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9 sales presentation lessons from steve jobs’ iphone keynote.

Jonathan Costet

Jonathan Costet

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything …” 

Those were the now-iconic words spoken by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his 2007 MacWorld keynote. 

This talk — well worth the 80-minute watch — was Jobs’ introduction (cough cough SALES PITCH) for the OG iPhone (aka, iPhone … aka iPhone 1).

It’s arguably the best sales presentation of all time, the GOAT if you will.

Hyperbole? Maybe, but Steve Jobs (and Apple) – no matter your feeling towards him or the company — have kinda sorta earned the right to hyperbole.

If you are an SDR/BDR or account executive (or anyone who does sales for a living), Jobs’ talk is something you must watch — and rewatch. It’s textbook for presentations, specifically ones that are sales in nature.

As you watch this Steve Jobs keynote (dare I say, Masterclass), be on the lookout for these 9 sales presentation lessons.

Sales Presentation Lesson #1: Demolish the status quo

“The most advanced phones are called smartphones (so they say).”

The problem, according to Steve Jobs? Smartphones are not so smart, and they’re not so easy to use.

He discusses this point around the 4-minute mark of his talk.

iphone competitors

He says the current “smart” phones fall into one of the three categories: 

  • not so smart
  • hard to use, or 
  • not so smart AND hard to use

It’s hard to imagine a pre-iPhone world, but the Treo, Moto Q, E62, and other cell phones were quite advanced for their time. They were pretty awesome.

But Jobs challenges that point. He shatters the status quo with a strong statement + powerful visual.

How this translates to sales: Instinct tells us to focus on the product’s benefits — (hopefully) positive and (relatively) easy to talk about.

But … focusing your message on the pain of the status quo is more persuasive than focusing on benefits.

If the status quo is no longer an option (iPhone > “smartphones”), your buyer is more likely to invest in the “new” option.

Accomplish this mindset change through the behavioral economics principle of loss aversion — humans will go to more extraordinary lengths to avoid loss than they will to gain benefits.

demolish status quo

Loss aversion tugs on human nature. We will undergo 2x more effort to avoid a loss than to incur a gain . 

Example #1: It’s easier to convince someone to move away from a fire (loss aversion) than to move from a chair to a comfy sofa.

Example #2: People are more motivated to NOT lose $25,000 (loss aversion) than they are to earn $25,000.

Use this psychological bias to your advantage. Your close rates will bump up if you do it right.

Start by showing why the current situation is bad (see “Business School 101” graph above) and demolish the status quo.

Sales Presentation Lesson #2: THEN show the gain

You’ve talked about how the status quo is no more. You’ve got your buyer leaning in (captivated?), on the edge of their seat.

It’s time to show the gain your product or service offers.

Steve Jobs started every demo with some version of the following: “Now what if I wanted to do X? Here’s what that looks like…”

The “I” Jobs was referring to was him in the shoes of the customer. The “what that looks like” is the gain realized from the product/service offered.

Good sales presentations show what the product can do. Great sales presentations show what the customer can do (with the product).

To accomplish this, you must answer these three questions:

  • What OUTCOME did the customer achieve?
  • What ACTION did the customer take to accomplish this?
  • What PRODUCT BENEFIT or INSIGHT made that action possible?

Here’s a sales template to get you started:

sales templates

But you are not done after showing the gain. Not quite!

Sales Presentation Lesson #3: Keep switching between status quo and gain

Sales Tip #1 (status quo), then Sales Tip #2 (gain). 

Keep going back and forth between the status quo and the gain customers realize with your solution.

“Not the crippled stuff you find on most phones — these are the real, desktop-class applications.” About 9.5 minutes into his talk, Jobs comes back to the status quo, the “crippled stuff” … the industry-standard stuff yet is broken.

And then he hits the audience with the gain iPhone offers.

Status quo.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

Steve Jobs repeats this technique throughout the next hour+ of his talk. He keeps coming back to what he hates about the status quo over and over again to better tee up what he’s showing next.

In Nancy Duarte’s 2011 TEDxEast talk, The Secret Structure of Great Talks , she mentions this technique 6 minutes or so into her presentation (bold is mine): 

“At the beginning of any presentation, you need to establish what is. You know, here’s the status quo, here’s what’s going on. And then you need to compare that to what could be. You need to make that gap as big as possible because there is this commonplace of the status quo, and you need to contrast that with the loftiness of your idea. So it’s like, you know, here’s the past, here’s the present, but look at our future. Here’s a problem, but look at that problem removed. Here’s a roadblock; let’s annihilate the roadblock. You need to really amplify that gap. This would be like the inciting incident in a movie. That’s when suddenly the audience has to contend with what you just put out there: ‘Wow, do I want to agree with this and align with it or not?’ And in the rest of your presentation should support that.

nancy duarte

“So the middle goes back and forth; it traverses between what is and what could be, what is and what could be. Because what you are trying to do is make the status quo and the normal unappealing, and you’re wanting to draw them towards what could be in the future with your idea adopted.”

The last sentence is the key. That’s your goal: “…make the status quo and the normal unappealing … what could be in the future with your idea…”

Sales Presentation Lesson #4: Lead with the “Oh S$#T” moment

There is no massive build-up, no long lead into the punchline. 

3 minutes into an 80-minute talk (3.75% of the way through!) Steve Jobs drops the iPhone name for the first time.

steve jobs iphone keynote

Too often, in sales pitches, there is a long lead-in, a huge build-up. We talk about our storied company history, our amazing customers, and so on.

Instead, flip your sales product demo upside down.

In this blog post , we share an example of a sales rep pitching a politician on building a new city on top of an empty plot of land in South Dakota. The example shows a typical sales demo.

The problem? It takes 20 minutes to get to the juicy stuff — what the city (in this case) will look like. 

Flipping the demo to lead with the result (a fabulous new city in South Dakota, a revolutionary smartphone called the iPhone) takes the guesswork out.

If done effectively, you’ve now piqued interest. It’s your job to maintain that interest throughout the remainder of your pitch.

Start with the outcome and allow the conversation to unfold from there naturally .

In the 3 million web-based sales product demos we analyzed using AI, we found winning product demonstrations mirror the same priorities raised during discovery calls, in priority order.

topic hierarchy

Start your sales product demo with the problem you spent the most time on during discovery, and go forward from there.

This is called “solution mapping” — helping guide you and your buyers by getting to the stuff that matters most first .

Sales Presentation Lesson #5: Obey the 9-minute rule

9.1 minutes.

For winning deals, 9.1 minutes is the average time to go through an introductory sales meeting presentation deck. 

winning vs losing sales presentations

This number is backed not only by Gong data, but also by science.

Humans are complex creatures, but we are also easily distracted. SQUIRREL!

A recent study showed the average human brain now has an attention span shorter than a goldfish . What? Every time I read that study … Mind. Blown.

In some instances, this 8-second attention span serves as an advantage , but it can be tricky when selling!

While our attention starts to wander after 8 seconds or so, as we mention here , neuroscientists have proven that our brains have a built-in stopwatch that stops around 9-10 minutes.

Notice how every 9-minutes or so, Steve Jobs introduces something in his talk to “perk up” the brain … to change the pace.

To command your customer’s attention, you must introduce a “brain-perking” change of pace, such as a new speaker, a video/live demo, or a dramatic story.

The first significant shift in the Jobs keynote is when he shows a video of the new iPhone in action. Notice he’s gone from talking with images only to sharing a live video.

product demo

Brain switch. Powerful stuff.

Jobs continues this “every 9 minutes” switch: Story to demo to story to demo. Jobs talking followed by (then) Google CEO Eric Schmidt talking.

This constant switching throughout the entire 80-minute presentation keeps the audience engaged.

Sales Presentation Lesson #6: Simplify your slides

We’ve all seen ‘em.

We’ve all been on the other side of a slide presentation that is full of words — words the seller reads VERBATIM from the slide.

It’s painful. It’s cringeworthy. It’s a colossal waste of (everyone’s) time.

Yet “busy slides” are still an issue for many-a-sales presentations.

