I'm Bob Cringley, 16 years ago when I was making my television series Triumph of the Nerds, I interviewed Steve Jobs. That was in 1995, 10 years earlier Steve had left Apple, following a bruising struggle with John Sculley, the CEO he had brought into the company. At the time of our interview, Steve was running NeXT, the niche computer company he founded after leaving Apple. Little bit we know was within 18 months he would sell NeXT to Apple, and 6 month later he'd be running the place.
我是Bob Cringley，16年前（1995）我制作《书呆子的胜利》时采访了乔布斯。1985年，乔布斯被他自己引荐的CEO John Sculley排挤出苹果。接受釆访时，乔布斯正在经营他创办的NeXT公司，18个月后苹果收购NeXT，半年后乔布斯重新掌管苹果。
The way things work in television we use only a part of that interview in the series. And for years we thought the interview was lost for forever because the master tape were missing while being shipped from London to US in the 1990s. Then just a few days ago, series director Paul Sen found a VHS copy of that interview in his garage.
There are very few TV interviews with Steve Jobs and almost no good ones. They rarely show the charisma, candor and vision that this interview does. And so to honor an amazing man, here's that interview in its entirety. Most of these has never been seen before.
So, how did you get involved, uh, with personal computers?
Well, I ran into my first computer when I was about 10 or 11. And it’s hard to remember back then but I’m, I’m no fossile now, I’m no fossile …So when I was 10 or 11, that was about 30 years ago and no one had ever seen a computer. To the extent they’d seen them, they’d seen them in the movies.
And they were really big boxes with...For some reason they fixated it on the tape drives, as being the icon of what the computer was, or flashing light somehow. And, so nobody had ever seen mysterious, very powerful things that did something in the background. And so to see one and actually get to use one was a real privilege back.
And I got into NASA Ames Research Center and I got to use a time sharing terminal. And so I didn’t actually see a computer but I saw a time sharing terminal. And in those days it’s hard to remember how primitive it was. There were no such things as a computer with a graphics video display. It was literally a printer. It was a teletype printer with keyboard on it.
So you would keyboard this commands in and you would wait for a while, and then things would go "tatatatatata", and it would tell you something else.But even with that, it was still remarkable, especially for a 10-year-old, that you could write a program in BASIC, let's say, or FORTRAN.
And actually this machine would sort of take your idea, and it would sort of execute your idea and give you back some results. And if they were the results you predicted, your program really work, and it was incredibly thrilling experience. So I became very err.... captivated by computer.
And a computer to me was still a little mysterious cause it's at the other end of wire,I had never really seen the actual computer itself. I think I got towards computers after that, saw the inside, and then I was part of this school byHewlett-Packard.
When I was 12, I called up Bill Hewlett who lived in Hewlett-Packard at the time. And again it dazed me...But there was no such thing as unlistedtelephone number then, so I can just look into the book and look his name up.
And he answered the phone, and I saidHi, My name is Steve Jobs. You don't know me, but I'm 12 years old, and I'm building a frequency counter, and I'd like some spare parts. And so he talked to me for about 20 minutes, I will never forget as long as I live, he gave me the parts, but he also gave me a job working in Hewlett-Packard that summer. And I was 12 years old, and that really made a remarkable influence on me.
Hewlett-Packardwas really the only company I'd ever seen in my life at that age. And it forms my view of what a company was and how well they treated their employees.
You know, at that time, I mean they didn't know about cholesterol back then. And then at that time they used to bring a big car full of donuts and coffee out at 10 o'clock every morning, and everyone take a coffee and have a donut break, just little things like that.It was clear that the company recognized its true values was its employees.
So anyway, since with HP and I started going up to their Palo Alto Research Labs every Tuesday night, with a small group of people to meet some of the researchers and staffs. And I saw the first desktop computer ever made which was the HP 1900.
之后我每周二晚都去惠普的Palo Alto实验室，与一些研究人员见面。我见到了第一台台式计算机HP 1900。
It was that as big as a suitcase but it actually had a small Cathode Ray Tube(CRT) displayed in it. And it was completed self-contained. There was no wire going off behind the curtain somewhere, and I fell in love with it. And you could program BASIC in APL. And I would just, for hours, you know, get right up to HP and just hang around that machine and write programs for it.
So that was the early days. And I met Steve Wozniak around that time too, maybe a little earlier, when I was about 14, 15 years old. And we immediately hit it off, and he was the first person I met who knew more electronics than I did. So I like him a lot and he was, uh, maybe 5 years older than I.
He gone off to college and got kicked out for pulling pranks. And he was living with his parents and going to the ends of the local junior college. so we became best friends and started doing projects together. We read about the story in Esquire magazine about this guy named Captain Crunch, who could supposedly make free telephone calls, you heard about this I'm sure.
And we again, we were captivated. How could anybody do this? And we thought it must be a hoax. And we started looking through libraries, looking for the secret tones that would allow you to do this. And it turned out that we were at Stanford Linear Accelerate Center one night, and way in vaults of their technical library, way down at the last bookshelf in the corner bottom rack.We found an AT&T Technical Journal that laid out the whole thing.
And that's another moment I'll never forget. We saw this journal and we thought "My God! It's all real." And so we set out to build a device to make these tones. And the way it work was, you know when you make long distance call you used to hear "dududududu" right in the background. They were tones that sound like the touch tone you make on your phone, but with different frequencies so you can make them.
It turned out that was the signal from one telephone computer to another, controlling the computers in the network. And AT&T made a fatal flaw when they designed an original telephone network, digital telephone network, was they put the signal in from computer to computer in the same band as your voice, which meant if you could make those same signals, you could put it right into the handset. And literally, the entire AT&T international phone network would think that you were an AT&T computer. So after three weeks we finally built a box like this, it worked.
And I remember the first call we made was down to, uh, LA, one of Woz‘s relatives. We dialed the wrong number. But we woke some guy up in the middle of the night. We were yelling at him like ‘Don’t you understand we made this call for free!’ and this person didn’t appreciate that.But it was miraculous.
