Jobs had asked Hertzfeld and the gang to prepare a special screen

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.”

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When it was over, Jobs smiled and offered a treat. “We’ve done a lot

When it was over, Jobs smiled and offered a treat. “We’ve done a lot of talking about

Macintosh recently,” he said. “But today, for the first time ever, I’d like to let Macintosh

speak for itself.” With that, he strolled back over to the computer, pressed the button

 

on the mouse, and in a vibrato but endearing electronic deep voice, Macintosh became

the first computer to introduce itself. “Hello. I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag,”

it began. The only thing it didn’t seem to know how to do was to wait for the wild cheering and

shrieks that erupted. Instead of basking for a moment, it barreled ahead. “Unaccustomed as I am

to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM

mainframe: Never trust a computer you can’t lift.” Once again the roar almost drowned out its

final lines. “Obviously, I can talk. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with

considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs.”

Pandemonium erupted, with people in the crowd jumping up and down and pumping their fists

in a frenzy. Jobs nodded slowly, a tight-lipped but broad smile on his face, then looked down

and started to choke up. The ovation continued for five minutes.

After the Macintosh team returned to Bandley 3 that afternoon, a truck pulled into the parking

lot and Jobs had them all gather next to it. Inside were a hundred new Macintosh computers, each

personalized with a plaque. “Steve presented them one at a time to each team member, with a

handshake and a smile, as the rest of us stood around cheering,” Hertzfeld recalled. It had been a

grueling ride, and many egos had been bruised by Jobs’s obnoxious and rough management style.

But neither Raskin nor Wozniak nor Sculley nor anyone else at the company could have pulled off the

creation of the Macintosh. Nor would it likely have emerged from focus groups and committees.

On the day he unveiled the Macintosh, a reporter from Popular Science asked Jobs what type

of market research he had done. Jobs responded by scoffing, “Did Alexander

 

Graham Bell do any

market research

before he invented

the telephone?”

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It was a sensation. That evening all three networks and

It was a sensation. That evening all three networks and fifty local stations aired news

stories about the ad, giving it a viral life unprecedented in the pre–YouTube era.

It would eventually be selected by both TV Guide and Advertising Age as

 

the greatest commercial of all time.

Publicity Blast

Over the years Steve Jobs would become the grand master of product launches.

In the case of the Macintosh, the astonishing Ridley Scott ad was just one of the

ingredients. Another part of the recipe was media coverage. Jobs found ways to ignite

blasts of publicity that were so powerful the frenzy would feed on itself, like a chain

reaction. It was a phenomenon that he would be able to replicate whenever there was a

big product launch, from the Macintosh in 1984 to the iPad in 2010. Like a conjurer, he

could pull the trick off over and over again, even after journalists had seen it happen a dozen

times and knew how it was done. Some of the moves he had learned from Regis McKenna,

who was a pro at cultivating and stroking prideful reporters. But Jobs had his own intuitive

sense of how to stoke the excitement, manipulate the competitive instincts of journalists,

and trade exclusive access for lavish treatment.

In December 1983 he took his elfin engineering wizards, Andy Hertzfeld and Burrell Smith, to

New York to visit Newsweek to pitch a story on “the kids who created the Mac.” After giving

a demo of the Macintosh, they were taken upstairs to meet Katharine Graham, the legendary

proprietor, who had an insatiable interest in whatever was new. Afterward the magazine sent its

technology columnist and a photographer to spend time in Palo Alto with Hertzfeld and Smith.

The result was a flattering and smart four-page profile of the two of them, with pictures that made

them look like cherubim of a new age. The article quoted Smith saying what he wanted to do next:

“I want to build the computer of the 90’s. Only I want to do it tomorrow.” The article also described

the mix of volatility and charisma displayed by his boss: “Jobs sometimes defends his ideas with highly

vocal displays of temper that aren’t always bluster; rumor has it that he has threatened to fire employees

for insisting that his computers should have cursor keys, a feature that Jobs considers obsolete.

But when he is on his best behavior, Jobs is a curious blend of charm and impatience, oscillating between

 

shrewd reserve and his

favorite expression

of enthusiasm:

‘Insanely great.’”

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Sculley was initially skeptical when he saw the storyboards, but Jobs

Sculley was initially skeptical when he saw the storyboards, but Jobs insisted that they

needed something revolutionary. He was able to get an unprecedented budget of

$750,000 just to film the ad, which they planned to premiere during the Super Bowl.

 

 

Ridley Scott made it in London using dozens of real skinheads among the enthralled

masses listening to Big Brother on the screen. A female discus thrower was chosen to

play the heroine. Using a cold industrial setting dominated by metallic gray hues, Scott

 

evoked the dystopian aura of Blade Runner. Just at the moment when Big Brother announces

“We shall prevail!” the heroine’s hammer smashes the screen and it vaporizes

in a flash of light and smoke.

When Jobs previewed the ad for the Apple sales force at the meeting in Hawaii, they

were thrilled. So he screened it for the board at its December 1983 meeting. When the

lights came back on in the boardroom, everyone was mute. Philip Schlein, the CEO of

Macy’s California, had his head on the table. Mike Markkula stared silently; at first it

seemed he was overwhelmed by the power of the ad. Then he spoke: “Who wants to

move to find a new agency?” Sculley recalled, “Most of them thought it was the worst

commercial they had ever seen.” Sculley himself got cold feet. He asked Chiat/Day to

sell off the two commercial spots—one sixty seconds, the other

thirty—that they had purchased.

Jobs was beside himself. One evening Wozniak, who had been floating into and out of

Apple for the previous two years, wandered into the Macintosh building. Jobs grabbed

him and said, “Come over here and look at this.” He pulled out a VCR and played the ad.

“I was astounded,” Woz recalled. “I thought it was the most incredible thing.” When Jobs

said the board had decided not to run it during the Super Bowl, Wozniak asked what the

cost of the time slot was. Jobs told him $800,000. With his usual

 

impulsive goodness,

Wozniak immediately

offered, “Well, I’ll

pay half if you will.”

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Jobs liked that. Indeed the concept for the ad had a special

Jobs liked that. Indeed the concept for the ad had a special resonance for him.

He fancied himself a rebel, and he liked to associate himself with the values of the

ragtag band of hackers and pirates he recruited to the Macintosh group. Even though

 

he had left the apple commune in Oregon to start the Apple corporation, he still wanted

to be viewed as a denizen of the counterculture rather than the corporate culture.

But he also realized, deep inside, that he had increasingly abandoned the hacker spirit.

Some might even accuse him of selling out. When Wozniak held true to the Homebrew

 

ethic by sharing his design for the Apple I for free, it was Jobs who insisted that they sell

the boards instead. He was also the one who, despite Wozniak’s reluctance, wanted to turn

Apple into a corporation and not freely distribute stock options to the friends who had been

in the garage with them. Now he was about to launch the Macintosh, a machine that violated

many of the principles of the hacker’s code: It was overpriced; it would have no slots, which

meant that hobbyists could not plug in their own expansion cards or jack into the motherboard

to add their own new functions; and it took special tools just to open the plastic case. It was

a closed and controlled system, like something designed by Big Brother rather than by a hacker.

So the “1984” ad was a way of reaffirming, to himself and to the world, his desired self-image.

The heroine, with a drawing of a Macintosh emblazoned on her pure white tank top, was a renegade

out to foil the establishment. By hiring Ridley Scott, fresh off the success of Blade Runner, as the

director, Jobs could attach himself and Apple to the cyberpunk ethos of the time. With the ad,

Apple could identify itself with the rebels and hackers

 

who thought differently,

and Jobs could reclaim

his right to identify

with them as well.

