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.
The next morning the 2,600-seat auditorium was mobbed. Jobs arrived in a double-breasted
blue blazer, a starched white shirt, and a pale green bow tie. “This is the most important
When asked about his obsessive concern over the look of the factory,
Jobs said it was a way to ensure a passion for perfection:
moment in my entire life,” he told Sculley as they waited backstage for the program to begin.
“I’m really nervous. You’re probably the only person who knows how I feel about this.” Sculley
grasped his hand, held it for a moment, and whispered “Good luck.”
As chairman of the company, Jobs went onstage first to start the shareholders’ meeting. He
did so with his own form of an invocation. “I’d like to open the meeting,” he said, “with a
twenty-year-old poem by Dylan—that’s Bob Dylan.” He broke into a little smile, then looked
down to read from the second verse of “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” His voice was high-pitched
as he raced through the ten lines, ending with “For the loser now / Will be later to win /
For the times they are a-changin’.” That song was the anthem that kept the multimillionaire board
chairman in touch with his counterculture self-image. He had a bootleg copy of his favorite version,
which was from the live concert Dylan performed, with Joan Baez, on Halloween 1964
at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall.
Sculley came onstage to report on the company’s earnings, and the audience started to become restless
as he droned on. Finally, he ended with a personal note. “The most important thing that has happened
to me in the last nine months at Apple has been a chance to develop a friendship with
Steve Jobs,” he said.
“For me, the rapport
we have developed
means an awful lot.”
The technology writer Steven Levy, who was then working for Rolling Stone, came to
interview Jobs, who urged him to convince the magazine’s publisher to put the Macintosh
team on the cover of the magazine. “The chances of Jann Wenner agreeing to displace Sting in
favor of a bunch of computer nerds were approximately one in a googolplex,” Levy thought,
correctly. Jobs took Levy to a pizza joint and pressed the case: Rolling Stone was “on the ropes,
running crummy articles, looking desperately for new topics and new audiences. The Mac could
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.
Jobs had asked Hertzfeld and the gang to prepare a special screen display for Sculley’s amusement.
“He’s really smart,” Jobs said. “You wouldn’t believe how smart he is.” The explanation that
Sculley might buy a lot of Macintoshes for Pepsi “sounded a little bit fishy to me,” Hertzfeld recalled,
but he and Susan Kare created a screen of Pepsi caps and cans that danced around with the Apple
logo. Hertzfeld was so excited he began waving his arms around during the demo, but Sculley seemed
underwhelmed. “He asked a few questions, but he didn’t seem all that interested,” Hertzfeld recalled.
He never ended up warming to Sculley. “He was incredibly phony, a complete poseur,” he later said.
“He pretended to be interested in technology, but he wasn’t. He was a marketing guy, and that is
what marketing guys are: paid poseurs.”
Matters came to a head when Jobs visited New York in March 1983 and was able to convert the
courtship into a blind and blinding romance. “I really think you’re the guy,” Jobs said as they walked
through Central Park. “I want you to come and work with me. I can learn so much from you.” Jobs,
who had cultivated father figures in the past, knew just how to play to Sculley’s ego and insecurities.
It worked. “I was smitten by him,” Sculley later admitted. “Steve was one of the brightest people
I’d ever met. I shared with him a passion for ideas.”
Sculley, who was interested in art history, steered them toward the Metropolitan Museum for a little
test of whether Jobs was really willing to learn from others. “I wanted to see how well he could take
coaching in a subject where he had no background,” he recalled. As they strolled through the Greek
and Roman antiquities, Sculley expounded on the difference between the Archaic sculpture of the sixth
century B.C. and the Periclean sculptures a century later. Jobs, who loved to pick up historical nuggets
he never learned in college, seemed to soak it in. “I gained a sense that I could be a teacher to a
brilliant student,” Sculley recalled. Once again he indulged the conceit that they were alike: “I saw
in him a mirror image of my younger self. I, too, was impatient, stubborn, arrogant, impetuous.
My mind exploded with ideas, often to the
exclusion of everything else.
I, too, was intolerant of
those who couldn’t live
up to my demands.”