At times he could be amusingly aware of his own foibles, and he

At times he could be amusingly aware of his own foibles, and he used the electronic book demonstration to poke fun at himself. “A word that’s

sometimes used to describe me is ‘mercurial,’” he said, then paused. The audience laughed knowingly, especially those in the front rows, which were

filled with NeXT employees and former members of the Macintosh team. Then he pulled up the word in the computer’s dictionary and read the first definition: “Of or relating to, or born under the planet Mercury.”

change the face of computing.” The NeXT software and hardware were designed, he said, after three years of consulting with

universities across the country. “What we realized was that higher ed wants a personal mainframe.”

As usual there were superlatives. The product was “incredible,” he said, “the best thing we could have imagined.” He praised the beauty of even the parts

unseen. Balancing on his fingertips the foot-square circuit board that would be nestled in the foot-cube box, he enthused, “I hope you get a chance to look

at this a little later. It’s the most beautiful printed circuit board I’ve ever seen in my life.” He then showed how the computer could play speeches—he

featured King’s “I Have a Dream” and Kennedy’s “Ask Not”—and send email with audio attachments. He leaned into the microphone on the computer to

record one of his own. “Hi, this is Steve, sending a message on a pretty historic day.” Then he asked those in the audience to add “a round of applause” to the message, and they did.

One of Jobs’s management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and “bet the company” on some new idea or technology.

At the NeXT launch, he boasted of an example that, as it turned out, would not be a wise gamble: having a high-capacity (but slow) optical read/write

disk and no floppy disk as a backup. “Two years ago we made a decision,” he said. “We saw some new technology and we made a decision to risk our company.”

Then he turned to a feature that would prove more prescient. “What we’ve done is made the first real digital books,” he said, noting the inclusion of the

Oxford edition of Shakespeare and other tomes. “There has not been an advancement in

the state of the

art of printed

book technology

since Gutenberg.”

The negotiations lasted into 1988, with Jobs becoming prickly

“If we scroll down the thesaurus, though, we see that the antonym is ‘saturnine.’ Well what’s that? By simply double-clicking on it, we immediately

look that up in the dictionary, and here it is: ‘Cold and steady in moods. Slow to act or change. Of a gloomy or surly disposition.’” A little smile came across his face as he waited for the ripple of laughter.

host for a mediating session at his Dallas headquarters, and a deal was struck: IBM would license the current version of the NeXTSTEP software, and if the managers liked it, they would use it on some of their workstations. IBM sent

to Palo Alto a 125-page contract. Jobs tossed it down without reading it. “You don’t get it,” he said as he walked out of the room. He demanded a simpler contract of only a few pages, which he got within a week.

Jobs wanted to keep the arrangement secret from Bill Gates until the big unveiling of the NeXT computer, scheduled for October. But IBM insisted on

being forthcoming. Gates was furious. He realized this could wean IBM off its dependence on Microsoft operating systems. “NeXTSTEP isn’t compatible with anything,” he raged to IBM executives.

At first Jobs seemed to have pulled off Gates’s worst nightmare. Other computer makers that were beholden to Microsoft’s operating systems, most notably Compaq and Dell, came to ask Jobs for the right to clone NeXT and

license NeXTSTEP. There were even offers to pay a lot more if NeXT would get out of the hardware business altogether.

That was too much for Jobs, at least for the time being. He cut off the clone discussions. And he began to cool toward IBM. The chill became reciprocal.

When the person who made the deal at IBM moved on, Jobs went to Armonk to meet his replacement, Jim Cannavino. They cleared the room and talked one-on-one. Jobs demanded more money to keep the relationship going and

to license newer versions of NeXTSTEP to IBM. Cannavino made no commitments, and he subsequently stopped returning Jobs’s phone calls. The deal lapsed. NeXT got a bit of money


for a licensing fee,

but it never

got the chance to

change the world.

In Aspen he was exposed to the spare and functional design

In Aspen he was exposed to the spare and functional design philosophy of the Bauhaus movement, which was enshrined by Herbert Bayer in the buildings, living suites, sans serif font typography, and furniture on the Aspen Institute campus. Like his mentors Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,

Bayer believed that there should be no distinction between fine art and applied industrial design. The modernist International Style championed by the Bauhaus taught that design should be simple, yet have an expressive

spirit. It emphasized rationality and functionality by employing clean lines and forms. Among the maxims preached by Mies and Gropius were “God is in the details” and “Less is more.” As with Eichler homes, the artistic sensibility was combined with the capability for mass production.

