Steve Jobs speech from 1992 surfaces, talking about NeXT & Apple departure

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 16
In a 1992 talk on the MIT campus, Apple founder Steve Jobs assailed consultants, talked about his departure from Apple and how his ouster was a loss not just for him, but for consumers as well.

Steve Jobs speaks at MIT in 1992


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has unearthed a Steve Jobs speech that the Apple cofounder delivered to the Sloan School of Management in the spring of 1992, and posted the entire speech to YouTube. In the speech, delivered during Jobs' time with NeXT Computer, Jobs talked about his vision for NeXT and his distaste for consultants, while also telling some stories from his first run at Apple.



The speech was posted to YouTube in December, but MIT alerted the media to its existence this week.

Clad in the long-sleeved black shirt and jeans that resembles his uniform for keynotes in his later years, Jobs talked about his time at Apple, as well as his departure.

"Everybody lost"



In addressing his departure from Apple, Jobs said that "I think everybody lost."

"I think I lost -- I wanted to spend my life there. I think Apple lost, I think customers lost. Having said all that, so what? You go on," said Jobs. "It's not as bad as a lot of things so, people go on, and companies go on. I'm very happy every time Apple ships a Mac."

But Jobs also had things to say about what happened to the company after his departure seven years earlier.

"Apple has been struggling the last few years," he added. "They've been having a real struggle with who they want to be There were two camps within Apple. Camp 1 wanted to be the serious computer company and Camp 2 wanted to sort of be the Sony of computers. That struggling was somewhat tearing Apple apart, and fortunately the Sony guys won. They're abdicating, and basically not putting a lot of resources into the power users on desktops. And I think they'll do very well at that."

Jobs questioned, though, whether Apple's strategy could work at scale.



In another part of the lecture, Jobs is asked what he learned from Apple. When asked by an audience member, he begins with a long pause.

"I now take a longer-term view on people," Jobs said. "When I see something not being done right, my first reaction isn't to go fix it, it's to say we're building a team here and we're going to do good stuff for the next decade, and not just the first year. So what can I do to help so that the person who's screwing up learns."

"Without the app, you don't have a product

the NeXT Computer


In addressing the work he was doing at the time with NeXT, Jobs talked about the importance of operational productivity, over management productivity.

Jobs discussed NeXTSTEP, a NeXT operating system "which lets you build apps five to ten times faster than anything anyone has ever seen," he said. "And after you build them, they're deployable and usable by mere mortals." While NeXTSTEP wasn't considered a wide commercial success at the time, it was the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1989.

Jobs, at one point, asks how many people in the room have used a NeXT Computer, and it's clear from his reaction that it wasn't many.

Jobs vs. Consultants



Jobs, in the lecture, makes it clear that he has a distaste for consultants. Asking if anyone in the audience is in consulting, he declares, "oh, that's bad. A mind is too important to waste."

"The only consultants I've seen that I think are truly useful are the ones who help us sell our computers," Jobs said. "But other than that I don't think there's anything inherently evil in consulting. I think that without owning something over an extended period of time, like a few years, where one has to see one's recommendations through all action stages and accumulate some scar tissue for the mistakes and pick one's self up off the ground and dust one's self off, one learns a fraction of what one can. You do get a broad cut at companies, but it's very thin."

In 1996, four years after the lecture, Apple would acquire NeXT, bringing Jobs back into the fold. The following year, he became CEO.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 709member
    He was absolutely correct. Product consultation is like leaving the Fox to guard the hens.
    edited May 16 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,875member
    Love this quote:

    "Apple has been struggling the last few years," he added. "They've been having a real struggle with who they want to be There were two camps within Apple. Camp 1 wanted to be the serious computer company and Camp 2 wanted to sort of be the Sony of computers. That struggling was somewhat tearing Apple apart, and fortunately the Sony guys won. They're abdicating, and basically not putting a lot of resources into the power users on desktops. And I think they'll do very well at that." 

    This quote was totally Jobs throwing shade on Apple for abandoning power users with the implicit objective being to attract power users to NeXT (since NeXT was exclusively focused on the high-end). 