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The “1984” AdIn the spring of 1983, when Jobs had begun to plan

The “1984” AdIn the spring of 1983, when Jobs had begun to plan for the

Macintosh launch, he asked for a commercial that was as revolutionary and

astonishing as the product they had created. “I want something that will stop

 

 

people in their tracks,” he said. “I want a thunderclap.” The task fell to the Chiat/Day

advertising agency, which had acquired the Apple account when it bought the advertising

side of Regis McKenna’s business. The person put in charge was a lanky beach bum with

a bushy beard, wild hair, goofy grin, and twinkling eyes named Lee Clow, who was the

creative director of the agency’s office in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. Clow

was savvy and fun, in a laid-back yet focused way, and he forged a bond

with Jobs that would last three decades.

Clow and two of his team, the copywriter Steve Hayden and the art director Brent Thomas,

had been toying with a tagline that played off the George Orwell novel: “Why 1984 won’t be like

1984.” Jobs loved it, and asked them to develop it for the Macintosh launch. So they put together

a storyboard for a sixty-second ad that would look like a scene from a sci-fi movie. It featured a

rebellious young woman outrunning the Orwellian thought police and throwing a

sledgehammer into a screen showing a mind-controlling speech by Big Brother.

The concept captured the zeitgeist of the personal computer revolution. Many young people,

especially those in the counterculture, had viewed computers as instruments that could be used by

Orwellian governments and giant corporations to sap individuality. But by the end of the 1970s,

they were also being seen as potential tools for personal empowerment. The ad cast Macintosh

as a warrior for the latter cause—a cool, rebellious, and heroic company that was the only thing

standing in

 

the way of the big evil

corporation’s plan for

world domination

and total mind control.

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The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?”

The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?” At that moment a screen

came down from the ceiling and showed a preview of an upcoming sixty-second television ad for

the Macintosh. In a few months it was destined to make advertising history, but in the meantime

it served its purpose of rallying Apple’s demoralized sales force. Jobs had always been able to draw

energy by imagining himself as a rebel pitted against the forces of darkness. Now he was

able to energize his troops with the same vision.

 

Jobs was at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, preparing for the press previews, so a Sunday morning

conference call was scheduled. The software manager calmly explained the situation to Jobs, while

Hertzfeld and the others huddled around the speakerphone holding their breath. All they needed

was an extra two weeks. The initial shipments to the dealers could have a version of the software

labeled “demo,” and these could be replaced as soon as the new code was finished at the end of

the month. There was a pause. Jobs did not get angry; instead he spoke in cold, somber tones. He

told them they were really great. So great, in fact, that he knew they could get this done. “There’s

no way we’re slipping!” he declared. There was a collective gasp in the Bandley building work space.

“You guys have been working on this stuff for months now, another couple weeks isn’t going to make

that much of a difference. You may as well get it over with. I’m going to ship the code a week from

Monday, with your names on it.”

“Well, we’ve got to finish it,” Steve Capps said. And so they did. Once again, Jobs’s reality distortion

field pushed them to do what they had thought impossible. On Friday Randy Wigginton brought in a

huge bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans for the final three all-nighters. When Jobs arrived at

work at 8:30 a.m. that Monday, he found Hertzfeld sprawled nearly comatose on the couch. They talked

for a few minutes about a remaining tiny glitch, and Jobs decreed that it wasn’t a problem. Hertzfeld

dragged himself to his blue Volkswagen Rabbit (license plate: MACWIZ) and drove home to bed.

A short while later Apple’s Fremont factory began to roll out boxes emblazoned with the colorful line

 

drawings of the Macintosh.

Real artists ship, Jobs had

declared, and now the

Macintosh team had.

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Belleville decided it was best to partially ignore Jobs, and he

Belleville decided it was best to partially ignore Jobs, and he asked a Sony executive to

get its disk drive ready for use in the Macintosh. If and when it became clear that

Alps could not deliver on time, Apple would switch to Sony. So Sony sent over the engineer

 

who had developed the drive, Hidetoshi Komoto, a Purdue graduate who fortunately

possessed a good sense of humor about his clandestine task.

Whenever Jobs would come from his corporate office to visit the Mac team’s engineers—which

 

was almost every afternoon—they would hurriedly find somewhere for Komoto to hide.