And we build these little boxes to do Blue Box as it was called. And we put a little note in the bottom of them, and our logo was he’s got the whole world in his hands, hahaha. And, they work. We built the best blue box in the world, it was all digital, no adjustments.
And, so you could go to the pay phone, you could, you know, take a trunk over the white plane, and take a satellite over the Europe, and then go to Turkey, take a cable back to Atlanta. You could go around the world, you could go around the world 5 or 6 times cause we learned all the codes and how to get on the satellite and stuff. And then you could call the pay phone next doors, so you could shout at the phone, after about a minute it would come to another phone, it was, it was miraculous.
And you might ask what so interesting about that. What so interesting is that we were young, and what we learned was that we could build something, ourselves, that could control billions of dollars worth of infrastructure in the world. That was what we learned, was that, us, two, you know, we didn’t know much, we could build the little thing that could control a giant thing. And that was an incredible lesson. I don’t think there would have ever been an Apple computer had there not been Blue Box.
Woz said you called the Pope?
Yeah, we did call the Pope. He, uh, he pretended to be Henry Kissinger. And we get the number of the Vatican and we called the pope. They started waking people up in the hierarchy, you know,like that. And they actually sent someone to wake up the Pope. When finally we burst out laughing they realized that we weren’t Henry Kissinger. And, so we never got the talk to the Pope but it was very funny, so...
So the jump from Blue Boxes to personal computers, what sparked that?
Well, necessity. In a sense that there was time sharing computers available, and there was a time sharing company in Mountain View that we could get free time on. So, but we need is a terminal. And we couldn’t afford one. So we designed and built one. And that was the first thing we ever did, we built this terminal.
So what an Apple I was, was really an extension of this terminal, putting a micro process around the back end. That what it was. It’s really a kind of two separate projects put together. So first we built the terminal and then we built the Apple I.
Apple I是这台终端的扩展，它用微处理器代替了后台主机。就像是把两个独立的项目整合在一起，一开始是做终端，然后才是Apple I。
And we, we really built it for ourselves because we couldn’t afford to buy anything. And we scavenge parts here and there and stuff. And we built this all by hand. I mean it take, you know, 40 to 80 hours to build one, and it would always be breaking cause all these little tiny wires. So it turned out that a lot of our friends want to build them, too.
And although they could scavenge most of the parts as well, they didn’t have the sort of skills to build them that we had acquired by training ourselves through building them. So we ended up helping them build most of their computers and it was really taking up all of our time.
And we thought, you know, if we could make, what’s called printed circuit board, which is a piece of fabric glass with copper on both sides that etch to form the wire, so that you can build a computer, you know, you can build an Apple I in a few hours instead of 40 hours.
If we only had one of those, we could sell them to all of our friends for, you know as much as it cost to make them, make our money back. And everybody would be happy, we say, we get a life again.
So we did that. I sold my Volkswagen bus and Steve sold his calculator, we got enough money to pay a friend of us to make the art work to make a printed circuit board. And we made some printed circuit boards, and we sold some to our friends, and I was trying to sell the rest of them so we can get micro bus and calculator back….
And I walked into the first computer store in the world, which was the Byte Shop of a Mountain View, I think, on El Camino. It metamorphosized within an adult bookstore, but at this point, it was the Byte Shop. And the person I ran into, I think his name was Paul Terrell. He said ”You know, I’ll take 50 of those”, I said “this is great”. “ But I want them fully assembled.”
我去了世界上第一家计算机商店，Mountain View的字节商店，那时它藏在一家成人书店里。我见到了老板Paul Terrell，Paul说“我预订50套”，我说“太好了。”“但我要完全组装好的计算机”。
We never thought of this before, so we then kicked this around, we thought “Why not? Why not try this?” And so I spent the next several days on the phone talking with electronic parts distributors, we didn’t know what we were doing, and we said, “look, here is the parts that we need.” We figured we’d buy a hundred sets of parts, build 50, sell them to the Byte Shop for twice what they cost us to build them, therefore paying for the whole hundred and then we have 50 left so we could make our profits by selling those.
So we convince these distributors to give us the parts on next 30 days credit. We have no idea what that meant... “30? sure... sign in here”, so we have 30 days to pay them. So we bought the parts, we built the products and we sold 50 of them to the Byte Shop in Palo Alto, and got paid in 29 days and went to pay off the parts people in 30 days.
And so we were in business, but we have the classic Marxian profit realization crisis, the profit wasn’t in liquid currency, our profit was in 50 computers sitting in the corner. So then all of a sudden, we had to think, wow, how we gonna realise our profit? So we started thinking about distribution, are there any other computer stores?
We started calling the other computer stores we had heard across the country. We just kind of eased into business that way. The third key figure in the creation of Apple was the former Intel executive Mike Markkula. I ask Steve how he came aboard. We were designing the Apple II. And we really had some, some much higher ambitions for the Apple II.
我们打电话给全国的计算机商店，就这样做起了生意。苹果的第三位关键创始人是英特尔前高管Mike Markkula。我问Steve他是怎么入伙的。当时我们正在设计Apple II。我们对它充满了期待。
Woz's ambitions were he wanted to add color grahpics. My ambition was that, it was very clear to me that a bunch of hardware hobbists, they could assemble around the computers, or at least take our board, and add the transformers for the power apply, the case, the keyboard, and go get, and etc. You know, go get rest of the stuff.
For everyone of those, there were a thousand of people, they couldn't do that but wanted to mess around with programming, software hobbists, just like I had been, you know, when I was 10, discovering my computer. And so my dream for the Apple II was to sell the first real packaged computer, packaged personal computer. You didn't have to be a hardware hobbist at all.
And so combining both of those dreams, we actually designed a product. And I found the designer and we designed the packaging and everything. And we wanted to make it out of plastic and we had the whole thing ready to go. But we needed some money for tooling the cases and things like that. We needed a few thousand of dollars. And this was way beyond me.
