One table featured software moguls, including Bill Gates and Mitch Kapor.
Another had old friends such as Elizabeth Holmes, who brought as her date
a woman dressed in a tuxedo. Andy Hertzfeld and Burrell Smith had rented
tuxes and wore floppy tennis shoes, which made it all the more memorable
when they danced to the Strauss waltzes played by the San Francisco
Ella Fitzgerald provided the entertainment, as Bob Dylan had declined. She sang
mainly from her standard repertoire, though occasionally tailoring a song like
“The Girl from Ipanema” to be about the boy from Cupertino. When she asked
for some requests, Jobs called out a few. She concluded with
a slow rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
Sculley came to the stage to propose a toast to “technology’s foremost visionary.”
Wozniak also came up and presented Jobs with a framed copy of the Zaltair hoax
from the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire, where the Apple II had been introduced.
The venture capitalist Don Valentine marveled at the change in the decade since
that time. “He went from being a Ho Chi Minh look-alike, who said never trust
anyone over thirty, to a person who gives himself a fabulous thirtieth
birthday with Ella Fitzgerald,” he said.
Many people had picked out special gifts for a person w
ho was not easy to shop for.
Debi Coleman, for example, found a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last
Tycoon. But Jobs, in an act that was odd yet not out of character, left all of the
gifts in a hotel room. Wozniak and some of the Apple veterans, who did not take
to the goat cheese and salmon mousse that was served, met after
the party and went out to eat at a Denny’s.
“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something
amazing,” Jobs said wistfully to the writer David Sheff, who published a long and
intimate interview in Playboy the month he turned thirty. “Of course, there are
some people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their
awe of life, but they’re rare.” The interview touched on
many subjects, but Jobs’s
most poignant ruminations
were about growing old
and facing the future:
Nevertheless Jobs and Sculley bent to the agency’s entreaties and ran the commercial
during the Super Bowl. They went to the game together at Stanford Stadium with Sculley’s
wife, Leezy (who couldn’t stand Jobs), and Jobs’s new girlfriend, Tina Redse. When the
commercial was shown near the end of the fourth quarter of a dreary game, the fans
watched on the overhead screen and had little reaction. Across the country, most of the
response was negative. “It insulted the very people Apple was trying to reach,” the
president of a market research firm told Fortune. Apple’s marketing manager suggested
afterward that the company might want to buy an ad in the Wall Street Journal apologizing.
Jay Chiat threatened that if Apple did that his agency would buy the
facing page and apologize for the apology.
America by running that,” Debi Coleman yelled at Jobs when she saw the ad. At the marketing meetings
, she stood up to make her point about how much she hated it. “I literally put a resignation letter on his
desk. I wrote it on my Mac. I thought it was an affront to corporate managers.
We were just beginning to get a toehold with desktop publishing.”
Both Gassée and Negroponte tell tales of him pining over women while there.
After the burst of excitement that accompanied the release of Macintosh, its sales
began to taper off in the second half of 1984. The problem was a fundamental one:
It was a dazzling but woefully slow and underpowered computer, and no amount
of hoopla could mask that. Its beauty was that its user interface looked like a sunny
playroom rather than a somber dark screen with sickly green pulsating letters and surly
command lines. But that led to its greatest weakness: A character on a text-based display
took less than a byte of code, whereas when the Mac drew a letter, pixel by pixel in any
elegant font you wanted, it required twenty or thirty times more memory. The Lisa
handled this by shipping with more than 1,000K RAM, whereas the Macintosh made do with 128K.
Another problem was the lack of an internal hard disk drive. Jobs had called Joanna Hoffman
a “Xerox bigot” when she fought for such a storage device. He insisted that the Macintosh
have just one floppy disk drive. If you wanted to copy data, you could end up with a new
form of tennis elbow from having to swap floppy disks in and out of the single drive. In addition,
the Macintosh lacked a fan, another example of Jobs’s dogmatic stubbornness. Fans, he felt,
detracted from the calm of a computer. This caused many component failures and earned the
Macintosh the nickname “the beige toaster,” which did not enhance its popularity. It was so
seductive that it had sold well enough for the first few months, but when people became more
aware of its limitations,
sales fell. As
The reality distortion
field can serve as a spur,
but then reality itself hits.”
One Sunday morning Jobs brought his father to see the factory. Paul Jobs had always been fastidious
about making sure that his craftsmanship was exacting and his tools in order, and his son was proud to
show that he could do the same. Coleman came along to give the tour. “Steve was, like, beaming,” she recalled.
