. They don’t like the Apple products because they say, well, you’re prisoned in their ecosystem. And I always say to them, yeah, but it’s a really nice prison.
Jay Elliot: Exactly, right. But even for that, if you want to build apps you can build apps for the iPhones, even now for the Macs. I mean that’s opened up – not opened up the kernel or the system but to open up if you want to build apps, be our guests. I mean that’s the other side to change for the Apple philosophy.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. Well, in your book The Steve Jobs Way you talk about Steve and his passion for the product. And I almost sort of think that companies have three main audiences. They have customers, they have employees or they have shareholders or stakeholders – we’ll include even vendors in that – they don’t have to be public companies to have those kind of stakeholders. But it seems like Apple has really pleased all three. Was it really built around the product or is it around leadership? The title of your book is iLeadership. Where was the Steve Jobs magic?
Jay Elliot: It was in the leadership team from the product. So Steve Job’s magic is I want a product and I want it to be the best in the world. And, by doing that, everything else sort of follows along. So in order to build the greatest products in the world, I have to have a great talented team. And to have a talented team, they need to know that their talent isn’t gonna be wasted. They’re not gonna be like Xerox and build a mouse that’s never gonna be used, the public never sees it. So the great part of that is recognizing this talent and making sure that they are understanding that they’re all part of this team. And part of that is to recognize your accomplishments again to the product. It’s not about, hey, you’ve been in the company for four years – we’ll recognize your anniversary. It’s recognizing the milestones that all these teams accomplish. And building small teams, the other thing we talked about is making the team small, but horizontal communication’s critical.
When Steve would get on the stage and say I’m introducing an iPad, the greatest product in the world, imagine if you worked on that product how you felt about it. And then ultimately never worried about the money, never worried about the stock price. That all sort of took care of itself. Because if you’re building a great product and you’re getting great sales of it…And the other thing Apple now has created, what I call the retail juggernaut, is they don’t leave 30-35% commission on the table and they sell their product through somebody else. They have huge margins now and that’s a big plus for what they do.
Jason Hartman: Because they’ve got the Apple stores? Are those markups really that big? So if someone buys a PC on Amazon.com, I mean they’re really getting 30-35% margin on that stuff? I can’t believe it.
Jay Elliot: Yeah. Amazon’s probably getting more like 12 to 18%, but if they went into Best Buy and bought it, they’re leaving 30% there in the store. So those channels have big cost. It costs also when you go through those channels – it costs for marketing, it costs for things you do to promote your product in their sites and so forth. That all costs you. You go into an Apple Store, you buy the product – first of all you go into an Apple store, nobody ever talks to you about buying anything. You go in there and they will answer questions for you, but nobody says what are you gonna buy? You make that choice. It’s a demo center. And the reason you’re drawn there is because you’re so attracted to the product. I also call it like a Trojan horse center that I have a PC at home, but I have an iPhone. I go in there and look what I see. I see all this compatibility and how these things work together and yet what do you think I’m gonna buy next? It’s a computer. It all works together.
Jason Hartman: That’s for sure. That’s a beautiful thing the way it works together. Getting back to the team concept, in your book you make this great comparison – it’s a great metaphor – of pirates versus the navy. Now, most people would maybe think that the navy, this big, organized institution is a great and powerful thing, but you don’t think so. And I guess Steve didn’t either, huh?
Jay Elliot: No. We didn’t want to have bureaucracy, politics, the power of the position sort of creep into startup mentality. We wanted people to feel empowered. We wanted them to feel like they could be open and not worry about who they’re meeting with or what the title is or what the policy is or the bureaucracy. So we tried to find a metaphor that would sort of fit that mold. And so actually there was a guy named Jay Chiat – Chiat\Day was the company that did all the advertising for Apple in the early days. And Steve and him had dinner one night and Steve came back and said, hey, I think I have the metaphor. We’re gonna use pirates, not the Navy. And that made sense and that really was what we inspired our employees – we even had a skull and crossbones flag flying above the building. I mean that’s unheard of. Just go walk by a big corporation and there one of the flags flying is a skull and crossbones. I mean they’re trying to figure a way to keep people focused on the importance of getting the product done right, focused on making the milestone that they’ve been attached to what they’re gonna do, and not get caught up in the process of them and the organizations. That’s sort of why we did that.