Notice most of Steve Jobs’ slides (from more than a decade ago, mind you): 

  • No lists with 17+ bullet points
  • No paragraphs of words
  • No fancy animations or wild things flying on and off the screen

Steve Jobs’ slides are — for the most part — a short headline + a single image. Each slide = one big idea.

simple slides

P.S. We have a brand new Sales Presentation Template — for you, for free. Grab this fill-in-the-blanks template to create knockout sales presentations.

Sales Presentation Lesson #7: Load up on pronouns

a word that can function by itself as a noun phrase and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you ) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g., she, it, this ). — Oxford Languages

Pronouns make things personal.

I. We. You. 

Jobs leans heavily on the use of pronouns. You can hear them peppered throughout all of his presentations. 

“Well, how do you solve this? Hmm. It turns out we have solved it. We solved it in computers 20 years ago. We solved it with a bit-mapped screen that could display anything we want. Put any user interface up. And a pointing device. We solved it with the mouse. We solved this problem. So how are we going to take this to a mobile device? What we’re going to do is get rid of all these buttons and just make a giant screen. A giant screen.”

7 “we’s” in a single paragraph!

He does the same with the pronouns “you” and “I.”

Gong has done some research on words and phrases top sellers use .

The best sales reps speak directly to buyers using the pronouns you, your, and your team 29% more often than their average and underperforming peers. 

A: “Users maximize their time with this workflow.”

B: “You’ll be more efficient with this workflow.”

Can you guess which seller closes more deals?

Users vs. You. A single word can have a significant impact.

Pronouns make the person (or team) on the other end feel more part of the conversation. Pronouns flip the script from generic, vague, and indirect to personal.

Pronouns allow buyers to visualize the product or the experience. It puts them in control.

Sales Presentation Lesson #8: Give signposts at the start

Step 1: Tell them what you are going to tell them. 

Step 2: Tell them. 

Step 3: Tell them what you told them.

Said another way …

Step 1: Preview your key points (“give pointers at the start”). Tease out the main idea.

Step 2: Share your key points and main idea — the meat of each section.

Step 3: Summarize (Sales presentation lesson #9).

Jobs spends a lot of time on Step 2, as any good speaker should.

However, he never misses the opportunity to preview each part of his presentation. He always starts by listing what he’s going to cover before just diving in.

30 or so minutes in, Jobs introduces the SMS section: “Now what I want to do is show you SMS texting” (Step 1).

give signposts at the start

Yeah, I know. The current smartphone has come a long way with SMS texting!

And then he does it (Step 2)— shows how texting works on the new iPhone.

Previewing upcoming content accomplishes two things: 

  • It alerts the buyer “your question will be answered soon.” This allows them to focus on what is being shown instead of guessing what comes next.
  • It creates a clear structure — a roadmap if you will. This section is focused; we aren’t just aimlessly meandering.

Note: It’s okay to be direct, “In this next section, I’m going to tell you about XYX.” It may sound a bit robotic, but better to err on the side of directness versus ambiguity and vagueness.

Sales Presentation Lesson #9: Get back to them at the end

When moving through a long presentation, it’s crucial to break things up every 9 minutes (see: Sales presentation lesson # 5) AND summarize what you covered.

Notice how when Steve Jobs wraps up a section, he often leads with, “So again …” This type of language signals, “I’m about to change chapters. Any questions before I move on?” 

He reviews and recaps what he’s just covered.

Jobs does this brilliantly while finishing the “iPod feature” section of his talk:

give a recap at the end of the presentation

Note: While this slide appears to be counter to Sales presentation lesson #6 (Simplify Your Slides), it’s okay that he includes more words on this particular slide. After all, it’s a summary — a  takeaway slide — one that may be printed (or have someone take a picture of).

This summary slide check-in is essential.

Why? Gong data show that superstar sales reps are bombarded with questions during their demos compared to their peers .

top performers get more questions in sales presentations

In fact, top reps get 28% more questions from their buyers during product demos and technology-related discussions than “average” sales reps.

Pausing in between sections, summarizing what you’ve just covered, and allowing time for questions is essential to your success as a salesperson.

Our gift to you: Sales Presentation Template

Steve Jobs — love him or not — was one of the most talented business presenters of all time.

He balanced confidence and hyperbole with killer content and a style that kept his audience’s attention … for more than 8 seconds.

Take the 9 sales presentation tips from his 2007 iPhone keynote and incorporate them into your next sales presentation. 

Download our fill-in-the-blank Sales Presentation Template for some added flex, and start prepping your next product demo today.

powerpoint slides template

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How Steve Jobs Faked His Way Through Unveiling the iPhone

steve jobs presentation apple

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld and showed off a new device. You know the spiel. “So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls. A revolutionary mobile phone. And a breakthrough internet communications device. An iPod. A phone. And an internet communicator. An iPod. A phone — are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device! And we are calling it iPhone .”

Brian McCullough of the Internet History podcast pulls together a good collection of memories from the day of the event itself, showing how much of Jobs’s presentation was held together with tape and glue to ensure his brand-new device was successful, unlike Apple’s previous foray into cell phones, the little-loved and little-remembered Motorola Rokr .

After two-and-a-half years of extremely secretive work on what Apple code-named “Project Purple,” Jobs was ready to take the stage at the Moscone Center and show off the iPhone. The problem was that the iPhone itself wasn’t quite ready.

Jobs rehearsed his presentation for six solid days, but at the final hour, the team still couldn’t get the phone to behave through an entire run through. Sometimes it lost internet connection. Sometimes the calls wouldn’t go through. Sometimes the phone just shut down.

Per Andy Grignon, senior radio engineer for the iPhone: “Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued. It happened. But mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, ‘You are fucking up my company,’ or, ‘If we fail, it will be because of you.’”

Of course, if the iPhone failed onstage, it was because the prototype Jobs would be demoing was a bug-filled nightmare. From Fred Vogelstein’s 2013 write-up in The New York Times Magazine :

The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.

Jobs also wanted to make sure that connectivity wasn’t an issue for the iPhone. But to do that required some shading around the edges. From the same Times Magazine report:

They had AT&T, the iPhone’s wireless carrier, bring in a portable cell tower, so they knew reception would be strong. Then, with Jobs’s approval, they preprogrammed the phone’s display to always show five bars of signal strength regardless of its true strength.

Jobs had more than just the reputation of the iPhone to contend with. CES was happening at the same time, and it was Jobs’s hope that the iPhone would steal headlines away from whatever was being debuted in Vegas that day. But there was still a nagging problem: In virtually every rehearsal Jobs had done with the phone, it would run out of memory at some point, causing the phone to crash and restart. The only fix was to have multiple backups on hand.

 Jobs had a number of demo units onstage with him to manage this problem. If memory ran low on one, he would switch to another while the first was restarted. But given how many demos Jobs planned, Grignon worried that there were far too many potential points of failure. If disaster didn’t strike during one of the dozen demos, it was sure to happen during the grand finale, when Jobs planned to show all the iPhone’s top features operating at the same time on the same phone. He’d play some music, take a call, put it on hold and take another call, find and e-mail a photo to the second caller, look up something on the Internet for the first caller and then return to his music.

McCullough goes on to explain what happened after — how Jobs had to be convinced to actually create an App Store (he wanted developers to simply do everything in Safari), and the struggle to get the next version of the iPhone, the iPhone 3G, off the slow-as-hell Edge data networks.

Jobs unveiling the iPhone is often pointed to as the pinnacle in tech presentations — one of the few times where the hype and grandeur actually matched the device on display. But it wasn’t just a master class in marketing and showmanship; it was a technological roll of the dice that ended up changing the world.

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Steve jobs rigged the first iphone demo by faking full signal strength and secretly swapping devices because of fragile prototypes and bug-riddled software — the engineers were so nervous they got drunk during presentation to calm their nerves.

The late Steve Jobs , renowned for his innovative vision at Apple Inc., faced a unique challenge in 2007 with the first iPhone presentation. The device was a groundbreaking concept, but it wasn't ready for a public debut. Jobs, known for pushing boundaries, orchestrated a presentation that was more of an artful illusion than a demonstration of a fully functional product.

