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,
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:
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.
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.”
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.
Cheng Yu advised Cao Cao to assume a more definite position. He said, “Illustrious Sir, your prestige grows daily. Why not seize the opportunity to take the position of Chief of the Feudatory Princes？”
“there are still too many supporters of the court,” was the reply. “I must be careful. I am going to propose a royal hunt to try to find out the best line to follow.”
This expedition being decided upon they got together fleet horses, famous falcons, and pediGREe hounds, and prepared bows and arrows in readiness. They mustered a strong force of guards outside the city.
When the Prime Minister proposed the hunting expedition, the Emperor said he feared it was an improper thing to do.
Cao Cao replied, “In ancient times rulers made four expeditions yearly at each of the four seasons in order to show their strength. They were called Sou, Miao, Xien, and Shou, in the order of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Now that the whole country is in confusion, it would be wise to inaugurate a hunt in order to train the army. I am sure Your Majesty will approve.”
So the Emperor with the full paraphernalia for an imperial hunt joined the expedition. He rode a saddled horse, carried an inlaid bow, and his quiver was filled with gold-tipped arrows. His chariot followed behind. Liu Bei and his brothers were in the imperial train, each with his bow and quiver. Each party member wore a breastplate under the outer robe and held his especial weapon, while their escort followed them. Cao Cao rode a dun horse called “Flying-Lightning,” and the army was one hundred thousand strong.
the hunt took place in Xutian, and the legions spread out as guards round the hunting arena which extended over some one hundred square miles.
Cao Cao rode even with the Emperor, the horses’ heads alternating in the lead.
The imperial attendants immediately following were all in Cao Cao’s confidence.
The other officers, civil and military,
lagged behind, for they dared not press forward into the midst of Cao Cao’s partisans.
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.
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.
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