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Apple Businesses

The Man Behind Apple And Pixar 331

Posted by Zonk
from the he's-just-a-man dept.
Ant writes "Steve Jobs is the chief executive of two of the most powerful technology brands in the world: Apple and Pixar. But what motivates him? And how does he choose a new washing machine? An article in the Independent explores this much loved and much hated man." From the article: "Alan Deutschmann, a journalist who researched Jobs's middle years for a biography called The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, believes he displays two personalities in his dealings with people: Good Steve and Bad Steve. The Good side is charming, and can make people believe almost anything; that's the side on public view at the rock-star product launches. He's been said to have a 'reality distortion field' - by a mixture of charm and exaggeration, he can make you believe pretty much anything."
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The Man Behind Apple And Pixar

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  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:46AM (#13913128)
    One of the more interesting paragraphs in an article of otherwise rehashed details this:

    Jobs is a fiendishly good negotiator, a skill honed in the 1970s, when he charmed every supplier in Silicon Valley into providing parts for the first Apple computers. It's this ability that makes him valuable to Pixar, where Jobs isn't so involved in the production side (that is handled by John Lasseter). Jobs's role was to write the cheques (which nearly bankrupted him, until the company was floated) and barter with film studios. Which he did with accomplishment: Disney gave in to Pixar, and is presently trying to woo it back to a new distribution deal - a deal that Jobs is making Disney give up all sorts of favours for, like providing content in the form of TV shows for his Apple iTunes store. The giant Disney, kowtowing to the tiny Apple? A bizarre reversal.
    An interesting speculation, which would explain how Jobs was able to get Disney to be the first to put TV on ITMS - anyone remember how scared Disney was of DVD's for quite some time? Uses Pixar as leverage is diabolically clever. And it's even hinted at by the only other non-music video for sale being Pixar shorts.
    • by johndierks (784521) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:38AM (#13913270)
      I think technically it would be illegal for Steve to barter a Pixar distribution deal for content for the Apple ITMS, as it would basically boil down to a conflict of interest.

      Steve is responsible to both sets of share holders, and if he agreed to a give one for the other, he could possibly be robbing one set of share holders to give to the other.

      I'm not saying that Pixar had nothing to do with the Disney/ITMS deal, but more than anything I think it could only have been a sign of good faith on Disney's side.
      • by aratuk (524269) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:04AM (#13913340)
        I think it could only have been a sign of good faith on Disney's side.

        Yes, exactly. Disney knows his personality, and they want Good Steve. Good Steve, only human, is transferable from Apple to Pixar. And it's not like they stand to lose anything selling a few shows on the Internet.
        Also, I don't think it's necessarily bad for Pixar to have Steve Jobs get buttered up by Disney. Pixar without Disney faces a difficult distribution problem, where either Pixar has to develop the ability to distribute, market, and merchandise its own movies (expensive, risky), or find a new partner (let's face it: who is the master of selling animated movies to children?). Pixar has probably just been holding out for Disney to offer a better deal. Or maybe they'll just sell all future movies through iTunes... after all, no overhead.
    • Uses Pixar as leverage is diabolically clever

      I wouldn't want to be a shareholder in Pixar with this kind of deal going on. It amounts to a cash transfer from Pixar to Apple.

    • Uses Pixar as leverage is diabolically clever.

      But Microsoft using it's market share as leverage against South Korea is evil?

      Oh, wait. I forgot we were talking about Apple. Steve Jobs could kidnap and use Eisner's grandbabies as leverage against Disney and it would still be "diabolically clever".

    • Didn't anyone notice that Disney is getting paid for those TV shows? They've dipped a toe in the water, to see whether online distribution will work out. Why do people have to construct vast Machiavellian conspiracy fantasies to explain a simple business transaction?

      -jcr
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The giant Disney, kowtowing to the tiny Apple? A bizarre reversal.
      Giant vs tiny? Disney's market cap is 48B [yahoo.com], compared to Apple's 46B. [yahoo.com] Not a huge difference.
  • Flipsides (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:48AM (#13913133) Journal

    Walk around the campus at Microsoft, or across to Cafe Macs in Cupertino, and you come across the same sort of casual arrogance - both sets of employees generally (there are exceptions :-) think they're in the best place to be.

    In Microsoft's case, it's because they're the most successful computer company in the world, bar none. That they're on pretty much every desktop (or at least 90% or so of them), and that what they do, matters. Microsoft is all to do with preserving and increasing that user-base, and delivering what (mainly business) requires to do so.

