Isaacson’s Short List of Three: Edison, Ford, & Jobs – Ed Catmull Helps us Understand Why Steve Jobs Deserves to Be on that List

Yes, I’ve read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (I presented my synopsis of that book shortly after it came out). Yes, I am reading Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli which I will present next week at the May 1 First Friday Book Synopsis.

Creativity-Inc.-CoverBut, I may have found the most insight about Steve Jobs in Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc. Here are some excerpts from the book…

We met in a conference room with a white board and a large table surrounded by chairs—not that Steve stayed seated for very long. Within minutes, he was standing at the white board, drawing us a chart of Apple’s revenues. 

I remember his assertiveness. There was no small talk. Instead, there were questions. Lots of questions. What do you Steve-Jobs-whiteboardwant? Steve asked. Where are you heading? What are your long-term goals? He used the phrase “insanely great products” to explain what he believed in. Clearly, he was the sort of person who didn’t let presentations happen to him, and it wasn’t long before he was talking about making a deal.

Whenever offering a note, he always began the same way: “I’m not really a filmmaker, so you can ignore everything I say.… ” Then he would proceed, with startling efficiency, to diagnose the problem precisely.

You couldn’t dismiss Steve. Every film he commented on benefited from his insight.  

Steve JobsWalter Isaacson says that when history is written, the three names we will remember from business will be Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs. From Isaacson:

Steve Jobs became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford.

More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.

This book helps you understand why Steve Jobs deserves to be in that list.


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