On creating great products [1995 Cringley/Steve Jobs Interview Excerpt]

CRINGLEY: What’s important to you in the development of a product?

JOBS: One of the things that really hurt Apple was that after I left, John Scully got a very serious disease.

And that disease – I have seen other people get it too – it’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work.

And that if you just tell all these other people, you know, “Here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is, is that there is just a tremendous amount of craftmanship between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that idea, it changes and grows.

It never comes out like it starts, because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it and you will also find there are tremendous trade-offs that you have to make.

I mean there are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastics do, or glass do, or factories do, or robots do.

And as you get into all these things, designing a product is keeping 5000 things in your brain – these concepts – and fitting them all together and kind of continuing to push to fit them together in new and different ways to get what you want.

And every day, you discover something that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And its that process that is the magic.

Above is an excerpt from an interview Steve Jobs gave to Robert Cringely when asked about what is important in the development of a great product. The full uncut interview can be seen here- Amazon.


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