    In Apple's case, it's more insidious (possibly that's being harsh, perhaps 'subtle') - Apple engineers think they make the best computers. Bar none. They don't think they're the most popular (there's an implied 'yet' in that statement), but they do think they're the best. Apple is all to do with ease-of-use, attention-to-detail, and a good experience. They invest thought.

    Some of the Apple attitude comes from having the potential for Steve Jobs to "take an interest" in your project. You *really* want it to measure up, if he does, and Mr. Jobs (to you!) is a perfectionist. This does keep people on their toes, but I wonder how often it *really* happens.

    There's more though - the 'ease-of-use' is a mantra to the Apple employees I've met. They really care how their software is perceived, and I think it shows in the product. Sure, there are business decisions that override engineering wishes, but it seems to be less the case at Apple than anywhere else. I think that comes from the top (SJ) as well.

    For me, back then, Apple computers sucked big time before OS-X came out. The focus of the company was pointed in a different direction. Now they woo techies, artists, movie-people, graphics designers, and business (with the 'office' suite) alike. For me, now, an OS-X machine with 2 cinema-displays is the best damn unix workstation I've ever used, and I've been using Linux since it came on floppies, Irix (ok, that was a close second), SunOS, Solaris, HPUX, etc...

    I personally think SJ has done well - long may he continue, especially as I have some stock in the company I bought a while back when it was a lot lower :-)

    Simon.
    • Re:Flipsides (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheGSRGuy (901647) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:08AM (#13913191)
      "Walk around the campus at Microsoft, or across to Cafe Macs in Cupertino, and you come across the same sort of casual arrogance - both sets of employees generally (there are exceptions :-) think they're in the best place to be."

      So? What's wrong with taking pride in the company you work for? I applaud someone who respects the company they work for. There's countless white-collar jobs that are staffed by people who downright hate the company they work for and can't agree with a single part of the corporate statement.

      Those with the good attitudes are the most productive and best employees.
      • Re:Flipsides (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ankarbass (882629) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:25AM (#13913232)
        I don't think that the OP was saying there was anything wrong with it, just that it's the culture of those places. It sounded more to me like he was drawing some parallels between working for MS and Apple.

        I think he was further suggesting that the culture is perhaps a bit larger than life, that is, Jobs doesn't walk up to your cubicle all that often to see what you are doing even though people stay on their toes because they expect it might happen. Or, they wish it would happen...oh pick me Mr Jobs!!!

        I can't imagine development at either job place is low pressure. But, I can't imagine too many places other places where the opportunity has so much potential either. Not that I'd work at either place, it's just not my cup of tea.
    • Re:Flipsides (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:08AM (#13913193)
      In an interesting interview with Bob Cringely on NerdTV, Dave Winer calls Bill Gates "our generation's tragic figure". His reasoning is that Bill Gates is the son who was not going to repeat the same mistake of the father, IBM.

      If Bill Gates lived the life of the tragic figure, Steve Jobs is living the life of the classic hero. Banished and left for the dustbin of computer history, Jobs returns to Apple, after many years of isolation, and became Apple's savior.
      • Full of Shit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by David Off (101038) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:59AM (#13913330) Homepage
        Back around the Gulf war Cringely made another observation about the duo which I like. He said Gates was like the Sultan of Kuwait, not wanting the boat rocked and milking the profits from his empire. Jobs was like Hussein, firing his revolver in the air in front of a crowd of fanatics and telling the rest of the world that they are "full of shit".

        If you want a very good book about Apple [apple2history.org] up to the time of Sculley and Jobs' early years try to get hold of The Journey is the Reward [amazon.com] by Jeffery Young. West of Eden, the End of Innocence at Apple Computer [amazon.com] by Frank Rose is also another good book at this time. Oh, and if you want a laff read Sculley's book Odyssey [amazon.com] - a more talentless f*ck and bigger blowhard you could not wish to hire to ruin your business, the guy obviously only made it by marrying the boss's daughter. Sculley is all that is wrong with corporate America. The book must rank with "The Road Ahead" as the deranged ramblings of someone who just didn't get it. :-)

    • by putko (753330)
      I never liked the Macs and their frilly user interface. Being a Unix geek, I just wanted a set of Unix-like (or better tools).

      Some things, like Macscheme, really impressed me though.

      I remember working with their development tools (Neal Stephenson wrote the same) and being surprised to see that they were put together like a bunch of Unix tools --- command line, pipes and so on -- but, it was a like a version of the Unix tools put together by two teenage brothers, and one was unfortunately a bit "special" --
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Well, here's the problem. The Mac, and the entire Apple experience, is intuitive for a certain kind of person. Artists, fashion mavens, leftists, and other creative personalities can sit in front of a 12-inch PowerBook and just "get it," but accountants and everyday pencil-pushers don't have a prayer. Unattractive squares should stick to Linux and Windows. Macs are for different thinkers.