Jobs insisted on a live presentation, deviating from the norm of prerecorded demonstrations common in Silicon Valley. To ensure the success of his ambitious plan, Apple’s development team devised a “golden path” — a carefully scripted sequence of actions designed to minimize the risk of malfunctions during the demonstration. Jobs also requested that the iPhones be configured to always display full signal strength, regardless of the actual signal quality. This was to showcase the phone’s wireless capabilities convincingly.

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Another major hurdle was the iPhone’s limited memory capacity of 128 megabytes, inadequate for unfinished, resource-heavy applications. To circumvent this, Jobs used multiple iPhones on stage, switching them out as needed to manage memory constraints.

Jobs dedicated five days to rehearse the presentation, a testament to the gravity of the event for Apple. On the day of the presentation, despite the high risk of technical failures, Jobs completed the 90-minute demonstration without any noticeable issues, a feat considered nearly miraculous by those aware of the backstage challenges.

The iPhone’s development was shrouded in secrecy. Apple’s culture of discretion was evident as engineers signed multiple nondisclosure agreements, disappearing into highly secure areas to work on what was internally seen as a moon-shot project. This intense environment led to a high-stress situation where engineers and managers were reportedly consuming alcohol and got drunk during the presentation to ease their nerves, fully aware of the device’s fragility and being "riddled with bugs."

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The original iPhone also faced design challenges. Jobs and Apple’s design chief Jony Ive initially envisioned an iPhone made entirely of brushed aluminum, but this was later revised because of concerns about radio wave interference. The eventual prototype presented by Jobs was a marvel of ingenuity under constraints, showcasing a revolutionary device amid internal challenges.

When Jobs stepped onto the stage on Jan. 9, 2007, the world saw a confident presentation of a revolutionary phone. Behind the scenes, however, it was a different story. The development process was tumultuous, marked by disagreements and high turnover among engineers.

The device demonstrated on stage was an incomplete prototype, with no guarantee of stability. Jobs’ flawless demonstration was a carefully orchestrated series of tasks designed to avoid any system crashes. Despite the backstage chaos and technical limitations, the presentation was a success, marking a significant milestone in technology history and setting the stage for the iPhone’s monumental impact on the smartphone industry​​.

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This article Steve Jobs Rigged The First iPhone Demo By Faking Full Signal Strength And Secretly Swapping Devices Because Of Fragile Prototypes And Bug-Riddled Software — The Engineers Were So Nervous They Got Drunk During Presentation To Calm Their Nerves originally appeared on

© 2023 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

In 1976, Steve Jobs cofounded Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Wozniak. Under Jobs’ guidance, the company pioneered a series of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone and iPad.

steve jobs smiles and looks past the camera, he is wearing a signature black turtleneck and circular glasses with a subtle silver frame, behind him is a dark blue screen

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Quick Facts

Steve jobs’ parents and adoption, early life and education, founding and leaving apple computer inc., creating next, steve jobs and pixar, returning to and reinventing apple, wife and children, pancreatic cancer diagnosis and health challenges, death and last words, movies and book about steve jobs, who was steve jobs.

Steve Jobs was an American inventor, designer, and entrepreneur who was the cofounder, chief executive, and chairman of Apple Inc. Born in 1955 to two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave him up for adoption, Jobs was smart but directionless, dropping out of college and experimenting with different pursuits before cofounding Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Jobs left the company in 1985, launching Pixar Animation Studios, then returned to Apple more than a decade later. The tech giant’s revolutionary products, which include the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, have dictated the evolution of modern technology. Jobs died in 2011 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

FULL NAME: Steven Paul Jobs BORN: February 24, 1955 DIED: October 5, 2011 BIRTHPLACE: San Francisco, California SPOUSE: Laurene Powell (1991-2011) CHILDREN: Lisa, Reed, Erin, and Eve ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Pisces

Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco to Joanne Schieble (later Joanne Simpson) and Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students. The couple gave up their unnamed son for adoption. As an infant, Jobs was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs and named Steven Paul Jobs. Clara worked as an accountant, and Paul was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist.

Jobs’ biological father, Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor. His biological mother, Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Jobs was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child, Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents.

preview for Steve Jobs - Mini Biography

Jobs lived with his adoptive family in Mountain View, California, within the area that would later become known as Silicon Valley. He was curious from childhood, sometimes to his detriment. According to the BBC’s Science Focus magazine, Jobs was taken to the emergency room twice as a toddler—once after sticking a pin into an electrical socket and burning his hand, and another time because he had ingested poison. His mother Clara had taught him to read by the time he started kindergarten.

As a boy, Jobs and his father worked on electronics in the family garage. Paul showed his son how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby that instilled confidence, tenacity, and mechanical prowess in young Jobs.

Although Jobs was always an intelligent and innovative thinker, his youth was riddled with frustrations over formal schooling. Jobs was a prankster in elementary school due to boredom, and his fourth-grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Jobs tested so well, however, that administrators wanted to skip him ahead to high school—a proposal that his parents declined.

While attending Homestead High School, Jobs joined the Explorer’s Club at Hewlett-Packard. It was there that he saw a computer for the first time. He even picked up a summer job with HP after calling company cofounder Bill Hewlett to ask for parts for a frequency counter he was building. It was at HP that a teenaged Jobs met he met his future partner and cofounder of Apple Computer Steve Wozniak , who was attending the University of California, Berkeley.

After high school, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Lacking direction, he withdrew from college after six months and spent the next year and a half dropping in on creative classes at the school. Jobs later recounted how one course in calligraphy developed his love of typography.

In 1974, Jobs took a position as a video game designer with Atari. Several months later, he left the company to find spiritual enlightenment in India, traveling further and experimenting with psychedelic drugs.

In 1976, when Jobs was just 21, he and Wozniak started Apple Computer Inc. in the Jobs’ family garage. Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak his beloved scientific calculator to fund their entrepreneurial venture. Through Apple, the men are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive, and accessible to everyday consumers.

Wozniak conceived of a series of user-friendly personal computers, and—with Jobs in charge of marketing—Apple initially marketed the computers for $666.66 each. The Apple I earned the corporation around $774,000. Three years after the release of Apple’s second model, the Apple II, the company’s sales increased exponentially to $139 million.

In 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly-traded company, with a market value of $1.2 billion by the end of its first day of trading. However, the next several products from Apple suffered significant design flaws, resulting in recalls and consumer disappointment. IBM suddenly surpassed Apple in sales, and Apple had to compete with an IBM/PC-dominated business world.

steve jobs john sculley and steve wozniak smile behind an apple computer

Jobs looked to marketing expert John Sculley of Pepsi-Cola to take over the role of CEO for Apple in 1983. The next year, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counterculture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance superior to IBM’s PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM-compatible.

Sculley believed Jobs was hurting Apple, and the company’s executives began to phase him out. Not actually having had an official title with the company he cofounded, Jobs was pushed into a more marginalized position and left Apple in 1985.

After leaving Apple in 1985, Jobs personally invested $12 million to begin a new hardware and software enterprise called NeXT Inc. The company introduced its first computer in 1988, with Jobs hoping it would appeal to universities and researchers. But with a base price of $6,500, the machine was far out of the range of most potential buyers.

The company’s operating system NeXTSTEP fared better, with programmers using it to develop video games like Quake and Doom . Tim Berners-Lee, who created the first web browser, used an NeXT computer. However, the company struggled to appeal to mainstream America, and Apple eventually bought the company in 1996 for $429 million.

In 1986, Jobs purchased an animation company from George Lucas , which later became Pixar Animation Studios. Believing in Pixar’s potential, Jobs initially invested $50 million of his own money in the company.

The studio went on to produce wildly popular movies such as Toy Story (1995), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), and Up (2009) . Pixar merged with Disney in 2006, which made Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney. As of June 2022, Pixar films had collectively grossed $14.7 billion at the global box office.

In 1997, Jobs returned to his post as Apple’s CEO. Just as Jobs instigated Apple’s success in the 1970s, he is credited with revitalizing the company in the 1990s.