Jason Hartman: With that, I’m gonna ask you – I’m gonna call it the Steve Jobs uniform. I mean he didn’t always wear that. That developed later. But I was talking to a friend of mine about the 501 jeans and the black turtleneck. And I was saying what’s that all about? And he said maybe it’s just sort the Einstein mentality and I go well what does that mean? And he says just don’t waste any energy on your wardrobe. Any mental energy, just wear the same thing.
Jay Elliot: First of all, there was two parts in Steve – one was his very personal life and the other was Apple. And I think that at Apple, there were two separate lives, two separate beings almost because Steve is a very shy person in his personal life. He’s very private. If you notice, he never even gave any public appearances, very few even speeches. I mean the most famous one the one at Stanford. But in his Apple thing, what he wanted to do was when he’s standing on stage introducing an iPhone, he wants you to focus on one thing: the iPhone. He’s there representing in his hand the greatest product in the world. He doesn’t want to distract from that. So he’s not gonna be there wearing an Armani suit with a grey tie. If he wanted just to fold into the background and that all you focus on is the product.
In the early days, it’s funny, he wore white t-shirts when I met him. But he did go through a period of time and sort of when Apple was growing up in this more corporate look, but ultimately I think he decided that he needed to fold into the background.
Jason Hartman: Let me take a brief pause. We’ll be back in just a minute.
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Jason Hartman: So one of the things that’s interesting is that I heard I believe on the 60 minutes piece about him recently that he combined these sort of different parts of life, and one of them that I found really interesting was when he made his products and thought of the way product development should occur, he included the humanities. I’m having a little trouble connecting that one. What does that mean? When you look up humanities, they talk about the study of it in college and the classics and things. But what do they mean by that? I mean just ease of use, user interface? What are they talking about?
Jay Elliot: Yeah, I think in the technology business, we get caught up in engineering. We get caught up in, wow, I just made the fastest chip in the world and this drive does this or this screen does this. But the humanity means ultimately the judge of how good the product is is the person who buys it and uses it. And I think that’s where humanity comes in. What is the purpose of this product? What do you really want to accomplish with it? And what is it doing for me the user? And I think that’s the other insight into the Apple products that they have set me free – it’s a seamless interaction I have with all this information I’m dealing with through Apple products.
Think about this. Apple products are used – I just saw the other day where a kid was only 3 years old was using and iPad and loving it, and so it goes all the way from a 3 year old to a 95 year old. I mean it covers all of the world and, think about it, not many products do that. I mean that’s the other part of humanity which is important.
Jason Hartman: Jay, and I’ll have you know it actually spans one year younger than that because I’ve seen 2 year olds using iPads. So it’s pretty incredible. I dgfev online casino bet you can’t hand them a PC, a Lenovo, and have them do that, right?
Jay Elliot: Exactly. And the other part of the humanity thing is education. One thing Steve was criticized about was he never appeared to give a lot of money to any foundations. If you think about it, his passion was education. So they gave millions and millions of computers, millions of [0:21:45.3], big discounts to the education systems in the world. I have two sons in high school – when I go walk down the hall, then I walk between the Apple lab and the HP lab, the HP lab is empty and the Apple lab is solely crowded. And I mean that’s what I consider part of humanity.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Right. And it’s the same way with the retail stores. You look at the new Microsoft stores and there’s hardly anybody there, but at any Apple store on the planet, and I’ve been to many of them, you don’t know there’s a recession if you walk into an Apple Store, that’s for sure, huh?
Jay Elliot: Of course. I mean look at the store in Manhattan that’s gonna do over half a billion dollars in sale this year in just one store. I mean it’s phenomenal.
Jason Hartman: Do you know I heard that that is now the most photographed building in New York City? And it’s mostly underground. I’ve been to that one. And it’s more photographed than say the Empire State Building or ground zero or anything else now.
Jay Elliot: Right. And it’s sort of funny because also the other one, this unbelievable one, is in Shanghai. I mean it is unbelievable. And way back when, actually I. M. Pei is one of the world’s famous architects. We had actually had him design the first Apple campus. And it was going to be almost like Disneyland. It was going to have a tram running around it, and the roofs of the buildings were going to be glass. So you could actually look in the building when you went by to see what was happening. But, unfortunately that never got off the ground. Although Steve’s last appearance was to present his new building concept to the city council Cupertino. And so when he did that I thought, wow, he’s finally fulfilled one of his last dreams which was the Apple campus.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. What was Steve’s secret in hiring and tapping into the best talent? I mean you talked about not having bureaucracy and not having this hierarchal kind of organization and how people could go directly and talk to people and you sort of got that formality out of the way obviously. But I’ve heard definitely some negative things about Steve that he was difficult to work with, incredibly demanding, and all those kinds of things and I’m sure you know about them. What was his secret to tapping into talent and hiring right and that kind of thing?
