Steve Jobs at the Cupertino City Council

Saw this at Presentation Zen: Steve Jobs testifying at the Cupertino City Council. There is much to observe in this short clip:

  • Casual speaking style
  • No slides or multimedia crutches
  • Friendly yet powerful: i.e., he’s essentially saying, "We could have gone elsewhere, but we stuck with Cupertino so be nice to us…"

What other Fortune 500 CEO could testify at a government hearing without a phalanx of lawyers?

If you want to see classic Steve Jobs, watch the introduction of Macintosh in 1984.


Here is a much better explanation of why this appearance was so effective by Jay Zipursky.

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By | 2016-10-24T14:27:12+00:00 May 7th, 2006|Categories: Apple, Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |25 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. Vanina May 7, 2006 at 4:25 am - Reply

    Hi Guy,
    We better understand why he is such a big boss and why he became so famous all over the world.
    Sincerity drives always to good results.

  2. Randy J. Hunt May 7, 2006 at 6:22 am - Reply

    I never would have expected the bow-tie in ’84 😉 In all seriousness, we can see in both cases how thoughtfulness of the presentation style. In the City Council example, that effortless delivery and sincerity would win over all but the most adverse.

  3. Service Untitled - Douglas Hanna May 7, 2006 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I saw this a week or two ago – it’s quite interesting to see him speak without all the fancy slides, lighting, and such. It shows that he’s naturally quite good at it.

  4. Picture My World May 7, 2006 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Steve Jobs: Master Manipulator

    Guy points out this video of Steve Jobs speaking to the Cupertino City Council. Guy comments that this is a great informal presentation, but it seemed very awkward to me (especially the conversation at the end). However, in spite of that or maybe bec…

  5. Larry Rosenstein May 7, 2006 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Jobs couldn’t have used a fancy presentation even if he wanted to. He spoke during oral communications, which limited to public comments about items not on the agenda. Those comments are also limited to 3 min, although the Cupertino City Council didn’t strictly enforce that limit.

  6. Jay Zipursky May 7, 2006 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks very much for the mention, Guy.
    As I commented on my post, I think it’s amazing that what came across as an awkward presentation and discussion was so effective. It really speaks to Jobs’ influence as a personality and the techniques he used.

  7. Knut Karnapp May 7, 2006 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    You might as well wanna check out it offers a lot speaking events featuring the Apple guru : )
    I tried to, but the pages says it was closed down after contact with Apple’s legal department. That’s ironical!

  8. Taylor May 7, 2006 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Loved both of these. Have just finished reading the revised book ICONS about SJ.
    Amazing guy, but don’t know if i could work for him….

  9. Jim Rudden May 7, 2006 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Honestly, the presentation was not that impressive to me. The council is probably going to listen to what their #1 taxpayer has to say – and his message was clear the moment he walked in the hall. What I found interesting is that a celebrity CEO came to speak at a completely unattended local council meeting. Cupertino is in the company’s roots – and Jobs came to represent that. To an empty room, one of our generation’s great innovators said that community matters. How many of us are making the time from our “busy schedules” to give our local community the same priority? For the benchmark, see Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia.

  10. bd handspicker May 7, 2006 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    As Dmann suggested on Jay’s blog, I agree that Steve appears to be “intentionally speaking in a colloquial” manner. It’s always important to match your presentation style to your audience as well as to your objective. This is especially so when attempting a reciprocity influence strategy. By presenting in a folksy “neighbor to neighbor” manner he was able to more effectively engage the council members than if he had made a “flash, bang” shock and awe pitch. Well done Steve!
    (And thanks Jay and Guy for bringing this to our attention – great blogs from each of you!)

  11. May 7, 2006 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Learn from the Master

    Some videos of Steve Jobs speaking are making the rounds. As others have pointed out, this is a good chance to learn from an excellent public speaker. Especially in the ipod announcement, I was struck by how much he repeats…

  12. Bizango May 7, 2006 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    The simplicity, the colloquialism, all nice. But what you see here is a master storyteller at work. Between this presentation and also the introduction of the first ipod presentation (follow links) there was one thing in common:
    Steve Jobs got the city council on the edge of their seats, saying “well, as you know we’ve been here a while…” and “it’s very expensive here…” and “we’ve tripled our size…”
    He had them in the palm of his hands. Screaming in their heads (“oh, no, apple, please don’t tell us you’re leaving!”) before he finally, several minutes into the presentation, announced that they had bought the land.
    Suspense. A technique of storytelling all presenters would be wise to remember.

  13. DRMPro May 9, 2006 at 10:21 am - Reply

    The opposite happened when Donald Trump confronted the Palos Verdes City Council. The insults were flying back and forth for months.

  14. soferet May 21, 2006 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Hey, wait a second – Jay Zipursky is my neighbour!!!

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    Steve Jobs at Cupertino City Hall

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    That was sweet. OK so tell me something I don’t know. Steve Jobs is a great role model for young kids. I always point out Steve’s way of selling. I can only imagine Steve as a child selling to his parents why he should have something and the features and how it would benefit his parents. He was selling the day he was born. I also think what makes Steve Jobs great besides selling, is many things, but the one area I have always respected is his insight to be the first to market. He has been selling the first to market since day 1 of Apple, and he never stopped…

  21. Doug June 4, 2007 at 10:46 am - Reply

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