With a new management team, altered stock options, and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. Jobs’ ingenious products like the iMac, effective branding campaigns, and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again.

steve jobs smiling for a picture while holding an iphone with his right hand

In the ensuing years, Apple introduced such revolutionary products as the Macbook Air, iPod, and iPhone, all of which dictated the evolution of technology. Almost immediately after Apple released a new product, competitors scrambled to produce comparable technologies. To mark its expanded product offerings, the company officially rebranded as Apple Inc. in 2007.

Apple’s quarterly reports improved significantly that year: Stocks were worth $199.99 a share—a record-breaking number at that time—and the company boasted a staggering $1.58 billion profit, an $18 billion surplus in the bank, and zero debt.

In 2008, fueled by iTunes and iPod sales, Apple became the second-biggest music retailer in America behind Walmart. Apple has also been ranked No. 1 on Fortune ’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies, as well as No. 1 among Fortune 500 companies for returns to shareholders.

Apple has released dozens of versions of the iPhone since its 2007 debut. In February 2023, an unwrapped first generation phone sold at auction for more than $63,000.

According to Forbes , Jobs’ net worth peaked at $8.3 billion shortly before he died in 2011. Celebrity Net Worth estimates it was as high as $10.2 billion.

Apple hit a market capitalization of $3 trillion in January 2022, meaning Jobs’ initial stake in the company from 1980 would have been worth about $330 billion—enough to comfortably make him the richest person in the world over Tesla founder Elon Musk had he been alive. But according to the New York Post , Jobs sold off all but one of his Apple shares when he left the company in 1985.

Most of Jobs’ net worth came from a roughly 8 percent share in Disney he acquired when he sold Pixar in 2006. Based on Disney’s 2022 value, that share—which he passed onto his wife—is worth $22 billion.

steve jobs and wife laurene embracing while smiling for a photograph

Jobs and Laurene Powell married on March 18, 1991. The pair met in the early 1990s at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. They lived together in Palo Alto with their three children: Reed (born September 22, 1991), Erin (born August 19, 1995), and Eve (born July 9, 1998).

Jobs also fathered a daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan on May 17, 1978, when he was 23. He denied paternity of his daughter in court documents, claiming he was sterile. In her memoir Small Fry , Lisa wrote DNA tests revealed that she and Jobs were a match in 1980, and he was required to begin making paternity payments to her financially struggling mother. Jobs didn’t initiate a relationship with his daughter until she was 7 years old. When she was a teenager, Lisa came to live with her father. In 2011, Jobs said , “I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that.”

In 2003, Jobs discovered that he had a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead of immediately opting for surgery, Jobs chose to alter his pesco-vegetarian diet while weighing Eastern treatment options.

For nine months, Jobs postponed surgery, making Apple’s board of directors nervous. Executives feared that shareholders would pull their stock if word got out that the CEO was ill. But in the end, Jobs’ confidentiality took precedence over shareholder disclosure.

In 2004, Jobs had successful surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor. True to form, Jobs disclosed little about his health in subsequent years.

Early in 2009, reports circulated about Jobs’ weight loss, some predicting his health issues had returned, which included a liver transplant. Jobs responded to these concerns by stating he was dealing with a hormone imbalance. Days later, he went on a six-month leave of absence.

In an email message to employees, Jobs said his “health-related issues are more complex” than he thought, then named Tim Cook , Apple’s then–chief operating officer, as “responsible for Apple’s day-today operations.”

After nearly a year out of the spotlight, Jobs delivered a keynote address at an invite-only Apple event on September 9, 2009. He continued to serve as master of ceremonies, which included the unveiling of the iPad, throughout much of 2010.

In January 2011, Jobs announced he was going on medical leave. In August, he resigned as CEO of Apple, handing the reins to Cook.

Jobs died at age 56 in his home in Palo Alto, California, on October 5, 2011. His official cause of death was listed as respiratory arrest related to his years-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The New York Times reported that in his final weeks, Jobs had become so weak that he struggled to walk up the stairs in his home. Still, he was able to say goodbye to some of his longtime colleagues, including Disney CEO Bob Iger; speak with his biographer; and offer advice to Apple executives about the unveiling of the iPhone 4S.

In a eulogy for Jobs , sister Mona Simpson wrote that just before dying, Jobs looked for a long time at his sister, Patty, then his wife and children, then past them, and said his last words: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

flowers notes and apples rest in front of a photograph of steve jobs

Jobs’ closest family and friends remembered him at a small gathering, then on October 16, a funeral for Jobs was held on the campus of Stanford University. Notable attendees included Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates ; singer Joan Baez , who once dated Jobs; former Vice President Al Gore ; actor Tim Allen; and News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch .

Jobs is buried in an unmarked grave at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto. Upon the release of the 2015 film Steve Jobs , fans traveled to the cemetery to find the site. Because the cemetery is not allowed to disclose the grave’s location, many left messages for Jobs in a memorial book instead.

Before his death, Jobs granted author and journalist Walter Isaacson permission to write his official biography. Jobs sat for more than 40 interviews with the Isaacson, who also talked to more than 100 of Jobs’ family, friends, and colleagues. Initially scheduled for a November 2011 release date, Steve Jobs hit shelves on October 24, just 19 days after Jobs died.

Jobs’ life has been the subject of two major films. The first, released in 2013, was simply titled Jobs and starred Ashton Kutcher as Jobs and Josh Gad as Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. Wozniak told The Verge in 2013 he was approached about working on the film but couldn’t because, “I read a script as far as I could stomach it and felt it was crap.” Although he praised the casting, he told Gizmodo he felt his and Jobs’ personalities were inaccurately portrayed.

Instead, Wozniak worked with Sony Pictures on the second film, Steve Jobs , that was adapted from Isaacson’s biography and released in 2015. It starred Michael Fassbender as Jobs and Seth Rogen as Wozniak. Fassbender was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and co-star Kate Winslet was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Apple and NeXT marketing executive Joanna Hoffman.

In 2015, filmmaker Alex Gibney examined Jobs’ life and legacy in the documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine .

  • Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world? [Jobs inviting an executive to join Apple]
  • It’s better to be a pirate than join the Navy.
  • In my perspective... science and computer science is a liberal art. It’s something everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life.
  • It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.
  • There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love—‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been’—and we’ve always tried to do that at Apple.
  • You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
  • I think humans are basically tool builders, and the computer is the most remarkable tool we’ve ever built.
  • You just make the best product you can, and you don’t put it out until you feel it’s right.
  • With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.
  • Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
  • I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates .
  • If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
  • Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful—that’s what matters to me.
  • I like to believe there’s an afterlife. I like to believe the accumulated wisdom doesn’t just disappear when you die, but somehow, it endures. But maybe it’s just like an on/off switch and click—and you’re gone. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like putting on/off switches on Apple devices.
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Exclusive: Watch Steve Jobs’ First Demonstration of the Mac for the Public, Unseen Since 1984

I t’s January, 1984. Steve Jobs, nattily attired in a double-breasted suit, is demonstrating Apple’s breakthrough personal computer, Macintosh, before a packed room. He speaks alarmingly of a future controlled by IBM, and shows a dystopian commercial based on that theme. He says that the Mac is “insanely great” and plucks the diminutive machine from a bag; it talks for itself. Screens of a graphical user interface — something few people had seen at the time — swoop by. The theme from Chariots of Fire swells. Jobs beams, as only he could.

This presentation, at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on January 24, is the stuff of tech-history legend. What’s not so well remembered: Jobs did it all twice, in less than a week. Six days after unveiling the Mac at the Flint Center on the De Anza College campus near the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., he performed his show all over again at the monthly general meeting of the Boston Computer Society . His host, Jonathan Rotenberg, was a 20-year-old student at Brown University who’d co-founded the BCS in 1977 at the age of 13.

Over at YouTube, you can watch the Cupertino presentation , along with a sort of a rough draft held as part of an Apple sales meeting in Hawaii in the fall of 1983. As for the BCS version, all 90 minutes of it are there in the video at the top of this post, available for the first time in their entirety since they were shot on January 30, 1984.

