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.
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,
Gassée was impressed, however, at how Jobs could turn on the charm when
he wanted to. Fran?ois Mitterrand had been preaching the gospel of informatique
pour tous—computing for all—and various academic experts in technology, such as
Marvin Minsky and Nicholas Negroponte, came over to sing in the choir. Jobs gave
a talk to the group at the Hotel Bristol and painted a picture of how France could move
ahead if it put computers in all of its schools. Paris also brought out the romantic in him.
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.”
Afterward, as he sped his Mercedes down the freeway toward Cupertino, Jobs fumed to
Rossmann about Madame Mitterrand’s attitude. At one point he was going just over 100
miles per hour when a policeman stopped him and began writing a ticket. After a few minutes,
as the officer scribbled away, Jobs honked. “Excuse me?” the policeman said. Jobs replied,
“I’m in a hurry.” Amazingly, the officer didn’t get mad. He simply finished writing the ticket and
warned that if Jobs was caught going over 55 again he would be sent to jail. As soon as the
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.
His wife, Joanna Hoffman, saw the same thing when she accompanied Jobs to Europe
a few months after the Macintosh was launched. “He was just completely obnoxious and
thinking he could get away with anything,” she recalled. In Paris she had arranged a formal
dinner with French software developers, but Jobs suddenly decided he didn’t want to go.
Instead he shut the car door on Hoffman and told her he was going to see the poster artist
Folon instead. “The developers were so pissed off they wouldn’t shake our hands,” she said.
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
One day the Emperor was riding toward the hunting grounds and noticed his newly found uncle respectfully standing by the roadside.
“I should like to see my uncle display his hunting skill,” said the Emperor.
Liu Bei mounted his steed at once. Just then a hare started from its form. Liu Bei shot and hit it with the first arrow.
the Emperor, much struck by this display, rode away over a slope. Suddenly a deer broke out of the thicket. He shot three arrows at it but all missed.
“You try,” said the Emperor turning to Cao Cao.
“Lend me Your Majesty’s bow,” Cao Cao replied.
Taking the inlaid bow and the golden-tipped arrows, Cao Cao pulled the bow and hit the deer in the shoulder at the first shot. It fell in the grass and could not run.
Now the crowd of officers seeing the golden-barbed arrow sticking in the wound concluded at once that the shot was the Emperor’s, so they rushed up and shouted “Wan shui！ O King！ Live forever！”
Cao Cao rode out pushing past the Emperor and acknowledged the congratulations.
they all turned pale. Guan Yu, who was behind Liu Bei, was especially angry. The silkworm eyebrows stood up fiercely, and the red phoenix eyes glared as, sword in hand, he rode hastily forth to cut down the audacious Prime Minister for his impertinence.
However, Liu Bei hastily waved him back and shot at him a meaning glance so that Guan Yu stopped and made no further move.
Liu Bei bowing toward Cao Cao said, “Most sincere felicitations！ A truly supernatural shot, such as few have achieved！”
“It is only the enormous good fortune of the Son of Heaven！” said Cao Cao with a smile.
then he turned his steed and felicitated the Emperor. But he did not return the bow； he hung it over his own shoulder instead.
the hunt finished with banqueting；
and when the entertainments were over,
they returned to the capital,
all glad of some repose after the expedition.
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.
Guan Yu was still angry of the Prime Minister’s breach of decorum.
One day Guan Yu said to Liu Bei, “Brother, why did you prevent me from killing that rebel and so ridding the world of a scoundrel？ He insults the Emperor and ignores everybody else.”
“When you throw stones at a rat, beware of the vase,” quoted Liu Bei. “Cao Cao was only a horse’s head away from Our Lord, and in the midst of a crowd of his partisans. In that momentary burst of anger, if you had struck and failed, and harm had come to the Emperor, what an awful crime would have been laid to us！”
“If we do not rid the world of him today, a worse evil will come of it,” said Guan Yu.
“But be discreet, my brother. Such matters cannot be lightly discussed.”
the Emperor sadly returned to his palace. With tears in his eyes, he related what had occurred in the hunt to his consort, Empress Fu.
“Alas for me！” said he. “From the first days of my accession, one vicious minister has succeeded another. I was the victim of Dong Zhuo’s evil machinations. Then followed the rebellion of Li Jue and Guo Si. You and I had to bear sorrows such as no others have borne. Then came this Cao Cao as one who would maintain the imperial dignity, but he has seized upon all real authority and does as he wishes. He works continually for his own glorification, and I never see him but my back pricks. These last few days in the hunting field, he went in front of me and acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. He is so extremely rude that I feel sure he has sinister designs against me. Alas, my wife, we know not when our end may come！”
“In a whole court full of nobles, who have eaten the bread of Han, is there not one who will save his country？” said she.
Thus spoke the Empress, and at the same moment there stepped in a man who said, “Grieve not, O Imperial Pair！ I can find a savior for the country.”
It was none other than the father of the Empress, Fu Wan.
“Have you heard of Cao Cao’s
wanton and perverse behavior？”
said the Emperor, drying his eyes.
The lights dimmed as Jobs reappeared onstage and launched into a dramatic version
of the battle cry he had delivered at the Hawaii sales conference. “It is 1958,” he began.
“IBM passes up a chance to buy a young fledgling company that has invented a new
technology called xerography. Two years later, Xerox was born, and IBM has been kicking
themselves ever since.” The crowd laughed. Hertzfeld had heard versions of the speech
both in Hawaii and elsewhere, but he was struck by how this time it was pulsing with more
passion. After recounting other IBM missteps, Jobs picked up the pace and
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.