Steve Jobs: You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology

I love this video of Steve Jobs from 1997, answering a hard question in an open and honest way. This is what I want to see more of from all our technology companies. Not polish, not script, just great products that they obviously love and can't wait to share with us, and a real dialog about the choices they made to get there.

Just watch it.


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at

  • No one could speak quite like Jobs. Even his keynotes, there was just something about him I liked. You could tell he loved what he did Even if he wasn't perfect, he really cared about technology.
  • Fantastic video. Explains a lot about the choices Apple still makes today. Don't add an NFC chipset. Figure out a feature set, and whether it needs an NFC chipset.
  • Apple is holding the industry back because it wont include NFC, I am waiting for apple to include it just so we can actually use the technology. NFC payments, NFC pairing, NFC information kiosks, more easily find downloads. NFC chips are dirt cheap, use basically no power, and take up a minuscule amount of space. This idea of user experience first may explain several choices apple makes, but NFC is not one of them. rather, its an example of their stubborn bullheadedness when the competition gets it right.
  • Grahaman, I definitely can see where you are coming from on this but I have to humbly disagree and have to say it's more like the other way around - the lack of NFC out there (the payments, pairing, info kiosks, etc) is holding back Apple from including it. It might just be the area of the country I live (Houston,TX), which I don't think it is, but I have never really felt like I'm missing out on anything NFC related because I simply don't see it around for use.
  • I feel we are lucky so many videos have been taken of Steve discussing technology and his visions. We don't know what we will miss once it is gone. It's too bad there likely will never again be a Steve Jobs in the Tech industry. Now that I am older I can appreciate Steve jobs for what he was to all of us.
  • Enjoyed that video a lot, but my God, the jeans. I had to watch it again because the first time through I'd focussed way too much attention on that black-patch fashion statement. :0
  • A friend just tweeted this story and I had just read this Steve Jobs quote from another blog: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
  • I love the philosphy of working back from customer experience. I will say though in the past 2-3 years I think i'm a different customer than many of the current apple customers. (That or maybe the direction has changed since Job's death). But for me the user experience i want seems to take a backseat to a new tech gimmick, or a eyecandy look. Like fingerprint scanners or cosmetic changes to ios. Take macbooks, they are now focusing on thinness and screens, but for me those are not priorities, i'd rather they not sacrifice storage and os memory. Apple (and many users) focus on cloud music like pandora or itunes radio, but me, I don't have stable data, and just in general i prefer to listen to my own content and thus, i prefer high capacity storage in devices. But their are little things. Like when itunes went from 10 to 11, Apple removed "column browser" mode when an ipod or iphone is attached. Not sure why but that hurt my user experience because sorting a massive ipod became tough. There apple made my user experience harder not easier. And i think the bloat, and lack of music management feature like folder monitoring in itunes have always been an area where they seem to sacrifice user experience. I thought skew-morphism in the podcast app clearly sacrificed user experience for eyecandy. Glad that was quickly rectified. And there are many little things here and there like fonts in ios 7 & the all white look of everything that i'm not a fond of largely do to eyestrain. Many like it, but me it harmed my user experience. I used to think apple just was so dogmatic that it didn't care. Like it simply refused to monitor folders in itunes, something winamp did in 1999. (Well i still think that's dogma). But recently i've begun to wonder if simply has what i want in devices like laptops and phones and tablets simply gone a different different direction than apple or the average user. When it comes to stuff like pandora i think so. When it comes to the look of ios i kinda think that's just what happens not that Steve is gone and not their setting the standard of what looks good. Regardless, their are some things where what apple does is the perfect user experience but more and more i'm feeling they are doing exactly the opposite of putting user experience first, or at least my opinion of what good user experience is.
  • I miss Jobs. I can't stand most tech companies' leaders these days selling fake passion about me-too, copycat products and lying through their teeth about how they came up with these asinine ideas (too many to cite, but look at the Samesungs for recent examples). Jobs wasn't perfect, and he sometimes spouted rubbish from within his reality distortion field. But most of what he has said and done has been proven right time and again. Another factor is the many tech analysts/pundits and neighborhood bloggers who make bold, error filled predictions throughout the year about Apple and feed into the system enabling other tech companies to spout bullshit. Sent from the iMore App
  • It should be noted that the goals of tech analysts and pundits/bloggers are different. A tech analyst is analyzing the the tech market from a financial and business perspective with the goal of profiting off of a stock. Thus their focus is on things like profit growth rates, whether a company is over or undervalued at a given price, is one stock a better place to put money vs another stock, etc. etc. For example Microsoft was never a failing company or windows a failing product for almost a decade but it was a crappy stock cause it wasn't gonna grow or earn an investor profit. There was better growth in other software stocks if you wanted to invest in software. They understand good companies and good products aren't always good investments. By contrast the blogger/pundit is often a tech enthusiast and often a champion of a given platform. Profit and investing isn't their real interest. They are often merely gauging/guessing what will and won't be liked by people. And that's not always what will grow profits to a rate that satisfies and investor. Like a pundit may love iradio and a touch sensor because they make a great product better. And thus they may be thrilled with a product launch. An financial analyst may look at that and go, "Great, but is iRadio and a fingerprint scanner the thing that does whatever is needed to hit the number they need that justifies investing. Like they may think to sustain the price the have you need to add 10 million new iphone users. And they may think that addition (and other's) will satisfy current users but not be what gets you 10 mill new ones. That's made up but hypothetical but you get my point. But the parties are gonna clash cause they have different focuses
  • .... you left us too soon ..... :(
  • Steve Jobs taught me to never settle for mediocrity.
  • One of my favorite videos. This is a key philosophy at apple, or at least it has been.