“I’m going to bring this up with the board,” Sculley declared. “I’m going to
recommend that you step down from your operating position of running the
Macintosh division. I want you to know that.” He urged Jobs not to resist and
to agree instead to work on developing new technologies and products.
Jobs jumped from his seat and turned his intense stare on Sculley. “I don’t
believe you’re going to do that,” he said.
“If you do that, you’re going to destroy the company.”
public humiliation in a way that in most cases proved to be pretty effective,” Tribble
recalled. But sometimes it wasn’t. One engineer, David Paulsen, put in ninety-hour
weeks for the first ten months at NeXT. He quit when “Steve walked in one Friday
afternoon and told us how unimpressed he was with what we were doing.” When Business
Week asked him why he treated employees so harshly, Jobs said it made the company better.
“Part of my responsibility is to be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an
environment where excellence is expected.” But he still had his spirit and charisma. There were
plenty of field trips, visits by akido masters, and off-site retreats. And he still exuded the pirate
flag spunkiness. When Apple fired Chiat/Day, the ad firm that had done the “1984” ad and taken
out the newspaper ad saying “Welcome IBM—seriously,” Jobs took out a full-page ad in the
Wall Street Journal proclaiming, “Congratulations Chiat/Day—Seriously . . .
Because I can guarantee you: there is life after Apple.”
Perhaps the greatest similarity to his days at Apple was that Jobs brought with him his reality
distortion field. It was on display at the company’s first retreat at Pebble Beach in late 1985.
There Jobs pronounced that the first NeXT computer would be shipped in just eighteen months.
It was already clear that this date was impossible, but he blew off a suggestion from one engineer
that they be realistic and plan on shipping in 1988. “If we do that, the world isn’t standing still,
the technology window
passes us by, and all the
work we’ve done we
have to throw down
the toilet,” he argued.
At the end of that month, Sculley finally worked up the nerve to tell Jobs that
he should give up running the Macintosh division. He walked over to Jobs’s
office one evening and brought the human resources manager, Jay Elliot, to
make the confrontation more formal. “There is no one who admires your brilliance
and vision more than I do,” Sculley began. He had uttered such flatteries before,
but this time it was clear that there would be a brutal “but” punctuating the thought.
And there was. “But this is really not going to work,” he declared. The flatteries
punctured by “buts” continued. “We have developed a great friendship with each
other,” he said, “but I have lost confidence in your ability to run the Macintosh
division.” He also berated Jobs for badmouthing him as a bozo behind his back.
In his earnest way, Wozniak had openly answered the reporter’s questions when he called.
Yes, he said, he felt that Apple had been giving short shrift to the Apple II division.
“Apple’s direction has been horrendously wrong for five years,” he said.
Less than two weeks later Wozniak and Jobs traveled together to the White House,
where Ronald Reagan presented them with the first National Medal of Technology.
The president quoted what President Rutherford Hayes had said when first shown a
telephone—“An amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one?”—and then
quipped, “I thought at the time that he might be mistaken.” Because of the awkward
situation surrounding Wozniak’s departure, Apple did not throw a celebratory dinner.
So Jobs and Wozniak went for a walk afterward and ate at a sandwich shop.
They chatted amiably, Wozniak recalled, and avoided any discussion of their disagreements.
Wozniak wanted to make the parting amicable. It was his style. So he agreed to stay on
as a part-time Apple employee at a $20,000 salary and represent the company at events
and trade shows. That could have been a graceful way to drift apart. But Jobs could not
leave well enough alone. One Saturday, a few weeks after they had visited Washington
together, Jobs went to the new Palo Alto studios of Hartmut Esslinger, whose company
frogdesign had moved there to handle its design work for Apple. There he happened to
see sketches that the firm had made for Wozniak’s new remote control device, and he
flew into a rage. Apple had a clause in its contract that gave it the right to bar frogdesign
from working on other computer-related projects, and Jobs invoked
it. “I informed them,
” he recalled, “that working
with Woz wouldn
’t be acceptable to us.”
Hertzfeld didn’t come back.
By early 1985 Burrell Smith was also ready to leave. He had worried
that it would be hard to quit if Jobs tried to talk him out of it; the reality
distortion field was usually too strong for him to resist. So he plotted with
Hertzfeld how he could break free of it. “I’ve got it!” he told Hertzfeld one day.
“I know the perfect way to quit that will nullify the reality distortion field. I’ll just
walk into Steve’s office, pull down my pants, and urinate on his desk. What could
he say to that? It’s guaranteed to work.” The betting on the Mac team was that
even brave Burrell Smith would not have the gumption to do that. When he finally
decided he had to make his break, around the time of Jobs’s birthday bash, he made
an appointment to see Jobs. He was surprised to find Jobs smiling broadly when
he walked in. “Are you gonna do it? Are you really gonna
do it?” Jobs asked. He had heard about the plan.
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 was not appreciative of the Apple II, which remained the cash cow of the
company and accounted for 70% of its sales at Christmas 1984. “People in the
Apple II group were being treated as very unimportant by the rest of the company,”
he later said. “This was despite the fact that the Apple II was by far the largest-selling
product in our company for ages, and would be for years to come.” He even roused
himself to do something out of character; he picked up the phone one day and called
Sculley, berating him for lavishing so much attention on Jobs and the Macintosh division.
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.
When his leave was coming to an end, Hertzfeld made an appointment to have dinner
with Jobs, and they walked from his office to an Italian restaurant a few blocks away.
“I really want to return,” he told Jobs. “But things seem really messed up right now.”
Jobs was vaguely annoyed and distracted, but Hertzfeld plunged ahead. “The software
team is completely demoralized and has hardly done a thing for months, and Burrell
is so frustrated that he won’t last to the end of the year.”
At that point Jobs cut him off. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he said.
“The Macintosh team is doing great, and I’m having the best time of my life right now.
You’re just completely out of touch.” His stare was withering, but he also tried
to look amused at Hertzfeld’s assessment.
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,
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
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.
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.