So I went looking for some venture capital. And I ran across one venture capitalist name Don Valentine, who came over to the garage and he later said I look like a renegade from the human race, that was his famous quote. And he said he wasn't willing to invest us but he recommended a few people to mine. One of those was Mike Markkula.
于是我开始寻找风险投资。我找到Don Valentine，他还来参观了我的车库。他说我看起来像人类的叛逆者，这话成了他的名言。虽然他不打算投资，但推荐了几个人给我。其中就有Mike Markkula。
So I called Mike on the phone and he came over. And Mike had retired for about 30 or 31 from the Intel, he was a product manager there and got a little bit stock. And, you know, like made a million bucks on stock options, which at that time was quite a lot of money.
And he a bit invest in oiling and gas deals and kind of staying at home, doing that sort of thing. And he, I think, was, was kind of ask him get back into something. And Mike and I hit it off very well. And so Mike said, "OK, I'll invest", after a few weeks and I said "No, we don't want your money , we want you." So we convince Mike to actually throw in with us, as an euqal partner.
And so Mike put in some money, and Mike put in himself, and three of us went off. We took this design, and it was virtually done as an Apple II, and tooled it up, and announced it, a few months later at the West Coast Computer Faire.
他不仅投资，还参与创业，我们就这样起步了。我们拿出Apple II的设计，召开新闻发布会。几个月后Apple II首次在西海岸计算机展览会上露面。
What was that like?
It was great. We got the best, you know this West Coast Computer Faire was small at that time, but to us it was very large, and, so we had this fantastic booth there, er, we had a projection television showing the Apple II and showing its graphics which today look very cool but at that time were by far the most advanced graphics on the personal computer. And I think, you know, my recollection is that we stole the show, and a lot of dealers and distributors started lining up and we were off and running.
妙不可言，Apple II最受欢迎。那时西海岸计算机展览会规模不大，但对我们而言已经很大了。我们在展台上用投影展示Apple II和它的图形界面。现在看有些简单，但当时是PC上最先进的图形界面。我们出尽了风头。批发商和经销商蜂拥而至，进展非常顺利。
How old were you?
21? you were 21 and you were a big success, you have just sort of done it by the seat of your pants. You don’t have any particular training on this. How do you learn to run a company?
er… you know, throughout the years in business, I found something, which was I always ask why we do things, and the answers you inevitably get are “oh that’s just the way it’s done”, nobody knows why they do what they do, nobody thinks about things very deeply in business, that’s what I found. I’d like to give you an example.
When we were building our apple Is in the garage, we knew exactly what they cost. When we got into factory in the Apple II days, the accounting had this notion of the standard cost, where you kind of set a standard cost at the end of a quarter, and you adjust with the varies, and I kept asking why do we do this?
我们在车库里组装Apple I时，成本算得清清楚楚。可工厂生产Apple II时，财务部使用的是标准成本。每个季度估算标准成本，然后根据实际情况调整。于是我不断追问，为什么要这样做？
And the answer is “that’s just the way it’s done”, and after about 6 months of digging into this, what I realized was the reason you do it is because you don’t really have good enough controls to know about how much cost, so you guess, and you fix your guess at the end of the quarter. And the reason why you don’t know how much it cost is because your information systems aren’t good enough. So ...but nobody said it that way.
So later on when we design this automatic factory for Mackintosh, we were able to get rid of a lot of these antiquated concepts, and know exactly what something costs to the second. So in business, a lot of things are … I call it “folklore”, they are done because they were done yesterday, and the day before. And ...so what that means is that if you are willing to sort of ask a lot of questions, think about things and work really hard, you can learn business pretty fast, not the hardest thing in the world.
Not rocket science?
It’s not rocket science.
Now...when you were first coming in contact with these computers and inventing them before the HP1900, you do talk about writing programs. What sort of programs? What do people actually do with these things?
See what we did with them, well, I would give you a simple example … when we were designing our blue-box we used… we wrote a lot of custom programs to help us design it. you know to do a lot of the dog work for us in terms of calculating, master frequencies with sub devisor to get the other frequencies and things like that…we use computer quite a bit to calculate how much error we would get in the frequencies, and how much can be tolerated. so we use them in the work, but much more importantly, it does nothing to do with using them for anything practical…have to do with using them to be a mirror of your thought process, to actually learn how to think.
I think the greatest value of learning how to think.... I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, should learn a computer language, because it teaches you how to think, it’s like going to law school, I don’t think anybody should be a lawyer, but I think going to law school may actually be useful coz it teaches you how to think in a certain way. In the same way the computer programming teaches you in a slightly different way how to think... And so … I view computer science as a liberal art. It should be something everybody takes in a year in their life, one of the courses they take is, you know learning how to program.
I learned APL, you know, obviously, is part of the reason why I'm going through life sideways.
Was it you look back and consider it, enriching experience that taught you to think in a different way, or not?
Err... No, not that particularly. Other language perhaps more so, I started with APL. So I mean, obviously, the Apple II was a terrific success, just incredibly so. And the company grew like topsy and eventually went public. and you guys got really rich. What's it like to get rich?
他语言也许更明显些，我最先学的APL。显然Apple II很成功，公司飞速发展，成功上市。 你们都成了富翁，富有的感觉如何？
It's very interesting. I was worth, err, about over an million dollars when I was 23, and over 10 million dollars when I was 24, and over a hundred million dollars when I was 25. And it wasn't that important, Because I never did it for the money. I think money is wonderful thing because it enables you to do things; it enables you to invest ideas that don't have a short term payback and things like that. But especially at that point in my life, it was not the most important thing.
很有趣，我23岁拥有超过100万美元的财产。24岁超过了一千万，25岁超过了一亿. 但这不重要，我不是冲着钱去的。 钱允许你做想做的事. 钱让你实现那些短期内看不到效益的创意. 但钱不是最重要的。
The most important thing was the company, the people, the products we were making, what we were going to enable people do with these products. So I didn't think about it a great deal and I never sold any stock, and just really believe the company would do very well over the long term. Central to the development of the personal computers was the pioneering work being done at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, which Steve first visited in 1979. I had 3 or 4 people who kept bugging me that I get my rear over the Xerox Park and see what they are doing. And so I finally did. I went over there, and they were very kind and they showed me what they were working on.
