A rarely seen (not for long) interview with Steve Jobs just a few months before his return after a 10-year absence has surfaced, in it the man speaking on how Apple will prosper in the future. What you’re about to see is a few simple points that Jobs makes in regards to what he sees as the then-failing company’s possibilities, including what’s obvious to us all now: innovation and brand loyalty. Have a look below and see what Jobs, then titled only as the Chairman and CEO of Pixar, knew before the whole rest of the world came to the same realization.
Remember now that this is the summer of 1996. Apple isn’t doing so hot, Jobs is currently only working with Pixar, and PBS’ Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser has invited the future ex-CEO of Apple to speak on several topics. The interviewer is the late Rukeyser, American financial specialist having worked for decades at that point on Wall Street in money matters. His first question is “What can we expect next from Pixar?” to which Jobs replies that they’ve had some great success with the then brand new Toy Story film, then letting us know that the Toy Story franchise will expand with “some new CD ROMs” that will set the benchmark for what can be done with CD ROMs.
It’s as if Jobs would have taken whatever he worked with to the next level even if he’d never gotten back together with Apple. Just think what would have happened if he’d headed a breakfast cereal corporation – the possibilities! Jobs goes on to mention that their (Pixar’s) business model is to create a film then surround it with a suite of products. Sound familiar?
This is exactly what George Lucas did (and continues to do) with Star Wars, this is exactly what Jobs then did with Apple on so many levels, most recently with the iOS mobile platform, the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod Touch, and the apps and accessories and the entire ecosystem that makes them the centerpiece of an undeniably successful world of oneness.
Rukeyser then hits Jobs up with the question of all questions, receiving then the answer of all answers, of course.
Rukeyser: You first came to public attention with Apple. In recent weeks it’s been one of the failure stories of Wall Street, and indeed of the American economy. What went wrong at Apple?
Jobs: Oh gosh. You know I haven’t been there in a long time. My perception may not be complete. But from the way I see it, Apple was a company that was based on innovation. When I left Apple ten years ago, we were ten years ahead of anybody else. It took Microsoft ten years to copy Windows.
The problem was that Apple stood still. Even though it invested cumulatively billions in R&D, the output has not been there. People have caught up with it, and its differentiation has eroded, in particular with respect to Microsoft.
And so the way out for Apple — and I think Apple still has a future; there are some awfully good people there and there is tremendous brand loyalty to that company — I think the way out is not to slash and burn, it’s to innovate. That’s how Apple got to its glory, and that’s how Apple could return to it.
Sound like the future to you? Sounds like the future to me.
View the above mentioned bits of the interview here, and go back to the forward: