The funny thing about that, Ryan, is I wrote that down when he said it because I thought it was an unusual choice of words, and knowing him he picked it purposely. I just went back and checked the notes and I see that his actual wording was semi-invisible conscience. He then went on to say that some interviewers like to ask provocative questions that generate headlines and he made it clear that he and Walt didn't do that.
Richard said his formula was find two interesting people and have them talk to each other, not the audience. That meant looking at each other. For one thing, nodding is so important in face-to-face conversation, you can't not do it. And Richard would guide the the conversation towards the things that interested him, that he wanted to know. He paired people of different backgrounds who had different understandings and, I think the term he used in his book was, hug their way of understanding. He called the conversations intellectual jazz.
He wrote a chapter on a conversation he had with Walt Mossberg. Walt ended it with this:
Richard is the most interesting person I have ever had the privilege to know. He just simply is. I mean, look, was Steve Jobs a phenomenally interesting person? Yes. Were Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and those guys historical figures? Yes. But neither of them had the breadth of curiosity and sense of intellectual investigation that Richard has. He got to pull people from all these different disciplines and find their common avenues.
I am not just saying this to bullshit you, it's just true.
I told Richard this morning the phone call with him was the most interesting call of my life, and I had many with Steve Jobs.