Belleville decided it was best to partially ignore Jobs, and he asked a Sony executive to
get its disk drive ready for use in the Macintosh. If and when it became clear that
Alps could not deliver on time, Apple would switch to Sony. So Sony sent over the engineer
who had developed the drive, Hidetoshi Komoto, a Purdue graduate who fortunately
possessed a good sense of humor about his clandestine task.
Whenever Jobs would come from his corporate office to visit the Mac team’s engineers—which
was almost every afternoon—they would hurriedly find somewhere for Komoto to hide.
At one point Jobs ran into him at a newsstand in Cupertino and recognized him from the
meeting in Japan, but he didn’t suspect anything. The closest call was when Jobs came
bustling onto the Mac work space unexpectedly one day while Komoto was sitting in one
of the cubicles. A Mac engineer grabbed him and pointed him to a janitorial closet.
“Quick, hide in this closet. Please! Now!” Komoto looked confused, Hertzfeld recalled,
but he jumped up and did as told. He had to stay in the closet for five minutes, until Jobs left.
The Mac engineers apologized. “No problem,” he replied. “But American business
practices, they are very strange. Very strange.”
Belleville’s prediction came true. In May 1983 the folks at Alps admitted it would take
them at least eighteen more months to get their clone of the Sony drive into production.
At a retreat in Pajaro Dunes, Markkula grilled Jobs on what he was going to do. Finally,
Belleville interrupted and said that he might have an alternative to the Alps drive ready soon.
Jobs looked baffled for just a moment, and then it became clear to him why he’d glimpsed
Sony’s top disk designer in Cupertino. “You son of a bitch!” Jobs said. But it was not in anger.
There was a big grin on his face. As soon as he realized what Belleville and the other engineers
had done behind his back, said Hertzfeld, “Steve swallowed his pride and
thanked them for disobeying him and
doing the right thing.
” It was, after all,
what he would have
done in their situation.
The team discussed the problem at the January 1983 retreat, and Debi Coleman gave Jobs
data about the Twiggy failure rate. A few days later he drove to Apple’s factory in San Jose
to see the Twiggy being made. More than half were rejected. Jobs erupted. With his face flushed,
he began shouting and sputtering about firing everyone who worked there. Bob Belleville, the head
of the Mac engineering team, gently guided him to the parking lot, where they could
take a walk and talk about alternatives.
One possibility that Belleville had been exploring was to use a new 3?-inch disk drive that
Sony had developed. The disk was cased in sturdier plastic and could fit into a shirt pocket.
Another option was to have a clone of Sony’s 3?-inch disk drive manufactured by a smaller
Japanese supplier, the Alps Electronics Co., which had been supplying disk drives for the Apple II.
Alps had already licensed the technology from Sony, and if they could build their own
version in time it would be much cheaper.
Jobs and Belleville, along with Apple veteran Rod Holt (the guy Jobs enlisted to design the first
power supply for the Apple II), flew to Japan to figure out what to do. They took the bullet train
from Tokyo to visit the Alps facility. The engineers there didn’t even have a
As they proceeded to visit other Japanese companies, Jobs was on his worst behavior. He wore
jeans and sneakers to meetings with Japanese managers in dark suits. When they formally handed
him little gifts, as was the custom, he often left them behind, and he never reciprocated with gifts
of his own. He would sneer when rows of engineers lined up to greet him, bow, and politely offer
their products for inspection. Jobs hated both the devices and the obsequiousness. “What are you
showing me this for?” he snapped at one stop. “This is a piece of crap! Anybody could build a better
drive than this.” Although most of his hosts were appalled, some seemed amused. They had heard
tales of his
obnoxious style and brash
behavior, and now
they were getting
to see it in full display.
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.”
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 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.”
Another chart contained a koōan-like phrase that he later told
me was his favorite maxim: “The journey is the reward.” The Mac team,
he liked to emphasize, was a special corps with an exalted mission.
Someday they would all look back on their journey together and,
forgetting or laughing off the painful moments, would regard
it as a magical high point in their lives.
Carlyle Hotel suite, where a Lisa computer was set on a table and surrounded by
cut flowers. The publicity plan called for Jobs to focus on the Lisa and not mention
the Macintosh, because speculation about it could undermine the Lisa. But Jobs
couldn’t help himself. In most of the stories based on his interviews that day—in Time,
Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune—the Macintosh was mentioned.
