Video: What’s Steve Jobs like in a meeting?

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Martin Varsavsky is the founder of FON, a wireless company based in Spain, whose backers include Google, Skype, Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital. FON claims to have established the world’s largest WiFi community, the “Foneros,” who share their WiFi and in turn get free access at FON Spots around the globe. Varsavsky is also an early-stage investor in companies like Joost, Netvibes and Technorati.

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Recently, Varsavsky met for an hour and a half (5-min video) with CEO Steve Jobs at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters to discuss FON. Varsavsky describes Jobs as “one of the brightest people in the world” but “not the nicest guy,” “curious but not simpatico.” He found him to be “trim and thin” with a gray beard and holes in his jeans. Apparently, Jobs was “very interested in FON.”

Inquiring minds would naturally wonder, why? Feel free to speculate.

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31 thoughts on “Video: What’s Steve Jobs like in a meeting?

  1. Pingback: Jobs’ love of WiFi may lead to partnership with FON | Ars Technica

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  5. If you want to see a great Steve Jobs interview, search for D5 on iTunes. It’s a free download with a 1 hour interview showing Steve Jobs & Bill Gates. Watch it at least 3 times. Jobs is the man.

  6. Quite interesting Varsavsky – You are brave to post this video, but your FON company is worthy of such an innocent disclosure.

    I think Steve is sizing you up to partner with a FREE worldwide WiFi network that he is dreaming up with Eric at Google.

    Your model is correct. This would eliminate all the cell phone companies which have become stagnate over time.

    iChat “for free” on the iPhone would be bigger than the iPhone times ten. We just need a couple 100,000 access points to make it work.

    Be TOUGH with Steve… he will respect you more. So be planning/plotting an Apple router/ranger extender using your tech, and propose it to him.

    You have the germ of the idea, and Steve flourishes with ideas like this. See Woz, PARC, Fadell…

    Good Luck… buying a La Fonera+ with La Fontenna after I post this. (technically, the “La” name is bad however for the USA market, so you might want to call it “Free WiFi” or something similar)

    https://shop.fon.com/FonShop/shop/US/ShopController

  7. Varsavsky thinks it’s obvious that his presence is evidence that he’s into Apple. I’m sure Steve Jobs has had many visitors claiming the same thing, most notably Bill Gates.

    Varsavsky obviously doesn’t know much about the history of the computer industry in the U.S. He didn’t even know that Apple is located at 1 Infinite Loop. Apple’s been at 1 Infinite Loop since the early ’90s, so Varsavsky hasn’t been into Apple that long.

    Given how green Varsavsky is regarding matters concerning Apple, his confessional video comes off more like an opportunistic and self-aggrandizing effort.

  8. sounds like a cool idea, but you think FON.com would be able to have it’s maps work properly with safari. I can’t search for local Fon spots.

    I thought the guy said he enjoyed and used Apple products. Does his iMac work with his FON website?

  9. I’ve been told by those close to him that Steve is a master chess player at meetings, in that he knows both what’s intellectually and emotionally driving the other players and can see the endgame clearly before most others. However, I’ve also heard he’s fiercely private and not a fan of those who “kiss and tell”. Not sure if you’ll get a second meeting after you’ve told the world about the first one…

  10. Didn’t realize it was a video at first when I first read the post & commented. So, he didn’t seem to have much negative to say about Jobs. Obviously, Job’s is a very “to the point” kind of guy. He probably does come off as rude. It’s probably why he was able to be CEO for 2 separate very well known companies at one time in his life (Pixar & Apple), but it may also be why he may have gotten cancer as well. Nevertheless, I like Fon’s CEO…I’m hopeful his company is just as successful, if not more. I’d love to work for a guy like this…real down to earth.

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  12. I think the guy is thinking (linguistically and culturally) in Spanish when he says that “Jobs is not the nicest guy” or not “simpático”, which actually means cute. He probably expected the charisma that Jobs displays in public in his private meeting and was taken aback by Jobs’ focus. That is what people who come from effusive cultures find off-putting about Americans. Their directness is perceived as lack of “cuteness”. The bit about Jobs’ insecurity was a bit weird, though.

  13. Hello.Im very interested that you are in Spain!I have been looking for people in this industry in Spain for a long time!I live in Madrid.I hope you have profiles on LinkedIn or myspace or any of the other social networks in order for me to follow trends and events in Spain.

  14. And when I use bathroom at 1 Infinite Loop — the Apple headquarters — there was a toilet and each toilet flushed and when you flushed the water went down. Not in an infinite loop but just down. In a circle. Until you couldn’t see it anymore. And then, a little water came back up and I could see that too.

    THIS GUY IS BORING — No wonder Steve wasn’t the nicest guy. Geez. I can’t believe he didn’t fall asleep.

  15. Thanks for the unique perspective you shared in your blog about your meeting with Steve Jobs. I’m always curious about people who have managed to make it in spite of big obstacles and doing things differently.

  16. It appears his meeting went well. Jobs’ interest is likely keyed to alternatives to the present cell phone service providers. His focus is the net and it shows in his iPhone contracts having unlimited net access. It will be interesting to see what’s in those European contracts.

    It also sounded like you met with Google as well? I’m sure Jobs will be talking about FON with them and others. A U.S. spectrum auction is coming next year and I’m sure Jobs would like to see some of that available for WiFi use as it would have the ability to penetrate buildings as cell spectrum does.

  17. John Halbig: Mind you, despite my outright fear, I have nothing but respect for the man. ;-)

    How we perceive Steve Jobs has become a Rorschach test for all of us.

  18. Sorry, but since the video is advertised as only 5:00 min in length, I gave up after 1:00 min of seeing only the ‘host’ still yammering away into the camera about what it was he was ABOUT to talk about, instead of just getting to the interview.

    I’ll assume SJ DOES eventually appear.

    Good luck with your efforts.

  19. As someone who came close to being blasted back to the stone age when I accidentally caused a stir with Disney over their “Blast” site (and its senseless IE and Windows Only stance) back in ’98, I can attest to the remarkable similarity between avoiding being creamed by a semi on the freeway and avoiding a confrontation with Steve Jobs.

    Mind you, despite my outright fear, I have nothing but respect for the man. ;-)

  20. By blabbing about the meeting to the world and putting up a video about it, I’m sure this guy has killed his chances of striking it rich off the Apple connection.

  21. Tell us more about why Jobs is “not the nicest guy” … inquiring minds want to know! :)

    Seriously, I think he’s abrupt & cocky which sometimes people consider rude or “not the nicest guy”, but at the same time, maybe he is an ass…

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