Jony Ive Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit Interview

Q: Lessons working with Steve Jobs?

Jony: Focus. Steve was the most focused person I've met in my life. It's terrifying that when you really truly focus, it seems a bit illegal. You can achieve so much. Steve would say “How many things have you said no to?” And I would have these sacrificial things…and he knew that I wasn't interested in doing those things anyway. What focus means is saying no with every bone in your body to something you know is a good idea but you say no because you're focused on something else.

I remember talking to Steve Jobs and asked why he was perceived as harsh. And I said couldn't we be more moderate? And he said why? And I said because I care about the team. And he said: “No Jony, you're just really vain. You just want people to like you. I'm surprised at you, because I thought you really held the work up as the most important and not how you are perceived by people.”

People misunderstand Steve because he was so focused.

You'll want to read the whole thing, and Business Insider has a rough transcript at the bottom here. We'll post a link to video when and if it becomes available.