Part 5: Steve had paid Paul Rand $100,000 to design the NeXT logo during the time Steve envisioned NeXT as a computer for education. He wanted to attract students and schools. The logo was tilted from the vertical at 28 degrees.
At Unix Expo, Steve wanted his presentation desk to be turned at 28 degrees to the audience and the keyboard and monitor to be turned at 28 degrees to the desk. We brought a protractor to get the angles right. He also wanted a clear vase to the right of his mouse with a single red rose in it.
I think for Steve this was performance art. His desk was in the middle of the stage and would be lit with a spotlight as if he were playing the piano. Someone would give an intro from the front of the stage, Steve would be behind the stage, and then a spotlight would follow him as he took his place at the desk.
At about 7 minutes to showtime, with 4,000 seats ready, people were pushing at the doors. I said something then I've reflected back on 1,000 times that I wish I hadn't: "Steve, just to make sure, you're not demoing Lotus Improv, right? I don't think Lotus would like that."
Steve had been testy and and some people had warned me that right before going on he's wound up and anything could happen. He said something like, "Then you do the demo!" And he left.
I had seen this once before where he bailed on a demo at the last minute for a crowd of 700. The blood drained from my body as I ran through the demo I'd have to do in a few minutes, and what I would tell the audience.