With all of the supernatural success swirling around legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs as he steps down from the position, it’s easy to forget that he’s human. Michael Dhuey, 53, had two opportunities to experience the real Jobs through working with him.
“I had a good experience with Steve, but I also know people who did not,” laughs Dhuey during a phone interview from Cupertino, CA.
Dhuey is currently tech lead and founder of the Cisco Systems video teleconferencing department. He knows Jobs professionally after working with him on two significant projects in Apple history: The Macintosh II in 1987 (Dhuey was an electrical and computer engineer at Apple then, and co-invented the computer) and the original iPod in 2001 (Dhuey was one of two engineers who developed the hardware).
“He was very clear about what he didn’t like,” says Dhuey. “He was not filtered with his input. If he was in a meeting that was boring him, he would be blunt. He’d say, ‘I don’t need to see this, let’s move on.’ And we would. He didn’t suffer a fool.”
Dhuey recalls that people would dread getting into an elevator with Jobs. If you got on at the 4th floor, you’d better have captivated him by the time you got off on the 1st. Jobs remembered you when you had a great story to tell. He also remembered when you didn’t.
“He would ask you what you were working on, and people started to dread that question,” chuckles Dhuey. “Everyone started preparing questions to ask Steve in case they accidentally got in the elevator with him. A good question for Steve would keep the pressure off you.”