STEVE JOBS ONE-ON-ONE, THE '95 INTERVIEW
[PHOTO - Steve Jobs in a screenshot from the 1995 video interview.]
COMPUTERWORLD, OCTOBER 29, 2011 (PHNO) In 1995, Steve Jobs was on the cusp of middle age -- 40 years old -- when he sat down for an extensive and revealing one-on-one interview by the Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation as part of an oral history project.
The Foundation also produced the Computerworld Honors Program, whose executive director, Daniel Morrow, conducted this interview.
Jobs talked about everything from his childhood in California -- the area that later came to be known as Silicon Valley "was really paradise" -- to his early days at Apple, the iconic 1984 Mac TV ad, his plans for NeXT and Pixar, and his fears for Apple's future.
Not surprisingly, Jobs offered some not-so-kind observations about John Sculley, the man who had forced him out at Apple. He also showed himself to be prescient with his predictions about the Internet and about how disruptive it would prove to be.
[PHOTO - BobZwick1 - October 6, 11:25 AM Erstwhile enemy Sculley: Jobs was 'greatest CEO'. John Sculley, who ousted Jobs from Apple, offered praise after his death. SOURCE: news.cnet.com]
And he had advice for would-be entrepreneurs that in many ways seemed to open a window into his own world and how he became so successful.
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance," he said. "It's pretty much an 18-hour-day job, seven days a week for a while. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about, otherwise you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through."
[Photo - BobZwick1 - October 6, 8:47 AM 2005: Steve Jobs talks about death On June 12, 2005, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made the commencement address at Stanford University. In this excerpt, Jobs discusses his cancer diagnosis a year earlier and shares his views about death. Source: www.wfaa.com]
Jobs, who died Oct. 5 at age 56 after a long battle with cancer, also weighed in on death: "Live each day as if it was your last," he said, "because one day you'll be right."
At that point in his life at 40, Jobs was already a tech superstar. He had founded Apple Computer, been forced out of his own company, started another computer venture, NeXT Inc., and launched Pixar -- which would soon release Toy Story.
In other words, Jobs' departure from Apple more than a decade earlier had done little to slow his entrepreneurial drive.
Steve Jobs in 1995 Part 1: (OF THE VIDEO)
[Photo - One of the things that Jobs touched upon was electronics. He did not have a deep understanding of electronics himself but he'd encountered electronics a lot in automobiles and other things he would fix. He showed me the rudiments of electronics and I got very interested in that. I grew up in Silicon Valley. My parents moved from San Francisco to Mountain View when I was five. My dad got transferred and that was right in the heart of Silicon Valley so there were engineers all around. PHOTO & TEXT COURTESY OF PCWORLD.COM]
"My father, Paul, was a pretty remarkable man. He never graduated from high school. He joined the Coast Guard in World War II and ferried troops around the world for General Patton; and I think he was always getting into trouble and getting busted down to private.
"He was a machinist by trade and worked very hard and was kind of a genius with his hands. He had a workbench out in his garage where, when I was about five or six, he sectioned off a little piece of it and said "Steve, this is your workbench now." And he gave me some of his smaller tools and showed me how to use a hammer and saw and how to build things. It really was very good for me. He spent a lot of time with me ... teaching me how to build things, how to take things apart, put things back together."
Part 2: Early days of school, reaction to authority
"School was pretty hard for me at the beginning. My mother taught me how to read before I got to school, and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things: I wanted to read books, because I loved reading books, and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies. You know, do the things that five-year-olds like to do. I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me.
"By the time I was in third grade, I had a good buddy of mine, Rick Farentino, and the only way we had fun was to create mischief.... There was a big bike rack where everybody put their bikes, maybe a hundred bikes in this rack, and we traded everybody our lock combinations for theirs on an individual basis and then went out one day and put everybody's lock on everybody else's bike, and it took them until about 10 o'clock that night to get all the bikes sorted out. We set off explosives in teacher's desks. We got kicked out of school a lot."
Part 3: Thoughts on computers and education
"I know from my own education that if I hadn't encountered two or three individuals that spent extra time with me, I'm sure I would have been in jail. I'm 100% sure that if it hadn't been for Mrs. Hill in fourth grade and a few others, I would have absolutely have ended up in jail. I could see those tendencies in myself to have a certain energy to do something. It could have been directed at doing something interesting that other people thought was a good idea or doing something interesting that maybe other people didn't like so much.
"When you're young, a little bit of course-correction goes a long way. I think it takes pretty talented people to do that. I don't know that enough of them get attracted to go into public education. You can't even support a family on what you get paid. I'd like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for, making a hundred thousand dollars a year."
Part 4: School vouchers; comparing schools to cars
"I used to think when I was in my twenties that technology was the solution to most of the world's problems, but unfortunately it just ain't so. I'll give you an analogy. A lot of times we think 'Why is the television programming so bad? Why are television shows so demeaning, so poor?'