Jobs publicly discussed his embrace of the Bauhaus style in a talk he gave at the 1983 design conference, the theme of which was “The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be.” He predicted the passing of the Sony style in favor of Bauhaus

Every month or so, Manock and Oyama would present a new iteration based on Jobs’s previous criticisms. The latest plaster model would be dramatically

unveiled, and all the previous attempts would be lined up next to it. That not only helped them gauge the design’s evolution, but it prevented

simplicity. “The current wave of industrial design is Sony’s high-tech look, which is gunmetal gray, maybe paint it black, do weird stuff to it,” he said. “It’s easy to do that. But it’s not great.” He proposed an alternative, born of

the Bauhaus, that was more true to the function and nature of the products. “What we’re going to do is make the products high-tech, and we’re going to package them cleanly so that you know they’re high-tech. We will fit them in a small package, and then we can

make them beautiful

and white, just like

Braun does

with its electronics.”

That incident led Raskin to write a blistering memo to

That incident led Raskin to write a blistering memo to Mike Scott, who once again found himself in the difficult position of being a president trying to

manage a company’s temperamental cofounder and major stockholder. It was titled “Working for/with Steve Jobs,” and in it Raskin asserted:Raskin’s ouster may not have seemed fair, but it ended up being good for the Macintosh. Raskin wanted an appliance with little memory, an anemic processor, a cassette tape, no mouse, and minimal graphics. Unlike Jobs, he might have

been able to keep the price down to close to $1,000, and that may have helped Apple win market share. But he could not have pulled off what Jobs did, which was to create and market a machine that would transform personal computing. In fact we can see where the road not taken led. Raskin was hired

by Canon to build the machine he wanted. “It was the Canon Cat, and it was a total flop,” Atkinson said. “Nobody wanted it. When Steve turned the Mac into a compact version of the Lisa, it made it into a computing platform instead of a consumer electronic device.”1

He is a dreadful manager. . . . I have always liked Steve, but I have found it impossible to work for him. . . . Jobs

regularly misses appointments. This is so well-known as to be almost a running joke. . . . He acts without thinking and

with bad judgment. . . . He does not give credit where due. . . . Very often, when told of a new idea, he will immediately attack it and say that it is worthless or

even stupid, and tell you that it was a waste of time to work on it. This alone is bad management, but if the idea is a good one he will soon be telling people about it as though it was his own.

That afternoon Scott called in Jobs and Raskin for a showdown in front of Markkula. Jobs started crying. He and Raskin agreed on only one thing: Neither

could work for the other one. On the Lisa project, Scott had sided with Couch. This time he decided it was best to let Jobs win. After all, the Mac was a minor

development project housed in a distant building that could keep Jobs occupied away from the main campus. Raskin was told to take a leave of absence. “They

wanted to humor me and give me something to do, which was fine,” Jobs recalled. “It was like going

garage for me.

back to the

team and

I was in control.”

Another prank involved a pocket device Wozniak

Another prank involved a pocket device Wozniak built that could emit TV signals. He would take it to a room

where a group of people were watching TV, such as in a dorm, and secretly press the button so that the screen


would get fuzzy with static. When someone got up and whacked the set, Wozniak would let go of the button and

the picture would clear up. Once he had the unsuspecting viewers hopping up and down at his will, he would make


things harder. He would keep the picture fuzzy until someone touched the antenna. Eventually he would make people

think they had to hold the antenna while standing on one foot or touching the top of the set. Years later, at a keynote

presentation where he was having his own trouble getting a video to work, Jobs broke from his script and recounted

the fun they had with the device. “Woz would have it in his pocket and we’d go into a dorm . . .

where a bunch of folks would be, like, watching Star Trek, and he’d screw up the TV,

and someone would go up to fix it, and just as they had the foot off the ground he would turn it back on,

and as they put their foot back on the ground he’d screw it up again.” Contorting himself into a pretzel onstage, Jobs

concluded to great laughter, “And within five minutes he would have someone like this.”

The Blue Box

The ultimate combination of pranks and electronics—and the escapade that helped to create Apple—was

launched one Sunday afternoon when Wozniak read an article in Esquire that his mother had left for him

on the kitchen table. It was September 1971, and he was about to drive off the next day to Berkeley,

his third college. The story, Ron Rosenbaum’s “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” described how hackers and

phone phreakers had found ways to make long-distance calls for free by replicating the tones that routed

signals on the AT&T network. “Halfway through the article, I had to call my best friend, Steve Jobs, and

read parts of this long article to him,” Wozniak recalled. He knew

that Jobs, then beginning

his senior year, was

one of the few people who

would share his excitement.