“He was so proud to show his father this creation.” Jobs explained how everything worked, and his father seemed
truly admiring. “He kept looking at his father, who touched everything
and loved how clean and perfect everything looked.”
for example, that the Macintosh group could decide not to use Apple’s marketing team and instead create
one of its own.) No one else was in favor, but Jobs kept trying to ram it through. “People were looking
to me to take control, to get him to sit down and shut up, but I didn’t,” Sculley recalled. As the meeting
broke up, he heard someone whisper, “Why doesn’t Sculley shut him up?”
As chairman of the company, Jobs went onstage first to start the shareholders’ meeting. He
did so with his own form of an invocation. “I’d like to open the meeting,” he said, “with a
twenty-year-old poem by Dylan—that’s Bob Dylan.” He broke into a little smile, then looked
down to read from the second verse of “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” His voice was high-pitched
as he raced through the ten lines, ending with “For the loser now / Will be later to win /
For the times they are a-changin’.” That song was the anthem that kept the multimillionaire board
chairman in touch with his counterculture self-image. He had a bootleg copy of his favorite version,
which was from the live concert Dylan performed, with Joan Baez, on Halloween 1964
at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall.
Sculley came onstage to report on the company’s earnings, and the audience started to become restless
as he droned on. Finally, he ended with a personal note. “The most important thing that has happened
to me in the last nine months at Apple has been a chance to develop a friendship with
Steve Jobs,” he said.
“For me, the rapport
we have developed
means an awful lot.”
When Jobs decided to build a state-of-the-art factory in Fremont to manufacture the Macintosh,
his aesthetic passions and controlling nature kicked into high gear. He wanted the machinery to
be painted in bright hues, like the Apple logo, but he spent so much time going over paint chips
that Apple’s manufacturing director, Matt Carter, finally just installed them in their usual beige and
gray. When Jobs took a tour, he ordered that the machines be repainted in the bright colors he
wanted. Carter objected; this was precision equipment, and repainting the machines could cause
problems. He turned out to be right. One of the most expensive machines, which got painted bright
blue, ended up not working properly and was dubbed “Steve’s folly.” Finally Carter quit. “It took so
much energy to fight him, and it was usually over something so pointless that finally I had enough,” he recalled.
be its salvation!” Levy pushed back. Rolling Stone was actually good, he said, and he asked Jobs
if he had read it recently. Jobs said that he had, an article about MTV that was “a piece of shit.”
Levy replied that he had written that article. Jobs, to his credit, didn’t back away from the assessment.
Instead he turned philosophical as he talked about the Macintosh. We are constantly benefiting from
advances that went before us and taking things that people before us developed, he said. “It’s a
wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool
of human experience and knowledge.”
Levy’s story didn’t make it to the cover. But in the future, every major product launch that Jobs was involved
in—at NeXT, at Pixar, and years later when he returned to Apple—would end
up on the cover of either Time, Newsweek, or Business Week.
January 24, 1984
Most of all, Jobs fretted about his presentation. Sculley fancied himself a good writer,
so he suggested changes in Jobs’s script. Jobs recalled being slightly annoyed, but their
relationship was still in the phase when he was lathering on flattery and stroking Sculley’s ego.
“I think of you just like Woz and Markkula,” he told Sculley. “You’re like one of the founders
of the company.
They founded the company,
but you and I are
founding the future.”
Sculley lapped it up.
For the time being, Jobs and Sculley were able to convince themselves that their friendship
was still strong. They professed their fondness so effusively and often that they sounded
like high school sweethearts at a Hallmark card display. The first anniversary of Sculley’s
arrival came in May 1984, and to celebrate Jobs lured him to a dinner party at Le Mouton
Noir, an elegant restaurant in the hills southwest of Cupertino. To Sculley’s surprise, Jobs had
gathered the Apple board, its top managers, and even some East Coast investors. As they all
congratulated him during cocktails, Sculley recalled, “a beaming Steve stood in the background,
nodding his head up and down and wearing a Cheshire Cat smile on his face.” Jobs began the
dinner with a fulsome toast. “The happiest two days for me were when Macintosh shipped and
when John Sculley agreed to join Apple,” he said. “This has been the greatest year I’ve ever had
in my whole life, because I’ve learned so much from John.” He then presented Sculley with a
montage of memorabilia from the year.
shrieks that erupted. Instead of basking for a moment, it barreled ahead. “Unaccustomed as I am
to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM
mainframe: Never trust a computer you can’t lift.” Once again the roar almost drowned out its
final lines. “Obviously, I can talk. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with
considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs.”
Pandemonium erupted, with people in the crowd jumping up and down and pumping their fists
in a frenzy. Jobs nodded slowly, a tight-lipped but broad smile on his face, then looked down
and started to choke up. The ovation continued for five minutes.