重要的是公司、人才、产品，是产品带给客户的价值. 所以我不太看重金钱，我从不出售苹果的股票。我相信公司会发展得越来越好。 1979年乔布斯第一次拜访施乐Palo Alto研究中心, 在PC成形之初，Palo Alto研究中心起到了关键作用。 同事一直怂恿我去施乐公司，看看他们在做什么。于是我去了，对方非常友好地展示了他们的研究。
And they showed me really three things, but I was so blinded by the first one that I didn't ever really see the other two. One of the things they show me was object oriented programming, they show me that. But I didn't even see that. The other one they show me was really a network computer system, they had over hundred Alto computers all network using email, etc, I didn’t even see that. I was so blinded by the first thing they showed me, which was graphically user interface. I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen in my life. Now, remember, it was very flawed, when we saw it, it was incomplete, they had done bunch of things wrong, but we didn‘t know that at that time, it’s still though they have the germ of the idea was there, and they had done it very well…
他们展示了三个项目， 但我完全被第一个项目吸引了，另两个没怎么看。 我记得有一个项目是面向对象编程，我没怎么看. 还有一个是计算机网络系统。 当时他们已经有上百台联网的计算机，可以互发email，也没有吸引我。吸引我的是图形用户界面，那是我见过的最漂亮的东西。虽然现在看来它还很粗糙，有瑕疵，但是当时我们还看不出来，这个创意太棒了，他们做得很好。
And within, you know, 10 minutes, it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this someday, it was obvious, I mean you can argue about how many years it would take, and you can argue about who the winners and losers might be, but you couldn’t argue about the inevitability it was so obvious, you would have felt the same way had you been there.
You know, that’s … those were exactly words Paul Allen used. It’s really interesting.
Paul Allen也说过同样的话, 真有趣。
Yeah, it’s obvious.
But there were two visits… you saw and you brought some people back with you, and what happened the next time, they made you cool your heels for a while.
Someone (a woman) said something.
what do you mean?
Well, she did the demo when the group came back; she said that she argued against doing it for 3 hours, and they took you to other places showing you other things while she was arguing.
Oh… you mean they were reluctant to show us the demo. oh, I have no idea. I don’t remember that, I thought you meant something else.
So they were very skillful.
Yeah, but they did show us. And it’s good they showed us because the technology crashed and burned Xerox, they used to call...
what’s that? Why?
I actually thought a lot about that, and I learned more about that with John Sculley later on and I think I understand that now pretty well. What happens is, like with John Sculley, err…John came from Pepsi co, and they almost would change their product once every 10 years, to them, new product is like a new size of bottle, so if you are a product person, you couldn’t change the course of that company very much, so who influences the success of Pepsi co?
The sales and marketing people, therefore they would once get promoted and therefore they would once run the company. Well, for Pepsi co, that might have been okay. But it turns out the same thing can happen in technology companies, that they get monopolies, like old IBM and Xerox. If you are a product person at IBM or Xerox, so you make a better copy or a better computer, so what?
When you have a monopolies market share, the company is not any more successful. So the people who can make the company more successful are sales and marketing people.And they end up running the companies, and the product people get driven out of this decision making forms. And the companies forget what it means to make great products. It... Sort of the product sensibility, and... The product genius brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out by people running this companies who have no conception of a good product versus a bad product.
They have no conception of craftsmanship that’s required … that take a good idea and turn it into a good product. And they really have no feeling in their hearts usually about wanting to really help the customers. So that’s what happens in Xerox, the people in Xerox PARC used to call the people who run the Xerox tonerheads, and these tonerheads would come out to the Xerox and PARC says they have no clue of what they are saying.
For our audience, toner is what?
Toner is what you put in a copier; you know the toner you add to an industrial copier?
The black stuff?
The black stuff, yeah. Basically they were copier heads, just have no clue about what a computer can do, and so they just grabbed the feed from great victory of the computer industry, Xerox could have owned the entire computer industry, could have been company 10 times of its size, could have been IBM, Could have been IBM in the 1990’s, …. could have been the Microsoft in the 1990’s. So ... But anyway that’s all ancient history, doesn’t really matter anymore.
Sure. You mentioned IBM, when IBM entered the market, was that a daunting thing for you at apple?
Oh sure. I mean… here was apple, you know a 1 billion dollar company, and here was IBM, at that time, probably about 30 some billion company entering the market, sure. it was very scary. Err... we made a very big mistake though, that IBM’s first product was terrible. It was really bad. We made a mistake of… not realizing that a lot of other people have strong vested interests to help IBM to make it better. So ...If it has just been IBM, it would have crashed and burned. But IBM did have I think a genius in their approach, which was to have a lot of people have vested interests in their success. And that’s what saved them in the end.
So you came back from visiting Xerox PARC with a vision, and how do you implement the vision?
Well, I got our best people together and started to get them working on this. The problem was we hired a bunch of people from HP, and they didn’t get this idea, they didn’t get it. I remember having dramatic arguments with some of these people, who thought the coolest thing in user interface was the soft keys at the bottoms of the screen, you know. They have no concept of proportionally spaced fonts, no concept of the mouse.
As a matter of fact, I remember arguing with these folks, people screaming at me, it could take us 5 years to engineer a mouse and it would cost 300 dollars to build. I finally got fed up and just went outside and found David Kelly design, I asked him to design me a mouse in 90 days and we had a mouse that we can build for 15 bucks and that was phenomenally reliable. So I found that, in a way... Apple did not have the caliber of people that was necessary to seize this idea in many ways. That was core team did, but there was a larger team that mostly had come from HP that didn’t have a clue.
It comes to this issue of professionalism, there’s dark side and light side? Isn’t it?
