Apple's Former Safari Chief Don Melton Reflects on Steve Jobs

jobs_poseDon Melton has a long history with Steve Jobs and Apple, working at NeXT and then moving to Apple where he is known for his work on Safari and WebKit. To commemorate Steve Jobs' birthday earlier this year, Melton recounted his memorable encounters with Jobs in a post he recently published on his blog.

Melton was not a confidant of Jobs, just an employee who had the opportunity to be around the Apple co-founder on occasion. Jobs likely thought of Melton as the “Safari Guy” and knew Melton's real name, which was considered an honor.

Melton recounts the first time he met Steve Jobs at a NeXT presentation in the late 80s that unfortunately was scheduled during everyone's lunch break. Like many encounters with Jobs, Melton remembered Jobs' demeanor, but not a word of what he said.

Obviously he wanted us to quiet down. You could tell because he paused several times for us to hush ourselves. And out of respect, awe, and probably some fear, we all tried our best to do so. But, dammit, the room was now packed and that many people just swallowing food makes a lot of noise. Sitting so close, I felt especially self-conscious.

Who the hell scheduled him to speak at that time? Knucklehead. It’s entirely possible that person was taken out later and shot.

Anyway, I do remember Steve’s seriousness and apparent impatience that day. But not a thing he said.

Melton paints Jobs not as a "mercurial ogre or cartoon autocrat," but as a very busy CEO with little time for “yes men,” timid employees or those who didn't know what they were doing.

Steve expected excellence. Which is why he so often got it.

He knew when something was right, but he didn’t always tell you what he wanted when it wasn’t. And he was very clear when he didn’t like it. Some misinterpreted this behavior as being overly critical, but it was actually time-saving clarity, albeit uncomfortable on occasion.

Melton has several interesting tidbits about his work on Safari, including Jobs' distaste for the stand-alone bookmarks window in the web browser and the decision to add a page load indication into Safari's address bar, a design decision that eventually hurt Safari's reputation because the "in-your-face progress bar made it seem slower to the user."

Beyond his work persona, Melton also shares some stories about the personal side of Jobs, the real man who has children and, at one point, a cranky new puppy. Melton ends his story with his somber memories of Steve in his final years, dealing with a disease that "had ravaged him." Melton's piece is long, but worth a read for his insight into a corporate leader who was intense, but also real.

Top Rated Comments

Dulcimer Avatar
106 months ago
The world would be a much better place if we were all a little more Steve Jobs.

He was a visionary tech leader, but come on… Steve Jobs was far from a personal role model.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Peace Avatar
106 months ago
He was a visionary tech leader, but come on… Steve Jobs was far from a personal role model.
I thought he was a great role model. As did his wife and kids I'm guessing.

If the world had more CEO's that were interested in the product more than how much money they made the world would be a lot better off.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
106 months ago
The vision has been lost since he has been gone.

The bean counters have taken it over. :(
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Essex711 Avatar
106 months ago
I believe a lot of people mistake Jobs in your face atitude for arrogance, however as Melton points out it was instant feedback, and when you have the company you created falling apart you are going to give as much feedback as quick as possible to regain the credit you deserved in starting that successful company. Sj's business savvy has been inspiration to me, I often look at the way Apple became so successful and apply that to everyday situations. More companies are today too, this is awesome IMHO. I hope more people continue to follow their lead.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michaelgtrusa Avatar
106 months ago
We all miss him 
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Firelock Avatar
106 months ago
Sorry to disagree. As a small business owner who is understand staff and need to get things done fast and perfect SJ is a role model. How else is he suppose to run a hugh corporation? Being nice and baby sit his staffs? At Apple's level you either belong at that level or you don't.

I've worked in business a long time, too, and I don't see any reason not to treat people with respect and have a professional demeanor at all times. To each their own, I suppose. Glad I don't work for you.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
airpodsproinear

Apple Facing Lawsuit After AirPods Allegedly Ruptured Child's Eardrums With Amber Alert

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:40 am PDT by
Apple's AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360). The child, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning ...
apple store palo alto

Apple Reinstating Employee Mask Mandate at Approximately 100 U.S. Retail Stores

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:11 am PDT by
Apple retail employees at around 100 stores will need to go back to wearing a mask while working, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple is mandating masks for employees again due to a rising number of COVID cases across the United States. Customers who visit an Apple Store are not required to wear a mask at this time, but Apple is continuing to recommend masks for all Apple Store...