Steve Jobs and the focus group

One of the great things about Steve Jobs is what comes out of his mouth.

The CEO of Apple Computer is a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase. Even when he’s trying to talk normally, brilliant verbiage comes tumbling out.

Here’s a selection of some of the most insanely great things the man has said, organized by topic: innovation and design, fixing Apple, his greatest sales pitches, life’s lessons, taking the fight to the enemy and Pixar.

On Innovation and Design:

“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.”
– At age 29, in Playboy, February 1985

“I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.”
BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
– Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
– BusinessWeek, May 25 1998

“It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”
BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004

“(Miele) really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years.”
– Wired magazine, February 1996

On Fixing Apple:

“The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!”
– On Gil Amelio’s lackluster rein, in BusinessWeek, July 1997

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”
– Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer

“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”
– Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

“You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.”
– Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995

“Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could — I’m searching for the right word — could, could die.”
– On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997

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