To Jony Ive, as it was to Jobs, making “great products” is much more important than the balance sheet. “Our goal isn’t to make money,” Jony told a surprised audience at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit in July 2012.
Jony explained that he learned this lesson from Jobs when Apple was poised to go under. “Apple was very close to bankruptcy and to irrelevance [but] you learn a lot about life through death, and I learnt a lot about vital corporations by experiencing a non-vital corporation,” he told the conference. “You would have thought that, when what stands between you and bankruptcy is some money, your focus would be on making some money, but that was not [Steve Jobs’s] preoccupation. His observation was that the products weren’t good enough and his resolve was, ‘We need to make better products.’ That stood in stark contrast to the previous attempts to turn the company around.”