Saturday Listening Lesson



(1) Loaded Word: A word that makes people think of things that aren’t necessarily about the word.

“Outside the box” is a really loaded word. It just makes me think of boring corporate culture.

(2) Outcome: Result. Ending.

We worked hard on the presentation, but had a bad outcome. They chose another company for the project.

(3) Sinking Feeling: A feeling of worry and fear.

I have a sinking feeling that the weather is going to be bad and ruin our picnic event.



1. How does Steve Jobs define the word “design”?

a. The elements that make something beautiful

b. The things that make something work best

c. He doesn’t know

2. How do Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive feel about their first iMac effort?

a. It was great work

b. It was good but not great

c. It was bad

3. What are pressure of commerce?

a. Customers want a great product

b. A need to make money

c. Trying to get investment


Saturday Listening Lesson


By Jeremy Schaar

What does it take to be great?

In today’s lesson, I’ll review a video about Steve Jobs and design at Apple. You’ll learn some interesting vocabulary for talking about design. You’ll also learn some expressions that you might use to motivate yourself and your team.

In the video, we learn that Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive feel design is about working hard and not being OK with something that’s good but not great. We also learn that people think Steve Jobs created a good environment for design. But we don’t learn what that environment is. So, as you watch, think about your opinion. What sort of environment is good for design?

The video begins with Steve Jobs saying:

Design’s a really loaded word. I don’t know what it means. And, so, we don’t really talk about design a lot around here. We actually just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s how they look. But it’s not really how they look. It’s how they work.

Jonathan Ive and the lady then go on to say that Jobs is very good at creating an environment where good design can exist.

At 0:46 Steve Jobs says that everyone wants to make something great, but they don’t all succeed. “There’s a big difference in the outcomes.”

After creating some good work on the new iMac, Jonathan Ive says:

But we had that sinking feeling. You know when you start to…you,you are aware that you’re trying to convince yourself something’s actually better than in your heart you really know that it is.

He has the sinking feeling because he’s been working on the new iMac a lot. And even though it’s good, in his heart he feels that it’s not so great.

Steve Jobs explains exactly:

It’s just not really great. It’s OK. It’s good. But let’s not fool ourselves and call it great.

These are a nice few sentences that you might use with your team after they’ve done some good work, but you need them to do better.

Both men want to do better. Jonathan Ive says Steve Jobs says they could do better.

Steve Jobs explains that:

All of the pressures of commerce are at your back saying no you can’t do that.

The pressures of commerce are the business pressures–the pressure to make money faster, to release a good product fast instead of a great product slowly.

Jonathan Ive finishes by saying that Steve Jobs allows many people to enjoy the design process together.

So, how well did you udnerstand? As always, if you have any questions or want more practice, comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, B, B


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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