Working with Steve Jobs

Source: Interview with Susan Kare, 8 September 2000.

Pang: One thing some of the Hovey-Kelley people talked about was that working with Steve Jobs was interesting because of his design sense, his intuition for products. It sounds like you had somewhat the same experience with him, connecting with him at that level.

Kare: He was running Apple when I met him, but he was interested in the Macintosh at every level. It seemed to me that he was a person capable of making meaningful contributions in hardware, software, advertising, icons, fonts. Sure, he's a well-known and controversial figure, but I had a lot of respect for him because I never knew anybody who had such a broad band of ability to contribute good ideas in many realms. Not that every single idea was The Idea, or the best idea, or even good, or that he wouldn't listen to others. I think he definitely has a style of pushing back and being critical, to push you to see if you had explored every option. I remember him as great to work with, being excited over things that were new that we had done that we could show him, and it being a very motivating factor, because when he's happy and pleased with an idea he can make you feel great.

But he used to say, "We'll all look back on this project, and it will have been a really great moment in time of working on this great project together." He was right about that: I look back on it and think about what terrific colleagues I had, and we had great work experiences, and great offsites. Of course, you look back on your life and there definitely were moments when you were bleeding, or had bad things that happened to you, or you were sick; but you don't look back and think about the times you were in bed with the flu. You think of the good things, and I can just think of so many positive, positive things with the Mac.

I am still friendly with, and work with, a number of people from the Mac group. One person I worked with who I thought was brilliant was Joanna Hoffman. She focused on international marketing, and she was great to work with, and always had ideas. She was a person who wasn't in software, but who made great contributions. I could name a long list of people like that.

Jim Yurchenco and Rickson Sun talk about Apple as a client; Dean Hovey and David Kelley discuss Jobs' involvement in the mouse project; and Jim Sachs discusses Jobs' vision for the mouse.

Pang: How did you know the Hovey-Kelley guys?

Pang: I was friendly with Rickson Sun and Michele Lee; I met them in the early 1980s in Palo Alto, and through them I met David Kelley. There was one point where David and I went to see Paul Rand, so David Kelley Design must have been doing something with NeXT. It wasn't that my role at Apple put us in contact-- I know they did some work with the icons in the back, so I might have worked with them a little on that.


Document created on 20 February 2001;