Jay Elliot: He really had a way about him that when you got interviewed by Steve, it was interesting. He would throw out things and then see how you would react. He would throw out either concepts. He’d throw out things that potentially could be negative. And then he would sort of judge your reaction to it. And being interviewed by Steve was an interesting thing because you sort of got in tune with him very quickly about his vision and everything, but he also was a master of finding out who you really are underneath all of that, and who and what he things – how your talent is going to fit into what he needs to get done in his vision of the product. I think that’s really the secret.
I always use a lot of time in interviews, say to someone have you ever been fired? And if I say that to somebody, I don’t care about the answer – I care about the reaction. Because a lot of people don’t want to tell you that. So you just sort of judge by their reaction. And I think Steve is a master of sort of laying out parts of his vision, laying out parts of his ideas about the company, the product, what he wants you to do and then see how you react to it. And then after that he was an incredible sales guy. But I think that’s part of it – part of looking at talent is trying to see under the covers who you are and is that going to fit into what you want to get done. I think that’s really important.
Jason Hartman: Who did Steve really look up to? Who were his idols and mentors?
Jay Elliot: There were several of them who weren’t alive. Henry Ford was clearly one of Steve’s mentors, but he wasn’t alive. Gutenberg obviously invented the press. He looked at people who had done significant things sort of to change the world operated. I think Dr. Land, the guy that did the Polaroid camera was one of his big heroes. And, in fact, we went and met with him once in Rochester, New York. So it’s people like that who he felt had taken either technology and used it to convert what culture was doing and society was doing – Thomas Edison was another one. I think Bob Noyce was one before he died in Silicon Valley. I always use Bob Noyce as being sort of the pre-Steve Jobs. I saw Bob as the guy was a lot like Steve Jobs, but he came out before Steve Jobs.
Jason Hartman: And who was Bob Noyce? Sorry.
Jay Elliot: Bob Noyce was one of the co-founders of Intel. Bob Noyce was the co-inventor of the semiconductor for the professor from Standford. So he was really the inspiration that created silicon Valley. And then he helped found Intel. So that’s where he came from.
Jason Hartman: A couple of rather amazing comments I’ve heard after his passing, and I believe they were from the 60 Minutes interview, one is he credited a lot of his success to taking LSD. Comment on that? That’s a pretty controversial statement.
Jay Elliot: That might have been early on in his life, but certainly wasn’t later in his life. I think he was really into the sort of being able to see in to the future and being able to look through the mask or what’s happening around him, being sort of away from it. I know that he was a practicing Buddhist. He was concerned about diet. I mean he never drank or smoked. And I think he just looked at the purity of trying to look at the purity of thoughts. I saw part of that and I also read part of that new book which I don’t like by the way and I don’t give a lot of credit to the author – because actually I’m in it and I’m falsely represented in it, so I have a negative opinion of that interview.
Jason Hartman: Okay, fair enough. One of the other things, though, that I thought was really telling and difficult and maybe you can give some insight into this, is that in that interview they said that, Steve, he was always striving to make the product simple and clean. And he said it’s hard to make something simple. It’s easy to make it complicated, which is somewhat counterintuitive really but I don’t think it is, but some people might judge it that way. And I guess a lot of his concept of simplicity came from Buddhism, right?
Jay Elliot: Exactly. In fact, if you look at Buddhism, one of the most simple products that sort of everybody applauds is the egg. If you look at an egg, it’s incredibly simple but it’s very effective. It protects the insides of it very well and has a great design to it, great texture to it. If you think about it, wow, that’s a simple product. And I think even in the early days of Macintosh, we always wanted to produce a product that didn’t need an owner’s manual. So the ultimate statement of simplicity is no owner’s manual needed. You don’t get an owner’s manual when you buy an egg. It’s pretty simple to use. So it’s like that was sort of the ultimate goal of an Apple product, which, today that’s true. You don’t get an owner’s manual of an Apple product.
Jason Hartman: You get a little tiny thing in there, maybe fingertips with your iPhone or something.
