The Not-Steve Jobs Interview

Steve Jobs is the second Vision Master (those that MAKE vision reality) in our “Not” interview format. Via these interviews, we bring you some of the (replicable) footprints of brilliance they leave as they pass thought life. Our interview today, with Not-Steve Jobs, shows us the critical nature of the Vision Master’s choice of Execution Master (those that execute the vision day to day). In Job’s case, he got it wrong before he got it right.

At Intelliversity, our commitment to increasing the fundability of innovative startups is tied to building powerhouse teams that investors can trust. That commitment has raised the rates of clients’ funding from a national average of 3% to 67%. The lessons from Vision Masters that change the world are gold. We pass that gold on to you with the wish for your wild success!

So, on to Not-Steve Jobs!


Robert Steven Kramarz (Rob):        Oh, my God, Not-Steve Jobs. Before we get started, this is Robert Steven Kramarz, Co-founder, Executive Director of Intelliversity and this is your vision master podcast.

And of course, who is better at exemplifying a vision master than Not-Steve Jobs? Welcome back.

Not-Steve Jobs (Not-Steve):        Great to be here Rob. No… I’m just kidding. It really sucks but anyway, go ahead.

Rob:        How long do you have on earth?

Not-Steve:        I’ve got 15 minutes. So I think we should really get this thing wrapped up.

Rob:        How did you arrange for this Not-Steve Jobs?

Not-Steve::        I can’t comment on that really.

Rob:         Did you have…

Not-Steve:        I have a little Buddhist intervention, what can I tell you?

Rob:         I’ve got some really interesting questions for our Vision Masters out there, and the one that we’re going to end on, I wanted to give you some advance notice will be, are you not Steve Jobs or were you maybe it’s still is, are you a jerk or an asshole?

Not-Steve::        Oh boy. All right. Let’s do that. Look forward to it.

Rob:        And the answer is going to really, really help our Vision Masters. So I kind of think I know what’s coming here, but I want to hear it from you and they do too. So, but hold your thoughts on that for a few minutes, in between I want to cover a couple of really essential things…

We only have 10, 15 minutes ago. So the most important subject that I want to cover is what did you learn in between the first stint at Apple and the second stint at Apple? Most of you remember Steve Jobs was at Apple twice, but roughly 10-year space in between. And so what you learned is got to be what every Vision Master has to learn. So, what did you learn?

Not-Steve::        It’s interesting. I mean, you could see the contrast… If you look at the very first part of Apple, I was definitely the Vision Master, but I reported to an Execution Master who reported to a board who was, how do I say this? Kind of stupid, certainly lacking in vision.

Rob:        Well, not at first, right? You were the Vision Master, you and Wazniak, but you brought in John Starley alright? As CEO…

Not-Steve:        A wise move because we needed some gray hair in the mix, some expertise. But the truth of the matter is if… Having read your book, by the way, Born to Star is a good book folks… get it. The truth of the matter is when a Vision Master is no longer the CEO, he’s likely to put himself in a position of not being able to execute his own vision and the company will falter if not fail.

Rob:         So in other words, you as a Vision Master lose control of the company?

Not-Steve::        That’s exactly what happened.

Rob:         Yeah. And the CEO is brought in to turn your vision into action, but co-ops your vision. And it makes it…

Not-Steve:        And dismissed it. I mean, he got rid of the Macintosh.

Rob:         Right. So you were forced to do that by the VCs as I recall, but if you had to say one thing to our Vision Masters out there, Not-Steve Jobs about that, what would it be?

Not-Steve:        Never, never, never ever lose control of your own vision. It is very simple.

Rob:         What does that mean in practice? You’re being told to bring in an Execution Master, a new CEO if you will, what do you say to that?

Not-Steve:        It has to be done in a way where you don’t give up control of your own vision. I mean, you might lose it… You still need an Execution Master but you have to remain the CEO. They have to report to you, have to, have to, have to, have to.

Rob:        Have to, have to, have to report to you, never the other way around.

Not-Steve:        Ever.

Rob:       And in the world today, who’s doing it right? That you can see.

Not-Steve:       Well, Elon Musk is doing it right at SpaceX. I mean even Zuckerberg, little prick, he’s done it right. I mean he’s got a very strong Execution Master but he’s in control. I mean it’s the same thing with ELon, he’s in control. It’s that vision, the vision matters don’t ever give it away. Find the Execution Master that gets that but at the same time is not just a “yes” person.

Rob:         Thank you. So Sheryl Sandberg runs for the most part Facebook, but Zuckerberg is the CEO.

Not-Steve:        Absolutely.

Rob:       Shotwell runs SpaceX.

Not-Steve::        And Robin what?

Rob:        Robyn Denholm actively runs on a Tesla, but CEO, Vision Master remains Elon Musk.

Not-Steve:        Right.

Rob:         Remember that new Vision Masters out there. This is Not-Steve Jobs telling you what he learned between the first and second stents at Apple. Don’t forget, remember this. Awesome.

Not-Steve::       One thing, it was very painful, don’t forget… most people never get a second shot.

Rob:         Okay.

Not-Steve:        Okay. So you’ve got to make it count on first time around. I wanted to make that point.