After the Macintosh team returned to Bandley 3 that afternoon, a truck pulled into the parking
lot and Jobs had them all gather next to it. Inside were a hundred new Macintosh computers, each
personalized with a plaque. “Steve presented them one at a time to each team member, with a
handshake and a smile, as the rest of us stood around cheering,” Hertzfeld recalled. It had been a
grueling ride, and many egos had been bruised by Jobs’s obnoxious and rough management style.
But neither Raskin nor Wozniak nor Sculley nor anyone else at the company could have pulled off the
creation of the Macintosh. Nor would it likely have emerged from focus groups and committees.
On the day he unveiled the Macintosh, a reporter from Popular Science asked Jobs what type
of market research he had done. Jobs responded by scoffing, “Did Alexander
Graham Bell do any
before he invented
On the morning that he and his teammates completed the software for the Macintosh,
Andy Hertzfeld had gone home exhausted and expected to stay in bed for at least a day.
But that afternoon, after only six hours of sleep, he drove back to the office. He wanted to
check in to see if there had been any problems, and most of his colleagues had done the same.
They were lounging around, dazed but excited, when Jobs walked in. “Hey, pick yourselves
up off the floor, you’re not done yet!” he announced. “We need a demo for the intro!” His plan
was to dramatically unveil the Macintosh in front of a large audience and have it show off some
of its features to the inspirational theme from Chariots of Fire. “It needs to be done by the weekend,
to be ready for the rehearsals,” he added. They all groaned, Hertzfeld recalled, “but as we talked
we realized that it would be fun to cook up something impressive.”
evoked the dystopian aura of Blade Runner. Just at the moment when Big Brother announces
“We shall prevail!” the heroine’s hammer smashes the screen and it vaporizes
in a flash of light and smoke.
When Jobs previewed the ad for the Apple sales force at the meeting in Hawaii, they
were thrilled. So he screened it for the board at its December 1983 meeting. When the
lights came back on in the boardroom, everyone was mute. Philip Schlein, the CEO of
Macy’s California, had his head on the table. Mike Markkula stared silently; at first it
seemed he was overwhelmed by the power of the ad. Then he spoke: “Who wants to
move to find a new agency?” Sculley recalled, “Most of them thought it was the worst
commercial they had ever seen.” Sculley himself got cold feet. He asked Chiat/Day to
sell off the two commercial spots—one sixty seconds, the other
thirty—that they had purchased.
Jobs was beside himself. One evening Wozniak, who had been floating into and out of
Apple for the previous two years, wandered into the Macintosh building. Jobs grabbed
him and said, “Come over here and look at this.” He pulled out a VCR and played the ad.
“I was astounded,” Woz recalled. “I thought it was the most incredible thing.” When Jobs
said the board had decided not to run it during the Super Bowl, Wozniak asked what the
cost of the time slot was. Jobs told him $800,000. With his usual
offered, “Well, I’ll
pay half if you will.”
At the rehearsal the night before the launch, nothing was working well. Jobs
hated the way the animation scrolled across the Macintosh screen, and he kept
ordering tweaks. He also was dissatisfied with the stage lighting, and he directed
Sculley to move from seat to seat to give his opinion as various adjustments
were made. Sculley had never thought much about variations of stage lighting
and gave the type of tentative answers a patient might give an eye doctor
when asked which lens made the letters clearer. The rehearsals and changes
went on for five hours, well into the night. “He was driving people insane,
getting mad at the stagehands for every glitch in the presentation,”
Sculley recalled. “I thought there was no way we were going to get it
done for the show the next morning.”
a bushy beard, wild hair, goofy grin, and twinkling eyes named Lee Clow, who was the
creative director of the agency’s office in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. Clow
was savvy and fun, in a laid-back yet focused way, and he forged a bond
with Jobs that would last three decades.
Clow and two of his team, the copywriter Steve Hayden and the art director Brent Thomas,
had been toying with a tagline that played off the George Orwell novel: “Why 1984 won’t be like
1984.” Jobs loved it, and asked them to develop it for the Macintosh launch. So they put together
a storyboard for a sixty-second ad that would look like a scene from a sci-fi movie. It featured a
rebellious young woman outrunning the Orwellian thought police and throwing a
sledgehammer into a screen showing a mind-controlling speech by Big Brother.
The concept captured the zeitgeist of the personal computer revolution. Many young people,
especially those in the counterculture, had viewed computers as instruments that could be used by
Orwellian governments and giant corporations to sap individuality. But by the end of the 1970s,
they were also being seen as potential tools for personal empowerment. The ad cast Macintosh
as a warrior for the latter cause—a cool, rebellious, and heroic company that was the only thing
the way of the big evil
corporation’s plan for
and total mind control.
At the end of the presentation someone asked whether he thought they should do some market research
to see what customers wanted. “No,” he replied, “because customers don’t know what they want until
we’ve shown them.” Then he pulled out a device that was about the size of a desk diary.
“Do you want to see something neat?” When he flipped it open, it turned out to be a mock-up
of a computer that could fit on your lap, with a keyboard and screen hinged together like a notebook.
“This is my dream of what we will be making in the mid-to late eighties,” he said.
They were building a company that would invent the future.
York get this story and say, “We can’t make this guy Man of the Year.” That really
hurt. But it was a good lesson. It taught me to never get too excited about things
like that, since the media is a circus anyway. They FedExed me the magazine, and
I remember opening the package, thoroughly expecting to see my mug on the cover,
and it was this computer sculpture thing. I thought, “Huh?” And then I read
the article, and it was so awful that I actually cried.
In fact there’s no reason to believe that Moritz was jealous or that he intended his
reporting to be unfair. Nor was Jobs ever slated to be Man of the Year, despite what
he thought. That year the top editors (I was then a junior editor there) decided early
on to go with the computer rather than a person, and they commissioned, months in
advance, a piece of art from the famous sculptor George Segal to be a gatefold cover image.
Ray Cave was then the magazine’s editor. “We never considered Jobs,” he said. “
You couldn’t personify the computer, so that was the first time we decided to go
with an inanimate object.
We never searched
around for a face to
be put on the cover.”
The retreat in September 1982 was at the Pajaro Dunes near Monterey.
Fifty or so members of the Mac division sat in the lodge facing a fireplace.
Jobs sat on top of a table in front of them. He spoke quietly for a while,
then walked to an easel and began posting his thoughts.
applicant could think in unexpected situations. One day he, Hertzfeld, and Smith interviewed a
candidate for software manager who, it became clear as soon as he walked in the room, was too
uptight and conventional to manage the wizards in the fishbowl. Jobs began to toy with him
mercilessly. “How old were you when you lost your virginity?” he asked.
“I guess I’m not the right guy,” the poor man said as he got up to leave.
so that the Macintosh case could not be opened with a regular screwdriver. “We’re going
to design this thing so nobody but Apple employees can get inside this box,” he told Cash.
Jobs also decided to eliminate the cursor arrow keys on the Macintosh keyboard. The only
way to move the cursor was to use the mouse. It was a way of forcing old-fashioned users
to adapt to point-and-click navigation, even if they didn’t want to. Unlike other product
developers, Jobs did not believe the customer was always right; if they wanted to resist
using a mouse, they were wrong.
There was one other advantage, he believed, to eliminating the cursor keys: It forced
outside software developers to write programs specially for the Mac operating system,
rather than merely writing generic software that could be ported to a variety of computers.
That made for the type of tight vertical integration
For all of his obnoxious behavior, Jobs also had the ability to instill in his team an esprit de corps.
After tearing people down, he would find ways to lift them up and make them feel that being part
of the Macintosh project was an amazing mission. Every six months he would take
most of his team on a two-day retreat at a nearby resort.
systems, and hardware
devices that Jobs liked.
As the Macintosh team grew, it moved from Texaco Towers to the main Apple buildings on Bandley
Drive, finally settling in mid-1983 into Bandley 3. It had a modern atrium lobby with video games,
which Burrell Smith and Andy Hertzfeld chose, and a Toshiba compact disc stereo system with
MartinLogan speakers and a hundred CDs. The software team was visible from the lobby in a fishbowl-like glass
enclosure, and the kitchen was stocked daily with Odwalla juices. Over time the atrium attracted even more
toys, most notably a B?sendorfer piano and a BMW motorcycle that Jobs felt would inspire
an obsession with lapidary craftsmanship.
a philosophical component, one that was related to his penchant for
control. He believed that for a computer to be truly great, its hardware
and its software had to be tightly linked. When a computer was open
to running software that also worked on other computers, it would end
up sacrificing some functionality. The best products, he believed, were
“whole widgets” that were designed end-to-end, with the software closely
tailored to the hardware and vice versa. This is what would distinguish the
Macintosh, which had an operating system that worked only on its own
hardware, from the environment that Microsoft was creating, in which its
operating system could be used on hardware made by many different companies.
“Jobs is a strong-willed, elitist artist who doesn’t want his creations mutated
inauspiciously by unworthy programmers,” explained ZDNet’s editor
Dan Farber. “It would be as if someone off the street added some
brush strokes to a Picasso painting or changed the lyrics to a Dylan song.”
In later years Jobs’s whole-widget approach would distinguish the iPhone,
iPod, and iPad from their competitors. It resulted in awesome products.
But it was not always the best strategy for dominating a market. “
From the first Mac to the latest iPhone, Jobs’s systems have always
been sealed shut to prevent consumers
from meddling and
noted Leander Kahney,
author of Cult of the Mac.