No, you know what it is... No, it’s not dark and light. People get confused, companies get confused, when they started getting bigger, they want to replicate their initial success, and a lot of them think well somehow there are some magic in the process, of how success is created... so they started to try to institutionalize process across the company. And before very long, people get very confused that the process is the content…that’s ultimately the downfall of IBM.
IBM has the best process people in the world, they just forgot about the content. And that’s so what happened a little bit at apple too, we had a lot of people who are great at management process, they just didn’t have a clue at the content, and in my career, I found that the best people you know are the ones who really understand the content, and they are pain in the butt to manage, you know but you put up with it because they are so great at the content, and that’s what makes a great product, it’s not process, it’s content.
So we had a little bit of that problem at apple. And that problem eventually resulted in the Lisa, which had its moment of brilliance, in a way it was very far ahead at its time…but that was not enough fundamental content understanding. Apple drifted too far away from its roots. To these HP guys, 10,000 dollars was cheap, to our market, to our distribution channels, 10,000 dollars was impossible. So, we produced the product which completely mismatch for the culture of our company, for the image of our company, for the distribution channels of our company, for the current customers. None of them could afford a product like that. And it failed.
Like you and John Couch fought for leadership?
Absolutely, and I lost. That’s correct.
How did they come about?
Well... I thought Lisa was in serious trouble, and I thought Lisa was going off this very bad direction as I have just described, and err... I couldn't convince enough people and the senior management of Apple, but that was the case...we ran the places as team for most part. So I lost, and at that point of time, you know I bruted for a few months…but it was not very long after that it really occurred to me that if we didn't do something here, the Apple II was running out of gas, and we needed to do something with this technology fast, or else Apple might cease to exist as the company that it was. So I formed a small team to do the Mackintosh, and we were on a mission from God to save Apple.
No one else thought so, but it turned out we were right. And as we evolved the Mac, it became very clear that, this was also a way of re-inventing Apple. We re-invented everything, we re-invented manufactures, I visited probably 80 automatic factories in Japan, and we built the world's first automatic computer factory in the world, in California here, so we adopted the 16,000 Micro Processors that leads ahead, we negotiated the price that was 1/5 of what Lisa was going to pay for, because we were using much higher volume, and we really started to design this product that can be sold for a thousand dollars, called the Mackintosh, and we didn't make it.
We could have sold it at 2000 dollars, but we came out 2,500, and we spent 4 years in our lives doing that and we built the product, we built the automatic factory, the machine to build the machine, we built a completely new distribution system, and we built a completely different marketing approach, and I think we worked pretty well.
Now, you motivated this team, I mean you have to guide them...
We built the team.
You built the team, motivated, guided them dealt with them. We have interviewed just lots and lots of people from the Mackintosh team, and you know what keeps coming down to is your passion, and your vision, how do you order your priorities in there? What's important to you in the development of a product?
You know... one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left, John Sculley got a very serious "disease", and that "disease", I have seen other people get it too, it's the "disease" of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work, and if you just tell all these other people, "here is this great idea!", then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that there is just tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve the great idea, it changes and grows, it never comes out like it starts.
Because you learn a lot more, you get into the subtleties, you also find ... There's tremendous trade-offs that you have to make, I mean you know there are just certain things you can't make electrons do, there are certain things you can't make plastic do, or glass do, and... or factories do, robots do, and you get into all these things, designing a product is keeping 5000 things in your brain. These concepts, and fitting them all together in... and kind of continuing to push and fit them together and in new and in different ways to get what you want. And everyday you discover something new that is new problem or new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently. It's that process that is the magic.
So we had a lot of great ideas when we started, but what I always felt that a team of people doing something that's really believing is like ... When I was a young kid, there was a widowed man lived up the street. And he was in his eighties, he was a little scary looking, and I got to know him a little bit... I think he might pay me for cutting mow his lawn or something …One day he said "come along to my garage, I want to show you something."
And he pulled out his dusty old rock tumbler, that was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them, and he said "come out with me", we went out to the back, and we got some just rocks, some regular old ugly rocks, and we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and a little bit of grits powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on, and he said, "come back tomorrow".
And this can was making rack of his stones, and I came back the next day, and we opened the can, and we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks, err... the same common stones that go in through rubbing against each other like this, creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks. And that's always been in my mind that, my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they're passionate about. It's that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other. and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these really beautiful stones.
So it's hard to explain, and it's certainly not the result of one person. I mean people like symbols, so I am the symbol of certain things. But it's really the team effort on the Mac. Now, in my life I observed something fairly early on at Apple, which … I didn't know how to explain it then, I felt a lot about sense. Most things in life, the dynamic range between average and the best, is at most 2 to 1. Like you are in New York city, you get an average Taxi cab driver versus the best Taxi cab driver, you know you would probably get to your destination with the best cab maybe 30% faster, you know in automobile. What's the difference between an average and the best? Maybe, I don't know 20%?
The best CD player and an average CD player, I don't know, 20%? 2 to 1 is a big..big dynamic range in most life. In software, and it used to be the case with hardware too. The difference between average and the best is 15 to 1, maybe a 100 to 1, Okay? Very few things in life are like this. But what I was lucky enough to spend my life in, is like this, and so I built lots of my success of finding these truly gifted people, and not settling for being C players, really going for A players. They really like working with each other, because they never had a chance to do that before, and they don't want to work with being C players, so they become self-policing, they only want to hire more A players. So you built up these pockets of A players and itpropagates, and that's what the Mac team was like, they were all A players, and these were extraordinarily talented people.
But there were also people who now say that they don't have the energy any more to work for you.
Huh, true. I think if you talk to a lot of people on the Mac team, they would tell you it was the hardest they have ever worked in their lives. Some of them would tell you it was their happiest they ever had in their lives, but all of them would tell you that it certainly is one of the most intense and cherished experiences they would ever have in their lives.
Yeah, they did.
So...err... you know, it's a … some of those things are not sustainable for some people.
What does it mean when you tell someone they work a shit?
