Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reflected a bit on Steve Jobs during an All Things D sit down this week.
Ellison noted that “in addition to his genius, he had a single mindedness and attention to detail,” describing Jobs as “a bit of a control freak,” and saying “he wanted to engineer every aspect ” of not only the user interface of devices, but also how you paid for it in the store, how it looks in the box, the experience of opening it, how you bought apps and so forth.
“Steve was a god of perspiration, how he applied that horsepower until the problem was solved,” Ellison said. “There are a lot of good ideas, but translating that into a great product is unbelievably hard,” he observed, particularly noting the fiction that Jobs simply copied the Macintosh from Xerox PARC.
Ellison added that despite not being a programmer, Jobs “had enough knowledge and understanding of the complete system to work with engineers as a great editor,” adding that Jobs had “Picasso’s aesthetic and Edison’s inventiveness.”
Asked how others could copy Jobs’ secrets of success, both agreed that “if you’re copying the surface your copying the wrong things,” with Ellison noting that “Apple became one of the most valuable companies on earth and it wasn’t even one of his goals!”
Jobs was obsessed with making great, beautiful products, and was always talking about products, the next big thing. Both also described Jobs’ “brilliance of not being a follower,” with a “contrarian nature. If everyone is doing this, what if they’re wrong?” Ellison said.