        Evidence?
        http://img493.imageshack.us/img493/1213/5635563kp. jpg [imageshack.us] *NEW!*
        http://img493.imageshack.us/img493/3217/473a516bu. [imageshack.us]
        • Those are some amazing photos!

          I can easily imagine that the pasty-faced, unattractive geeks are probably never going to buy anything from Apple -- they'll just get a Rio if they want a music player.

          Now I get it -- I just want a computer with a big bitmapped display to run emacs. I run "fvwm" as my window manager, for instance. So I'd probably never "get" the Apple bug enough to shell out for the experience.
      • by be-fan (61476)
        I never liked the Macs and their frilly user interface. Being a Unix geek, I just wanted a set of Unix-like (or better tools).

        You know, I'm the same way. However, I recently bought a PowerMac, and it really is a wonderful machine. A lot of the standard UNIX apps are even better on OS X than on Linux. Emacs, in particular, is miles ahead, supporting an interface that actually blends in with the Aqua UI, and sports anti-aliased fonts and a Mac-style top menubar. The only caveat is that the default terminal ap
      • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:37AM (#13913390) Homepage
        Their insistence on the "resource" fork always struck me as idiotic: data is data. If it is in a file, it is a bunch of bytes (or even blocks of bytes) -- no need to have separate "meta" information.

        Resource forks are sensible given their purpose: to allow strings, in-program graphics, sounds, etc. to be tweaked without having to recompile or have necessary files outside of the application itself.

        This way localization and some UI changes could be made without having to know how to change the source directly. Translators that can program are more costly than translators that can fiddle with ResEdit. Early on it was also hoped that files could use them productively (e.g. a text file that was raw text in the data fork, so that lesser systems could still read it, but with formatting in the resource fork) but this didn't really work out.

        Application bundles (folders that masquerade as actual programs, and contain all the various resources in separate files) are a different way of accomplishing the same goal, basically. They're not quite as good, since they're known to break and revert back to behaving like folders, but it's better than what you see on other platforms.

        At any rate, given that you seem to actually be complaining about metadata, this indicates that you have no idea what a resource fork is and probably never seriously used a Mac. Metadata (which is invaluable) is known on pretty much all platforms to one degree or another. Filenames, permissions, modification dates -- these are all metadata, and may or may not be portable across platforms. The Mac had some additional metadata -- custom icons, file types, which app should open a particular file, etc. -- and it improved the usability of the system. Frankly, we could do with yet more.

        Of course, if you like to tell software what sectors on the disk to read instead of using filenames, which are metadata, more power to you. But most people aren't that crazy.

        That drove me nuts -- it meant you couldn't easily make tools (as in any Unix environment), because you had to be willing to do resource fork stuff.

        Meh. As a rule of thumb, doing a task in software takes a set amount of work. The more work that the programmer does once, the less work that the user will have to do repeatedly. So programming should be comparatively hard, in order to make use quite easy.

        Now, the form of use that consists of creating more tools should also be easy, but that requires a hell of a lot of work by programmers to make it so. Recently, Apple has put out Automator, which is handy, but still needs significant work. Applescript was an interesting attempt, but really didn't work out well for most people.
      • by DLWormwood (154934) <wormwood@m[ ]om ['e.c' in gap]> on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:45AM (#13913407) Homepage
        Their insistence on the "resource" fork always struck me as idiotic: data is data. If it is in a file, it is a bunch of bytes (or even blocks of bytes) -- no need to have separate "meta" information.

        "Insistence" is really the wrong word. After Jobs' return, many of the NeXT developers tried to deprecate such traditional Mac-isms, but the established Mac developer base, as well as many users (especially in the publishing/graphic arts marketspace), balked.

        The original point of the resource fork was to provide a system wide "poor man's database" so that any arbitrary application or data file could have arbitrary tagged data appended to it without breaking or confusing apps that originally read the file. For example, to add publishing keywords to a graphics file in its data fork, you have to worry if you are working with a EPS, JPEG, PSD, TIFF or whatever. Each file format has it's own way of storing metadata and added info that are mostly incompatible with each other. However, assuming you are in a mostly Mac-based shop, you can simply add a "IPTC" resource to the file's resource fork, and you have added keyword data without worrying about the contents or exact format of the file in question, even if it's a file format yet to be invented.