Steve Jobs

The Cupertino and Boston demos may have been based in part on the same script, but the audience, atmosphere and bonus materials were different. In Cupertino, Jobs spoke before investors, towards the end of a meeting which also included dreary matters such as an analysis of Apple’s cash flow. In Boston, he presented to the kind of people who Apple hoped would buy Macs. You didn’t even have to pay the BCS’s $24 annual membership fee to get in, which meant that the meeting was the closest thing the computer had to a launch event intended for the general public.

People who attended the shareholder meeting saw the more historic presentation — hey, it came first — but what they got was also, in effect, a rehearsal for the later Boston one, which came out more polished. The BCS version was also longer and meatier. After the unveiling, Jobs participated in demos and a Q&A session with members of the Macintosh team: Bill Atkinson, Steve Capps, Owen Densmore, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, Rony Sebok, Burrell Smith and Randy Wigginton. (Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, not a Mac team member, crashed the panel and talked about the Apple II line of computers.) Even more than the shareholder meeting, the BCS one was a prototype for the media extravaganzas that we citizens of the 21st century call Stevenotes.

And I would have been there, if I hadn’t blown it. Though I had been a member of the club for five years and had already been eyewitness to history at its meetings, including demos of VisiCalc (the first spreadsheet) and the Lisa (Apple’s pricey proto-Mac), I didn’t attend the Mac event. What I was doing the night that Steve Jobs came to Boston I don’t remember, but I’ve been wincing about my misplaced priorities ever since. (I partially compensated a few years later when I attended the BCS meeting at which Jobs showed his NeXT computer; it remains the most dazzling tech demo I’ve ever witnessed in person.)

Jonathan Rotenberg

So many BCS meetings were so important that last year, I asked Jonathan — now a management consultant and executive coach — if any existed in video form. He referred me to Glenn Koenig, a Boston-area videographer who had recorded many of the proceedings. Glenn told me that he did have his vintage tapes — in storage, mostly on a now-obsolete format called U-matic.

Glenn also mentioned that Dan Bricklin might have more. Bricklin, the co-inventor of VisiCalc and co-founder of the company which produced it, Software Arts, had taped some meetings himself and then sponsored Koenig’s work. Back in the day, he had the foresight to realize that BCS meetings might be of lasting interest: “Saving these was important to me,” he says.

The matter slipped into the back of my mind until just recently, when I learned that my query had sparked Jonathan, Glenn and Dan to collaborate with Silicon Valley’s terrific Computer History Museum to digitize the videos of BCS meetings. Brad Feld, a venture capitalist who was a BCS member, gave generously to cover production costs and found others to chip in. (Bricklin has written about the preservation project and recorded a podcast interview with Jonathan .)

Jonathan’s team and the Computer History Museum graciously allowed the Mac meeting video to premiere here on (Excerpts were shown at the Mac@30 reunion event — held, appropriately, at the Flint Center in Cupertino — which took place on the night of January 25, 2014.) It’ll also be available shortly on the museum’s site, with more meeting videos to come, all available for free viewing. I’m not sure what I’m most looking forward to seeing: the meetings I attended decades ago, or the ones I missed.

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs

One thing you need to know, assuming you didn’t happen to belong to the BCS in 1984: There was nothing the least bit odd about Steve Jobs showing up in Boston to court the members of a computer club run by a college student.

At the time, Jonathan was a noted industry educator/impresario, and it was pretty much a given that the East Coast premiere of any major new machine would happen before the BCS, which had thousands of members and dozens of special-interest groups. Apple was well acquainted with the organization, having shown off multiple earlier models at its meetings; both Jobs and Wozniak had attended Applefest, a BCS-produced shindig for Apple II users, in 1982.

In November of 1983, Apple flew Jonathan to its Cupertino campus, where he got a briefing on the Macintosh and began work on a 16-page review of the computer for the BCS’s slick bimonthly magazine. Plans began for the Mac meeting, to be held at New England Life Hall, the site of the BCS’s general meetings.

And then they almost fell apart. The Flint Center’s 2,600-person seating capacity turned out to be far too small for the crowd that showed up on January 24. “More than a thousand shareholders were not able to get in, and weren’t able to participate in shareholder voting and discussion,” Jonathan says. “They were really angry about that.” The PR crisis was so severe that the video of the meeting the company produced at the time opens with an abject apology by CEO John Sculley.

Jobs — as you already know if you know anything at all about Steve Jobs — was apoplectic over the botched crowd control. “The next day,” Jonathan says, “Steve Jobs said ‘We’re canceling Boston. We don’t want a repeat of all those people waiting outside and not being able to get in.’ This was now five days before the event.”

Miraculously, the BCS was able to secure a more spacious venue for the night of the meeting: John Hancock Hall. It had a room in which any overflow crowd could watch a video feed, and space for banks of Macs for hands-on demos. “After very, very tense negotiations, Steve finally relented and agreed to come to Boston,” Jonathan remembers.

“Ironically, his worst fear came true: There were more than 600 BCS members stuck outside who couldn’t get in. But at least they weren’t Apple shareholders.”

Steve Jobs

Fortunately for posterity, the production values on the video version of the meeting are quite good — far better than what Apple managed for the shareholder meeting. (In Cupertino, the lighting had been so murky at times that the only thing you can see clearly is Jobs’ white shirt gleaming from inside his jacket.) Apple sprung for multiple cameras, one of which was manned by the BCS’s Koenig. Moments with subpar camera work in the Cupertino video, such as when Jobs pulls the Mac out of its bag and boots it up, are nicely shot in this one.

As presented here, the video — which is a rough cut of the version that the Computer History Museum will preserve — has a few moments that have been reconstructed. The slides Jobs shows are the same ones he presented in Boston, but they’re borrowed from the video of the Cupertino event. And when Jobs shows a blurry slide of the IBM PC — provoking mirth from the audience and prompting him to say “Let’s be fair” — the blurring is a recreation of what really happened. (To this day, Rotenberg isn’t sure whether it was a prank on Apple’s part or a bona-fide technical glitch.)

“It’s so much more intimate,” Rotenberg says of the Boston version of the presentation. “It’s about the users, which is what you don’t get at the shareholder meeting.”

“This one was Steve really selling,” says Bricklin, who has shown clips of the presentation in talks to students for years, in the only instances of it being seen in public since it was recorded. “This is the Steve that we’ve now known for many years announcing other products. This is that Steve, giving the talk he’s given so many times that he knows it cold. It really makes a difference.”

“You get to see Steve when Steve became the Steve Jobs. Seeing him smiling up there is the way a lot of us would like to remember him.”

Though the first portion of the BCS video follows the same script as the Cupertino event, Jobs keeps going after first version concluded — and what he says is some of the most classic Jobs I’ve ever seen. Adopting a simile he later used in a 1985 Playboy interview, he compares text-oriented computers such as the IBM PC to telegraph machines, and the Mac to the telephone:

Now, if you go back about a hundred years, to the 1880s, there were approximately twenty, twenty-five thousand trained telegraph operators in the United States. And you really could send a telegram between Boston and San Francisco, and it’d take about three or four hours and go through the relay stations. It really worked. And it was a great breakthrough in technology that had been around for about thirty or forty years. And there were some people that talked about putting a telegraph machine on every desk in America to improve productivity. Now what those people didn’t know was that about the same time, Alexander Graham Bell filed the original patents for the telephone — a breakthrough in technology. Because putting a telegraph on every desk in America to improve technology wouldn’t have worked. People wouldn’t have spent the twenty to forty to a hundred hours to learn Morse code. They just wouldn’t have done it. But with the telephone, within ten years there were over 200,000 telephones on desks in America. It was a breakthrough, because people already knew how to use it. It performed the same basic function, but radical ease of use. And in addition to just letting you type in the words or click in the words, it let you sing. It let you intone your sentences to really get your meaning across. We are at that juncture in our industry right now. There are people suggesting that we should put a current generation box on everyone’s desk to improve productivity. A telegraph, if you will. And we don’t believe that. We don’t think it’ll work. People will not read those damn 400-page WordStar manuals. They won’t carry around these cards in their pockets with 150 slash-W-Zs. They’re not going to do it. And what we think we have here is the first telephone. And in addition to letting you do the old spreadsheets and word processing, it lets you sing. It lets you make pictures. It lets you make diagrams where you cut them and past them into your documents. It lets you put that sentence in Bold Helvetica or Old English, if that’s the way you want to express yourself.

