One of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left, John Sculley got a very serious disease. And that disease—I’ve seen other people get it, too—it’s the disease of thinking that having a great idea is really ninety percent of the work. And if you just tell people, ‘Here’s this great idea,’ then of course they can go off and make it happen. The problem with that is that there’s a tremendous amount of craftsmanship between having a great idea and having a great product.
Steve Jobs introduces the “Think Different” campaign in 1997. To put this video in perspective, remember where Apple was in 1997. In terms of market share, the company had only about 3% of the personal computer market, bottoming out at 2.8% in July 1997. Its stock traded at around $4 or $5 a share, also bottoming in July 1997 when it sank below $3.50 a share. In its previous fiscal year the company had lost $1 billion.
We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.