I presented a Styrofoam model that I created, and a lot of the building materials, the things that you build the iPod with, the business angles, how many we could sell, those kinds of stuff, how big the team would need to be, schedules. And at the end, Steve picked up this Styrofoam block that was the iPod. He was like, “Let’s do this.” And he goes, “Now we have to hire you.”
And Jon turns to me and goes like this, he goes, “I got this. Don’t worry.” So then what began a three-week intense battle going, “Look, I have a startup, Jon. I can’t leave this startup. I can’t leave this team in a lurch. I need to do what’s right for them.” And he’s like, “No, no, come to Apple. You’re gonna do this.” I go, “Look, I’ve been at Philips. I’ve been at other big companies. Nine out of ten projects that get started get killed at those kinds of company.”
And he goes, “No, no, no. This one’s gonna ship.” I said, “I don’t believe it. I go, “And then once you ship…” — remember, Apple was not the Apple you know today. Apple back then was, at best case — what was it? $250 million? Two hundred fifty million dollars in the bank and $500 million in debt, and they were break-even quarter-to-quarter.
They had less than one percent market share for Macintoshes in the U.S. Not in the world, one percent market share in the — everyone said it’s a dying company. So I’m like, “Wait a second, Jon. This company wants to do this. I’ve seen all these projects die. Are you gonna actually have the funds to actually market it when you’re under attack? Like, why should I join this company?” And so he couldn’t really convince me, and I’m… So I said — and I talked to other people around — and I started going, “Okay, well, this startup thing I have is not going so well. I can bring some of the people with me. Maybe this is a chance I should take.” This is this gut reaction, like everything in your brain logically goes, “Don’t do this. Don’t do this. Don’t do this.” And then my gut’s going, “Maybe there’s something here.” So I said to Jon, I go, “Look, I’ve talked to a bunch of people. I’m starting to understand how you guys work here. I need to talk to Steve.” So he arranged for me to chat with Steve.
And I was like, “Steve…” I was like, “What about Sony? They’re number one. They own every audio category.” And he was like, “We’re gonna beat ’em. Watch.” And I go, “Wait a second. Sony? Do you understand this?” He’s like, “I’m telling you, we’re gonna beat ’em.” And he had such confidence. I said “Yeah, I think we can build the product, but will you sell and market it?” And he said to me, “If you build this, and it’s a quality product, I will put every dollar of Apple marketing behind this to watch this thing go. And I’m patient, and I will make this happen. You just get this done.”