I … it usually means they work a shit. Sometimes it means I think you work a shit, and I am wrong. Hehe, but .. it usually means that their work is not anywhere near good enough.
I have this great quote from Bill Atkinson, who says "when you say get someone to work a shit, you really mean.... I don't quite understand, would you please explain it to me?"
Haha, no, that's not usually what I meant. I... you know, when you get really good people, they know they are really good, and you don't have to baby people's ego so much, and what really matters is the work, that everybody knows that and that all that matters is the work. So people are being counted on to do specific pieces of little puzzle, and the most important thing I think you can do for somebody who's really good, and who's really being counted on is to point out to them when their work isn't good enough. And you need to do it in a way that doesn't call in questions about your confidence and abilities, but... leaves not too much room for interpretation that the work they have done for the particular thing is not good enough… to support the goal of the team.
And that's a hard thing to do. Err... I always take a very direct approach, so I think if you talk to people who worked with me, err... the really good people have found it beneficial, some people hated it you know, but … I am also one of these people, I don't really care about being right, I just care about success. So you will find a lot of people that would tell you that I had a very strong opinion, and they present evidence in contrary and 5 minutes later I can change my mind, because I'm like that, I don't mind being wrong, and I admit that I am wrong a lot, doesn't really matter to me too much. What matters to me is that we do the right thing.
So how and why did Apple get into desktop publishing, which will become Mac's killer-app?
I don't know if you know this, but we got the first Canon laser printer engine shipped to US at Apple, and we had it hooked up to a Lisa actually imaging pages before anybody, long before HP, long before Adobe. But I heard few times people tell me "hey there's these guys over the garage in Xerox PARC... let's go and see them" and I finally went and saw them, I saw what they were doing, and it was better than what we were doing. They were gonna be a hardware company they wanted to make printer and the whole thing. So I talked to them being a software company and within 2 or 3 weeks, we had cancelled our internal project.
A bunch of people wanted to kill me over this. But, we did it. And I had cut a deal with Adobe User Software, and we bought 19.9% of Adobe to Apple, they needed financing and we want a little bit control. we were off to the races so we got the engine from Canon, and we designed the first laser printer controller at Apple. We got the software from Adobe, we introduced the laser writer. No one at the company wanted to do it, but a few of us in the Mac group, everybody thought a 7000-dollar printer was crazy, what they didn't understand was that you can share it with Apple Talk, I mean they understood intellectually, but they don't understand visionary.
Because the last really expensive thing we tried to sell was Lisa. So we pushed this through, and I had basically do it through over a few "dead bodies. And we pushed this thing through and it was the first laser printer on the market as you know, and the rest of history. When I left Apple, Apple was the largest printer company, measure by revenue in the world. It lost that distinction to HP about 3 or 4 years after I left, unfortunately, but when I left it was the largest printer company in the world.
Did you envision desktop publishing, was that a no-brainer?
You know… yes, but we also envisioned really the network office, and so in January, 1995 when we had our annual meeting and introduced our new products, I made probably the largest marketing blunder of my career. Bob: 1985. Steve: 1985, sorry. Made probably the largest marketing blunder in my career by announcing the Mackintosh Office instead of just desktop publishing. And we had desktop publishing as a major component of that, but we announced a bunch of other stuff as well, and I think we should just focus on desktop publishing at that time. [After series of disagreements with Apple's CEO, John Sculley, Steve left the company in 1985.]
是的，我预见到了。但是我们同时还想推广网络办公，所以1995年发布新产品时，我犯了这辈子最大的营销错误。Bob: 是1985年。Steve: 1985年，对不起。我们发布了Mackintosh Office办公系统，其中包括桌面出版，当时应该集中力量推桌面出版，而不是所有功能一拥而上。[1985年乔布斯被CEO John Sculley排挤，离开了苹果]
Tell us your departure from Apple.
Oh it was very painful and I am not even sure if I want to talk about it. What can I say? I hired the wrong guy.
That was Sculley?
Yeah, and he destroyed something I spent 10 years working for. Starting with me, but that wasn't the saddest part. I would have gladly left Apple if Apple had turned out like I wanted it to. He basically got on a rocket ship that is about to leave the pad, and the rocket ship left the pad, and he kind of went into his head, and he got confused and thought he built the rocket ship, and he kind of changed the trajectory, so that it's inevitably gonna crash to the ground.
But there was always … in Pre-Mackintosh days and early Mackintosh days, there was always Steven and John show. You two were kinda joined at the hip for a while there.
And then something happened to spilt you, what was that, what was that?
Well, what happened was … that the industry went into a recession in late 1984, sales started seriously contracted, and John didn't know what to do, and he had not a clue. And there was a leadership vacuum at the top of Apple. There were fairly strong general managers running the divisions, and I was running the Mackintosh division, somebody else was running the Apple II division etc. There were some problems with some of the divisions, and there was a person running the storage division that was completely out of lunch. A bunch of things needed to be changed.
1984年底IT行业进入萧条期，销售业绩大幅下降，John开始惊慌失措。这时苹果公司正好群龙无首，各个部门的负责人都很强势，互不相让。我管理Mackintosh部门，有人管理Apple II 部门，还有些部门已经濒临关闭，比如存储部门，公司百废待兴。
But all those problems got put into a pressure cooker, because of this contraction in the market place, and there was no leadership, and John was in a situation where the board was not happy, and where he was probably not long for the company. And one thing I did not ever see about John, until that time was, he had incredible survival instinct. Someone once told me "this guy didn't get to be the this you know president of Pepsi co without these kind of instincts", and it was true. And John decided that a really good person to be the root of all the problems would be me. And so we came to loggerheads, and John had cultivated a very close relationship with the board, and they believed him, so that's what happened.
So there were competing visions for the company?
Oh clearly … well... not so much competing visions for the company. Because I don't think John had a vision for the company.
Well, I guess I'm asking was what was your vision at that time, lost out in sentence?