At one point Jobs ran into him at a newsstand in Cupertino and recognized him from the

meeting in Japan, but he didn’t suspect anything. The closest call was when Jobs came

bustling onto the Mac work space unexpectedly one day while Komoto was sitting in one

of the cubicles. A Mac engineer grabbed him and pointed him to a janitorial closet.

“Quick, hide in this closet. Please! Now!” Komoto looked confused, Hertzfeld recalled,

but he jumped up and did as told. He had to stay in the closet for five minutes, until Jobs left.

The Mac engineers apologized. “No problem,” he replied. “But American business

practices, they are very strange. Very strange.”

Belleville’s prediction came true. In May 1983 the folks at Alps admitted it would take

them at least eighteen more months to get their clone of the Sony drive into production.

At a retreat in Pajaro Dunes, Markkula grilled Jobs on what he was going to do. Finally,

Belleville interrupted and said that he might have an alternative to the Alps drive ready soon.

Jobs looked baffled for just a moment, and then it became clear to him why he’d glimpsed

Sony’s top disk designer in Cupertino. “You son of a bitch!” Jobs said. But it was not in anger.

There was a big grin on his face. As soon as he realized what Belleville and the other engineers

had done behind his back, said Hertzfeld, “Steve swallowed his pride and

thanked them for disobeying him and

 

doing the right thing.

” It was, after all,

what he would have

done in their situation.

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But what truly devastated Jobs was that he was not, after all,

But what truly devastated Jobs was that he was not, after all,

chosen as the Man of the Year. As he later told me:

Time decided they were going to make me Man of the Year, and I was

twenty-seven, so I actually cared about stuff like that. I thought it was

 

pretty cool. They sent out Mike Moritz to write a story. We’re the same age,

and I had been very successful, and I could tell he was jealous and there was

an edge to him. He wrote this terrible hatchet job. So the editors in New

 

York get this story and say, “We can’t make this guy Man of the Year.” That really

hurt. But it was a good lesson. It taught me to never get too excited about things

like that, since the media is a circus anyway. They FedExed me the magazine, and

I remember opening the package, thoroughly expecting to see my mug on the cover,

and it was this computer sculpture thing. I thought, “Huh?” And then I read

the article, and it was so awful that I actually cried.

In fact there’s no reason to believe that Moritz was jealous or that he intended his

reporting to be unfair. Nor was Jobs ever slated to be Man of the Year, despite what

he thought. That year the top editors (I was then a junior editor there) decided early

on to go with the computer rather than a person, and they commissioned, months in

advance, a piece of art from the famous sculptor George Segal to be a gatefold cover image.

Ray Cave was then the magazine’s editor. “We never considered Jobs,” he said. “

You couldn’t personify the computer, so that was the first time we decided to go

 

with an inanimate object.

We never searched

around for a face to

be put on the cover.”

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Accompanying the main story was a profile of Jobs, which was based

Accompanying the main story was a profile of Jobs, which was based

on the reporting done by Moritz and written by Jay Cocks, an editor

who usually handled rock music for the magazine. “With his smooth sales

 

pitch and a blind faith that would have been the envy of the early Christian

martyrs, it is Steven Jobs, more than anyone, who kicked open the door

 

and let the personal computer move in,” the story proclaimed. It was a richly

reported piece, but also harsh at times—so harsh that Moritz (after he wrote a

book about Apple and went on to be a partner in the venture firm Sequoia

Capital with Don Valentine) repudiated it by complaining that his reporting had

noted that he “would occasionally burst into tears at meetings.” Perhaps the

best quote came from Jef Raskin. Jobs, he declared, “would have made an

excellent King of France.”

To Jobs’s dismay, the magazine made public the existence of the daughter he had

forsaken, Lisa Brennan. He knew that Kottke had been the one to tell the magazine

about Lisa, and he berated him in the Mac group work space in front of a half dozen

people. “When the Time reporter asked me if Steve had a daughter named Lisa, I said ‘

Of course,’” Kottke recalled. “Friends don’t let friends deny that they’re the father of a

child. I’m not going to let my friend be a jerk and deny paternity.

 

He was really angry

and felt violated and told

me in front of everyone

that I had betrayed him.”

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