“Later this year Apple will introduce a less powerful, less expensive version of Lisa, the
Macintosh,” Fortune reported. “Jobs himself has directed that project.” Business
Week quoted him as saying, “When it comes out, Mac is going to be the most incredible
computer in the world.” He also admitted that the Mac and the Lisa would not be compatible.
It was like launching the Lisa with the kiss of death.
The first was “Don’t compromise.” It was an injunction that would,
over time, be both helpful and harmful. Most technology teams made
trade-offs. The Mac, on the other hand, would end up being as “insanely great”
as Jobs and his acolytes could possibly make it—but it would not ship for
another sixteen months, way behind schedule. After mentioning a scheduled
completion date, he told them, “It would be better to miss than to turn out
the wrong thing.” A different type of project manager, willing to make some
trade-offs, might try to lock in dates after which no changes could be made.
Not Jobs. He displayed another maxim: “It’s not done until it ships.”
The Lisa did indeed die a slow death. Within two years it would be discontinued.
“It was too expensive, and we were trying to sell it to big
companies when our expertise was
selling to consumers,” Jobs later said. But there was a silver
lining for Jobs: Within months of Lisa’s launch, it became
clear that Apple had
to pin its hopes on the
Let’s Be Pirates!
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.
Unfortunately for Apple, Jobs also took aim at another perceived competitor to his
Macintosh: the company’s own Lisa. Partly it was psychological. He had been
ousted from that group, and now he wanted to beat it. He also saw healthy
rivalry as a way to motivate his troops. That’s why he bet John Couch
$5,000 that the Mac would ship before the Lisa.
Reed had only one thousand students, half the number at Homestead High. It was known for its free-spirited hippie lifestyle, which combined somewhat uneasily with its rigorous academic standards and core curriculum. Five years earlier Timothy
Leary, the guru of psychedelic enlightenment, had sat cross-legged at the Reed College commons while on his League for Spiritual Discovery (LSD) college tour, during which he exhorted his listeners, “Like every great religion of the past we seek
to find the divinity within. . . . These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out.” Many of Reed’s students took all three of those injunctions seriously; the dropout rate during the 1970s was more than one-third.
When it came time for Jobs to matriculate in the fall of 1972, his parents drove him up to Portland, but in another small act of rebellion he refused to let them come on
campus. In fact he refrained from even saying good-bye or thanks. He recounted the moment later with uncharacteristic regret:
It’s one of the things in life I really feel ashamed about. I was not very sensitive, and I hurt their feelings. I shouldn’t have. They had done so much to make sure I could go there, but I just didn’t want them around. I didn’t want anyone to know I had parents. I wanted to be like an orphan who
had bummed around the country
on trains and just arrived
out of nowhere, with no roots,
no connections, no background.
More substantively, when he moved away from Jef Raskin’s plan for an inexpensive
and underpowered portable appliance and reconceived the
Mac as a desktop machine with a graphical user interface,
it became a scaled-down version of the Lisa
that would likely undercut it in the marketplace.
casually said to Jobs, “Pull over, your car is on fire.” Jobs did. His father, despite their arguments, drove out to the hills to tow the Fiat home.
In order to find a way to make money for a new car, Jobs got Wozniak to drive him to De Anza College to look on the help-wanted bulletin board. They discovered that the Westgate Shopping Center in San Jose was seeking college students who could
dress up in costumes and amuse the kids. So for $3 an hour, Jobs, Wozniak, and Brennan donned heavy full-body costumes and headgear to play Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. Wozniak, in his earnest and
sweet way, found it fun. “I said, ‘I want to do it, it’s my chance, because I love children.’ I think Steve looked at it as a lousy job, but I looked at it as a fun
adventure.” Jobs did indeed find it a pain. “It was hot, the costumes were heavy, and after a while I felt like I wanted to smack some of the kids.” Patience was never one of his virtues.
Seventeen years earlier, Jobs’s parents had made a pledge when they adopted him: He would go to college. So they had worked hard and saved dutifully for his college fund, which was modest but adequate by the time he graduated. But Jobs, becoming
ever more willful, did not make it easy. At first he toyed with not going to college at all. “I think I might have headed to New York if I didn’t go to college,” he recalled, musing on how different his world—and perhaps all of ours—might have been if he
had chosen that path. When his parents pushed him to go to college, he responded in a passive-aggressive way. He did not consider state schools, such as Berkeley,
where Woz then was, despite the fact that they were more affordable. Nor did he look at Stanford, just up the road and likely to offer a scholarship. “The kids who went to Stanford, they already knew what they wanted to do,
” he said. “They weren’
t really artistic. I wanted
something that was more
artistic and interesting.”