No one had ever created a digital version of a

No one had ever created a digital version of a Blue Box, but

Woz was made for the challenge. Using diodes and transistors

from Radio Shack, and with the help of a music student in his

dorm who had perfect pitch, he got it built before Thanksgiving.

“I have never designed a circuit I was prouder of,” he said. “I still think it was incredible.”

One night Wozniak drove down from Berkeley to Jobs’s house

to try it. They attempted to call Wozniak’s uncle in Los Angeles,


but they got a wrong number. It didn’t matter; their device had

worked. “Hi! We’re calling you for free! We’re calling you for free!”

Wozniak shouted. The person on the other end was confused and annoyed. Jobs chimed in,

“We’re calling from California! From California! With a Blue Box.” This probably

baffled the man even more, since he was also in California.

At first the Blue Box was used for fun and pranks. The most daring of these was

when they called the Vatican and Wozniak pretended to be Henry Kissinger

wanting to speak to the pope. “Ve are at de summit meeting in Moscow,

and ve need to talk to de pope,” Woz intoned. He was told that it was 5:30 a.m. and

the pope was sleeping. When he called back, he got a bishop who was supposed

to serve as the translator. But they never actually got the pope on the line.

“They realized that Woz wasn’t Henry Kissinger,” Jobs recalled. “We were at a public phone booth.”

It was then that they reached an important milestone, one that would

establish a pattern in their partnerships: Jobs came up with the idea that

the Blue Box could be more than merely a hobby; they could build and sell them.

“I got together the rest of the components, like the casing and power supply and

keypads, and figured out how we could price it,” Jobs said, foreshadowing roles he

would play when they founded Apple. The finished product was about the size of two

decks of playing cards.

The parts cost about $40,

and Jobs decided they

should sell it for $150.

Jobs decided to move back to his parents’ home

In February 1974, after eighteen months of hanging around Reed,

Jobs decided to move back to his parents’ home in Los Altos and look

for a job. It was not a difficult search. At peak times during the 1970s,


the classified section of the San Jose Mercury carried up to sixty pages

of technology help-wanted ads. One of those caught Jobs’s eye.

“Have fun, make money,” it said. That day Jobs walked into the lobby


of the video game manufacturer Atari and told the personnel director,

who was startled by his unkempt hair and attire, that he

wouldn’t leave until they gave him a job.

Atari’s founder was a burly entrepreneur named Nolan Bushnell,

who was a charismatic visionary with a nice touch of showmanship

in him—in other words, another role model waiting to be emulated.

After he became famous, he liked driving around in a Rolls, smoking dope,

and holding staff meetings in a hot tub. As Friedland had done and as Jobs

would learn to do, he was able to turn charm into a cunning force, to cajole

and intimidate and distort reality with the power of his personality.

His chief engineer was Al Alcorn, beefy and jovial and a bit more grounded,

the house grown-up trying to implement the vision and curb the enthusiasms

of Bushnell. Their big hit thus far was a video game called Pong, in which two

players tried to volley a blip on a screen with two movable lines that acted as

paddles. (If you’re under thirty, ask your parents.)

When Jobs arrived in the Atari lobby wearing sandals and demanding a job,

Alcorn was the one who was summoned. “I was told, ‘We’ve got a hippie

kid in the lobby.

He says he’s not going to leave until

we hire him. Should we call

the cops or let him in?’

I said bring him on in!”

When he got off the plane in New Delhi, he felt waves

When he got off the plane in New Delhi, he felt waves

of heat rising from the tarmac, even though it was only

April. He had been given the name of a hotel, but it was full,

so he went to one his taxi driver insisted was good. “I’m sure he


was getting some baksheesh, because he took me to this complete dive.”

Jobs asked the owner whether the water was filtered and foolishly

believed the answer. “I got dysentery pretty fast. I was sick, really


sick, a really high fever. I dropped from 160 pounds to 120 in about a week.”

Once he got healthy enough to move, he decided that he needed to get out

of Delhi. So he headed to the town of Haridwar, in western India near the

source of the Ganges, which was having a festival known as the Kumbh Mela.

More than ten million people poured into a town that usually contained fewer

than 100,000 residents. “There were holy men all around. Tents with this teacher

and that teacher. There were people riding elephants, you name it. I was there

for a few days, but I decided that I needed to get out of there too.”

He went by train and bus to a village near Nainital in the foothills of the Himalayas.