    Of course, it wasn't exactly true. A very big share of Apple's business came from the DTP world at that time. The Mactinosh II line, Quadras, and eventually PowerMac was all focused on the high end. 

    And yet, despite that clearly being a very motivated statement, it wasn't exactly wrong either and it certainly applies today even more than back then. Apple is much more the "Sony of computers" than the "serious computer company" (by "Sony", I mean the positive 1980s version, not the lame 2000s version).  

    edited May 16 StrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I started watching this video and I could really see how Steve's mind was able to influence enough people at Apple to turn things around. 

    It might just be me, but I think he had a more precise focus of vision of things than Tim does. 

    Maybe all the leaders at Apple should watch this video and get inspired to make some positive changes and put more emphasis on making the highest quality products rather than just making products.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 4 of 15
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,875member
    I started watching this video and I could really see how Steve's mind was able to influence enough people at Apple to turn things around. 

    It might just be me, but I think he had a more precise focus of vision of things than Tim does. 

    Maybe all the leaders at Apple should watch this video and get inspired to make some positive changes and put more emphasis on making the highest quality products rather than just making products.
    I think it's definitely fair to say that SJ has greater vision than TC, but that's not really a dig at TC -- SJ had greater vision than just about everybody in the industry. Apple might not have SJ anymore, but nobody else has him either. 

    One aspect of SJ's vision that I really liked was the idea of making powerful tools to enable creative individuals across a range of fields to make a positive difference in the world. Though not necessarily good for business, SJ's disdain for games was entirely consistent with that vision. 
    cgWerksStrangeDaysh2pchristopher126jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    blastdoor said:
    And yet, despite that clearly being a very motivated statement, it wasn't exactly wrong either and it certainly applies today even more than back then. Apple is much more the "Sony of computers" than the "serious computer company" (by "Sony", I mean the positive 1980s version, not the lame 2000s version).  
    Yeah, the whole power-user/consumer thing aside (as I think that's a bit irrelevant), Sony was THE company back then. My initial education was in electronics engineering, and everyone wanted to work at Sony, the way people want to work at Apple, Google, FB, etc. today. It wasn't because they were a consumer electronics giant, but because they made the best stuff (best quality, best designs, innovative stuff, etc.).

    Sony is still around, but they are pretty marginalized now, aside from maybe the PlayStation and cameras. That's more the future I see for Apple if they don't keep product quality, design, innovation as number 1 priority.

    If I recall, Sony went through a similar transition where the products cheapened out to hit higher numbers of consumer base, and eventually, they weren't see as all that great of stuff anymore (or at least not enough better). The brand-name eroded and the fall followed. Aside from a few verticals, no one really sees Sony like they once did. Other competition came in and made Sony just a choice among many.
    h2pjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,875member
    cgWerks said:
    blastdoor said:
    And yet, despite that clearly being a very motivated statement, it wasn't exactly wrong either and it certainly applies today even more than back then. Apple is much more the "Sony of computers" than the "serious computer company" (by "Sony", I mean the positive 1980s version, not the lame 2000s version).  
    Yeah, the whole power-user/consumer thing aside (as I think that's a bit irrelevant), Sony was THE company back then. My initial education was in electronics engineering, and everyone wanted to work at Sony, the way people want to work at Apple, Google, FB, etc. today. It wasn't because they were a consumer electronics giant, but because they made the best stuff (best quality, best designs, innovative stuff, etc.).

    Sony is still around, but they are pretty marginalized now, aside from maybe the PlayStation and cameras. That's more the future I see for Apple if they don't keep product quality, design, innovation as number 1 priority.

    If I recall, Sony went through a similar transition where the products cheapened out to hit higher numbers of consumer base, and eventually, they weren't see as all that great of stuff anymore (or at least not enough better). The brand-name eroded and the fall followed. Aside from a few verticals, no one really sees Sony like they once did. Other competition came in and made Sony just a choice among many.
    I can't quite tell if you're saying that Apple is actually slipping down Sony's bad path or if you're just saying that's something that Apple needs to guard against. 

    I personally don't see any real sign that they are going down that path. I think they continue to make class-leading, "good Sony" type products. Sure, there are bumps here and there (nobody is perfect). But overall, Apple's products continue to strike me as being very high quality. 

