Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really
etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns,
just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them.
I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of
have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each
other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there,
but I’ll always come back. . . .
Andy Hertzfeld had taken a leave of absence after the Macintosh came out in
1984. He needed to recharge his batteries and get away from his supervisor,
Bob Belleville, whom he didn’t like. One day he learned that Jobs had given out
bonuses of up to $50,000 to engineers on the Macintosh team. So he went to
Jobs to ask for one. Jobs responded that Belleville had decided not to give the
bonuses to people who were on leave. Hertzfeld later heard that the decision
had actually been made by Jobs, so he confronted him. At first Jobs equivocated,
then he said, “Well, let’s assume what you are saying is true. How does that
change things?” Hertzfeld said that if Jobs was withholding the bonus as a reason
for him to come back, then he wouldn’t come back as a matter
of principle. Jobs relented, but it left Hertzfeld with a bad taste.
If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not
look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever
you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder
it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say,
“Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go
and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.
With each of those statements, Jobs seemed to have a premonition that his
life would soon be changing. Perhaps the thread of his life would indeed weave
in and out of the thread of Apple’s. Perhaps it was time to throw away some
of what he had been.
Perhaps it was time to say
“Bye, I have to go,”
and then reemerge later,
Jobs’s discomfort, with both the ad and the situation at Apple in
general, was on display when he traveled to New York in January to
do another round of one-on-one press interviews. Andy Cunningham,
from Regis McKenna’s firm, was in charge of hand-holding and logistics at the
Carlyle. When Jobs arrived, he told her that his suite needed to be completely
redone, even though it was 10 p.m. and the meetings were to begin the next day.
The piano was not in the right place; the strawberries were the wrong type.
But his biggest objection was that he didn’t like the flowers. He wanted calla lilies.
“We got into a big fight on what a calla lily is,” Cunningham recalled. “I know what
they are, because I had them at my wedding, but he insisted on having a different
type of lily and said I was ‘stupid’ because I didn’t know what a real calla lily was.” So
Cunningham went out and, this being New York, was able to find a place open at
midnight where she could get the lilies he wanted. By the time they got the room
rearranged, Jobs started objecting to what she was wearing. “That suit’s disgusting,”
he told her. Cunningham knew that at times he just simmered with undirected anger,
so she tried to calm him down. “Look, I know you’re angry, and I know how you feel,” she said.
“You have no fucking idea how I feel,” he shot back, “no fucking idea what it’s like to be me.”
Thirty Years Old
Turning thirty is a milestone for most people, especially those of the generation
that proclaimed it would never trust anyone over that age. To celebrate his own
thirtieth, in February 1985, Jobs threw a lavishly formal but also playful—black tie
and tennis shoes—party for one thousand in the ballroom of the St. Francis Hotel in
San Francisco. The invitation read, “There’s an old Hindu saying that goes, ‘In the first
30 years of your life, you make your
habits. For the last 30
years of your life,
your habits make you.’
Come help me celebrate mine.
The dark mood was evident in the ad that was developed in January 1985,
which was supposed to reprise the anti-IBM sentiment of the resonant “1984”
ad. Unfortunately there was a fundamental difference: The first ad had ended on
a heroic, optimistic note, but the storyboards presented by Lee Clow and Jay
Chiat for the new ad, titled “Lemmings,” showed dark-suited, blindfolded corporate
managers marching off a cliff to their death. From the beginning both Jobs and
Sculley were uneasy. It didn’t seem as if it would convey a positive or glorious image of
Apple, but instead would merely insult every manager who had bought an IBM.
It was on this trip that Jobs first got to know Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple’s manager in France.
Gassée was among the few to stand up successfully to Jobs on the trip. “He has his own
way with the truth,” Gassée later remarked. “The only way to deal with him was to out-bully him.”
When Jobs made his usual threat about cutting down on France’s allocations if Gassée didn’t
jack up sales projections, Gassée got angry. “I remember grabbing his lapel and telling him to
stop, and then he backed down. I used to be an angry man myself. I am a recovering assaholic.
So I could recognize that in Steve.”
In Italy, he took an instant dislike to Apple’s general manager, a soft rotund guy who had come
from a conventional business. Jobs told him bluntly that he was not impressed with his team
or his sales strategy. “You don’t deserve to be able to sell the Mac,” Jobs said coldly. But that
was mild compared to his reaction to the restaurant the hapless manager had chosen. Jobs
demanded a vegan meal, but the waiter very elaborately proceeded to dish out a sauce filled
with sour cream. Jobs got so nasty that Hoffman had to threaten him. She whispered that if he
didn’t calm down, she was going to pour her hot coffee on his lap.
The most substantive disagreements Jobs had on the European trip concerned sales forecasts.
Using his reality distortion field, Jobs was always pushing his team to come up with higher
projections. He kept threatening the European managers that he wouldn’t give them any
allocations unless they projected bigger forecasts. They insisted on being realistic, and
Hoffmann had to referee. “
By the end of the trip, my
whole body was
At the end of 1984, with Lisa sales virtually nonexistent and Macintosh sales falling
below ten thousand a month, Jobs made a shoddy, and atypical, decision out of
desperation. He decided to take the inventory of unsold Lisas, graft on a
Macintosh-emulation program, and sell them as a new product, the “Macintosh XL.”
Since the Lisa had been discontinued and would not be restarted, it was an unusual
instance of Jobs producing something that he did not believe in. “I was furious because
the Mac XL wasn’t real,” said Hoffman. “It was just to blow the excess Lisas out the door.
It sold well, and then we had to discontinue the horrible hoax, so I resigned.”
policeman left, Jobs got back on the road and accelerated to 100. “He absolutely believed
that the normal rules didn’t apply to him,” Rossmann marveled.
and its bright blue, yellow, and red machines, the factory floor “looked like an Alexander
Calder showcase,” said Coleman.
I’d go out to the factory, and I’d put on a white glove to check for du
st. I’d find it everywhere—on
machines, on the tops of the racks, on the floor. And I’d ask Debi to get it cleaned. I told her
I thought we should be able to eat off the floor of the factory. Well, this drove Debi up the wall.
She didn’t understand why. And I couldn’t articulate it back then. See, I’d been very influenced
by what I’d seen in Japan. Part of what I greatly admired there—and part of what we were lacking
in our factory—was a sense of teamwork and discipline. If we didn’t have the discipline to keep
that place spotless, then we weren’t going to have the discipline to keep all these machines running.
Things were not quite as sweet when Danielle Mitterrand toured the factory. The Cuba-admiring wife
of France’s socialist president Fran?ois Mitterrand asked a lot of questions, through her translator,
about the working conditions, while Jobs, who had grabbed Alain Rossmann to serve as his translator,
kept trying to explain the advanced robotics and technology. After Jobs talked about the just-in-time
production schedules, she asked about overtime pay. He was annoyed, so he described how automation
helped him keep down labor costs, a subject he knew would not delight her. “Is it hard work?” she asked.
“How much vacation time do they get?” Jobs couldn’t contain himself. “If she’s so interested in their welfare,”
he said to her translator, “tell her she can come work here any time.” The translator turned pale and said nothing.
After a moment Rossmann stepped in to say, in French, “M. Jobs says he thanks you for your visit and your
interest in the factory.” Neither Jobs nor Madame Mitterrand
knew what happened,
but her translator
looked very relieved.
In response, Sculley effused about the joys of being Jobs’s partner for the past year, and he
concluded with a line that, for different reasons, everyone at the table found memorable.
“Apple has one leader,” he said, “Steve and me.” He looked across the room, caught Jobs’s
eye, and watched him smile. “It was as if we were communicating with each other,” Sculley
recalled. But he also noticed that Arthur Rock and some of the others were looking quizzical,
perhaps even skeptical. They were worried that Jobs was completely rolling him. They had hired
Sculley to control Jobs, and now it was clear that Jobs was the one in control. “Sculley was so
eager for Steve’s approval that he was unable to stand up to him,” Rock recalled.
the emotion as he built toward the present:
It is now 1984. It appears that IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer
IBM a run for its money. Dealers, after initially welcoming IBM with open arms, now fear an
IBM-dominated and-controlled future and are turning back to Apple as the only force who
can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all, and is aiming its guns at its last obstacle to
industry control, Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire
information age? Was George Orwell right?
As he built to the climax, the audience went from murmuring to applauding to a frenzy of cheering
and chanting. But before they could answer the Orwell question, the auditorium went black and
the “1984” commercial appeared on the screen. When it was over, the entire audience was on its feet cheering.
With a flair for the dramatic, Jobs walked across the dark stage to a small table with a cloth bag on it.
“Now I’d like to show you Macintosh in person,” he said. He took out the computer, keyboard, and mouse,
hooked them together deftly, then pulled one of the new 3?-inch floppies from his shirt pocket.
The theme from Chariots of Fire began to play. Jobs held his breath for a moment, because the demo
had not worked well the night before. But this time it ran flawlessly. The word “MACINTOSH” scrolled
horizontally onscreen, then underneath it the words “Insanely great” appeared in script, as if being slowly
written by hand. Not used to such beautiful graphic displays, the audience quieted for a moment.
