Steve Jobs is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity.

1 minute read

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.

He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. It’s not simplistic. It’s simplified. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity.
If you are someone who doesn’t care about it, you end up with simplistic results. It’s amazing to me how many companies make that mistake.

Engineers are far more important than managers at Apple — and designers are at the top of the hierarchy. Even when you look at software, the best designers like Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Capps, were called software designers, not software engineers because they were designing in software. It wasn’t just that their code worked. It had to be beautiful code.

We used to study Italian designers when we were looking for selecting a design company before we selected Hartmut Esslinger from Frog to do what was called  the Snow White design. We were looking at Italian car designers.

— John Sculley (2010) Full interview transcript, by Leander Kahney

Great interview, with many quotations and insights. It also wonderfully details a lot the difference between “simple” and “simplistic”, and I couldn’t agree more.