What Jobs said reminds us that the Mac’s competition was less other computers of the time than it was no computer at all. It’s a hyper-dramatic, self-serving way to look at how the Mac compared to everything else available in January of 1984. But hindsight — and the fact that every other PC maker ended up following the Mac’s lead — confirms that he was right.

The audience is enthusiastic during Jobs’ splashy presentation, but it’s far more giddy during the live demos of Mac apps that follow. That didn’t surprise me: BCS members prided themselves on being discerning, demanding consumers, not gearheads or fanboys. Real software impressed them more than mere hoopla, and programs such as MacPaint and MacWrite were knockouts. When Atkinson pastes a sphere in MacPaint multiple times, there’s sustained applause — yes, cutting and pasting was impressive at the time — and he breaks out in a grin that’s a joy to behold.

“It was wonderful that he actually brought the team to share and bask in the glory — they weren’t there for the shareholders’ [meeting],” says Bricklin, who doesn’t see much difference between the flavor of their camaraderie and collaboration and what goes on today at a company such as Google or Facebook.

Mac Panel

The questions from the audience neatly capture the most pressing questions that the computer users of 1984 had about Apple’s new machine. They ask about plans for more memory and disk expansion; how MacWrite compares to the era’s dominant word processor, WordStar; what programming tools will be available; what’s next for Apple’s best-selling computer of the time, the Apple IIe. Someone even asks about the fate of the already-moribund Apple III. (Jobs: “I wouldn’t have called on you if I’d known that was your question.”)

Then there’s the audience member who asks if the Mac can do animation. Jobs — in this pre-Pixar era — seems slightly taken aback by the subject, and hands the inquiry over to Andy Hertzfeld.

As Jobs answers other questions, he neatly ticks off most of the developments that kept Apple busy until the early 1990s. He talks about hard disks (then often called “Winchesters”), laser printers, color graphics and even the portable computers (“a Mac in a book”) the company will someday build. Today’s Apple may be famously close-mouthed about unreleased products, but back then, it had to assure skeptical buyers that its just-born platform had a future.


After the panel discussion, Jobs thanks the audience and pays tribute to the team. (“When you use a Macintosh, these are the people that did it. And they’re sort of hiding out in that ROM.”) In the video, you can see some attendees heading for the exits as the lights come up. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Jobs was supposed to introduce Jonathan, who, in the BCS meetings’ standard format, would normally have introduced Jobs but had agreed to flip the order. “I was pretty miffed,” says Jonathan. As he arrives onstage in the video, he makes a snarky reference to Big Brother controlling the audio-visual system, riffing on the “1984” commercial.

Don’t make the same mistake as those 1984 audience members and tune out after Jobs finishes. Jonathan’s concluding remarks include mention of “insanely great” upcoming BCS meetings, including one featuring IBM’s famously bad PC Jr. — which, as you can tell from the snorts from the audience, was already a punchline — and another in which Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell will demonstrate his new startup’s robots. He also announces that the BCS is starting what may be the world’s first Mac user group.

It’s an evocative little snapshot of where technology was in early 1984, and you get to see enough of Jonathan at work to get a sense of why he was both respected and beloved by BCS members in particular and the industry in general.

Keep watching even after Jonathan wraps up. The very end of the video includes footage of attendees trying out Macs for themselves, plus snippets of them grilling Wozniak, Sebok, Hertzfeld and Capps with even more questions.

Jonathan Rotenberg today

What are Rotenberg’s thoughts upon seeing Jobs, and himself, at the event after 30 years? He says it leaves him nostalgic for the era when personal computers were new. The BCS played an important role in demystifying them, and anything and everything seemed possible.

“It’s a time of life I feel a tremendous connection and affection for,” he says. “I think of what people talk about with the 60s or the Camelot era with JFK. It was an amazing time to be alive, and to be part of something. But there’s also a sadness that it’s gone.” (The BCS itself disbanded in 1996, at least in part because computers no longer required as much demystification as they once needed; I was dismayed to hear the news even though I’d let my own membership lapse.)

In September of 1985, Jobs was forced out of Apple. Jonathan went on to graduate from Brown, dial back his role in managing the BCS and enter Harvard Business School. The high of the Mac’s debut felt like part of the distant past. “All of these cottage industries got consolidated or run over by the next generation of companies, like Dell,” Jonathan says, still sounding pained by the memory.

“By the time I got to business school, Steve Jobs had become a model of inept business management. In ‘Introduction to Marketing,’ on the very first day, the example of how to do everything wrong was the Macintosh. It was held out as making a product based on some dreamy-eyed guy’s personal whims, with no relation to what the market or customers want.”

Mac team

“That kind of thinking became vilified as the cause of why so many smaller companies had crashed in the technology world, and why you wanted big, capable companies like Digital Equipment and IBM and Xerox to lead the way. Everything that Steve Jobs had done that resonated so personally with me was like this disease that had to be destroyed.”

It was pretty depressing. But we now know that it wasn’t the end of the story.

In 1996, Jobs sold NeXT to Apple and began his second act at Apple. In the years that followed, Apple once again took on the clunky telegraph machines other companies manufactured with elegant, approachable telephones. (With the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, the part about the company’s products being telephones stopped being a metaphor.) And when Jobs was studied in business schools, it wasn’t for being a dreamy-eyed failure.

“As he got his momentum going, what was so powerful to me was just observing how we’d had a period of eleven years when Steve Jobs was in exile and we could see what was happening to the PC in that time,” says Rotenberg. After Jobs returned, “what he made possible left no doubt in my mind that a single person really could change the world.”

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Book Insights • 15 min read

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience

Carmine gallo.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

steve jobs presentation apple

Welcome to the latest episode of Book Insights from Mind Tools.

In today's podcast we're looking at The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, subtitled How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience, by Carmine Gallo. It explores what makes Apple's CEO and co-founder such a captivating speaker – and how we can learn from his techniques.

When it comes to presentations, most people who've seen him speak agree that Steve Jobs is a legend. His talks do much more than just give information. They're events. They inspire, excite, spark imagination, and build a following.

Seeing Jobs speak is like spending an evening watching a high-quality theater production. And this is a big reason why people will spend all night, in freezing temperatures, waiting in line just so they can get a good seat.

So, how does he do it? How does Jobs manage to turn a relatively dry subject like computers into a seductive experience that everyone wants tickets to go see?

Well, that's what this book sets out to explain. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs passes on the tips, techniques, and tricks that make the legendary leader's presentations so inspiring and effective. Reading this book is like getting coaching sessions from the master himself.

Here, you learn how Jobs crafts his messages, presents his ideas, generates excitement, and creates a memorable experience for his audience. And, it's all laid out in an easy-to-digest format that allows you to quickly find what you need.

The author highlights dozens of relevant examples from speeches that Jobs made as early as 1984. We get to read in detail what he said, what he did, and how it relates to the lesson or technique the author is focusing on. These examples make it easy to see how these strategies would work in real life.

The book is fun, highly readable, and chock full of useful information. There are plenty of insightful tips in here, and even if you consider yourself a master presenter, you're sure to learn something new.

What's so helpful about this book is that it applies to more than just presentations. The author points out that these strategies can be used in closing a deal, creating an ad campaign, and even interviewing for a job.

The best news? This book reads incredibly fast. The author wrote the book like Steve Jobs presents. He keeps your attention, gives compelling information, and wraps it all up into a story that's so interesting you really can't put the book down.

The author, Carmine Gallo, is a presentation and communication-skills coach for some of the world's top brands. He's a regular contributor to several major networks, including NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and is a columnist for In fact, this book is based on an article Gallo wrote for that website, analyzing why Steve Jobs' presentation style is so successful. Gallo watched hours of Jobs' keynote speeches to identify the elements that made them great.

So, keep listening to find out why bullet points will kill your presentation, why your speech really needs a villain, and why it's so important to put intermissions into your talks.