        After the early virus problems with System 4-6 OSes, Apple tried to start migrating away from resources to trying to develop a form of "universal container" file format. QuickTime's MOV format and disk images are two such stabs. However, this doesn't solve the compatiblity problem with the "outside world" since that just moves the problem from trying to NOT ignore a secondary data stream (that is, the resource fork) to the problem of insuring all file I/O goes through a "standard container file access" library.

        it meant you couldn't easily make tools (as in any Unix environment), because you had to be willing to do resource fork stuff. That sort of thing convinced me that the Mac was half-baked, and I should just stick to BSD-derived OSes.

        OS X is more or less a BSD-variant. It has more in common with a BSD than the System V derived UNIXes like Linux is alleged to be. As for the tool making problem, under recent OS X releases, you can treat the resource fork of a file like a subdirectory named "/rsrc" in most contexts. This is similar to what Windows needs to access NTFS stream data.

        • by putko (753330)
          Thanks very much for the explanation of their technical decisions!

          It is interesting to hear that a bunch of the Mach guys thought like Unix geeks -- somehow they Mac-juju didn't stick to them permanently (if it ever did). I just assumed they'd all drunk Steve Job's Kool Aid. Now I'm old enough to figure that he probably told them, "my way or the highway," and they chose to keep their job and do it his way.

          I can imagine that they wanted a cleaner approach to files (that would map to Mach better), and then a
          • by DLWormwood (154934) <wormwood@m[ ]om ['e.c' in gap]> on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:29AM (#13913534) Homepage
            somehow they Mac-juju didn't stick to them permanently (if it ever did). I just assumed they'd all drunk Steve Job's Kool Aid.

            If you read the article or read some of the other threads here, you'd see reference to the fact that Steve's "reality distortion field" quickly wears off when he stops talking.

            For the record, I love the Mac platform not because of Apple, but in spite of them. When I first got exposed to HyperCard and QuickDraw/QuickTime and the OS's prior lack of command line, the OS seems like the "OS of tommorow" to me. OS X's embracing of various UNIX and Windows technologies feels to me like going back to "primative times" to me; I'm really surprised by the cultural inertia of the command line and the flat file system. It feels like that I'm dealing with things that I'd thought I'd left behind after using TRS-80's, TI-99/4a's, and VAXen in my distant past...

            I'm surprised that they've still got the resource stuff in there -- in the form of "/rsrc". But I guess you can't break all the old apps that need it.

            Besides the "rsrc" path extension trick, Apple introduced the "file package" concept where a directory of files is presented to the end user as a single "file" in the Finder. Such a package can store Carbon accessable resource data as flat files easily portable to Unix/Windows systems, although they still need special treatment to read the specially formatted data within. Also, when saving Mac files on non-HFS systems, the Mac OS will create "dot underscore" files next to the original data files. This behavior drives many server admins nuts, I've been told.

            it is interesting to hear your take on Quicktime.

            My take's unusual because I've rarely used QT for it's "intended purpose." QuickTime is a "layer," not a "player." It's a comprehensive API and set of routines for processing media (time-based, static, and even algorithmic like sprites and MIDI) related metadata and processing. Its design intention is more encompansing of functionality than Windows Media or Real. It also, sadly, a much older procedural API, so it doesn't mesh well with Cocoa development and can feel backwords when trying to use QuickTime within a modern OOP development environment. With the fading away of multimedia CDs and what not, iTunes and the iPod are the only thing keeping QT in widespread use.

            That said, my perpective may be a little off from consensus; I wasn't using them when the Macs were first released (those TRS-80's remember? (-;). You might get a better insight into what made the Mac and its surrounding culture so facinating by visiting the quasi-blog site called Folklore.org [folklore.org]; lots of Mac development information straight from the developer's keyboards.

            • by tciny (783938) on Monday October 31, 2005 @06:43AM (#13913918)
              >> With the fading away of multimedia CDs and what not, iTunes and the iPod are the only thing keeping QT in widespread use.

              When looking at the movie/effects etc. industry you will find that QuickTime is by far the most popular way to encode Video. Especially because of all the different codecs supported by default (Pixlet, H264, Animation/Lossless). It's the only format I know of that supports such a wide range of ecoding methods and where you can be absolutely sure that when another person has this package installed, it WILL work.
        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:59AM (#13914961) Homepage
          "Informative" indeed. I was a Windows/Unix guy for years enticed by the unixy nature of macintoshes, so I migrated. At first, I was completely put off by the idea of resource forks. Data that could magically disappear if you copied the file "the wrong way"? Wouldn't be so bad, except the "wrong way" was through FTP, SMB, HTTP, or even just through the command line. Crazy stuff.

