Eric Schmidt: Steve Jobs Suffered in Illness with Courage

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs suffered during the course of the illness that eventually took his life, but he did so with courage, according to Google Chairman and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Mr. Schmidt talked about Mr. Jobs’s legacy, what inspired him, and his genius at both art and technology, but his brief tribute to Mr. Jobs working through pain and other suffering was, perhaps, most poignant.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt on Stage

“One of the things that I think it’s worth saying is that he did suffer at some times during his illness,” Mr. Schmidt said, according to a transcript posted by BusinessInsider. “I think none of us would want to go through the suffering that he went through.”

He added, “I think that in his legacy we need to recognize his courage in the face of his own mortality and his own health. And this went on for six or seven years under extraordinarily difficult medical situations. As far as I know, as long as anyone possibly could with the medical diagnosis that he did, and he did it with tremendous courage that most people have not heard about.”

Other notable quotes from the interview:

Attention to Detail: “This is a man who understood detail. And he cared the way an artist cares about every brushstroke. So it was important that everything be perfect, whether it’s the packaging or the distribution or the branding or the software working and so forth and so on. He spent hours and hours preparing, for example, for his presentations. And over and over again would bring his staff up to the level of his presentation skills over and over again. Over and over again Steve showed that this sort of - this sort of obsession that he had around quality and beauty could be translated in the execution of the company.”

The Prodigal Son: “Steve was particularly good at learning from the period that he called in the wilderness when he was at NeXT. And he had a lot of - he spent a lot of time thinking about what he would do when he got back to Apple. And I think that that period of time in his history allowed him to sort of thinking about what it would take to build what is clearly the most valuable technology company in the world today.”

The NeXT Effect: “I think that ultimately when people look back at this they’ll say that the NeXT period was a period of time where he sort of organized his technology vision, he organized his team. And the NeXT team, when they - when they went back to Apple were able to very quickly take the technology he invented at NeXT and take it to what was then a lagging software and hardware platform at Apple and revitalize it. The subsequent transitions to the Intel platform and the other things that propelled the Mac to its current great success are a direct result of the architectural decisions that were made when he was at NeXT.”

Love that Mac: “[Steve was] the first person to take computing and computing platforms and make products that actually cause people to fall in love. In love with their products, in love with the artistry, in love with using information. And that I think is his primary contribution.”

There more in the full interview, which we recommend.