Part 1: The thing I loved most about working in developer relations at NeXT was how Steve could call anyone.
He would burst in my office and say, “I’m gonna call Bill about TrueType,” and gesture for me to follow. A minute later he’d have Bill Gates on the speaker phone with me in fly-on-the-wall mode.
“BUT BILL! You ripped off Adobe and made John cry.” (John Warnock was the CEO of Adobe.)
“Steve, we didn’t want to get into the font business. It’s a nightmare. But Adobe wouldn’t open their fonts until they had competition.”
One time Steve said to me: “I invited Jonathan Seybold here for a day. Make sure he gets access to everyone who can explain details, like 4 bits of transparency in our new color printers. Bring him to me at 4 o’clock.” Seybold Expos were the force in electronic publishing then.
Steve let me be a fly on the wall for his two hours with Jonathan that day. It was fascinating to see Steve in intense listening mode, asking short questions and sitting patiently for Jonathan’s careful answers. “Jonathan, how are we different from Apple?”
“Oh, that’s an important question. That deserves a thoughtful answer.” I’ve played Jonathan’s answer in my head 1,000 times since then.
Pic of Andy Grove from Net Worth Times: