5 Steve Jobs stories we learned this month

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Welcome to my regularly curated collection of fresh insights gained into Apple's legendary co-founder, Steve Jobs across the last few weeks.

Office politics

Jobs understood the value of good product design. He also understood the way a good office layout can inspire good staff. That's why he became obsessed over how the public spaces at Pixar were laid out when he designed the new HQ there.

When he designed a new headquarters for Pixar, Jobs obsessed over how the atrium should should be structured, Isaacson wrote. Jobs took particular care placing the bathrooms as he wanted to create an environment in which "serendipitous personal encounters" might occur.

Jobs disliked Andy Rubin

We all know Jobs thought Android was a product stolen away by a company and people he trusted. We also know Android team leader, Andy Rubin, redesigned his competing OS once he saw the original iPhone (he thought what was then Android was a mess in comparison). Last month we learned Jobs told friends that he thought Rubin was a "big, arrogant f--k" as claimed in Fred Vogelstein's "Dogfight: How Apple And Google Went To War And Started a Revolution."

He became wise

Jobs is often slammed for having been hard to work for, pushy and demanding, but there was a much more complex being inside. He was one of those who grew with a sense that death would find him early, and this gave his work a sense of urgency. However, as he grew older he gathered emotional intelligence and became a far deeper human being. This is ably captured in Rolling Stone's excellent recently published profile.

"There were those two sides to him," said Bono. "There was the warrior, and then there was the very tender and soft-spoken side. I already miss him." Interestingly, we also learned Bono once told Jobs to: "Go f**k yourself," before going off to work with BlackBerry..."He was the hardware software Elvis," Bono also said.

Jobs didn't matter

For all his demanding ways, Jobs didn't really matter -- his products were what mattered. This at least is the sense of what Apple designer Jony Ive revealed last month. Discussing how Jobs had taught Ive that focus wasn't just about focusing on doing things well, it was also about letting go of projects you truly believed in in order to prevent dissipation of your energies.

It also required the sublimation of the ego to the task: Ive recalls after one meeting he asked Jobs why he had been so brutal with his design team: “We had been putting our heart and soul into this,” Ive said he told Jobs, telling his boss that he cared about “the team.” Jobs responded candidly: “No, Jony, you’re just really vain. You just want people to like you.” For Jobs, the ego must then have seemed less important than the goal. His products were his life.

A "great and dangerous" man

"This was a man who understood the lyrics, who understood the music, who understood The Beatles and Bob Dylan, but who also in a visionary way, truly understood lifestyle and technology. In other words, this was a great and dangerous man who I quickly decided to make my friend. See Steve didn't just love music; he had a deep and intuitive understanding of its place in our world. Today, everybody thinks that if they love music, that's enough. That's nonsense. For instance, I really love chocolate, but that doesn't make me a potential Willie Wonka," said music maverick, new Apple employee and Beats co-founder, Jimmy Iovine at the recent Revolt music conference.

This concludes this month's collection. Please let us know your stories and new reports in comments below, and explore these previous "episodes" in the project:

Previously we heard:

7 Steve Jobs stories we learned this month

6 Steve Jobs stories we learned this month

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