Steve Jobs’ Lost 1995 Interview: 3 Big Lessons About Doing Great Work

June 11, 2020

In 1995, Bob Cringely — a guy who was hired and fired 3 separate times by Steve Jobs — sat down to  interview Jobs for a documentary…

The documentary, The Triumph Of The Nerds, only used about 9 minutes of the 69 minute interview…

The rest was thought to be lost forever when all master tapes went missing during shipping…

That was until the director dug up an extra copy in his garage. 

The interview was filmed at a special moment in time…

  • Steve had been fired from Apple a decade before…
  • He had then created Pixar (Toy Story would release in ’95)
  • And it was about a year before Apple would buy his company, NeXT, and reinstate him as the leader of the same company he had both founded and been kicked out of

The interview reveals his world-changing philosophy and vision…

Here are 3 lessons from Steve Jobs about doing great work:

1. Don’t Care About Being Right… Care About Success

Steve always had a strong opinion, but he also had a history of changing his mind in as little as 5 minutes after hearing a better idea.

In the end, it’s not about being right…

But doing what is right.

2. Challenge People To Produce Better Work… BuT Make Sure They Know You’re Still Confident In Them

When you’re surrounded by a group of “A Players,” it would be strange if people didn’t want to have their ideas and work critiqued…

Feedback and improvement ultimately leads to the best work in the long run…

But Steve knew that confidence is still a fragile thing for even the highest performers…

So, he would confront people directly when they produced work that wasn’t the best they could do…

But he made it a point to communicate his continued confidence in their ability to figure it out.

3. Discover The Best Things That Humans Have To Offer… And Then Spread It Around

Steve knew that the future of computers was going to be much more than simple computation…

He said that we all know there’s much more going on “under the surface” of normal life…

That we experience it when there’s a “gap” in our lives…

When things don’t fit exactly the way we want them to…

It’s the same thing that causes people to become poets instead of bankers…

And he knew computers would be a way to transmit that feeling with other people.

For Jobs, knowing how to steer the company in this direction was about having good taste.

To develop good taste, it’s about exposing yourself to the best of what humans have done…

And in Jobs’ words: “Then spread it around so that everybody grows up with better things.”

(Photo by AB on Unsplash + Walter Isaacson Book)

© 2020 – Michael J. McGovern