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Back To The Future With Apple’s Steve Jobs, Playboy

I recently read a Steve Jobs’ Playboy interview from 1985 and got inspired. It’s amazing how reading this in 2011, it still resonates entirely to technology innovation and the equally important company innovation of today’s business landscape.

Apple truly was a Web 2.0-ish company before the Web was even born, blazing a trail for the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Pandora (the latter are three DynECT Managed DNS clients) and more. With the recent announcement of Jobs’ latest medical leave, I sought out to learn even more about the man behind one of the most impactful companies in history.

I wanted to share the points that resonated the most to me and that I thought were most relevant to present day Dyn.

Young Steve Jobs - Dyn

Inspirational Takeaways

  1. Stick it to the man. F*$% IBM, screw the big guys. Blaze a new trail and keep charge of your own destiny.
  2. 60’s generation, live through that and it stays a part of you. “Many of my friends ended up ingrained in that idealism of that period but with a certain practicality.” Sound familiar? Gen Y! (Amazing how this is still true today at Apple as well.)
  3. Technology, the personal computer (the future Internet) was America’s last great chance to impact society forever.
  4. Business became the new politics. It’s where really changing the world actually occurs.
  5. It’s all about the product, innovation and building things for a definite audience. Being a few steps ahead (in his case, decades).
  6. Screw targeting the Fortune 500 (like IBM was) and go for Fortune 14mm (mass market, like Dyn).
  7. He said all the way back then, which is amazing, “The developments will be in making the products more portable, networking them.” Mind you, there was no Internet, laptop or PDA at this point. This guy saw the Web, iPods and iPads 25 years ago.
  8. He’s a pitchman. A product guy. Their leadership early on and to this day, was always thinking product first, sell it second, with intense understanding and…
  9. Passion, passion, passion. (It has to be genuine!)
  10. Look, feel, vibe, user experience were the most important things they thought about when building the Mac (version 1 & the rest).
  11. Adults say: “What is that?” Kids say: “What can I do with that?” (This couldn’t be more true when you are an Internet plumbing company!)
  12. He speaks of not needing to know how something works, but how it is used and for what purpose. You don’t need to know how a transmission works to drive a car. (Are we doing this? Hmm.)
  13. Control your own destiny. Stay in charge. Operate in the way you think is right. Live and die by your own decisions, not someone else’s. Talks of always being involved with Apple even if he takes leave, hibernates, mettles in the background and returns full bore (timely given his leave of absence again for health).
  14. “Have fun and make money.” This was the ad he answered at Atari. He wanted to make money to travel and he surely did.
  15. Very interesting perspective on business partnerships and working so closely together. He and Woz. Complimentary team and opposites in most regards.
  16. Their original market was hobbyist but they did everything possible to get past that fast and get mainstream. Real life use cases (education was huge).
  17. He compares Atari and Commodore to a brochure for their services. (Hello GoDaddy, Verisign, Neustar, NetSol and any other competitor/comparator – there is tons of biz to go around).
  18. “It was the chance to try something. To fail, to succeed, to grow.” “Your twenties are your time to be impatient” (the average age at Dyn is 33).
  19. Expectations change and evolve. It’s not greed. It’s reality. “Holy shit, it’s actually coming true.” He was just learning business too and wasn’t afraid to admit it and take it head on.
  20. “For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years, your habits make you.” The guy amazes me.
  21. Lastly, in 1985, Apple spent $100K on fruit juices in their HQ. Seriously. They wore jeans and t-shirts to the office long before Google or Facebook or Twitter did. Key talent, company culture, and a ‘we can do big big things and change the world’ were the basis then and they NEVER wavered.

My Dyn Thoughts

So, feeling inspired by the read, here are some thoughts on the current state of our growing company. Dyn has always been phenomenal at its engineering excellence, pure passion for our craft and delivering our user/client base premium, 100% uptime services, for free and/or affordable prices. Our products exceed expectations. Our client services group (customer experience as our Chris Widner has been calling it) kicks ass and we have a super high net promoter score for all audiences, SMB all the way to enterprise. “Would you refer us to your friends?”

We truly are an Internet infrastructure (IaaS) for anyone doing business online: easy, accessible, absorbable, anti-corporate, anti-public, anti-slick, anti-huge but the best of both kinds of companies. This stuff isn’t rocket science and our messaging needs to talk to the masses and not just the Steve Wozniaks of the world. This is where we strive to get better and better.

Lastly, to quote Bob Dylan who Jobs references as a guiding light, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

We believe that as long as our employees continue to feel this way, the sky is the limit.


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Kyle York
Whois: Kyle York

Kyle York is GM & VP, Business & Product Strategy, and has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his current role, Kyle focuses on overall corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new market entry, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. Outside of Oracle Dyn, Kyle is an angel investor, entrepreneur, and advisor in several startups.