A few days ago, Steve Jobs stood in front of the Cupertino City Council and unveiled Apple’s plans to build the most amazing office park ever. It would house 13,000 employees over 150 acres.
As Steve described it, “It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. It’s pretty cool.”
Even when he’s presenting to a small audience like the Cupertino City Council, Steve Jobs is amazing. He puts on a show and can charm like no one else.
Apple is Cupertino’s largest tax payer. Apple brings in thousands of jobs and a significant amount of taxes are payed to the city. Restaurants and other businesses locate themselves in Cupertino because of Apple. Apple put Cupertino on the map.
So what does the Cupertino City Council say after Steve Jobs gives his presentation about the amazing new campus?
They ask for free WiFi.
There are a million things the city council should be curious or concerned about. They could ask about traffic, pollution, power, the timeline, disturbance to neighbors, and a other aspects of building a new campus.
One city council member, in an attempt to pose an intelligent question, asked Steve if they had thought about security. Really? You don’t think Apple, in building a 150 acre campus for 13,000 people and trade secrets, has thought about security?
But I think the most incredible thing to watch in the video of his presentation is that despite him being the smartest guy in the room, despite being nickel and dimed for free stuff, and despite knowing that he holds all the power…he played down to the city council members.
Steve Jobs didn’t dismiss their dumb questions. He didn’t laugh at them. He was respectful, and humble. He even revealed that his parents had died of lung cancer, adding a personal and private touch.
I previously wrote about how behavioral cues affect perceived levels of power. I could clearly see examples of that in this video. It’s definitely worth watching.