Understanding Steve Jobs Through His Quotes

Come see the God of Silicon Valley naked! (Spoiler: He isn’t as attractive as they told you.)

Adesh Acharya
8 min readDec 15, 2021


I searched for a list of the most intelligent/smart/genius modern people, and almost every article I came across — had this guy in it.

And he didn’t just exist in those articles, he ruled them!

This got me curious. While I do understand he was influential in designing and producing the phone I currently use — that’s no reason to call him a genius like none, or the smartest man who ever lived and so on

I mean, yes, this phone is awesome. But so was the Redmi I used before this. Even the landline set with the Caller-Id feature we bought for our home when I was still a child was awesome! I didn’t go around worshipping it’s creator. I don’t even remember the brand name!

This got me more curious. What is up with this guy? Why is he worshipped?

I tried to understand the hype by deeply using the phone itself. (I read his biography in short and knew he was all about Apple).

So through personal experiences I found the phone to be great. Yes. But turns out this particular version was released 8 years after this guy died. So it may have been this good because of other talented people!

And the phone is not exceptional to such a degree that — after using it I have the urge to go to the internet searching for its creator to become s/he’s fanboy. It’s just a phone with good features. Like any other. It’s no reason to worship anyone — It’s not that he brought God back to Earth!

So the only solution I found was to go through his quotes. No, I didn’t want to understand this person from the movies made on him or books written about him. They stink of flattery!

The only thing then to do was to understand him through what he uttered.

I typed his name on wikiquote and selected 9 of his most highlighted quotes.

Here is a list of those quotes and my interpretations on them:

9. We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.

He stated this in his keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. So he is definitely talking about Apple products. The mighty phone wasn’t out then. But let’s not fall into the trap of tech-gossip, enough have fallen already! Let’s understand the mind that would say such a thing.

This mind is ambitious. This mind believes in fulfilling its childhood dreams. This mind surely has been preoccupied with making its own childhood dreams possible. It is just using the ‘we’ to sound humble. (Why would anyone use the term ‘we’ to talk about dreams?) Aren’t dreams personal? Who would say that unless he was a manipulative hypocrite! His thoughts were probably buzzing:

I used to dream about being a shepherd of sheeps like you. Then I decoded the secret of our generation and worked on understanding how I could exploit it most effectively. Now, here I am. It’s just great. I did it! Stand up and worship me, bastards! I have started a trend now. There wouldn’t be great jobs if I didn’t exist.

8. We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me too” products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.

This is how you separate yourself from the crowd — By openly stating that you are different than them. WoW!

But having scrutinized the context, this particular thing was said during an interview about the release of the Macintosh in 1984.

In the same year, CD-ROM was introduced by Phillips, Flash Memory was invented by Fujio Masuoka working for Toshiba, the first desktop laser printer was invented and a lot more was happening. But our Jobs guy here, presents himself as a pioneer like none other. He knew how to lie. He gloats as if he was creating fluorescent light bulbs in the age of stone-rubbing.

7. I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

If you were so obsessed with Socrates and his ideas, why didn’t you quit everything, mastered Greek Philosophy and taught virtue at a local school instead of working to become a billionaire, you pathetic hypocrite!

6. The world’s clearly a better place. Individuals can now do things that only large groups of people with lots of money could do before. What that means is, we have much more opportunity for people to get to the marketplace — not just the marketplace of commerce but the marketplace of ideas.

Here he is using the age-old rhetoric of: I am doing it for the people. He clearly understands that the things he is building will be used by almost everyone in the world one day:

I used to dream about being a shepherd of sheeps. Then I decoded the secret of our generation and worked on understanding how I could exploit it most effectively.

This guy knows that the time is nigh when the world will be corrupted and polluted by generic thoughts and ideas through generic content. If he understood this, why didn’t he understand this basic law of human social behavior:

No matter what we create, the marketplace will always be ruled by those who fart the loudest.

And if he understood even this, why did he persist with his products? Didn’t he envision that the things he creates will only amplify the loudest of farts? If he did, then what happened to his whole ‘Socrates’ talk? What about his whole ‘educating people’ thing?

Since he is no visionary, he couldn’t foresee one of his fanboys one day becoming the epitome of that very large groups of people with lots of money by exploiting that very tool. (You, Mr. Musk). Otherwise he wouldn’t dare say such things. This Jobs guy is no visionary. If someone sees him as such, that person must have no vision at all!

This guy is a messed up opportunist hypocrite. No wonder our world is like this!

5. We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.

Ahem! Ahem!

Most people in the world eventually used ‘computers’ for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Not much of a visionary!

4. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

This I believe is gospel for entrepreneurs. Got to give credit where it is due. Looking at this quote from the perspective of his life story, he sure walked the talk and lived his life on his own terms.

Now, in regards to inner voice, following your heart, intuition:

Mr. Jobs’ heart must have told him to shoot for immortal fame, power and greed! His actions signal that.

When you are pursuing something which a part of your conscience knows is corrupt and vulgar you surely need the support from ideas such as — Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

The irony however is that — the fanboys whom this type of ideology appealed to most, didn’t have hearts. They just drooled over Jobsian image, achievements and relentlessly pursued it. They didn’t have enough sense to know what they really wanted, or what is the right thing to want. They just knew how other people’s behavior worked and exploited it relentlessly. This they learnt from their Gods: Mr. Jobs and the likes. This way they were trapped in a dogma and other people’s thinking: of Mr. Jobs’ and such greed-monsters.


Silicon Valley!

3. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

The quote above without rhetoric:

The only way to do great work is to lust over power, fame and fortune. If you haven’t managed to lust over them, keep trying. Don’t settle. As with all matters of temptation, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great sensual activity, it just gets tempting as the years go on. So keep desiring. Keep lusting. Don’t settle.

2. I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.

In other words, once you manage to be successful at a business venture, use your reputation and talent to conquer all other industries — One after another. Relentlessly. Until you become the richest bastard in the world!

If you settle on one, you won’t be able to get very rich as there is only x to be made in one. Multiple ventures = multiple x’s.

For example, if there is x amount to be made in the space industry, there is x in AI too (if you are early). So go hurry!

(And the demigods of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla and the likes understood: they had to conquer every lucrative industry. And so the fanboys lived rich and powerful thereafter!)

1. Humans are tool builders. We build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities. We ran an ad for this once that the personal computer is the bicycle of the mind. I believe that with every bone in my body.

Look how well this begins with an objective understanding of humans: Humans are tool builders. We build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities.

And see how quickly the greedy megalomaniac takes over: We ran an ad for this once that the personal computer is the bicycle of the mind. I believe that with every bone in my body.

This sums him up: External big talks to hide internal lust!

But that’s not the point.

Sadly computers didn’t settle at becoming bicycles, they are slowly becoming the black holes of the mind.


0. We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here?

Mr. Jobs’ thought process while coming up with this (if it even is his original):

I need to come up with a simple line that will metaphysically justify my greed. It doesn’t matter if I have no clue of what I am saying. It just has to have the word ‘universe’ in it and it has to appear as if I am passing wisdom on the meaning of life! They will worship be forever thereafter…


Steve Jobs wasn’t a genius visionary, he was a hypocrite opportunist.

His biggest achievement — He taught how to present disgusting impulses as visionary altruism.

and one more thing…

I hope my phone won’t start hating me so much that it will cleverly make me kill myself!

and one more (please):

Who does my phone like more: Apple Inc. or Me?

P.S. If Jobs is Socrates, then this article is The Clouds.

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