Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs talk Steve Jobs’ legacy, Tesla design, and much more

Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs talk Steve Jobs’ legacy, Tesla design, and much more

For her last code conference, Kara Swisher gathered Tim Cook, Jony Ive and Laurene Powell Jobs on the same stage to commemorate the life and legacy of Steve Jobs. Jobs was Swisher’s first interview at Code Conference 20 years ago, when it was called D: All Things Digital.

Go below for a recap of some quotes from the wide-ranging interview between Swisher, Jobs, Cook and Ive. Topics included stories about debates between Tim and Steve, designing with Jony, what Steve can do today, and much more.

About how Steve would see the world and Apple today

Tim Cook: I believe and hope that he will be proud. On a day like this where we bring forth a lot of innovation that is true to the principles he laid out. On the larger world, he would be dismayed by much of what he sees. The kind of partisanship and division in the world. But I think he will be happy that we are fulfilling the core values ​​for him such as privacy and protecting the environment.

That was the core for him. We keep innovating and trying to give people something that enables them to do something they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. And to give them tools to discover their own selves and change the world in their own ways.

Laurene Powell Jobs: I would say not only the polarization, not only the fact that people are really running amok in families and communities and our country, but also just that he loved our country so much. He loved California so much, but he loved our country. He loved the idea of ​​America.

It was very important to him to be able to give something back to the human experience, and I think he will not be silent about it.

Jony Ive: Definitely disappointed. I could imagine him being kind of crazy and furious, but also combined with that kind of compassion and love for the ideals that Laurene described. If you’re going to do something that’s really hard, you need that kind of fuel and anger. I think he would have bought his curiosity and lack of fear to have ideas.

On today’s design challenges and… Tesla?

Johnny: The challenges remain the same. I do think there are great affordances with interfaces like, say, multi-touch. But we do remain physical beings. I think the pendulum could possibly swing a bit to have interfaces and products that are more time and more physically involved.

Kara: Like cars?

Johnny: For example, yes.

Kara: What would a car you design look like?

Johnny: You know I can’t tell you.

Lauren: I’m really not a car person. I love beautiful old ones that are no longer safe to drive, so I find my cars soulless. I would say I know [Tim and Jony] don’t like the design of tesla but i appreciate the degree of safety it has. It’s really quite nice.

On Steve Jobs debate

Tim: There was always debate. I know there was folklore that you didn’t debate him, but that’s not true. In fact, if you didn’t debate him, he would sort of cut you down. And he just didn’t work well with those kinds of people who wouldn’t feel comfortable debating and pushing back.

Kara: What was the biggest debate you and Steve had?

Tim Cook: The way the original iPhone was sold. I was for putting it in the subsidy model and he was for the rev share. His way was more creative and more different; my path would have scaled down faster, at least I felt strong. And so we were in quite a discussion about this for a while, it was a multi-year discussion.

What do you think Steve would do today?

Tim: I wouldn’t want to guess. I think Steve was constantly changing; he was not static. He would accept a fixed belief, and new facts would change. That was one of the great things I admired about him.

I think this is such a great trait of people because people are held back by their old thinking regardless of what new thoughts and ideas come up.

Lauren: He would develop. He was also very careful not to stay at the wheel for too long and make room for others. He did have a fantasy of eventually teaching, and because we live right near Stanford, you know that idea of ​​riding a bike to Stanford and teaching classes. I think he could teach almost anything, and people would really benefit from it.

Johnny: I couldn’t agree more. I think part of curiosity, which I think defines so much of Steve, is your appetite to learn. And learning is more important than being right, as Tim said.

Best and worst qualities

Lauren: Every day he had a list of people he called and he just asked them what was going on. ‘What do you see? What do you think? What are you looking at?’

He would go around the industry and call people who would of course answer the phone, and he would just, you know, constantly pick people’s brains, which was really interesting. I think this is not a widely spoken trait of his.

However, to his detriment, when he would feel so confident in a position that is the corollary, he actually didn’t necessarily question it in a way that he might have. But it also worked to his advantage.

On competition

Tim: If we are looking for change in our business, we actually have fierce competitors; we are in the most competitive industry. We are not the leader in terms of market share; Samsung is. There are also many other people in the smartphone business, including Google.

And so all these people spend time and tons of money around the world. What we do is we just try to tell our product story very simply.

The Steve Jobs Archive

Describe Steve Jobs in one word

Tim: Curious.

Johnny: Clean.

Lauren: Radiant.

Kara: Surprising.

Final quote

Kara closed the conference in tears, reading one of her favorite Steve Jobs quotes:

Remembering that I will be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever come across to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

There is no replay of the event available yet, but we’ll be sure to share it when or if it becomes available.

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