A few gasps could be heard. And then, in rapid succession, came a series of screen shots: Bill Atkinson’s
QuickDraw graphics package followed by displays of different fonts, documents, charts, drawings, a chess game,
a spreadsheet, and a
rendering of Steve Jobs
with a thought bubble
containing a Macintosh.
At Apple his status revived. Instead of seeking ways to curtail Jobs’s authority, Sculley
gave him more: The Lisa and Macintosh divisions were folded together, with Jobs in
charge. He was flying high, but this did not serve to make him more mellow. Indeed
there was a memorable display of his brutal honesty when he stood in front of the
combined Lisa and Macintosh teams to describe how they would be merged. His
Macintosh group leaders would get all of the top positions, he said, and a quarter
of the Lisa staff would be laid off. “You guys failed,” he said, looking directly at those
who had worked on the Lisa. “You’re a B team. B players. Too many people here are B or
C players, so today we are releasing some of you to have
the opportunity to work at our sister companies here in the valley.”
He never ended up warming to Sculley. “He was incredibly phony, a complete poseur,” he later said.
“He pretended to be interested in technology, but he wasn’t. He was a marketing guy, and that is
what marketing guys are: paid poseurs.”
Matters came to a head when Jobs visited New York in March 1983 and was able to convert the
courtship into a blind and blinding romance. “I really think you’re the guy,” Jobs said as they walked
through Central Park. “I want you to come and work with me. I can learn so much from you.” Jobs,
who had cultivated father figures in the past, knew just how to play to Sculley’s ego and insecurities.
It worked. “I was smitten by him,” Sculley later admitted. “Steve was one of the brightest people
I’d ever met. I shared with him a passion for ideas.”
Sculley, who was interested in art history, steered them toward the Metropolitan Museum for a little
test of whether Jobs was really willing to learn from others. “I wanted to see how well he could take
coaching in a subject where he had no background,” he recalled. As they strolled through the Greek
and Roman antiquities, Sculley expounded on the difference between the Archaic sculpture of the sixth
century B.C. and the Periclean sculptures a century later. Jobs, who loved to pick up historical nuggets
he never learned in college, seemed to soak it in. “I gained a sense that I could be a teacher to a
brilliant student,” Sculley recalled. Once again he indulged the conceit that they were alike: “I saw
in him a mirror image of my younger self. I, too, was impatient, stubborn, arrogant, impetuous.
My mind exploded with ideas, often to the
exclusion of everything else.
I, too, was intolerant of
those who couldn’t live
up to my demands.”
He bought the top-floor duplex apartment that he’d shown Sculley in the San Remo on Manhattan’s
Central Park West and hired James Freed of I. M. Pei’s firm to renovate it, but he never moved in.
(He would later sell it to Bono for $15 million.) He also bought an old Spanish colonial–style fourteen-bedroom
mansion in Woodside, in the hills above Palo Alto, that had been built by a copper
baron, which he moved into but never got around to furnishing.
When Jobs arrived at the rock star’s townhouse, Jagger seemed baffled. He didn’t quite know who
Jobs was. Later Jobs told his team, “I think he was on drugs. Either that or he’s brain-damaged.” Jagger’s
daughter Jade, however, took to the computer immediately and started drawing with MacPaint,
so Jobs gave it to her instead.
ingredients. Another part of the recipe was media coverage. Jobs found ways to ignite
blasts of publicity that were so powerful the frenzy would feed on itself, like a chain
reaction. It was a phenomenon that he would be able to replicate whenever there was a
big product launch, from the Macintosh in 1984 to the iPad in 2010. Like a conjurer, he
could pull the trick off over and over again, even after journalists had seen it happen a dozen
times and knew how it was done. Some of the moves he had learned from Regis McKenna,
who was a pro at cultivating and stroking prideful reporters. But Jobs had his own intuitive
sense of how to stoke the excitement, manipulate the competitive instincts of journalists,
and trade exclusive access for lavish treatment.
In December 1983 he took his elfin engineering wizards, Andy Hertzfeld and Burrell Smith, to
New York to visit Newsweek to pitch a story on “the kids who created the Mac.” After giving
a demo of the Macintosh, they were taken upstairs to meet Katharine Graham, the legendary
proprietor, who had an insatiable interest in whatever was new. Afterward the magazine sent its
technology columnist and a photographer to spend time in Palo Alto with Hertzfeld and Smith.