"The first thought that occurs to you is 'Well, there is a conspiracy: The networks are feeding us this slop because its cheap to produce. It's the networks that are controlling this and they are feeding us this stuff.'
"But the truth of the matter, if you study it in any depth, is that networks absolutely want to give people what they want so they will watch the shows. If people wanted something different, they would get it. And the truth of the matter is that the shows that are on television, are on television because that's what people want. The majority of people in this country want to turn on a television and turn off their brain, and that's what they get. And that's far more depressing than a conspiracy."
Part 5: Books about Steve Jobs; 'Let's throw darts'
"I always considered part of my job was to keep the quality level of people in the organizations I work with very high. That's what I consider one of the few things I actually can contribute individually -- to really try to instill in the organization the goal of only having 'A' players. Because ... like in a lot of fields, the difference between the worst taxicab driver and the best taxicab driver to get you [across] Manhattan might be two to one. The best one will get you there in fifteen minutes, the worst one will get you there in a half an hour. Or the best cook and the worst cook, maybe it's three to one. Pick something like that.
"In the field that I'm in, the difference between the best person and the worst person is about a hundred to one or more. The difference between a good software person and a great software person is fifty to one, twenty-five to fifty to one, huge dynamic range. Therefore, I have found -- not just in software, but in everything I've done -- it really pays to go after the best people in the world."
Part 6: Jobs' experience at Apple (the first time)
[Photo & Text courtesy of PCWORLD.COM- When I left Apple it was a two billion dollar company. We were Fortune 300 and something. We were 350. When the Mac was introduced we were a billion-dollar corporation; so Apple grew from nothing to two billion dollars while I was there. That's a pretty high growth rate. It grew five times since I left basically on the back of the Macintosh.]
"Apple was this incredible journey. I mean, we did some amazing things there. The thing that bound us together at Apple was the ability to make things that were going to change the world. That was very important.
"We were all pretty young. The average age in the company was mid to late twenties. Hardly anybody had families at the beginning, and we all worked like maniacs. And the greatest joy was that we felt we were fashioning collective works of art, much like twentieth-century physics. Something important that would last, that people contributed to and then could give to more people; the amplification factor was very large."
Part 7: Why artists were attracted to computing
"If you study these people a little bit more, what you'll find is that in this particular time -- in the '70s and the '80s -- the best people in computers would have normally been poets and writers and musicians. Almost all of them were musicians. A lot of them were poets on the side. They went into computers because it was so compelling. It was fresh and new. It was a new medium of expression for their creative talents. The feelings and the passion that people put into it were completely indistinguishable from a poet or a painter.
"Many of the people were introspective, inward people who expressed how they felt about other people or the rest of humanity in general into their work, work that other people would use. People put a lot of love into these products, and a lot of expression of their appreciation came to these things. It's hard to explain."
Part 8: The decline of Apple (circa 1995)
[Photo & Text from PCWORLD.COM- On the non-educational side, Apple was two things. One, it was the first "lifestyle" computer and, secondly, it's hard to remember how bad it was in the early 1980's. With IBM taking over the world with the PC, with DOS out there; it was far worse than the Apple II. They tried to copy the Apple II and they had done a pretty bad job.]
"When I left Apple, it was a $2 billion company. We were Fortune 300 and something. We were 350. When the Mac was introduced, we were a billion-dollar corporation; so Apple grew from nothing to $2 billion while I was there. That's a pretty high growth rate. It grew five times since I left, basically on the back of the Macintosh.
"I think what's happened since I left in terms of growth rate has been trivial compared with what it was like when I was there. What ruined Apple wasn't growth. What ruined Apple was values. John Sculley ruined Apple, and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place -- which was making great computers for people to use."
Part 9: Apple's early adventures in politics
"I saw my first desktop computer at Hewlett-Packard which was called the 9100A. It was the first desktop in the world. It ran BASIC and APL, I think. I fell in love with it.
"And I thought, looking at these statistics in 1979, I thought if there was just one computer in every school, some of the kids would find it. It will change their life.
"We saw the rate at which this was happening and the rate at which the school bureaucracies were deciding to buy a computer for the school, and it was real slow. We realized that a whole generation of kids was going to go through the school before they even got their first computer, so we thought: The kids can't wait. We wanted to donate a computer to every school in America."
Part 10: How Macs infiltrated business; the birth of NeXT Computer
"If I only knew [then] what I know now, we could have done a lot better. Our attempts to sell to corporate America were just bungled, and we ended up just selling to people who just [were] sort of buying a product for its merit, not because of the company it came from. I mean, everybody was very hooked on Big Blue back then and they bought IBM. There was that famous phrase 'You never get fired for buying IBM.' We fortunately were able to change a lot of that. And Apple, as you know, I believe, is a bigger supplier of personal computers than IBM."
Part 11: NeXTStep and object-oriented computing
"I'll tell you an interesting story: When I was at Apple, a few of my acquaintances said, 'You really need to go over to Xerox PARC' -- which was Palo Alto Research Center --'and see what they've got going over there.'
