Glenn Reid, Creator of iMovie & iPhoto: “I am at least sure that my phone won’t ring if I say something about the experience.”
Not only did he (Steve) know and love product engineering, it’s all he really wanted to do. He told me once that part of the reason he wanted to be CEO was so that nobody could tell him that he wasn’t allowed to participate in the nitty-gritty of product design. He was right there in the middle of it. All of it. As a team member, not as CEO. He quietly left his CEO hat by the door, and collaborated with us. He was basically the Product Manager for all of the products I worked on, even though there eventually were other people with that title, who usually weren’t allowed in the room
I am off doing other things now, again, but it’s still Product Design, and I still love it. That is what I remember most about Steve, that he simply loved designing and shipping products. Again, and again, and again. None of the magic that has become Apple would have ever happened if he were simply a CEO.
Steve’s magic recipe was that he was a product designer at his core, who was smart enough to know that the best way to design products was to have the magic wand of CEO in one of your hands. He was compelling and powerful and all that, but I think that having once had the reigns of power wrestled away from him, he realized that it was important not to let that happen again, lest he not be allowed to be a Product Manager any more.