Jonathan Ive isn’t leaving Apple, according to an unnamed friend quoted in a profile of the design guru published by London tabloid The Daily Mail. The piece traces Mr. Ive’s path into design prominence, including a lament from a fellow Brit on how he came to leave the UK in the first place. The reason? A clown.
We’ll start with the later tidbit, which comes to us from Clive Grinyer, currently the Director of Customer Experience for Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. Mr. Grinyer founded a design consultancy in the UK in 1989 called Tangerine, “so that we could employ Jony Ive.”
“Tangerine had a consultancy contract with the bathroom-fittings company to design a toilet,” Mr. Grinyer told The Daily Mail. “I was there when Jony made an excellent presentation to this guy who was wearing a red nose because it was Comic Relief day. This clown then decided to throw his weight around and pulled apart Jony’s design. It was ridiculous. Britain lost Jony Ive then and there.”
Mr. Grinyer said that it was shortly thereafter that Mr. Ive took a trip to California on Tangerine’s behalf, where he was offered a job. A job that he took, we’ll add.
Britain’s loss was the world’s gain, at least in the long run. The profile includes some of the well-known history of Mr. Ive’s early years at Apple where most of his work was ignored until once and future Apple CEO Steve Jobs checked in on him in the midst of paring products, whole divisions, and bozos (no relation to the above-mentioned clown, save perhaps by genus) by the truckload.
When Mr. Jobs saw Mr. Ive and the myriad of prototypes he had scattered around his off-campus office, he reportedly said, “My God, what have we got here?”
What he had there, of course, was a designer who eventually produced the iMac (started before Steve Jobs came back to Apple), iPod, Cube, iPhone, MacBook Air, and iPad, the designs of which are a big part of Apple’s big stock price and high market cap of US$312.6 billion.
Which is why there was interest in rumors that Mr. Ive was considering leaving Apple to go back home to England, but this rumor isn’t true according to an unnamed friend.
“I’m not sure there is any truth he wants to come back. My last conversations with him were that he was planning to sell his house in the UK.”
For bonus points, check out the high school photo of today’s bald-headed Mr. Ive with giant mid-80’s New Wave hair.