          Then I learned more about them, and largely, they aren't so ridiculous. Maybe there'd be a better technical way to accomplish the same thing, but it's essentially a way to attach meta-data, which is a good thing. How many times do you hear that database-like file systems are the future? Well, you're going to need metadata somehow, and as you mention, you can't just start throwing it in arbitrarily to the data forks of various file-types, because different formats won't all allow the metadata to be stored in the same way and in the same place.

          Mostly, there isn't anything super-important in the resource fork anyhow. At least, there shouldn't be. I guess you could create an empty text file and store your text in the resource fork instead, but why would you? Mostly it's things like thumbnails, tag words, icons, and program associations. And when I say "program associations", I mean that I can set JPGs, by default, to open in Preview, but then set a particular JPG to open in Photoshop, and the instructions for the particular JPG to open in Photoshop would be held in the resource fork. So it's mostly things that are useful, but if you lose them, it's not a huge deal.

          Of course there are some exceptions. Often icon or font files are store their data only in the resource fork (though that need not be the case). On the other hand, if you want to protect your resource fork on a file system or while passing through a transmission that does not support them, you can use Stuffit, Tiger's built-in zip functionality, or a disk image. Also, in the newest versions of OSX, Apple's addressed many of the problems with command-line tools dropping the resource forks.


        • Well, actually the resource fork was incredibly useful in the Macintosh Applications at the time. Remember that because all of the graphics, text strings, etc were in the resource fork of the application, most applications did not require an installer at all. You simply copied the application somewhere and ran it. To uninstall it, you just deleted it. That is pretty nice compared to having to have the mishmash of package managers and then other programs that install themselves without package managers a
      • by abb3w (696381)
        Their insistence on the "resource" fork always struck me as idiotic: data is data. If it is in a file, it is a bunch of bytes (or even blocks of bytes) -- no need to have separate "meta" information.

        It's not much stupider than using a three-char postfixed extension to describe whether a file is a word processing document, executable application, picture, spreadsheet, or binary random data for one-time-pad encryption.

        Having messed around on Mac, PC, and Linux, I felt the real weakness of the resource for

    • Apple engineers think they make the best computers.

      That would be because Apple does make the best computers, at least in their price range. Of course, considering the flimsy, fragile shit that the Dells and Sonys of the world make, that's not very hard.

      The problem in the Windows world is that most of the profit ends up in microsoft's hands, and the hardware vendors are left to compete on price alone. When they attempt to differentiate their offerings, MS smacks them down hard. PC vendors really do have
  • Dressing up as Steve Jobs is not only the easiest to make Halloween costume ever(Black turtleneck and jeans), you can also wear the costume to work at a lot of places!
  • by Shanep (68243) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:03AM (#13913175) Homepage
    He's been said to have a 'reality distortion field' - by a mixture of charm and exaggeration, he can make you believe pretty much anything.

    I hear that it is even said, that he has managed, with the use of this "reality distortion field", to make many people believe that Apple systems have had far fewer virus, security and stability problems!

    A little known secret, is that Apple sells this so called "reality distortion field" [apple.com] here. [apple.com]
    • You think that's cool, how about raising Apple's market capitalization by $43 billion in just eight years?

      As for the "Reality Distortion Field", that phrase is just a journalist's way of sneering at inspiration and leadership.

      -jcr

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Money.
    • by JJSpreij (84475) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:33AM (#13913382)
      Jobs could be milking Apple for a lot more than $1 per year, if he was really motivated by money....

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs [wikipedia.org]

      Jobs worked at Apple for several years with an annual salary of $1, and this earned him a listing in Guinness World Records as the "Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer". At the 2001 keynote speech of Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the company dropped the "interim" from his title. His current salary at Apple officially remains $1 per year, although he has traditionally been the recipient of a number of lucrative "executive gifts" from the board, including a $90 million jet in 1999, and just under 30 million shares of restricted stock in 2000-2002. As such, Jobs is well compensated for his efforts at Apple despite the nominal one-dollar salary.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "He's been said to have a 'reality distortion field' - by a mixture of charm and exaggeration, he can make you believe pretty much anything."

    Granny smith Apples are NOT better than golden delicious.
  • Apple Store (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snuggly_Soft (647073) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:14AM (#13913204)
    Everyone, including the author of this article, seems to forget the apple store in describing the second coming of Jobs. iPod and iTunes have been a boon for apple, but no one cares to speculate about how much a 'mall presence' had to do with any of it... IMO, the store isn't a footnote here, it's a keystone.
  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:15AM (#13913205)
    How many times does Jobs' procedure to buy a washing machine have to be covered?
  • Bad Steve stories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:26AM (#13913238)
    Here's a couple of examples of Bad Steve.