It wasn't an issue of vision, it was an issue of execution. In a sense that my belief was that Apple needed much stronger leadership to sort of unite these various factions that we created with divisions. That Macintosh was the future of Apple, that we needed to ram back expenses dramatically in the Apple II area…that we needed to be spending very heavily in the Macintosh area, err... things like that. John's vision was that he should remain the CEO of the company, and anything that would help him do that would be acceptable.
So you know I think that… you know Apple is in a state of paralysis in the early part of 1985, and I wasn't at that time capable... of running the company as a whole. You know I was 30 years old. And I don't think I had enough experiences to run a 2 billion dollar company. Unfortunately John didn't either. And so anyway… I … I was told on certain terms that there's no job for me, it's really tragic.
Yeah, It would have been far more smarter for Apple to sort of let me work on the next…I volunteered why not I start research division, you know give me a few millions bucks a year and I would go hire some really great people and we would do the next great thing. And I was told there is no opportunity to do that.
So my office was taken away, it was it was… I mean I will get really emotional if I keep talking about this. So anyway … but that's irrelevant, I am just one person and the company is a lot more people than me, that's not the most important part, the important part was the values of Apple over the next several years were systematically destroyed. [I then asked Steve for his thoughts on the state of Apple. Remember this was 1995, a year before he would go back to Apple. Remember too when Apple bought NeXT a year after this interview, Steve immediately sold the Apple stock he received as part of the sale.]
我被赶出自己的办公室，再聊下去我会发狂的，但这还不是最糟的，毕竟公司是大家的，不是我的。最糟糕的是苹果的企业文化在随后几年里被毁了。[接着我问Steve怎么看苹果的现状] [请注意当时是1995年，是他重返苹果的前一年] [苹果收购NeXT之后，他马上卖掉了到手的苹果股票]
Apple is dying today, Apple is dying a very painful death, it's on a glide slope too, to die! And the reason is because …you know when I walked out the door of Apple, we had 10 years lead on everybody else in the industry, Macintosh was 10 years ahead. We watched Microsoft take 10 years to catch up with it. Well, the reason that they could catch up with it was because Apple stood still. I mean the Macintosh shipping today is like 25% different than the day I left! They spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year on R&D, you know total of probably 5 billion dollars on R&D. What did they get for? I don't know!
But it was... what happened was the ...understanding of how to move these things forward, and how to create these new products, somehow evaporated, and I think a lot of good people stuck around for a while, but there wasn't an opportunity to get together and do this, because there wasn't any leadership to do that, so what happens with Apple now is that they had fallen behind in many aspects certainly in market share, and most importantly their differentiation has been eroded by Microsoft, and so what they have now is that they have their installed base, which is not growing, which is shrinking slowly, but would provide a good revenue stream for several years, but it's a glide slope, it's just gonna go like this. So it's unfortunate and I don't really think it's reversible at this point of time.
What about Microsoft? I mean that's the jog not now, and it's kind of Ford-LTD going into the future. It's definitely not Cadillac, it's not BMW it's just … you know … what's going on there, how did these guys do that?
Microsoft's orbit was made possible by a Saturn 5 booster called IBM. And I know Bill would get upset with me for saying this, but of course it was true. And much to Bill and Microsoft's credit they used that fantastic opportunity to create more opportunities for themselves. Most people don't remember but until 1984 with the Mac, Microsoft was not in the application business, which dominated by Lotus. And Microsoft took a big gamble, to write for the Mac. And they came out with applications that were terrible. But they kept at it and make them better. And eventually, they dominated the Macintosh application market, and then used the spring board of Windows to get into the PC market with the same applications.
And now they dominated the application business in the PC space too. So they have 2 characteristics. I think they are very strong opportunists. And I don't mean that in a bad way. And two, they are like the Japanese. They just keep on coming. And now, they were able to do that because of the revenue stream from the IBM deal. But nonetheless they made the most of it and I gave them a lot of credit for that. The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste, and what that means is... I don't mean that in a small way, I meant that in a big way in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products.
And you say why is that important, well, proportionally spaced fonts come from typesetting and beautiful books. That's where one gets the idea. If it weren't for the Mac, they would have never had that in their products.And, so I guess, I'm saddened not by Microsoft's success. I have no problem with their success. They've earned their success, for the most part. I have the problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
Their products have no spirit to them. Their products have no... sort of spirit of enlightenment about them. They are very pedestrian. And the sad part is that most customers don't have a lot of that spirit either. But the way we are going to ratch it up... our species, is to take the best, and to spread it around everybody. So that everyone grows up with better things, and start to understand the subtleties of these better things. And Microsoft is just... McDonalds. And that's what saddens me. Not that Microsoft has won, but that Microsoft products don't displayed more insight and more creativity.
So what are you doing about it? Tell us about NeXT.
Well, I am not doing anything about it.
Because NeXT is too small a company to do anything about that, I am just watching it, and there's really nothing I can do about it. [Next we talked about NeXT, the company Steve was running in 1995, which Apple was soon to buy. NeXT software would become the heart of Mac in the form of OS10.] Steve: You don't really want to hear about NeXT, do you?
NeXT太小了，我只能眼睁睁看着，无能为力。[接着我们聊到Jobs正在经营的NeXT公司] [NeXT被苹果收购后，很快成为Mac OS10的研发主力] Steve: 你大概没兴趣听我聊NeXT吧？
Yes, I do.
You do? Okay, well... maybe the best things take so much time, I just tell you what NeXT is today. There hasn't been … clearly the innovation of computer industry is happening in software right now, and there hasn't been a revolution in how we create software in a long... (sneeze) Sorry. The innovation in the industry is in software, and there hasn't ever been a real revolution how we created software, certainly nonetheless in 20 years . As a matter of fact, it's getting worse.
Well, Macintosh was a revolution for the end users to make it easier to use, it was the opposite for the developer, the developer pays the price, and the software got more complicated to write, as it became easier to use for the end user, so software is impetrating everything we do these days, in businesses software is one of the most important pop competitive weapons. I mean it's the most successful business war was MCI friends and family in the last 10 years, and what was that? It was a brilliant idea it was custom-billing software. AT&T didn't respond for 18 months yielding millions of dollars for the market share to MCI.
