• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • Thanks for sharing, Chris! Awesome story! It's really neat you got to know Steve Jobs in such an up close and personal way. My dad's company was responsible for making the chips that went between the memory and microprocessor for the first geration of iMac and iBook in the late 1990s. He saw more of the ruthless side of Steve Jobs, haha.

    • As a matter of fact, my dad's company was actually in some hot water because a distributor of the chip was delaying production. Steve Jobs didn't hold back, calling my dad and a few other guys a certain obscene name. They got themselves jackets to commemorate this special name, putting stars on their jackets for each time Steve Jobs called them that name. My dad was part of the 4-star club, lol.

    • That's so funny. 😁We had a certain dark humor about that and wore it as a badge of honor too.

      One of my friends & coworkers at the time, David Grady, read this thread and responded with this email. I print it by permission:

      :-) excellent! 

      My favorite Steve story is Improv centric. In its beta it came up on the screen as what I started calling the simplest form of spreadsheet life, a one-celled spreadsheet. He’d talked them into demoing at NeXTworld but they were nervous about that one celled thing so they showed it to him coming up as a 10 by 10 array. He literally left the floor. 

      “NO!!! If you want people to do something different you have to pull them through the pain of making the change! Want to see the scars here? (reached across his body to point at his left shoulder blade) no letter quality printer for the Mac! Want to see the scars here? (other arm other shoulder blade) no cursor keys on the Mac. Why do you think we made it a cube?

      Because it looks different!!!”

      I still miss his presence in the world.

    • I can’t even imagine the fear of something happening with the machine. Everytime I do a keynote I am petrified of something going wrong and sometimes it does.

      Back then it must have been terrifying.

    • That's what I had surmised. Cross pens were so widely used and marketed. Do Cross pens even exist anymore other than as a Chinese copy?

    • Using the track pad now, I have 1 button or no buttons depending on how you count. Most people would know know that a proper mouse in 1988/89 was supposed to have 3 buttons. Some 'really important' things turn to dust which no one can even remember.

    • Oh my God, Baker, that traumatized me for life. That's the audience of 700 I was referring to, where Scott Abel had to be SJ for the demo. I think he was sweating, but he did a great job.

      Ralph told me that day that it was nice to meet me but if the IBM relationship didn't go well, it was nice knowing you.

      Let's tell that story.

    • It was Mark that has to deliver the presentation. He called from the plane in SJ Airport to say Steve failed to board.

      As I am really new to Cake, you tell me how best to back up your fine storytelling.

      I am living in London these days so signing off for the night.

    • Thanks for sharing this great story. When I met Steve at a client meeting at NeXT ~91, I spent my 5 minutes complaining about NeXTstep’s UUCP implementation. I was truly a forward thinker.

    • I interviewed Wayne Goodrich yesterday, who helped Steve produce his presentations at NeXT, Pixar, and Apple for 20 years. Fascinating!! He said the experience at Pixar made a huge difference in how he and Steve constructed his Apple keynotes; there were heroes and villains, plot twists, action sequences, and humorous sidebars.

      I’ll post his interview maybe next Tuesday.

    • Great story Chris - for me, this last paragraph contains some real meaty stuff. The power of hiring for strengths - not absence of weakness - wow - that is impactful. I try to manage people that way. I manage to their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. The more companies can adopt this line of thinking, the better chance they have of becoming something that changes the world like Apple did. As an aside - the first time I met Steve was at the launch of the iMac. Leo Laporte sent me to cover it because he couldn't go. The press were ushered into a room after the incredible keynote (which had everyone wanting this computer they'd never even seen before) and we got to play with the few dozen working prototypes. All of a sudden there he was - he and his gaggle of PR mavens entered the room and for some reason he walked up to me (out of more than 20 people) and said "So - what do you think?" I replied - "I think it's cool." He said, "Of course you do," and moved on. Vintage Steve. Thanks for posting this insider's look at life at NEXT. The only bad thing about this story is that it reminds me of how much the world lost when it lost Steve Jobs. Thanks.

    • I remember Wayne when the two of us were at NeXT. Much later, Alan Eyzaguirre and Wayne set up a company advising firms on communications. I first met Alan when he was a DB programmer for one of the early NeXT 3-party developer firms. Alan had a long career at Apple including running Apple Maac Software Marketing for Europe, based in London.

    • Thank you, Scott. I posted this little story to my personal Facebook page and someone picked it up and put in on Hacker News where it went to near the top, where there was great conversation about it.

      In my interview with Wayne, he said that iMac intro was one of the times Steve really dressed them down and they wanted to melt into the floor, because when the iMacs were unveiled, the mechanism to raise them wasn't fluid enough. No one else noticed, but Steve did and it made him crazy.