    First story. Back in 1983, Steve was a frequent visitor to Apple's Bandley 3 building where the original Mac was under development. After all, he was the de facto project manager, as well as the company CEO. (Incidentally, that was the building with the grand piano in the foyer with guest pianists for the residents as well as weekly massages if they wished, as well as other minor benefits.)

    Steve was driving a BMW 3 series at the time and although his office was only a few hundred yards from Bandley 3 he always drove over for progress reports, etc. Being a busy guy, he also had the habit of parking in the nearest empty parking spot to the entrance, which almost inevitably was one of a places reserved for handicapped drivers. One day, somebody became fed up with this and left a notice on his windshield to the effect that the these spots were intended for the physically, rather than the emotionally, handicapped.

    Steve wasn't a happy camper. He raged into the building and instructed the Mac team management team to "find out who did this and fire their ass". Of course, they didn't find the guy....

    Apparantly Steve didn't learn from this - I've been told there was a similar incident some years later at Mariani 1 building.

    Second story. About six months before the release of the Mac, Ernie (forgotten his last name) completed the layout of the system PCB. Steve didn't like it (wasn't aethetically pleasing to him, I guess) and he described in some detail how he would like the board to be laid out. This included placement of the processor and (in particular) the placement and distance apart of the RAM chips. Remember, this was a PCB destined for a closed system that required non-standard tools to open the case, so it was never intended to be seen by customers. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the RAM became less stable when placed as Steve directed, and about six weeks was wasted trying to make the new board work on margins. Eventually one of the hardware engineers convinced him of the folly of visual aethetics in PCB design.

    I guess Steve's reality distortion field didn't work on RAM chips.
    • After all, he was the de facto project manager, as well as the company CEO.

      Actually, that's not true. Steve was never actually CEO prior to his return to Apple in 1997. The CEO in 1983 was Mike Markkula prior to Steve's hiring of John Sculley for the job later that year.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      i watched him park in the FIRE zone in front with his car a year back. he then walked swiftly into the building avoiding eye contact with everyone, including while inside. (no way to chat with him that way i suspect).

      BTW : though he parks in the fire lane at times, and ALWAYS drives in the commuter-car-pool lane on the highway on the way to work (illegally), he personally drops off his kids at school in his car and not the maids. HE him HIMSELF really!!!!! (on the way to work).

      Steve jobs is right most of th
      • I grew up in Atherton California which is one of the towns in the area where Steve and Larry Ellison pal around. Apparently Steve's favorite sushi restaurant was this tiny place in Menlo Park (Toshi's... now called Koma) which I happened to go to one night for my birthday. Sure enough, parked just around the corner from the entrance were two silver Mercedes AMG S class sedans parked right smack in the fire lane and inside, Steve and Larry were having dinner.

        It sort of pissed me off until I realized that, t
        • by LS (57954) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:47AM (#13914472) Homepage
          Come now, these perks are not in order at the public's expense. They can walk a few feet, it would be good for their health, and it would prevent problems in case the building ACTUALLY DID catch on fire. This is besides the fact that it pisses everyone off that they believe themselves somehow superior to the rest of the public. They can get all the perks they want on Apple and Oracle private property. The city is not their property, sorry.

          LS
    • Re:Bad Steve stories (Score:4, Informative)

      by laurensv (601085) on Monday October 31, 2005 @06:23AM (#13913840) Homepage
      "Being a busy guy, he also had the habit of parking in the nearest empty parking spot to the entrance, which almost inevitably was one of a places reserved for handicapped drivers."
      I heard/read that story too but with a bit more information on why he did. As he had "pirated" the mac group, previously not believing in it, there was a lot of resentment from outside (because he now favored mac project) and inside (some didn't want him as their boss), even so that some scratched his car. So he parked in full view in front.
  • by cperciva (102828) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:31AM (#13913250) Homepage
    what motivates him? And how does he choose a new washing machine?

    Well, I'm glad the important questions were asked. I know when I meet someone new, the second thing I ask is always how they choose a new washing machine.
  • by Biotech9 (704202) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:36AM (#13913264) Homepage
    It took me a while to find what he actually ended up buying. It was a Miele [miele.com] washer. Premium German engineering of course.

    In another more detailed interview [wired.com],


    Steve went on, "It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something.... Most people don't take the time to do that." He then proceeded to tell a story that both sheds light on his private life and gives some insight into the decision-making process that often turns life into a hell for people who work with him. Making the point that design isn't just an issue for "fancy new gadgets," he described how his whole family became involved in, of all things, the selection of a new washing machine and dryer. This is a little hard to picture: The billionaire Jobs family didn't have very good machines. Selecting new ones became a project for the whole family. The big decision came down to whether to purchase a European machine or an American-made one. The European machine, according to Steve, does a much better job, uses about one-quarter as much water, and treats the clothes more gently so that they last longer. But the American machines take about half as long to wash the clothes.

