How Jobs learned to be more of people person
The conversation also touched on Jobs relationships with colleagues. The late CEO and co-founder of Apple isn’t well known for his skills as a people person, but the general consensus was that if your idea was a good one, he would listen to you, and if you were full of it, he’d tell you.
Ellison said: “Steve was one of those people where the best idea won. But you had to persuade him, and he was a smart guy.”
“He's very good at listening,” Ellison added. “And if he thinks you're full of it, he'll tell you.”
Jobs is famous for changing his mind. Ellison noted: “Well, he'd make the final decision. But when he changes, he changes like that, Bang. He wanted the best.”
Catmull’s experience of working with Jobs at Pixar is a complete contrast to tales of Jobs at Apple. Nevertheless, Catmull said: “It was amazing to see him flip. But he wanted you to argue back.
So why did Jobs shout down colleagues when he didn’t agree with their ideas and then later assign the idea as a good one? Ellison suggested: “Steve was not intellectually insecure. When he decided someone had a better idea, he moved on immediately. He didn't care. All he cared about was building the best product.”
Despite being a tough boss, Jobs inspired his colleagues to achieve incredible things. Ellison explained: “Steve was a remarkable leader. He inspired people to do great things, whether you call it a pitch or telling a story. You're working 6-7 days a week, 16 hours a day, Steve would come in and make you feel that what you were doing was important, and you were important. He was an inspirational, charismatic leader. People wanted to be on his team.”
And Jobs changed over the years, according to Ellison: “He learned to temper. He learned to understand that people didn't enjoy feeling that they were not valuable. As we get older we all learn to be empathetic.”
This change in Jobs’ personality may explain why Catmull’s working relationship with Jobs was so different to those at Apple. "The Steve I knew was very kind and very empathetic with people," Catmull said. "Those things weren't there earlier, but he learned how to do it after Next. Learned to listen”.
Catmull spoke about his relationship with Jobs at Pixar. The fundamental difference there was that Jobs trusted the staff at Pixar: Catmull said: “Steve never came to a story meeting at Pixar. It was actually amazing, but it was the agreement. He trusted people with things he didn't know.”
Catmull suggested that it wasn’t just that Jobs was happy to let Pixar run itself: “I knew his heart was in Apple. He knew the difference. He knew when he needed to be in it, and when he needed to support us.”