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. “