Rob:        So the other thing about you is you quite often told people the difference between the visionary that’s a term I use a visionary sees the future, a Vision Master like you makes the future. How actually does that happen, what skill did you master to become a Vision Master not just a visionary?

Not-Steve::        Well, being able to zoom out and a visionary as the adult, they can lookout. I mean, they can see the future and they can go, wow, that’s going to happen. And then they write it down in a notebook, and then they go back to something else and it never freaking becomes reality.

Rob: :        So that’s a visionary not a vision master?

Not-Steve:        That’s a visionary.

Rob:         Right.

Not-Steve:        A vision masters is the person that can see that and see be able to filter it for practical applications. So they’re not just looking at stuff. That’s probably not commercializable That’s just interesting. They’re looking at commercial opportunities, but then they zoom in and in, and then they’re able to see in very minute detail, all of the moving parts that it takes to bring two very different industries together and create a dang kind of a evolutionary, revolutionary, new thing that nobody ever thought of, but they make it happen. It’s not an idea, it’s a product and it gets shipped.

Rob:         So your ability is first zoom out, that’s the vision and then zoom in that’s the vision mastery to get every detail, right? But you can’t possibly control every detail.

Not-Steve:        No. And that’s why in your language, that’s why you need an execution master.

Rob:         So what I get is that by controlling… Like you had this insanity about the quality of the product, even in terms of what’s inside the box.

Not-Steve::        Right.

Rob:        The colors and edges and finish of every component inside the box had to be extraordinary. Why did you do that?

Not-Steve:        It’s part of the magic. It’s packaging, it’s that magic when you open an Apple box, and you open it up and it’s… Everybody does it, by the way, even today, they open a box it’s a special experience the box is perfect.

Rob:        Let me put a word in your mouth standards.

Not-Steve::        Please.

Rob:        Standards, by zooming in on a couple of key points, you’re communicating what your standards are for the entire [crosstalk] business, right?

Not-Steve::        For the entire business by setting it. I’m setting the expectation of the potential of the customer. They just bought it and as they open it they begin to realize they’ve got something wonderful in the palm of their hand.

Rob:         And this brings us back to the question we started with is, are you not Steve Jobs or were you, maybe you still are a jerk or an asshole? Now that just we came to the conclusion when we interviewed not Elon Musk, that he’s probably a jerk, but not an asshole. What about you?

Not-Steve:        Well, I watched that episode and I think your definition of asshole is the person that feels they’re entitled to be essentially being a jerk. A jerk is a jerk, and then they feel bad about it and they apologize, and they go back to their old ways. They have little bursts of jerk and asshole feels they’re entitled. And I’m entitled and it’s people like you that just pissed me off. Right? I mean, you asked what seems like a very simple question, but you’re the jerk, you’re trying to be the nice guy here.

                        This isn’t about being a nice guy. It’s about winning the fucking prize, excuse my language… It’s about winning the game. It’s not about being nice, don’t be nice. Just get the job done. I’m an asshole, I was an asshole, I am an asshole. I’m going to forever be an asshole because that’s part of what works for me. That’s how I dented the universe. I didn’t dent the universe by being nice. I don’t really care about that. I mean I care about the world getting the innovation that makes humans innovate more.

Rob:         Are you turning this around on me and calling me a jerk?

Not-Steve:       I am.

Rob:        Because I’m too concerned about being a nice guy? So what?

Not-Steve:       So you know what? Being a nice guy doesn’t matter in the end…trust me on that. Getting a job worth doing matters.

Rob:         But you hurt people, you made them cry. You…

Not-Steve:        Who? My own daughter, she’s tough now, she understands. This is for their own good, the world isn’t going to go around at all honey is everything okay all the time people are going to be mean, people are going to be nasty. You got to stand up to somebody and push back. I’ve always respected the people who’ve pushed back, and I always got over it very quickly. Even my good friend, Johnny, I mean, he would complain that I was an asshole and I’d say, so what? Does it matter? Did we get the job done? Check the product. Is it right? Is it perfect? Did we sell a million units? That’s what matters. And no, it’s not just about the money. It’s about making a dent in the world.

Rob:        Let me call you a fucking asshole, Dick. Was that better?

Not-Steve::        (To the listeners) Different accent and that makes it solid. What he said it with a British accent that smooths it out a little bit, but I love him. What I tell was like every time he tried to tell me something.

Rob:        We got it. I’ll let you Vision Masters decide whether you want to be liked or not. But don’t..whatever it takes don’t sacrifice your vision.

Not-Steve:       Let me say one more thing and I have to go. You see to the Vision Masters out there, you don’t have to be an asshole, I’m an asshole and I needed to be Steve Jobs. So you got to be you, but just understand that being a nice guy, isn’t going to get the job done by itself. That’s all.

Rob:       Great take-away.

All right. So this is Robert Steven Kramarz is on your Vision Master podcast Intelliversity from this is Not-Steve Jobs. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again in the near future. Don’t forget to go out and get download born to star, which goes over some of these key points and gives you the tips and tricks to make it happen as a vision master, and until next time, that’s the way it will be.

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