Not because they are stupid, but because they couldn't get the billing software done. So in ways like that, in smaller ways, software is becoming an incredible force in this world, to provide new goods and services to people whether it's over the Internet or what have you, software is going to be a major enabler in our society. We have taken another...one of those brilliant original ideas from Xerox PARC that I saw in 1979, but didn't see really clearly then, called object oriented technology, and we have perfected it and commercialized it, here and become the biggest supplier ever to the market, and this object technology let you build software 10 times faster, and it's better. So that's what we do, and we got a small to medium sized business, a large supplier of objects, you know we were 50 to 75 million dollar company, got about 300 people, and that's what we do.
And the end of the 3rd show, actually is one moment that we do look into the future, because channel 4 has asked us to do that. So what's your vision of 10 years from now, with this technology that you are developing?
You know I think the internet and the web…there are two exciting things happening in software and in computing, one is objects, and the other is the web, the web is incredibly exciting because it fulfilled a lot of our dreams, that the computer would ultimately not primarily a device for computation but metamorphosis a device for communication, and with the web that's finally happening, Secondly it's exciting because the Microsoft doesn't know it, and therefore it's tremendous amount of innovation happening.
So I think the web is going to be profound in what it does to our society. As you know 15% of the goods and services in the US were sold by catalog over TV. All that would go on the web and more, billions and billions …soon tens of billions of dollars of goods and services are going to be sold on the web. A way to think about it is ultimately directed customer distribution channel, and another way to think about it is the smallest company in the world can look as large as the largest company in the world on the web.
So I guess... I think the web, if we look back 10 years back now. The web is going to be a defining technology a defining social moment for computing. I think it's going to be huge and I think it brews a whole new generation of life into personal computing, I think it's going to be huge.
And you are making software that …
Of course, so is everybody, I mean forget about what we are doing, as an industry, the web is going to open a whole new door to this industry.
It's another one of those things that it's obvious once it happens, but 5 years ago, who would have guessed?
That's right. Isn't this a wonderful place we are in.
[I was keen to know about Steve's passion, what drove him?]
I read an article when I was very young, in the Scientific American, and it measures the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. So for you know for bear, Chimpanzee, raccoons and birds, and fish, how many calories per kilometer they spend to move, and humans was measured too, the condor won, it was the most efficient, and the mankind, the crowned creation, came in with rather unimpressive showing about 3rd way down the list, but somebody there had the brilliance to test a human riding a bicycle, blew away the condor, all the way off the charts, and I remember this really had an impact on me. I really remember this - humans were tool builders, and we build tools that can dramatically amplify our human abilities.
To me, we actually went an ad line earlier with Apple, that the personal computer was the bicycle of mind, and I believe that with every bone in my body, that of all the inventions of humans, the computer is going to rank near, if not at the top, as history unfolds if we look back, and it is the most awesome tool that we ever invented, and I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in silicon valley, at exactly the right time, historically where this invention has taken form. As you know when you set vector off in space, if you can change direction a little bit at the beginning, it's dramatic when it gets few miles on space, and I feel we are still really at the beginning of that vector, and if we can nudge it into right directions, it would be a much better thing as progresses on. And I look, you know we had the chance to do that a few times, and it brings all of us associated with tremendous satisfaction.
And how do you know what's the right direction?
You know ultimately it comes down to taste, it comes down to taste, it comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done, and try to bring these things in to what you are doing. Picasso had a saying "good artists copy, great artists steal", we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that people working on it were musicians, and poets and artists, and zoologists and historians, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. But if it hadn't been computer science, these people would have all been doing amazing things in other fields, and they all brought with them, we all brought to this effort a very liberal arts sort of air, a very liberal arts attitude that we want to pull in the best that we saw in other fields into this field, and I don't think you'll get that if you are very narrow.
One of the questions I asked everyone in the series was are you a hippie or a nerd?
Oh if I had to pick one out of these two, I am clearly the hippie, all the people I work with were clearly that category too.
Why? You seek out hippies? They are attracting to you?
Well, ask yourself what's hippie? I mean this word has a lot of connotations, but to me, remember the 60's happens in the early 70's, we have to remember that, that's sort when I came of age, so I saw a lot of these, and a lot of things happened in our backyard here. So to me the spark of that was that there was something beyond, sort of what you see every day, there are something going on here in life beyond just a job, a family, 2 cars in the garage and a career.
There's something more going on, there's another side of the coin, that we don't talk about much. and we experience when there are gaps, when we kind of aren't... when everything is not ordered or perfect and when there's a kind of gap, you experience this inrush of something, and a lot of people have set off to find out what that was, you know whether it's the road or the Indian mystics, whatever it might be, and the hippie movement got a little bit like that, they want to find out what that was about, and life wasn't about what they saw their parents doing, and of course the pendulum swung too far the other way, that was too crazy. but there was a germ of something there, and it's the same thing that causes people to want to be poets instead of bankers, and I think that's a wonderful thing. And I think that same spirit can be put into products, and these products can be manufactured and given to people, they can sense that spirit.
If you talk to the people who use the Macintosh, they love it, you don't hear people loving products very often, you know, really, but you can feel it in there, there were something really wonderful there, So I don't think that most of those really best people that I had worked with, had worked with computers for the sake of working with computers, they work with computers because they are the medium that is best capable of transmitting some feelings that you have. You want to share with other people, does that make any sense to you?
And before they invented these things all of these people would have done other things, but computers were invented and they did come along, all these people did get interested in school or before school, and say "hey this is the medium that I think I can really say something in".
In 1996, a year after this interview, Steve Jobs sold NeXT to Apple. He then took control of his old company at a time when it was 90 days from bankruptcy, what followed was a corporate renaissance unparalleled in American business history, with innovative products like iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad and Apple Stores, Jobs turned an almost bankrupt Apple into the most valuable company in America. As he said in this interview, he took the best and spread it around "so that everybody grows up with better things".