Apple chief designer Jonathan Ive talks about his love-hate relationship with Steve Jobs (memorial service video)
Last Wednesday there was a private memorial service for Steve Jobs on Apple's campus. Among Norah Jones and Coldplay performances we saw people like Al Gore taking the stage and sharing their thoughts on Apple's long-time inspirational leader.
One of the speakers who chimed in was Jonathan "Jony" Ive, the man behind all things Apple design, who spoke about his love-hate relationship with Steve Jobs.
At the speech held on Apple's campus he had only good things to say about the process, and his participation at the event was the most moving and heartfelt. Here are his words at the memorial service, the recording of which we are embedding in a video below:
Steve used to say to me -- and he used to say this a lot -- "Hey Jony, here's a dopey idea."
And sometimes they were. Really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet simple ones, which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.
And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.
In Steve Jobs's biography, however, he says that he was often a bit miffed about how SJ shot down some of his ideas at first, but then at presentations talked about them as if they were his own. Designing is all about ideas, so it must have been unnerving for Jony Ive to see one of his close friends behave like this:
He [Jobs] will go through a process of looking at my ideas and say, 'That's no good. That's not very good. I like that one.' And later I will be sitting in the audience and he will be talking about it as if it was his idea. I pay maniacal attention to where an idea comes from, and I even keep notebooks filled with my ideas. So it hurts when he takes credit for one of my designs.
Jony Ive, however, was well aware that Steve's strongest point was the ability to drive through the clutter of ideas, pick and choose the ones that fit Apple's vision and dismiss others, even great ones, in order to create the coherent experience that is now across Apple's products. Ultimately, his vision made Apple the largest company in the world by market cap.
Jonathan Ive thought that portraying Steve Jobs as the only idea man of the company can ultimately hurt Apple, and now he has the chance to prove it wasn't so, so CEO Tim Cook better do all in his powers to keep him on board. Not that there is an abundance of places at the same level he could go anyway. His speech starts about 48 minutes into the video below.