    "We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We spent about two weeks talking about this. Every night at the dinner table" -- imagine dinner-table conversation about washing machines every night! -- "we'd get around to that old washer-dryer discussion. And the talk was about design." In the end, they opted for European machines, which Steve described as "too expensive, but that's just because nobody buys them in this country."

    Of course, this wasn't really about washing machines; it was about passing along the concern for design to his children and perhaps to (his wife) Laurene. The decision clearly gave him more pleasure than you would expect. He called the new machines "one of the few products we've bought over the last few years that we're all really happy about. These guys (had) really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers."

    Steve's surprising tag line on the story says a great deal about how much design really means to him: "I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years."


    Some people might think it a bit weird that there was so much thought going into buying a washing machine, but i think that if you get to see some of the lovely stuff Miele make you might not think it so weird. It's obvious the engineers at Miele are as obsessive over their machines as Jobs is over his. And it's clear he noticed and appreciated that.

    Not to mention how nice it is to know that despite his billions he still does his own laundry.
    • "We spent about two weeks talking about this. Every night at the dinner table imagine dinner-table conversation about washing machines every night!...Of course, this wasn't really about washing machines; it was about passing along the concern for design to his children and perhaps to (his wife) Laurene."

      Can you spell D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:41AM (#13913279)
    And how does he choose a new washing machine?

    Makes sure it doesn't get scratched easily?
  • by cloudkj (685320) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:56AM (#13913323)
    The Force is strong with this one.
  • Makes me think fondly of Bill Gates. I mean sure his practices have caused a lot of grief ... but he has some good qualities ... like, for example, he is not Steve Jobs.

  • More Insight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brainix (748988) <brainix@gmail.com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:49AM (#13913419) Homepage
    For more insight into Steve Jobs, click here [folklore.org].

    Also, the following quotes are spoken by Steve Jobs' character in the movie Pirates of the Silicon Valley [imdb.com]. Steve Wozniak has verified [woz.org] the movie as accurate.

    • Information is power.
    • It's better to be a pirate than to join the navy.
    • 90 hours per week and loving it.
    • Real artists ship.
  • by FishandChips (695645) on Monday October 31, 2005 @05:38AM (#13913689) Journal
    The Good Steve / Bad Steve gig has been around for a long time. It's hardly original and anyway is a very reductive way of looking at something as complex as a human being. If this is all legendary journo Lunchtime O'Booze, sorry Alan Deutschmann, can manage then he's not really worth spending time on, imho.

    Much more interesting is the address Steve Jobs gave at Stanford earlier this year - see http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/ jobs-061505.html [stanford.edu]. There are plenty of luminaries and big-shot businessmen in the IT world but it's hard to imagine them coming up with an address like this. Being told you have terminal cancer is something we'd all pray to be spared, and the way Steve Jobs came through it suggests to me he's a very special person.

    Just my 2 cents. I'm not an Apple user, either.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This Apple worshipping has gone a bit too far...

    Here [businessweek.com] are listed most valuable brands in 2005. Apple is on 41. place. Following technology companies are before Apple in the list:

    2. Microsoft
    3. IBM
    5. Intel
    6. Nokia
    13. HP
    17. Cisco
    20. Samsung
    21. Dell
    27. Oracle
    28. Sony
    35. Canon
    38. Google

    Pixar wasn't even on top100 list.
    • by fmaxwell (249001) on Monday October 31, 2005 @06:49AM (#13913930) Homepage Journal
      This Apple worshipping has gone a bit too far...

      Here are listed most valuable brands in 2005. Apple is on 41. place. Following technology companies are before Apple in the list:


      That list is largely based on profit and size. It's not a list of companies that are visionary.

      Apple has consistently been a visionary company. They introduced the Apple II as a completely assembled computer when the majority of the market was for S100 bus systems assembled from a hodge-podge of boards -- for which the owner had to create his own BIOS. They introduced the GUI and mouse into mainstream computers back when Microsoft thought that MS-DOS was the right direction to go. Their products have been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

      Go into any store and look at a modern iPod. Compare it to the offerings from Creative Labs, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba, and the others and you'll be amazed. It's like you're looking at a product from the future when you first see the iPod. It's less than half the size of similar capacity competing models, more elegantly designed, and has an intuitive user interface.

