iNterview: A Discussion with Steve Jobs

This post is Part One of a one-part series of technology discussions between Apple experts Steve Jobs and Nik Daum. For my past interview with financial expert Suze Orman, click here.

Nik: Thanks for sitting with me today, Steve Jobs. Nice shirt. Do you mind if I just call you Steve?

Steve Jobs: Yes.

Nik: Meaning, yes I can call you that? Or yes, you mind that I call you that?

Steve Jobs: The second.

Nik: No worries. So Steve Jobs, a lot has been happening in the personal computer world since you founded Apple in the 70s. What do you think has been the biggest recent advance? Second Life? Powerful smart phones?

Steve Jobs: The Internet.

Nik: Yeah, the Internet is an amazing development. I think back to when I first got online back in the graphical BBS days. I didn’t have a Mac back then, I’m a little scared to admit. You probably didn’t have to deal with all the complications of winsock and modem drivers, but to me I felt like I was learning the handshake to a secret society. I used to spend forever online. Luckily, my father was smart enough to subscribe to unlimited dial-up. I had a friend that paid by the minute. Did you ever have to do that?

Steve Jobs: No.

Nik: According to my friend it sucked. He had a big thing for Teri Hatcher and had to wait forever to download photos of her, racking up the bill. Haha, “racking.” That was unitentional. Anyway, he’d share the pics with me on 3.5 floppies, along with shareware games. She was pretty hot in that Superman show.

Steve Jobs: I disagree.

Nik: Fair enough. To me it wasn’t so much her appearance, but more her strength and allure. I can’t remember if her and Superman ever were a couple or not, I’m pretty sure they were by the end of the show. There was a certain hokeyness to it all of course, but the Superman universe has always been that way. I was always more of a Batman fan anyway. It’s funny, because I’m scared of bats in real life. Maybe that’s why it’s so powerful to me, the black suit strikes at a guttural level. Much like one of the Dark Knight’s punches.

Steve Jobs: {coughs}

Nik: Sorry, I’m getting off track. Speaking of the internet, what are some of your favorite websites? I like Facebook and celebrity gossip sites.

Steve Jobs: Those sites are a waste of time. For me, it’s the idea of the web that I find fascinating. One, it’s ubiquitous. And anything that’s ubiquitous gets interesting. Two, I don’t think anyone will figure out a way to own it. There’s going to be a lot more innovation, and that will create a place where there isn’t this dark cloud of dominance.

Nik: Are you worried about dominance? Is it because Mac desktops have such a small market share compared to say Microsoft?

Steve Jobs: The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft may dominate, but that’s not where the exciting things are happening these days. Apple has an exciting platform in the iPhone. Devices like that won’t ever make desktops useless, but for many people they will be good enough to be their only computing device.

Nik: Do you hope to dominate the mobile space like Microsoft dominates the desktop space? Won’t that make you the “Microsoft” of mobile?

Steve Jobs: Domination discourages innovation. But yes, we hope to be successful in that area.

Nik: So basically, Apple wants to be Microsoft?

Steve Jobs: That’s not what I’m saying.

Nik: What about Google then?

Steve Jobs: Google has been phenomenally successful, but we operate in different spaces.

Nik: Except the cell phone operating systems space?

Steve Jobs: Well yes, but remember that Google positions Android as an open platform. iPhone OS is indissolubly tied to our hardware so that we can offer the consumer the best experience.

Nik: Can you elaborate on what you mean by “indissolubly”?

Steve Jobs: I mean that the iPhone is the sum of its hardware and software.

Nik: Yes, but what does “indissolubly” mean?

Steve Jobs: It means lasting, or unable to be destroyed.

Nik: Kind of like the word “inseparable”?

Steve Jobs: Yes.

Nik: Okay, I get it now. So Steve Jobs, what search engine do you use most. Google?

Steve Jobs: Yes.

Nik: Do you use an iPhone?

Steve Jobs: Of course.

Nik: Do you search Google on your iPhone?

Steve Jobs: Yes.

Nik: I do too. Here, let me google your name right now… The first result is for your Wikipedia entry. Wouldn’t you say Wikipedia is like the iMac of online encyclopedias?

Steve Jobs: What are you talking about?

Nik: Meaning that the iMac reinvigorated the world of online encyclopedias. It was the first to bring together good design, reasonable price, and a legion of peer edited entries on any subject. Even subjects traditional encyclopedias would be unwilling to cover. Did you know there is an entry on the game Rex Nebular and the Intergalactic Gender-Bender? Britannica certainly won’t devote an entry to a lesser-known adventure game with a few boobs in it.

Steve Jobs: Well, the iMac certainly received considerable critical acclaim and helped bring Apple out of its slump. I don’t think your analogy makes sense though. I’m assuming you mean that the iMac revolutionized desktops much as Wikipedia revolutionized encyclopedias.

Nik: That’s not what I meant at all.

Steve Jobs: {coughs}

Nik: So, Steve Jobs, all of my readers are dying to know what the next big Apple product is going to be. There are a lot of rumors about a revolutionary tablet device floating around these days. Is this your “one more thing”?

Steve Jobs: I won’t talk about unreleased products.

Nik: Fair enough, but can you at least tell us the screen size? A lot of people wonder what the market is for a device that’s basically a scaled up iTouch.

Steve Jobs: It’s “iPod Touch.”

Nik: Well Steve Jobs, it’s been a great visit. Any parting words?

Steve Jobs: No.

Steve Jobs is co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. and former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios.

Nik Daum has accomplished nothing with his life.

September 16th, 2009. Categories / Writing

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