Steve Jobs and John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple. The pair were dubbed the "dynamic duo."
Here’s a full transcript of the interview with John Sculley on the subject of Steve Jobs.
It’s long but worth reading because there are some awesome insights into how Jobs does things.
It’s also one of the frankest CEO interviews you’ll ever read. Sculley talks openly about Jobs and Apple, admits it was a mistake to hire him to run the company and that he knows little about computers. It’s rare for anyone, never mind a big-time CEO, to make such frank assessment of their career in public.
UPDATE: Here’s an audio version of the entire interview made by reader Rick Mansfield using OS X’s text-to-speech system. It’s a bit robotic (Rick used the “Alex” voice, which he says is “more than tolerable to listen to”) but you might enjoy it while commuting or at the gym. The audio is 52 minutes long and it’s a 45MB download. It’s in .m4a format, which will play on any iPod/iPhone, etc. Download it here (Option-Click the link; or right-click and choose “Save Linked File…”).
It’s commonly believed that Apple wouldn’t have nearly gone out of business if it had only licensed the Mac operting system to other computer makers, like Microsoft did. But John Sculley explains why that was impossible:
With the invention of the Macintosh in 1984, Steve Jobs commercialized modern graphical computing. But he oversaw another invention from that era that was just as brilliant but no one mentions these days.
There’s a great scene at the end of Bridge on the River Kwai when Alec Guinness’ character assess his career in the British Army and admits it’s been a disappointment. Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley takes a similar look at his stint at the top of Apple, and says the company made a big mistake when it hired him as CEO. It’s the most surprisingly frank admission I’ve ever heard anyone make about their career.
One of the first things Steve Jobs did on his return to Apple was kill the Newton, the brick-sized messagepad that some blame for dragging the company towards bankruptcy. But John Sculley argues that the Newton actually prevented Apple from going out of business.
Engineers are far more important than managers at Apple — and designers are at the top of the hierarchy. Even when you look at software, the best designers like Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Capps, were called software designers, not software engineers because they were designing in software. It wasn’t just that their code worked. It had to be beautiful code. People would go in and admire it. It’s like a writer. People would look at someone’s style. They would look at their code writing style and they were considered just beautiful geniuses at the way they wrote code or the way they designed hardware.