The BusinessInsider, a pub I love, did an excerpt from the Steve Jobs' book today — I'm in it.
Author Walter Isaacson interviewed me — but I've been under NDA and wasn't even sure my story made it. Here is the story. The real story isn't QUITE like Jobs related it, though Jobs does tell it correctly in the video below. Story first:
Larry Ellison Made Steve Jobs Fall Out Of His Seat Laughing When He Told Him This Story
Jobs didn't think much of Amelio. In fact, he though he was a "bozo."
When an Apple board member asked Jobs what he thought of Amelio, Jobs said, "This guy is the worst CEO I've ever seen, I think if you needed a license to be a CEO he wouldn't get one."
Why was Jobs so negative on Amelio?
Well, he was running Apple into the ground, and he was sort of clueless. And nothing illustrates his cluelessness better than this passage — which might be our favorite — from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs book:
That spring Larry Ellison saw Amelio at a party and introduced him to the technology journalist Gina Smith, who asked how Apple was doing. "You know, Gina, Apple is like a ship," Amelio answered. "That ship is loaded with treasure, but there's a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction." Smith looked perplexed and asked, "Yeah, but what about the hole?" From then on Ellison and Jobs joked about the parable of the ship. "When Larry relayed this story to me, we were in this sushi place, and I literally fell off my chair laughing," Jobs recalled. "He was just such a buffoon, and he took himself so seriously. He insisted that everyone call him Dr. Amelio. That's always a warning sign."
A few months later Amelio was ousted from Apple, and Jobs took over.
Now here's the video where Jobs tells Bill Gates the story, though he doesn't mention Amelio, Ellison or me.