"They didn't usually let too many people in, but I was able to get in there and see what they were doing. I saw their early computer called the Alto, which was a phenomenal computer. And they actually showed me three things there that they had working in 1976. I saw them in 1979. Things that took really until a few years ago for us to fully re-create, for the industry to fully re-create in this case with NeXTStep.
"However, I didn't see all three of those things. I only saw the first one, which was so incredible to me that it saturated me. It blinded me to see the other two. It took me years to re-create them and rediscover them and incorporate them back into the model, but they were very far ahead in their thinking. They didn't have it totally right, but they had the germ of the idea of all three things. And the three things were graphical user interfaces, object-oriented computing and networking."
Part 12: Steve Jobs on the impact of the Internet
"The Internet and the World Wide Web are clearly the most exciting thing going on in computing today. They're exciting for three or four reasons.
"No. 1: Ultimately computers are turning into communications devices, and ultimately we're spending more and more of the cycles of the computer to not only make it easy to use but to make it easy to communicate. The Web is the missing piece of the puzzle which is really going to power that vision much farther forward. It's very exciting in that way.
"Secondly, it's very exciting because it is going to destroy vast layers of our economy and make available a presence in the marketplace for very small companies, one that is equal to very large companies....
"The third reason it's very exciting is that Microsoft doesn't own it and I don't think they can. It's the one thing in the industry that Microsoft can probably never own. I think one of the things that's essential is that the government continue to fund the Internet as a public trust, as a public facility and remove any of these ridiculous notions of privatizing it that have been brought up. I don't think they're going to fly, thankfully."
Part 13: Steve Jobs on Pixar
"If you look at the 10 most important revolutions in high-end graphics, in the last 10 years, eight of them have come out of Pixar. All of the software that was used to make Terminator, for example -- to actually construct the images that you saw on the screen -- or Jurassic Park with all the dinosaurs, was Pixar software. Industrial Light and Magic uses it as the base for all of their stuff.
"But Pixar had another vision. Pixar's vision was to tell stories. To make real films. Our vision was to make the world's first animated feature film -- completely computer synthetic, sets, characters, everything. After 10 years, we have done exactly that. We have developed tools, all proprietary, to do this, to manage the production of this thing as well as the drawing of this thing, computer synthetic drawing. We are finishing up making the world's first computer animated feature film. Pixar has written it, directed it, producing it. The Walt Disney corporation is distributing it, and it's coming out this year as Walt Disney's Christmas picture. It's coming out Nov. 11, I believe, and it's called Toy Story. You will hear a lot about it because I think it's going to be the most successful film of this year."
Part 14: Why life needs death (and startups)
"I've always felt that death is the greatest invention of life. I'm sure that life evolved without death at first and found that without death, life didn't work very well because it didn't make room for the young. It didn't know how the world was fifty years ago. It didn't know how the world was twenty years ago. It saw it as it is today, without any preconceptions, and dreamed how it could be based on that. We're not satisfied based on the accomplishment of the last thirty years. We're dissatisfied because the current state didn't live up to their ideals. Without death there would be very little progress.
"One of the things that happens in organizations as well as with people is that they settle into ways of looking at the world and become satisfied with things, and the world changes and keeps evolving and new potential arises but these people who are settled in don't see it. That's what gives startup companies their greatest advantage. The sedentary point of view is that of most large companies."
Part 15: Advice for entrepreneurs
"A lot of people come to me and say 'I want to be an entrepreneur.' And I go, 'Oh that's great, what's your idea?' And they say, 'I don't have one yet.' And I say, 'I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you're really passionate about, because it's a lot of work.'
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don't blame them. It's really tough, and it consumes your life. If you've got a family and you're in the early days of a company, I can't imagine how one could do it. I'm sure it's been done, but it's rough. It's pretty much an 18-hour-day job, seven days a week for a while. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about, otherwise you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that's half the battle right there."
Part 16: Final thoughts; Impact of Silicon Valley
[Photo - STEVE JOBS - 1955-2011]
"Time frame's an interesting thing when you think about people looking back. I do think when people look back on this in a hundred years, they're going to see this as a remarkable time in history. And especially this area, believe it or not.
"When you think of the innovation that's come out of this area, Silicon Valley and the whole San Francisco-Berkeley Bay Area, you've got the invention of the integrated circuit, the invention of the microprocessor, the invention of semiconductor memory, the invention of the modern hard disk drive, the invention of the modern floppy disk drive, the invention of the personal computer, invention of genetic engineering, the invention of object-oriented technology, the invention of graphical user interfaces at PARC, followed by Apple, the invention of networking. All that happened in this Bay Area. It's incredible." (Ken Gagne, Keith Shaw, Sharon Machlis and Ken Mingis contributed to this special package.)
[Photo - New APPLE CEO Tim Cook with Steve Jobs; THE MEMO: Here's the full text of the e-mail Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to his employees about the passing of Steve Jobs the day of Job"s passing.
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
We are planning a celebration of Steve's extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much. Tim
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have been competitors and friends for decades.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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