In a wide-ranging interview with VentureBeat about his experiences with Steve Jobs, former Apple employee Michael Dhuey, now at Cisco, shared several instances where Jobs' unique expectations were especially memorable.
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.”
Dhuey also discloses that Jobs has some hearing loss, something that can be an issue when trying to listen to music.
“When we did the iPod we had to make sure it would be loud enough for Steve to hear the music,” says Dhuey. “We had to balance his need for volume with a French law against things that were too loud. He tends to get early prototypes and these were built with Steve’s needs in mind. He had an iPhone six months before they were announced. When he stood on stage demoing the phone, he was holding one of the only ones available in the world.”
Dhuey learned that Jobs loved the Beatles and “standard pop music,” bands like Coldplay. Dhuey also talks about how Jobs pushed against having noisy fans in any hardware. Perhaps this also had to do with his hearing issues.
Dhuey worked at Apple for 25 years. He was the co-inventor of the Macintosh II and was one of the two main hardware engineers on the original iPod.