Steve Jobs interview: One-on-one in 1995

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You need passion to build a company like Apple or IBM or any other major company. Once you've taken the passion to that level and built a company and are in the position like a Bill Gates at Microsoft or anybody else, yourself, what are the responsibilities of those who have succeeded and have economic power, social power? I mean, you've changed the world. What are your responsibilities within that? That question can be taken on many levels. Obviously if you're running a company you have responsibilities but as an individual I don't think you have responsibilities. I think the work speaks for itself. I don't think that people have special responsibilities just because they've done something that other people like or don't like. I think the work speaks for itself.

I think people could choose to do things if they want to but we're all going to be dead soon, that's my point of view. Somebody once told me, they said "Live each day as if it would be your last and one day you'll certainly be right." I do that. You never know when you're going to go but you are going to go pretty soon. If you're going to leave anything behind it's going to be your kids, a few friends and your work. So that's what I tend to worry about. I don't tend to think about responsibility. A matter of fact I tend to like to on occasion pretend I don't have any responsibilities. I try to remember the last day when I didn't have anything to do and didn't have anything to do the following day that I had to do and I had no responsibilities. It was decades ago. I pretend when I want to feel that way. I don't think in those terms. I think you have a responsibility to do really good stuff and get it out there for people to use and let them build on the shoulders of it and keep making better stuff.

So the responsibility is to yourself and your own standards. In our business, one person can't do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you. You have a responsibility of integrity of work to that team. Everybody does try to turn out the best work that they can.

Any final comments or thoughts either for the record or off the record? No. Not really. Timeframe's an interesting thing when you think about people looking back. I do think when people look back on this in a hundred years, they're going to see this as a remarkable time in history. And especially this area believe it or not. When you think of the innovation that's come out of this area, Silicon Valley and the whole San Francisco Berkeley Bay area, you've got the invention of the integrated circuit, the invention of the microprocessor, the invention of semiconductor memory, the invention of the modern hard disk drive, the invention of the modern floppy disk drive, the invention of the personal computer, invention of genetic engineering, the invention of object-oriented technology, the invention of graphical user interfaces at PARC, followed by Apple, the invention of networking. All that happened in this Bay area. It's incredible.

Why do you think it happened? Why here? Two or three reasons. You have to go back a little [in] history. I mean this is where the beatnik happened in San Francisco. It's a pretty interesting thing. This is where the hippy movement happened. This is the only place in America where Rock 'n Roll really happened. Right? Most of the bands in this country, Bob Dylan in the 60's, I mean they all came out of here. I think of Joan Baez to Jefferson Airplane to the Grateful Dead. Everything came out of here, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, everybody. Why is that?

You've also had Stanford and Berkeley, two awesome universities drawing smart people from all over the world and depositing them in this clean, sunny, nice place where there's a whole bunch of other smart people and pretty good food. And at times a lot of drugs and all of that. So they stayed. There's a lot of human capital pouring in. Really smart people. People seem pretty bright here relative to the rest of the country. People seem pretty open-minded here relative to the rest of the country. I think it's just a very unique place and its got a track record to prove it and that tends to attract more people. I give a lot of credit to the universities, probably the most credit of anything to Stanford and Berkeley, UC California.

Well, I cannot tell you how much we appreciate this. Sure, I hope its helpful.

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This story, "Steve Jobs interview: One-on-one in 1995" was originally published by Computerworld.

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