We know that Steve Jobs may not have been the most pleasant person to work with. A recent article about Eddy Cue says as much, as do many others. But for all of his supposed tyranny as captain of Apple, we sometimes forget that he was an actual human who deeply cared about the company. In a recently discovered interview with former VP of Marketing Communications, Allison Johnson, we get a sense that Jobs put his heart and soul into Apple, and was very passionate about how the company’s image came across to consumers.
There are two situations in particular that Johnson mentions. First, Johnson explained what a big deal it was when Apple finally landed The Beatles catalog on iTunes. It was the first time anyone had access to sell the band’s catalog of music digitally, so when a deal was struck, Jobs was overcome with happiness, and was left in tears because it was such a special moment for him.
Second, Johnson said that Jobs was an emotional wreck following the Antennagate scandal following the iPhone 4 release in 2010. Jobs was understandably livid with the situation, and didn’t like how it was being portrayed in the media. In a meeting with many of Apple’s core leadership and marketing teams, Jobs voiced his anger, saying, “This is not the company I want to be,” Jobs said. “This is not what we are building. We don’t want to be that company. We don’t want people to think about us this way.”
Jobs was so impassioned in front of his core leadership team that he openly sobbed. That says a lot about his character, and even more about him as a human being. During big Apple keynotes, we would always see a composed, charming version of Steve Jobs. One that had a lot of pride in what he talked about, and the products he was introducing. But there was a human being behind that CEO persona, one that cared so deeply about how the image of Apple was portrayed to customers that a situation like Antennagate led him to tears.
Given how the iPhone 4 was leaked even before it was announced, and the obvious pride Apple showed in the device’s design at launch, it’s very understandable to hear why Jobs was so upset with the Antennagate attention.
Johnson reveals other information about the culture at Apple, and what it was like working in the company’s marketing department. Apple apparently considers the words “brand” and “marketing” dirty, and explained that its marketing efforts are meant to educate customers, and not to sell a product. The biggest question of them all: what was it like working for Jobs? “Playing your best game every single day,” Johnson said.