That was where Neem Karoli Baba lived, or had lived. By the time Jobs got there,

he was no longer alive, at least in the same incarnation. Jobs rented a room with a

mattress on the floor from a family who helped him recuperate by feeding him

vegetarian meals. “There was a copy there of Autobiography of a Yogi in English that

a previous traveler had left, and I read it several times because there was not a lot to do,

and I walked around from village to village and recovered from my dysentery.”

Among those who were part of the community there was Larry Brilliant, an

epidemiologist who was working to eradicate smallpox and who

later ran Google’s

philanthropic arm and the Skoll

Foundation. He became

Jobs’s lifelong friend.

Not all of his coworkers shunned Jobs. He became

Not all of his coworkers shunned Jobs. He became

friends with Ron Wayne, a draftsman at Atari, who

had earlier started a company that built slot machines.


It subsequently failed, but Jobs became fascinated with

the idea that it was possible to start your own company.


“Ron was an amazing guy,” said Jobs. “He started companies.

I had never met anybody like that.” He proposed to Wayne

that they go into business together; Jobs said he could borrow

$50,000, and they could design and market a slot machine.

But Wayne had already been burned in business, so he declined.

“I said that was the quickest way to lose $50,000,” Wayne recalled,

“but I admired the fact that he had a burning drive to start his own business.”

One weekend Jobs was visiting Wayne at his apartment, engaging as they

often did in philosophical discussions, when Wayne said that there was

something he needed to tell him. “Yeah, I think I know what it is,”

Jobs replied. “I think you like men.” Wayne said yes. “It was my

first encounter with someone who I knew was gay,” Jobs recalled.

“He planted the right perspective of it for me.” Jobs grilled him:

“When you see a beautiful woman, what do you feel?” Wayne replied,

“It’s like when you look at a beautiful horse. You can appreciate it, but you

don’t want to sleep with it. You appreciate beauty for what it is.”

Wayne said that it is a testament to Jobs that he felt like revealing this to

him. “Nobody at Atari knew, and I could count on my toes and fingers

the number of people I told in my whole life. But I guess it just felt right to

tell him, that he would understand, and it didn’t have any effect on our relationship.”


One reason Jobs was eager to make some money in early 1974 was that

Robert Friedland, who had gone to India the summer before, was urging

him to take his own spiritual journey there. Friedland had studied in India with

Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji), who had been the guru to much of the sixties

hippie movement. Jobs decided he should do the same, and he recruited

Daniel Kottke to go with him. Jobs was not motivated by mere adventure.

“For me it was a serious search,” he said. “I’d been turned on to the idea of

enlightenment and trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into things.”

Kottke adds that Jobs’s quest seemed

driven partly by not

knowing his birth parents.

“There was a hole in him,

and he was trying to fill it.”

At one point Jobs was told of a young Hindu holy man

At one point Jobs was told of a young Hindu holy man

who was holding a gathering of his followers at the

Himalayan estate of a wealthy businessman. “It was a chance to

meet a spiritual being and hang out with his followers, but it was also

a chance to have a good meal. I could smell the food as we got near,


and I was very hungry.” As Jobs was eating, the holy man—who was

not much older than Jobs—picked him out of the crowd, pointed at him,

and began laughing maniacally. “He came running over and grabbed me

and made a tooting sound and said, ‘You are just like a baby,’” recalled Jobs.

“I was not relishing this attention.” Taking Jobs by the hand, he led him

out of the worshipful crowd and walked him up to a hill, where there was

a well and a small pond. “We sit down and he pulls out this straight razor.

I’m thinking he’s a nutcase and begin to worry. Then he pulls out a bar

of soap—I had long hair at the time—and he lathered up my hair and shaved

my head. He told me that he was saving my health.”

Daniel Kottke arrived in India at the beginning of the summer, and Jobs

went back to New Delhi to meet him. They wandered, mainly by bus, rather

aimlessly. By this point Jobs was no longer trying to find a guru who could impart

wisdom, but instead was seeking enlightenment through ascetic experience,

deprivation, and simplicity. He was not able to achieve inner calm.

Kottke remembers him getting into a furious shouting match with a

Hindu woman in a village marketplace who, Jobs alleged, had been

watering down the milk she was selling them.

Yet Jobs could also be generous. When they got to the town of Manali,

Kottke’s sleeping bag was stolen with his traveler’s checks in it.

“Steve covered my food expenses and bus ticket back to

Delhi,” Kottke recalled.

He also gave Kottke

the rest of his own money,

$100, to tide him over.