The result was a flattering and smart four-page profile of the two of them, with pictures that made
them look like cherubim of a new age. The article quoted Smith saying what he wanted to do next:
“I want to build the computer of the 90’s. Only I want to do it tomorrow.” The article also described
the mix of volatility and charisma displayed by his boss: “Jobs sometimes defends his ideas with highly
vocal displays of temper that aren’t always bluster; rumor has it that he has threatened to fire employees
for insisting that his computers should have cursor keys, a feature that Jobs considers obsolete.
But when he is on his best behavior, Jobs is a curious blend of charm and impatience, oscillating between
shrewd reserve and his
One of the Mac team’s programmers, Steve Capps, decided this new spirit warranted hoisting
a Jolly Roger. He cut a patch of black cloth and had Kare paint a skull and crossbones on it.
The eye patch she put on the skull was an Apple logo. Late one Sunday night Capps climbed
to the roof of their newly built Bandley 3 building and hoisted the flag on a scaffolding pole
that the construction workers had left behind. It waved proudly for a few weeks, until members
of the Lisa team, in a late-night foray, stole the flag and sent their
Mac rivals a ransom note. Capps led a raid to recover it and was able to wrestle it from a secretary who
was guarding it for the Lisa team. Some of the grown-ups overseeing Apple worried that Jobs’s buccaneer
spirit was getting out of hand. “Flying that flag was really stupid,” said Arthur Rock. “It was telling the rest
of the company they were no good.” But Jobs loved it, and he made sure it waved proudly all the way through
to the completion of the Mac project. “We were the renegades, and we wanted people to know it,” he recalled.
a bit of the old reality distortion field.) He pulled out a bottle
of mineral water and symbolically christened the
prototype onstage. Down the hall, Atkinson heard the loud cheer,
and with a sigh joined the group. The ensuing
party featured skinny-dipping in the pool, a bonfire on the beach,
and loud music that lasted all night,
which caused the hotel, La Playa in Carmel, to ask them never to come back.
environment to become an industry standard,” he wrote. “The hitch, of course, is that
now one must buy Mac hardware in order to get this user environment. Rarely (if ever)
has one company been able to create and maintain an industry-wide standard that
cannot be shared with other manufacturers.” His proposal was to license the Macintosh
operating system to Tandy. Because Tandy’s Radio Shack stores went after a different
type of customer, Murray argued, it would not severely cannibalize Apple sales. But Jobs
was congenitally averse to such a plan. His approach meant that the Macintosh remained
a controlled environment that met his standards, but it also meant that, as Murray feared,
it would have trouble securing its place as an industry standard in a world of IBM clones.
Machines of the Year
As 1982 drew to a close, Jobs came to believe that he was going to be Time’s Man of the
Year. He arrived at Texaco Towers one day with the magazine’s San Francisco bureau chief,
Michael Moritz, and encouraged colleagues to give Moritz interviews. But Jobs did not end up
on the cover. Instead the magazine chose
“the Computer” as the
topic for the year-end
issue and called it
“the Machine of the Year.”
The next retreat was at the end of January 1983, the same month the Lisa
launched, and there was a shift in tone. Four months earlier Jobs had written
on his flip chart: “Don’t compromise.” This time one of the maxims was
“Real artists ship.” Nerves were frayed. Atkinson had been left out of the publicity
interviews for the Lisa launch, and he marched into Jobs’s hotel room and threatened
to quit. Jobs tried to minimize the slight, but Atkinson refused to be mollified. Jobs
got annoyed. “I don’t have time to deal with this now,” he said. “I have sixty other
people out there who are pouring their hearts into the Macintosh, and they’re waiting
for me to start the meeting.” With that he brushed past Atkinson to go address the faithful.
and let the personal computer move in,” the story proclaimed. It was a richly
reported piece, but also harsh at times—so harsh that Moritz (after he wrote a
book about Apple and went on to be a partner in the venture firm Sequoia
Capital with Don Valentine) repudiated it by complaining that his reporting had
noted that he “would occasionally burst into tears at meetings.” Perhaps the
best quote came from Jef Raskin. Jobs, he declared, “would have made an
excellent King of France.”
To Jobs’s dismay, the magazine made public the existence of the daughter he had
forsaken, Lisa Brennan. He knew that Kottke had been the one to tell the magazine
about Lisa, and he berated him in the Mac group work space in front of a half dozen
people. “When the Time reporter asked me if Steve had a daughter named Lisa, I said ‘
Of course,’” Kottke recalled. “Friends don’t let friends deny that they’re the father of a
child. I’m not going to let my friend be a jerk and deny paternity.
He was really angry
and felt violated and told
me in front of everyone
that I had betrayed him.”