The author has divided this book into three acts, much like a stage play. Why? Well, that's how Steve Jobs views his speeches: as plays.

Act one has seven chapters, and is all about creating your story. Act two has six chapters, and covers how to deliver an experience to your audience. The last act, with five chapters, is on refining and rehearsing your presentation.

When it comes time to map out a presentation, the author says that most people make a big mistake right off the bat. They don't plan their story.

What sets Steve Jobs apart is that when he gives a presentation, he doesn't just lay out facts. He tells a story.

Think about this for a minute. When Jobs unveiled the iPod, he wasn't just unveiling a new device that carried music. He unveiled an entirely new way for us to listen to and enjoy music. He made us realize how the music we experienced would enrich our lives.

Yes, he talked about the iPod's small size and amazing hard drive. But he wove this information into a story about how much better our lives were going to be with this product.

It's a subtle, but very important point.

If we want to give a compelling presentation, we have to spend a lot of time really crafting a story. And this is what the first seven chapters help us do. We learn how to create a "passion statement" that identifies the heart of our message, how to write killer headlines that will start our presentation off with some serious buzz, and how to draw a roadmap for our audience, so they know what's coming.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg of what's in this first section.

Now, one big mistake most of us have made is stuffing our presentation full of bullet points. The author says bullet points will kill a presentation faster than anything.

Why? Because they do nothing to engage the audience. If you want to improve your presentations, then avoid the crutch of bullet points at all costs.

Another great tip in this first act is about villains. And what do villains have to do with presentations? Well, according to Steve Jobs, they're essential. Remember, Jobs looks at his presentations as plays, or stories. And, few stories are complete without a villain, right?

The author says your message is your hero. And, a hero needs an enemy. So your villain's going to be an opposing message, problem, or product. When your audience sees the problem, or villain, they're going to rally more around your hero.

For instance, when Jobs unveiled the iPhone he presented his villains in dozens of subtle ways. Of course, his villains were the current phones on the market. But by bringing up the problems most people had with these phones, and the solutions the iPhone offered to these problems, the audience could clearly see why it was so much better. And, they got emotionally involved.

If you want to know how to create your own villain for your presentation, you'll have to read the book. But don't worry. It can take as little as thirty seconds to create one, and it's well worth the effort.

Now when it comes to pacing your presentation, it's important to keep in the mind the ten-minute rule. Research has shown that audiences basically check out after ten minutes. Not nine minutes, or eleven, but ten.

Jobs understands this rule, which is why he puts intermissions into his presentations every ten minutes. These aren't intermissions where people get up and walk around. These are intermissions that give the brain a break. They're videos, demonstrations, or even another speaker.

These little breaks change the pace of the presentation and let the audience experience a new stimulus. This keeps their interest for the next ten minutes.

Now, when it comes to actually delivering an experience to your audience, there's a lot to keep in mind. And the author keeps the pace going in this second act, as he shows us how to keep our audience engaged while we're talking.

One thing that Steve Jobs does really well is keep things simple. The author says this simplicity is part of why Jobs, and Apple itself, is so successful. Simple is beautiful.

So, we need to keep our slides as simple as possible. The author says that a major mistake many people make with their PowerPoint slides is to add lots of words. What does Jobs do? He subtracts, and subtracts some more.

The author gives us some really helpful tables here that illustrate how Jobs' words correspond with what his slides say. And, these have been taken directly from some of his keynote speeches.

On the left hand side of these tables we get to see exactly what Steve Jobs said. On the right, we get to see what his slide, for that section of the speech, actually said.

This layout enables us to see instantly how concise Jobs' slides really are. Many only contain one word, one picture, or one piece of information, like a statistic. There are no bullet points, ever. And zero sentences.

The slides are used simply to reinforce the story coming out of his mouth. That's it. They don't attempt to pass on important information. That's what Jobs is there to do.

When we're presenting, the focus should be on us, not our slides. And if we've created what the author calls lazy slides, or slides with too much information, then we've succeeded in splitting our audience's attention. Should they read the slides, or pay attention to what we're saying?

Don't make them choose. Keep your slides short and relevant.

Now, if you're giving a presentation, you probably have some numbers to pass along. It could be revenue stats, employee turnover percentages, or the number of complaint calls over the past six months.

Whatever they are, numbers are often pretty essential to a presentation. The problem with numbers is that they're boring. And, people often have a hard time making them mean anything.

For instance, when Jobs introduced the iPod, he told everyone that it had five gigabytes of space.

Well, that's great, but that number didn't mean much to his audience. After all, how big is five gigabytes? Most people aren't really sure.

Jobs knew he couldn't leave it at that. So, he immediately put that number into a context the audience could understand. He told them that with five gigabytes of space, they could hold 1,000 songs in their pocket.

The audience went wild.

The author says that numbers rarely resonate with people, so it's vital that we put them into a context that people can relate to. Fortunately, we get plenty of strategies for how to do this.

One thing to keep in mind when dressing up your numbers, as the author calls it, is to keep things specific. For instance, in a later speech Jobs could have said the newest version of the iPod holds thousands of songs. But thousands is so, generic. Instead, he told the audience that the thirty gigabyte iPod will hold 7,500 songs, 25,000 photos, or up to 75 hours of video.

Those numbers are very specific. Because of this, they impact the audience more.

This section is crammed with useful information. We get to learn the importance of using zippy, emotional words. We learn why Jobs always gives credit where credit is due, and why doing this gets his audience more involved. And, we get to learn everything we ever wanted to know about props, and how to use them effectively.

The last section, act three, is all about refining and rehearsing your presentation. And according to the author, this is the most crucial part of giving a great talk.

One important point the author highlights is body language. What you say is not nearly as important as how you say it.

Here, we get three important tips for improving our body language on stage.

The first thing we have to do is maintain eye contact. Yes, this one is probably in every presentation book out there, but it's repeated for a good reason. Eye contact is essential for keeping your audience engaged and connected with you. Jobs is a master at maintaining eye contact.

Another thing we have to do is to keep our posture open. This means not standing behind a lectern or crossing our arms. Jobs never puts anything between him and his audience. Even when he's doing a demo, he tries to face the audience as much as possible.

The last tip for improving our body language is to use hand gestures. In his speeches, Jobs emphasizes nearly every sentence with a gesture that compliments what he's saying.

According to the author, research shows that hand gestures not only keep the audience engaged, but they actually help presenters speak better, by clearing up their thought processes.

We get more helpful tables in this chapter. Here, the author breaks down a speech Jobs made in two-thousand seven. We get to see exactly what he said, and how it was delivered.

It was a brilliant move for the author to pepper the text with these tables throughout the book. This one could really help readers with their own delivery and pacing.

Now, Jobs is legendary for prepping for his speeches. He makes it look effortless, but a lot of time and effort goes into his events to make it look that way. In fact, before he gives a speech, he practices for hours a day, over the course of several days. His fun, informal style only comes after some serious effort on his part.

How much effort? Well, the author describes it as "grueling." When was the last time you put in grueling hours of practice to prepare for a speech?

For most of us, the answer is probably never. But practicing again and again is vital to looking natural on stage.

What else is in here? Well, the author teaches us five strategies for rehearsing off-the-cuff remarks. We learn how to handle nerves, what we should be wearing on stage, and five steps for tossing our script and speaking from memory.

Like all the sections in this book, this is one you won't want to miss.

If you haven't been able to tell by now, we really loved this book. There's so much information in here, and there's no way we could come close to covering it all.

When it comes to what readers will like best about The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, it's hard to pick. There's no doubt the information is top-notch, and we were impressed by the sheer volume of tips and techniques here. We also loved the fun style and fast pace of the book. You really don't feel like you're reading a book on giving speeches. This is definitely a book that you'll burn through quickly.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo, is published by McGraw Hill.

That's the end of this episode of Book Insights. If you'd like a transcript, log on to And thanks for listening.

Article image by Matthew Yohe at en.wikipedia

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The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience Prologue—How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

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Presenting like Steve Jobs: Using 6 of His Proven Techniques – Here’s How It Works!

