Jobs detested anyone who was ready to make compromises to get a product out on time and on budget. He found adequacy to be “morally appalling.” Jobs’ goal for Apple was never to simply beat competitors, or even to make money: it was to make the greatest product possible, “or even a little greater.”
He was demanding about everything:
• When the Macintosh booted up too slowly, he badgered the engineer responsible, equating the situation to a matter of life or death.
• He worked with countless artists and advertising agencies to make sure Apple’s ads had the right feel, and that the imagery and the audio synced up perfectly.
• Of the iPod engineers, he demanded the ability to access any function on the music player with three button presses, and no more.
• He insisted the production process for all Apple computers be shaved down from four months to two.
Each one of these individual decisions could be considered nitpicks, but when put all together, Apple created a cult-like following unlike any other. Unlike other tech companies that had come and gone, customers and loyal fans felt like Apple put their interests first, and they were, as a result, willing to pay high prices for those products.
“Steve created the only lifestyle brand in the tech industry,” Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison told Jobs’ biographer. “There are cars people are proud to have — Porsche, Ferrari, Prius — because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product.”