Jay Elliot: But the funny thing about it is that you get a lot of insights to your new products from other Apple users. My 15 year old is my Apple guy, so he tells me what I can do to make my product more effective. So it’s really interesting about you develop this inner cult of people that talk about it together which is sort of interesting.
Jason Hartman: I just wanted to, before we go, give you the opportunity to talk about any stages of the company. He left and came back, and of course Apple was really on the rocks when Steve was gone – if you want to talk about any of that. And then I just want to ask you about the branding and sort of the coolness. I mean Steve really made computing cool.
Jay Elliot: Right. First of all, when Steve was at Apple, Apple turned out to be a big problem obviously in the Scully era. And Scully was not the right guy to run Apple. The board of directors threw Steve out which is a huge mistake. In fact, I went to the board and told them they’re making a big mistake and I got rewarded by being fired myself later on. But the problem that happened is that the products were going in the wrong direction. The Mac was clearly a consumer product trying to be put into corporate America. But when Steve left, he learned a big lesson – a couple of things. One, he learned that in his heart he was a consumer guy. He was not a corporate America equipment manufacturer.
So he learned about consumerism, he learned who he was and what he was really excited about. That sort of came out in Pixar when he took over Pixar. The time he took over Pixar, the longest move they had ever produced was 2 minutes in length. And so the first thing he said, “We need a product”. He’s a product guy, so Toy Story came after that. So he learned, after leaving Apple and seen Apple sort of disintegrate, he learned his lesson about he’s a consumer guy, he wants to make products for the person, and he also learned to do that you have to have the right company structure, you’ve got to have the right board of directors, and he also learned that he has to be in charge. In order to make that happen, he had to be the CEO.
So those are the lessons he learned by the failure of NeXT, the success of Pixar, and then coming back to Apple was able to implement that. So I think that was an important year for Apple and for Steve coming back. And a lot of the concepts that Steve came back with we had already been talking about in the late 80s. I mean in ‘85 and ‘86 we were talking about the consumer product, you put it into stores and all that other stuff. We even talked about in ’84 about the concept which eventually became Dell 9 years later. So Steve had a lot of the stuff already going in his mind. He just had that opportunity.
If you think about it, he was worth about $6 billion dollars with his Disney deal. He didn’t need to come back to Apple, but he just saw that as an unfulfilled dream.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. It’s really amazing that he lived really frankly a very modest life. And I was surprised to hear that. At his house, did he have a security guard at least?
Jay Elliot: No. In fact, when he bought his first big mansion up in Woodside, it was 15,000 square feet. It had been owned by the creator of Conoco Copper. And I went to visit him after he moved in. He was living in the maid’s quarter because the maid’s quarter was connected to the kitchen where he had his cooks. And so the rest of his house was empty. There was nothing in it. I’m not sure he ever put anything in it. I mean he lived very minimally and you would never know it. And even his home up in Palo Alto was open to anybody. I mean you could see him drive out every morning if you wanted to pay attention. The sad part about the ending of his life was that he was under so much scrutiny that, paparazzi, they couldn’t wait to take photographs of him hobbling out of his house and that was really too bad. That was really sad.
Jason Hartman: It really is. Well, Jay, just before we go, give out your website if you would for the book and maybe if you want to just talk about what you do ask well, I find that interesting in terms of your business.
Jay Elliot: Yeah, the website is called TheSteveJobsWay.com. That’s my website. My book is in 19 countries and 29 languages, so it’s doing very well in the world.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic reviews on Amazon, too.
Jay Elliot: Right, yea. And if you go on there, you’ll see reviews. If you go under Press, it probably has about 30 or 40 reviews in there from almost every major publication in the world and all the TV stuff I’ve been on. I’m a software guy, so I’m still in the software business. I have a software company. We produce a way to accelerate information to the internet. So it’s called WAN acceleration, Wide Area Network Acceleration. So we do what companies like Oracle or the other company Riverbed do with hardware, we do with software. So that’s what we do on our product. Second, we build apps. So I have a suite of apps we call family safety that allows you to have emergency contacts and so forth. So these are the two things we do in my business.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, Jay Elliot, thank you so much for joining us today. The book is The Steve Jobs Way, iLeadership for a new generation. And very interesting to talk about this – very timely indeed. And we’re sorry to see Steve pass. What an incredible man. I mean the Thomas Edison of the last decade and part of the last century as well.
Jay Elliot: Well, thank you very much.
Jason Hartman: Thank you.
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Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. (Top image: Flickr | acaben)
Transcribed by Ralph
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