We are really pleased with our revenues but our goal isn't to make money. It sounds a little flippant, but it's the truth. Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products. If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money,
We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects. It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care-just like the people who make them. But what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. our success is a victory for purity, integrity-for giving a damn.
Apple was very close to bankruptcy and to irrelevance [but] you learn a lot about life through death, and I learnt a lot about vital corporations by experiencing a non-vital corporation. You would have thought that, when what stands between you and bankruptcy is some money, your focus would be on making some money, but that was not [Steve Jobs’] preoccupation. His observation was that the products weren’t good enough and his resolve was, we need to make better products. That stood in stark contrast to the previous attempts to turn the company around.
We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.
The more I learnt about this cheeky - almost rebellious - company, the more it appealed to me, as it unapologetically pointed to an alternative in a complacent and creatively bankrupt industry. Apple stood for something and had reason for being that wasn't just about making money.
And I said couldn't we be more moderate? And he said why? And I said because I care about the team. And he said, 'No Jony, you're just really vain. You just want people to like you. I'm surprised at you, because I thought you really held the work up as the most important and not how you are perceived by people.' People misunderstand Steve because he was so focused.
With the early prototypes, I held the phone to my ear and my ear [would] dial the number. You have to detect all sorts of ear-shapes and chin shapes, skin colour and hairdo... that was one of just many examples where we really thought, perhaps this isn’t going to work.