The art of presenting has gained transformative significance in today’s business world. A presentation is no longer just a sequence of slides; it’s a way to communicate ideas, establish connections, and inspire the audience.

When discussing inspiring presentations, the name Steve Jobs inevitably comes up. He elevated the art of presenting to a new level. Today, we’ll showcase the techniques Steve Jobs utilized and how you can apply them to your own presentations.

Who is Steve Jobs?

Born in 1955 in California, Steve Jobs is renowned as one of the co-founders of Apple. He is considered one of the m ost prominent figures in the computer industry.

Steve Jobs is equally renowned for his exceptional presentation skills . His presentations are enduringly memorable. They were not only informative but also captivating events that held the audience spellbound. His charismatic presence, persuasive rhetoric, and minimalist design fundamentally transformed the way we present.

Why Steve Jobs Is a Model for Successful Presentations

As the presenter of Apple’s products, Steve Jobs amassed a wealth of experience. Over time, he established a reputation as a master of presentation . Through specific techniques, he managed to do more than convey information; he left an impression, stirred emotions, and enthused the audience . His presentations were more than mere business demonstrations; they were powerful performances that captivated the audience.

Behind every “One more thing” by Steve Jobs lies an array of techniques with the potential to elevate presentations to a new level. His charismatic presence, storytelling prowess, and distinctive presentation style have set a benchmark for modern presenting. The way he engaged the audience and conveyed his messages has made him an exemplar from which presenters worldwide can learn.

The Impact of Steve Jobs’ Presentations on the Technology and Business World

Steve Jobs Presentation Techniques

The influence of Steve Jobs’ presentations extends far beyond the technology industry. The styles he used revolutionized entire presentation formats. His innovative approaches and techniques set standards that go well beyond the stage. His charisma, storytelling abilities, and captivating audience engagement transformed the understanding of what makes a compelling presentation, ushering in a new era of presenting.

Jobs’ presentation philosophy demonstrated that a well-crafted presentation is not just about conveying information; it’s an opportunity to captivate, inspire, and persuade the audience.

6 Techniques from Steve Jobs for Captivating and Convincing Presentations

Steve Jobs employed the following techniques to his advantage:

1. Simplicity and Clarity

Simplicity and clarity are crucial factors for all types of presentations. Nobody wants to hear complex content delivered in the most convoluted way. Steve Jobs had the ability to transcend complexity through simplicity.

He understood that cluttered slides and confusing information overwhelm the audience and blur the messages. Instead, Steve Jobs embraced minimalism and clarity by reducing his presentations to the essentials.

This minimalism was reflected in his slides, often composed of just a few words or an image that illustrated the central message . Focusing on the essentials also helps your audience understand your key points better and faster. Simplicity doesn’t equate to shallowness. Skillfully direct your listeners’ attention by operating in a minimalist manner and projecting only the most important messages to reinforce.

2. Storytelling

To keep your audience engaged, you should always use storytelling. Incorporating your content into a story using this technique helps maintain attention spans and convey your message more effectively. More in-depth tips can be found in the article “ Storytelling in Presentations .”

Steve Jobs also knew how to use storytelling. He was a true master of storytelling, taking his audience on an emotional journey . In his presentations, he built suspense by following a clear structure resembling a classic narrative: introduction, plot development, and a captivating conclusion . He also integrated personal stories, authentically conveying his passions and beliefs. This created a common ground with his audience and lent a human touch to his presentation.

He understood that compelling presentations should rely not only on facts and logic but also on emotions. Jobs appealed not only to the minds but also to the hearts of his audience.

If you also use storytelling, your audience is more likely to identify with the ideas you present . This means that you have a higher chance of generating sales or new customers. At the same time, storytelling creates an unforgettable presentation experience for your audience. And staying in their minds for a long time also leaves a good impression.

3. Visual Presentation Aids

Nobody enjoys reading text-heavy PowerPoint slides. Therefore, like Steve Jobs, you should always rely on supportive visual presentation aids. When used skillfully, these aids are not only visually appealing but also reinforce your messages and better reach your audience.

Such presentation aids can include images, videos, or graphics . Steve Jobs used these primarily to illustrate abstract concepts, demonstrate products in action, and evoke emotions. These visual presentation aids weren’t just for decoration; they were integral parts of the story he told.

4. The Art of Staging

Presenting with Steve Jobs Techniques

Many presenters overlook this: a presentation is not just about compelling slides and a good delivery, but also about effective staging . One of the most captivating aspects of Steve Jobs’ presentation style was his masterful staging. Jobs understood that a presentation is not only about content but also about how it is presented.

His appearances were meticulously choreographed , from his stage entrance to the sequence of slides. Every step, movement, and pause was intentionally planned to captivate the audience and convey messages with maximum impact. He utilized silence and pauses to build tension, employed gestures and facial expressions to convey emotions, and mastered perfect timing to direct the audience’s attention.

You don’t necessarily need to be as meticulously planned as Steve Jobs, as that requires intense preparation and practice . Nonetheless, strive to be conscious of what you radiate, how you behave, and what reactions your actions evoke in your audience. A test audience is an excellent way to practice.

Tips for exuding confidence, appropriate body language, and conscious use of language can be found in the following articles:

  • Body Language in Presentations
  • Speech Techniques in Presentations

5. Innovation and “One More Thing”

You’ve probably heard of Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing.” It’s the hallmark of Steve Jobs’ presentation style. He managed to spice up his presentations with a touch of innovation and surprise . This distinctive technique, known as the “One More Thing,” was a masterpiece in building suspense and last-minute revelations.

Steve Jobs’ audience was familiar with this effect, and Jobs intentionally created expectations by leading his audience through the main presentation, only to deliver an unexpected bombshell at the end. In his case, the surprises were groundbreaking product announcements or innovative features that captivated the audience. With the “One More Thing” technique, Jobs adeptly engaged his audience and held their attention until the very end.

Like Steve Jobs, strategically place well-timed surprises to harness the potential to make a presentation unforgettable and leave a lasting impact.

6. The Right Conclusion

A convincing conclusion is crucial for any type of presentation. Avoid the usual “Thank you for your attention” phrase and aim for memorable presentation endings.

Steve Jobs’ conclusions were often powerful and unforgettable, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. He also employed the “One More Thing” technique to end with a surprising revelation that left the audience in awe. This technique not only generated excitement but also left the audience with a sense of wonder and enthusiasm.

Furthermore, Jobs’ conclusions always had a clear connection to his message or main theme . He summarized the key points of his presentation and emphasized the core messages once again. This technique helps your audience internalize and remember the most important key points as the presentation concludes.

For more helpful tips on a successful conclusion, refer to the article “ 20 Ideas for Your Presentation Ending .”

If you want to see a speech of Steve Jobs please have a look here . Use the english subtitles if needed.

Conclusion: Applying Steve Jobs’ Techniques Strategically and Convincingly

Follow the example of Steve Jobs and enhance your future presentations to be more engaging and persuasive. Apply the techniques we’ve presented and captivate your audience.

Do you have questions about this article? Feel free to reach out to us via email at [email protected] . We are here to assist you!

If you are looking for visually supportive and professionally designed slide templates, explore our shop. We offer a wide range of slides prepared for various (business) topics available for download. Visit our shop today! ► Shop

You might also find these articles interesting:

  • Storytelling in Presentations
  • Preparing Presentations: 11 Tips
  • 20 Ideas for Your Presentation Ending
  • Learning from Hitchcock: How to Deliver Captivating Presentations

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    6. Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people. Jobs talked about how his model for business was the Beatles and how they balanced each other so that ...

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    Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was renowned as one of the best presenters in the world. This book explains what he did that gripped audiences time and time again. Find out more about it here. ... The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience. Book Insights • 15 min read.

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    Out of the millions of presentations delivered each day, only a small percentage are delivered well."[3] Duarte transformed Al Gore's 35 mm slides into the award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. As with Al Gore, who sits on Apple's board, Steve Jobs uses presentations as a transformative experience.

  21. Presenting like Steve Jobs

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    Founders. Entrepreneurship. What I learned from reading The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo. Episode Website. More Episodes.