Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
In this candid, in-depth interview with the late visionary filmed in 1995, Steve Jobs discusses at length his early days, career battles, and vision for the future. Small portions of the piece were used for
a television series at the time, but the vast majority was shelved and for 17 years thought to be lost. Resurfacing, it is being presented in its entirety, providing a fascinating look at Jobs at a particularly interesting moment in his career, two years before he would go on to retake control of Apple.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Early in the interview, he was talking about business and he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that he would always question "business as usual," and offered the example of cost accounting and inventory control while at Apple in the days of the Apple II. He was told that the accountants would estimate inventory costs and then adjust the estimate at the close of a quarter when the actual results could be calculated. When he asked why it was done that way, they said, "... because that's the way we've always done it." And, when he pressed further, they explained that they didn't have accurate data because system controls weren't very good... and that was the real reason. This segment was part of a longer monologue about thinking and how critical thinking were brought to bear to produce the MacIntosh and, now as we know, future Apple products.
One of the things that was so useful about this particular interview was Bob Cringely's own curiosity and a willingness to just let Steve riff. Simple questions: why'd you do that? what happened when? etc. So unlike Walter Isaacson's biography that seemed so filtered by the author's desire to overly dramatize the events of Steve's life, this was just Steve enriching each answer like a skilled raconteur, imbuing them with anecdotes and his own pointed opinions.
Towards the end of the interview, when speaking about NeXT, he begins to speak about the Web and Internet. I had to remind myself this was 1995. Arpanet email had only been introduced in 1970 or '71. Microsoft's first MS Mail client was released for the Mac in 1988. Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first web browser using a NeXT computer in 1990. All of this stuff was very, very new! But, in this 1995 tape, Jobs was speaking about the Web as if it was going to be this remarkably powerful networking tool because it could be used so that people could communicate and (again I'm paraphrasing) he spoke about things like printed catalogs and product distribution and the billions of dollars of business that would, relatively soon take place on the web. In hind sight, this acknowledgement was ridiculously prophetic. It was either a great guess or demonstrated a remarkably thoughtful mind at work in developing an extremely plausible hypothesis.
Lots to be learned by this interview and so well worth watching!
The most fascinating aspect of the interview was seeing the seeds in the mid 90's that would eventually germinate into modern day Apple. For example:
1) Steve's focus on product over process ensured that quality and user experience was never compromised.
2) The sadness he felt when he said Apple was being destroyed led to the cash hoard the buoyed the stock during the great recession
3) Steve's love of the liberal arts and admission that Microsoft has 'no taste' led to artful devices
4) It only seems natural that after his hacking into phones as a child, his mission to alter humanity was executed through a phone
5) His belief that for every hardware hobbyist, there were 1000 hobbyists that would prefer the Apple 1 hardware pre assembled led to the development of the ecosystem and Apple telling consumers what they need rather than the converse
6) His divestiture of control that ultimately led to his firing from Apple was recouped in a 'Top-Down' leadership style for his next tenure there
7) NeXt and Steve's exposure to the internet and software led him to make comments in the tail end of the interview that proved to be very true regarding e-commerce, free thought, and the experience of communicating...5 years before the dot com boom
8) Steve's mastery of factories, tooling, and understanding the process from idea to product led to a vertically integrated Apple
9) His witness of the failure of Xerox to capture the entire computing market when they had a chance led to Steve's focus on hiring and promoting highly skilled employees rather than generalists
10) Steve's own admissions of mistakes he made, while candid, were ultimately too painful for him to share. Some mistakes were even irreversible; this is a man whose passions and brilliance ultimately allowed the world to experience life as it never has before, at the cost of his own.
I highly recommend every employee, CEO, investor, consumer, passionate soul out there watch this modest yet powerful interview. 5 stars. RIP Steve Jobs
When I was a kid, I made a ham radio and a small, very basic computer. It was exciting, and my parents thought I was crazy. I grew up and went to one of those business schools that the magazines often rate as number one. Yes, they have courses like "innovation", but it is really process. Big businesses that hire MBAs from schools like mine want process. They want to strengthen the "thing" that makes them money, and not destroy it. Jobs refers to Xerox as becoming one of those places. That is where Sculley will succeed, and that is where he is valuable. They make a lot of money. And they need people like Sculley to keep the process going and sell more widgets.
Jobs wouldn't survive five minutes there, or at most businesses that protect their base, speak to innovation, but don't really do it. Jobs is the real thing if you want something new. It would be impossible for them to "manage" Jobs even if he did happen to get a job at, say, IBM. He would say something wrong and get fired, or quit out of exhasperation. Jobs might eventually make a compnay more money, but the company couldn't suppress him, or contain him. He builds things because of it's poetry.
Do you get what I am saying? Watch the interview and you will see.
I hope, as we re-gear our educational and work system, that there are still people like Jobs out there - and a place for them to thrive. Because that is where the great leaps are.