Last week was the 10th anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs. An occasion that Apple took to honor the genius and co-founder of the company. While many took the opportunity to tell positive experiences and anecdotes lived with Jobs, there was another who has told another not so good. Worse.
This is Ali Partovi, then CEO of a startup in which Apple was interested. The episode counts how Partovi lied to Steve Jobs’ face, who caught his lie on the fly and put an end to the negotiations.
The story of Apple’s near-purchase of iLike
It was 2008 and iLike was generating certain hype In the music’s world. its integration with Facebook, iTunes and Windows Media Player gave recommendations to users. According to the company itself, in its first months of life they captured half a million users, reaching 60 million shortly after. This sparked the interest of several companies, including Apple:
As the world celebrated Steve Jobs’s life last week, I recalled a lesson he taught me. My one meeting with Steve didn’t end well. It’s one of my most painful memories, and a warning to startup CEOs about the danger of taking hype too far. Here’s the story. (1/n)
– Ali Partovi (@apartovi) October 10, 2021
In this thread, Ali Partovi recounts his dire experience during acquisition talks with Apple. At that moment, they were under a lot of pressure from investors, record labels and Facebook itself on which “they had built their business.” Their best hope was that Apple would acquire them, which seemed done.
Everything was at stake in the meeting, which is why the three founders who attended were nervous. On the other side were Eddy Cue and Steve Jobs. After some initial problems, the presentation was a real success. Near the end, Jobs stated:
I like you. You have good arguments. It seems like you would be a good fit at Apple. We want to buy your company. I’ll let Eddy clear up the details with you.
It was at this time that everything was twisted.
“Steve, see that we are worth at least three times that “
Before he left and Jobs left Cue in charge of the situation, Ali Partovi asked the question that started the road to perdition. The conversation went like this, according to the iLike CEO:
Partovi: Before you leave, can we discuss what rank [de precio] you are thinking?
Jobs: What is your income? What was your last assessment?
This was followed by an exchange of figures in which the CEO of iLike was disheartened. Jobs planned to pay them the same amount the company was valued a few years ago, which meant that they would not have created new value. Partovi said that his investors would not accept it, to which Jobs replied not to worry about it, that they would take care of it. Then came the debacle:
Q: Steve, I think we are worth at least three times that. It’s more, see that we are worth three times that amount.
J: You say you know you are worth more? Do you have another offer? And shit. You’re lying to me. You are full of shit. We’re done.
The difference between “believe” and “know” meant that Jobs saw the lie from miles away.
The lie was obvious. Jobs left the room and left Cue there. The founders of iLike they spent a few minutes babbling incoherent things until they leave. In the weeks that followed, Cue tried to keep trading open and iLike offered to be bought for a lesser sum. It didn’t help, because Jobs didn’t trust anything Partovi said.
Shortly after, Apple released a Genius bar for iTunes and Facebook a button similar to theirs. After a year, the company was sold out putting an end to the story. And this is how Partovi admits that he lied to Steve Jobs’ face, he caught him and it was the end of his company.