      Lest anyone label me an "Apple fanboy," I have owned exactly one Apple product in the 20+ years that I've been in the technology industry: An iPod with video. I hated the Apple II when it came out. To me, it signaled the end of computers as a hobby just for the intellectually gifted and, instead, was a pre-built toy for the unwashed masses. I hated the Macintosh. I hated the MacOS. But my personal dislike of them doesn't change the fact that they were visionary products.
    • Actually, Apple edged out Google for top recognizable brand this year (do a search, it was reported on/.). Your list is about revenues and size.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:01AM (#13914205)
    1. Pixar Image Computer [wikipedia.org] -- probably where he got the idea
    2. Next Cube [old-computers.com]
    3. Macintosh cube [wikipedia.org]
    4. ....
    5. Profit??? -- actually not. None of these cubes did that well in the market.

    I'm just waiting for an iPod cube.

  • by ChrisF79 (829953) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:48AM (#13914475) Homepage
    I liked the quote, "Suggest something he disagrees with - such as that there might be demand for an FM tuner in the iPod - and he'll respond with the unprovable 'People don't want that.'"

    It just struck me as funny because I've heard quite a few friends mention that they want an FM tuner in their iPod, and I've seen it come up in comments on the iPod here on /. Perhaps the population that wants it is relatively small compared to the larger user base, but I wouldn't think he'd just shrug it off so aloofly. Granted, Jobs knows far more about his users than I do, but it still seems unusual to me for him to make that sort of statement.
    • I think one of the problems that Jobs has as an innovator is recognizing how his own innovations (or the ones he managed the creation of more accurately) actually change the market. What is considered simple and easy with computers today is far different then what was considered simple and easy 20 years ago because so many people utilize a computer every day, gain experience and their perceptions change.

      When the iPod and the iTunes music store came out, it made the whole Mp3 revolution slick and accessible
  • Changing the World (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deinhard (644412) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:03AM (#13914984)
    It's interesting that Jobs says "[t]his stuff doesn't change the world" when (right or wrong) the quote "[d]o you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?" is attributed to him as part of his offer to get John Sculley to join Apple from Pepsi.
  • Woz is too charitable [woz.org] to Jobs, methinks. I sure woudn't have been that forgiving if I found out my business partner ripped me off so badly (woz went so far to admit this actually made him cry). From parking in handicapped spaces and fire lanes, to ripping off Woz, to his insane tirades, it's pretty clear Jobs is a selfish man, perhaps even proudly so. This isn't a guy that values other people at all.

    Oh, and for all you people screaming about John Sculley ruining the company, again, Woz seems to think a bit differently. Sculley did his best to get Jobs to start making sensible decisions during the first lull in Macintosh sales. He tried to get Jobs to allow the Mac more PC compatibility. Jobs would have none of it, and was actually impeding the progress of his Mac team. That's why the board pretty much sacked him from his duties. He was making absolutely stupid decisions. Andy Hertzfeld gives a rather scathing [folklore.org] account of the famous reality distortion field, and how the board essentially made Jobs a powerless figurehead. But it's pretty obvious he brought it on himself. And as for Sculley's contributions [woz.org]:

    John was more concerned with the total company operation and keeping things going while Steve wanted to keep advancing on the future, company and profits or not, in his own internally conceived directions. Actually, John Sculley promoted technologies like AppleTalk and PowerTalk and QuickTime and PlainTalk and the Newton. He was very supportive of the rare technical geniuses in the company. He was not just a "marketeer" who dressed things up in colors.


    So if history is any guide, letting Jobs run things without the board making him responsive to actual business pressures can be a disastrous thing in the long run. Maybe the guy has learned his lesson. He once said in the mid 90's (before his return to Apple) that if he were running the company again, he'd milk the Macintosh for all it's worth, and get busy on the next big thing. That pretty much sounds like what he's done since his return, with the Ipod now being Apple's premier product. So maybe an old dog can learn new tricks.

    He's still probably an asshole, though...

  • B I C Y C L E ! ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnrpenner (40054) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:19PM (#13917163) Homepage

    so what to get the man who has everything...
    what to get steve jobs -- the father of the ipod...!?!?

    | So then finally, what is the last piece of technology that
    | he [Steve Jobs] acquired - not made by Apple - that really
    | delighted him? He pauses for long seconds, looks down,
    | puts his hands on his knees, looks away.
    | "I ACTUALLY BOUGHT A BICYCLE RECENTLY.
    | IT'S JUST ...WONDERFUL."
    |
    | (Steve Jobs: The Guru Behind Apple, Charles Arthur; October 29, 2005)" [independent.co.uk]

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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