Steve Jobs' exile from Apple between 1985 and 1996 isn't particularly well-documented but helped mold him into the corporate titan of his later years. Reporter Brent Schlender, who's covered the tech scene for the WSJ and Forbes for a quarter century recently rediscovered a cache of interviews from this period. The full story will be appearing in the May Issue of Fast Company but here are some of the highlights.
On governing through the Open Corporation model:
Think of it this way, if you look at your own body, your cells are specialized, but every single one of them has the master plan for the whole body. We think our company will be the best possible company if every single person working here understands the whole master plan and can use that as a yardstick to make decisions against. We think a lot of little and medium and big decisions will be made better if all our people know that.
On Pixar's technological prowess:
"These guys were way ahead of us on graphics, way ahead," Jobs remembered. "They were way ahead of anybody. I just knew in my bones that this was going to be very important."
On working with Johnny Ive:
"We've done so many hardware products where Jony and I have looked at each other and said, 'We don't know how to make it any better than this, we just don't know how to make it,' " Jobs told me. "But we always do; we realize another way. And then it's not long after the new thing comes out that we look at the older thing and go, 'How can we ever have done that?' "
On stories versus hardware in the mind of the consumer:
"The technology we've been laboring on over the past 20 years becomes part of the sedimentary layer," he told me once. "But when Snow White was re-released [on DVD, in 2001], we were one of the 28 million families that went out and bought a copy of it. This was a film that is 60 years old, and my son was watching it and loving it. I don't think anybody's going to be beating on a Macintosh 60 years from now."