Steve Jobs was a 'control freak' but 'not intellectually insecure'

Jobs panel at D10
Boys for the Jobs

Former colleagues have reminisced about Steve Jobs at the D10 tech conference, and the picture that emerges is of a passionate man who was just focussed on making the best products.

According to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Jobs was like the Henry Ford of the tech industry.

"That was Steve, until it was perfect. And then once it was perfect. And then he moved on to the next problem," Ellison said at the D10 conference in California.

Hence Jobs was "a bit of a control freak," Ellison said. "He wanted to control every aspect. Including how your pay for an item in a store. Or what it looked like in a box."

But despite this incredible attention to detail, Jobs was open to other people's ideas.

"Steve was one of those people where the best idea won," Ellison said. "But you had to persuade him, and he was a smart guy."

All about the product

Pixar's Ed Catmull said Jobs could quickly change his mind about which direction to go in. "It was amazing to see him flip," Catmull said. "But he wanted to see you argue back."

"Steve was not intellectually insecure," Ellison said. "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."

Catmull told a story where Jobs argued with the director of A Bug's Life (made by Pixar) over whether the film should be widescreen. He reportedly did it purely to see the director's passion in arguing against him.

But he mellowed in his later years.

"The Steve I knew in the last few years was very kind," Catmull said. "There was a notion of fairness. That wasn't there in the early years."


Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.