One afternoon he told me, “God dammit, Wayne. I want you to fucking go home right now and tell me why I shouldn’t fire you tomorrow.” So I went home that night and I probably worked on 15 or 16 versions of an email trying to explain everything. But then I just decided to say “Steve, you know how I feel, but you’re the boss. You let me know tomorrow whether I’m fired or not.” I never heard another word about it.
The mythology of him mostly comes from individuals that didn't survive around him. The people who got close knew the rules, knew how to work with him, knew his core desires and what he was trying to achieve. They never really had problems with it.
Someone told me early on that if you do something great, you just have to acknowledge it yourself because you’re not going to get it from him except on a rare occasion. A lot of people who weren’t used to that would come in to present their product plan or whatever, and they would be seeking to make themselves look good and get praise from Steve. If he got a whiff of that, he would rip you down a peg.
He was usually right because the person usually didn’t do a great job. Those are the ones who flamed out and then had the horrible things to say because they couldn’t admit to themselves that they couldn’t cut the mustard.
He was a complex individual but he always desired the best out of everybody. He was ultimately very caring. He had his own relationship with my daughter from the age of 4 years old and let her come to rehearsals and events. He even asked her opinion a few times when the team couldn’t decide between particular graphics to use.