John Carmack, famously of ID Software and creator of Doom, among other industry-shaping games, and Andy Raskin, a consultant who once interned at Apple, both recently shared anecdotes about Steve Jobs.
Carmack’s was first hand and as much of a rollercoaster ride as you might expect.
From Facebook (yeah, sorry, he’s intertwined with Oculus, which is owned by Facebook):
I consider this one of the biggest indirect impacts on the industry that I have had. OpenGL never seriously threatened D3D on PC, but it was critical at Apple, and that meant that it remained enough of a going concern to be the clear choice when mobile devices started getting GPUs. While long in the tooth now, it was so much better than what we would have gotten if half a dozen SoC vendors rolled their own API back at the dawn of the mobile age.
I wound up doing several keynotes with Steve, and it was always a crazy fire drill with not enough time to do things right, and generally requiring heroic effort from many people to make it happen at all. I tend to think this was also a calculated part of his method.
OpenGL made the original iOS (née iPhone OS) interface incredibly smooth. It also backed into being a hell of a casual gaming platform.
Raskin’s anecdote is third hand, if that, and may well be broken telephone at that point. But it’s interesting.
From Medium (yeah, also sorry, but it’s still trendy to write there…):
“In the early 2000s,” Famous CEO said, “Jobs was splitting his time between Apple and Pixar. He would spend most days at Apple, but then he would parachute into Pixar. He would have to figure out where his attention was needed really fast, so he would arrange sessions with all the different teams—the Cars team, the technology team, whatever—so there were a dozen or so people in each one. Then he would point to one person in each session and say:
Tell me what’s not working at Pixar.
Famous CEO continued: “That person might offer something like, ‘The design team isn’t open to new technology we’re building.’ Jobs would ask others if they agreed. He would then choose someone else and say:
Tell me what’s working at Pixar.
According to Famous CEO, Jobs would alternate between the two questions until he felt like he had a handle on what was going on.
If you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t fix things, and if you can’t fix things, you can’t make things.