Steve Jobs used his vacation time to pepper Apple staffers with questions

Steve Jobs used his vacation time to pepper Apple staffers with questions

As with most endeavors, even Steve Jobs’ vacations differed from most people. He used his “downtime” to step outside the Apple box to ponder directions forward for the company, peppering his closets lieutenants with questions via phone and email.

Steve Jobs

Megan Sauer for CNBC:

Like most employees, Tony Fadell used to silently rejoice when his boss went on vacation.

Then, Fadell joined Apple in 2001 and realized that Steve Jobs’ downtime was different than most bosses’ vacations. On a recent podcast episode of “The Tim Ferriss Show,” Fadell – known as the inventor of the iPod and co-creator of the iPhone – said that when Jobs left the office, Apple’s employees would get two or three days of relative silence. Then, often without warning, they’d start getting calls from Jobs with new ideas.

“Steve would be on vacation and he would be pondering … the next product, the next direction for Apple, new technologies,” said Fadell, a former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division who worked with Jobs for nearly 10 years. “He used that vacation as a time to expand his thinking and get outside of Apple’s day-to-day.”

Fadell says that when Jobs was off the clock, he’d read new books and seek out conversations about up-and-coming technologies to help him find inspiration in unexpected places.

Jobs’ vacation habits were sometimes challenging for the people around him: Fadell said Apple employees would hear from Jobs up to six times per day. “He would start thinking about, ‘Oh, let’s go buy a music company’ or ‘Should we go and do this kind of product?’ ‘What technology would it take to achieve this?’”

Typically, Fadell said, you’d need to quickly type up some research and send it to Jobs via email. Often, Jobs would call back within 15 minutes with another idea, Fadell added.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs used his vacations to innovate, except for his vacation in the summer of 2010. That’s when the iPhone 4 “Antennagate” crisis hit, sp Jobs cut his Hawaiian vacation short so that he, other high level executives, and his son Reed Jobs, then a high school senior, could spend two straight days hammering out a PR strategy.

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