    My only gripe is that instead of choosing between "good Sony" and "serious computer company", I feel like Apple ought to do both, and that both markets benefit from Apple being in the other market. For example, making the UI for a Mac easy enough for consumers to use also makes the Mac easier for pros to use. And making high performance, high reliability systems for pros can have trickle down beneifts for consumers. 

    My sense is that maybe Apple has decided -- after much soul searching -- that they agree with me (maybe). And so we now have the iMac Pro and a new Mac Pro coming next year. But I'm still not sure if their heart is really in it.... we'll see.... fingers crossed. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    This video is a gem. I field a lot of questions about Steve on Quora (they are endless) and this video largely answers them all. I hope it becomes well-known.
    h2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    crapdaycrapday Posts: 23member
    Just watched the first 5 minutes and thought omg he's talking about the iPad in 1992. He built a product that done everything he was saying in that first 5 minutes. 
    h2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    blastdoor said:
    I can't quite tell if you're saying that Apple is actually slipping down Sony's bad path or if you're just saying that's something that Apple needs to guard against. 

    I personally don't see any real sign that they are going down that path. I think they continue to make class-leading, "good Sony" type products. Sure, there are bumps here and there (nobody is perfect). But overall, Apple's products continue to strike me as being very high quality. 

    My only gripe is that instead of choosing between "good Sony" and "serious computer company", I feel like Apple ought to do both, and that both markets benefit from Apple being in the other market. For example, making the UI for a Mac easy enough for consumers to use also makes the Mac easier for pros to use. And making high performance, high reliability systems for pros can have trickle down beneifts for consumers. 

    My sense is that maybe Apple has decided -- after much soul searching -- that they agree with me (maybe). And so we now have the iMac Pro and a new Mac Pro coming next year. But I'm still not sure if their heart is really in it.... we'll see.... fingers crossed. 
    A little of both.
    I pretty much agree, but just to elaborate a bit... I'd take an example like the '16/17 MacBook Pro.

    There was a point in home stereo systems, where the makers largely changed from quality amps and simple controls, to loading them up with tons of mostly worthless blinking lights and 'feature-war' type (again mostly useless) features. From everything I can tell, this was done to attract an audience enamored with flashy-blinky stuff and feature-itis. Unfortunately, whether it was a matter of the costs of flashy-blinky eroding quality amps, or just that the focus was so taken off quality, the end result was that even higher end systems like Sony top-end, Yamaha, Kenwood, etc. started to produce some pretty junk stuff (while prices remained high, or even higher). The build quality was often still there, but the 'soul' was missing.

    I feel like that is going on at Apple. Besides the poor keyboard choice, the MBP seems rather well designed and manufactured, as usual. But, the TouchBar and other such design choices added cost and relatively useless features. At the same time, some of the design shifts have made them less useful for the original intended market (and they'd likely admit that target market has shifted, to not really pros any more).

    And, then there is the software quality and UI design which starts to matter once you actually start using the beautifully designed product. That can ruin things even if the hardware design is spot-on.

    So, maybe in summary... the products and mechanical quality are still there (mostly), but are becoming more 'soul-less' for actual use.

    This video is a gem. I field a lot of questions about Steve on Quora (they are endless) and this video largely answers them all. I hope it becomes well-known.
    Yeah, I didn't have time to watch the whole thing, but I will.
    entropys
  • Reply 10 of 15
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,258member
    Th touchbarcwould have been less of a useless gimmick if Apple remembered that it is th combination of good hardware and good software that makes Apple great. Right at launch old Apple would have had a slew of key software developers demonstrating beta versions of their software doing cool stuff with the trackpad. That they had worked on in a secret lab at Apple with the Apple people to make sure they got the most out of it.  All Apple software from that day would take advantage of the touch bar.
    instead the hardware is sort of dumped out with the hope software developers, including internal ones,  take it up.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 11 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,620member
    Is anyone on an iPad able to toggle web-embedded YouTube clips into the native iOS video player? A few months ago I stopped being able to do this... I’m on a new iPad Pro and the youtube video UI tells me I can’t toggle to the full screen iOS interface:



    ...dunno if it’s my iPad or everyone. Super annoying. 
    tallest skil
  • Reply 12 of 15
    techridertechrider Posts: 59member
    My favorite quote comes at the end, re: accountability with suppliers.  "Our philosophy is our money doesn't break after we give it to them so their parts shouldn't break after they give them to us."
    edited May 16 tallest skillarryjwwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    A master class!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Is anyone on an iPad able to toggle web-embedded YouTube clips into the native iOS video player? A few months ago I stopped being able to do this...
    Oh no, it has been MONTHS now since that change happened? Just kill me… Yeah, I’ve had the same problem for a while. First-gen iPad Pro. At first I thought it was caused by an update/error/bypass to my adblocker (I use 1Blocker X), but since nothing has been “fixed” I guess we have to call it a new “feature” from YouTube. Thanks, Google; I use YouTube even less now. If you really wanted me to cut YOUR LAST PRODUCT out of my life, you’re doing the right thing!

    To be clear, you’re saying that you used to be able to watch YouTube videos in the native iOS player–even on YouTube–and put them in PiP as well as a TRUE full screen view, right? Anyway, you can still SOMETIMES force that to happen. You have to visit YouTube’s normal home page, then navigate to the channel you want, then navigate to the… PLAYLIST that the video you want to watch is in. Selecting just the video will give you the Google player. Selecting the video from the playlist’s page will give you the native iOS player. This will be retained in the following situations:
    • when you automatically go to the next video in the playlist
    • when you manually choose another video in the playlist
    • when you load a related video from the sidebar in the current tab
    If you try to open a new video in a background tab, it will load the Google player… and you will lose your ability to see the native iOS player, get this, UNTIL YOU CLOSE ALL YOUTUBE TABS AND GO BACK TO THE HOME PAGE AGAIN. It’s unbelievable. Imagine if Apple products behaved this way.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,620member
    Is anyone on an iPad able to toggle web-embedded YouTube clips into the native iOS video player? A few months ago I stopped being able to do this...
    Oh no, it has been MONTHS now since that change happened? Just kill me… Yeah, I’ve had the same problem for a while. First-gen iPad Pro. At first I thought it was caused by an update/error/bypass to my adblocker (I use 1Blocker X), but since nothing has been “fixed” I guess we have to call it a new “feature” from YouTube. Thanks, Google; I use YouTube even less now. If you really wanted me to cut YOUR LAST PRODUCT out of my life, you’re doing the right thing!

    To be clear, you’re saying that you used to be able to watch YouTube videos in the native iOS player–even on YouTube–and put them in PiP as well as a TRUE full screen view, right? Anyway, you can still SOMETIMES force that to happen. You have to visit YouTube’s normal home page, then navigate to the channel you want, then navigate to the… PLAYLIST that the video you want to watch is in. Selecting just the video will give you the Google player. Selecting the video from the playlist’s page will give you the native iOS player. This will be retained in the following situations:
    • when you automatically go to the next video in the playlist
    • when you manually choose another video in the playlist
    • when you load a related video from the sidebar in the current tab
    If you try to open a new video in a background tab, it will load the Google player… and you will lose your ability to see the native iOS player, get this, UNTIL YOU CLOSE ALL YOUTUBE TABS AND GO BACK TO THE HOME PAGE AGAIN. It’s unbelievable. Imagine if Apple products behaved this way.
    Right, I used to be about to watch embedded YouTube videos in the native iOS player. Meaning I’m in Safari on a web page just like this one, I see the video, I start playing it, then I’d tap the “fullscreen” icon and the video would toggle to the iOS native player. This would be fullscreen and have the familiar iOS controls such as the 15-seconds forward/reverse buttons, AirPlay it, etc. I can’t do this any longer. 

    It still works as normal on my iPhone. I do use 1Blocker as well but reloading the page without content blockers (long press on Safari refresh icon) doesnt make a difference. 

    I’ve tried to get AI to comfirm that embedded YouTube videos can’t be fullscreened on an ipad anymore for them too, but they don’t reply. It’s mind blowing that this is the new normal of youtube in safari on ipad!?
    edited May 16 tallest skil
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