Found Steve Jobs interviews show 'pivotal' growth during years away from Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


A technology journalist has uncovered hours of previously-unreleased recordings of audio interviews with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that collectively show how the growth he experienced during his so-called "wilderness years" at NeXT and Pixar prepared him for success later in life.



Writing for Fast Company, Brent Schlender published selected stories and snippets from the interviews on Tuesday. The recordings cover a period of 25 years, with many of them having take place during Jobs' time away from Apple.



"Many [of the tapes] I had never replayed--a couple hadn't even been transcribed before now," Schlender wrote. "Some were interrupted by his kids bolting into the kitchen as we talked. During others, he would hit the pause button himself before saying something he feared might come back to bite him."



According to the journalist, the humbling period after Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985 taught him adaptability, the value of partnerships and how to structure a corporation. Time spent at Pixar learning the business of making hit films would later help him trim down Apple's product line and produce a "decade-long string of hits," such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.





iPad illustration of Steve Jobs by Jorge Colombo | Source: Fast Company







A key catalyst for Jobs' growth was his family, Schlender said, noting that his wife Laurene and his children had a calming effect on Jobs. Incidentally, having a family also helped him to understand the market that Pixar was trying to reach.



"In hindsight, Jobs's having a real family might have been the best thing to happen to Pixar. He was most effective as a marketer and a business leader when he could think of himself as the primary customer," Schlender wrote.



Jobs bought Pixar from filmmaker George Lucas for $5 million in 1985. The company struggled early on, but Jobs eventually decided to slim it down and focus on disrupting the animation industry. According to the interviews, he restructured the company to equally value team members working on the creative and technological sides. Schlender posits that Jobs applied a similar formula when he returned to Apple by integrating "designers and technologists" on his core team.



With hours of source material to draw upon, Schlender had a wealth of stories to tell about his interactions with Jobs. Fast Company has published a short collection of notable quotes from the tapes. For instance, Jobs once said that he models his management style after the Beatles.



"The reason I say that is because each of the key people in the Beatles kept the others from going off in the directions of their bad tendencies," he said. "It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Never had any interest in his authorized biography or the specials that appeared on TV but i would love to get more insight into how he thought as a business man and, dare I say, futurist.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post






    iPad illustration of Steve Jobs by Jorge Colombo | Source: Fast Company




    Was this interior of the Apple jet really........ pink?
  • Reply 3 of 41
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,229member
    Good to see Schlender hasn't lost his touch about knowing nothing about NeXT other than the histrionics of early NeXT. He did get the interior correct, but the claim of rewriting NeXTSTEP truly shows you how technologically inept journalists continue to be.



    Porting to the x86 architecture is not a rewrite, but then again, he's a journalist. Mach, by design was portable, Brent. BSD 4.3 was already on x86 long before NeXT ported it.



    In reality, Brent, the Industry refused to welcome a 3rd system solution and the help of Gates tanking any porting of MS Apps, along with Adobe only made it that much more difficult to expand the Quad FAT NeXTSTEP into consumers hands.



    Hell, we couldn't even get OEMs to send us specs to write device drivers because they didn't think the market was worth it.



    Of course, now that NeXTSTEP is OS X and iOS with the same minds they refused to listen to now dominates they want to kiss everyone's ass.



    Matrox, Diamond, you name it, they are all near death or gone and instead of working with us back then they snubbed us.



    Linux survives much in part because OS/2 failed and IBM got sick and tired of being married to MS who they despise. Billions later and along with Oracle, Sybase, RedHat, Intel and so many others it's still no where near the polish of NeXTSTEP in it's day.



    There is a lot to be said for vision and Linux has too many geeks who think they are smarter and more talented than the likes of Steve Jobs and the eye for talent and focus he famously earned.



    I actually thought we were going to see some old interviews. Hell, I've got plenty of those of Steve. I'm sure as hell not putting them out on the Web. I'll hold onto my memories of working there at a place you always walked into knowing your stuff was ahead of the competition.



    Gates famous line about crap APIs on NeXTSTEP immediately told me the guy is a bald face liar who always couldn't seem to figure out how come Steve was always 10 steps ahead of him and was seriously annoyed the day Steve slowed down a bit to the point the Industry could `get it' and start to dump Microsoft in droves.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    shrikeshrike Posts: 494member
    I'm keeping my NeXTSTEP 3 boxes forever. It's too bad Apple has been pragmatic about the OS X UI. It could use some freshening up but with user drag such as it is, it'll never happen.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    I did a search for NeXT Computer on google and found no NeXT Computers for sale. I can only assume that they have all been gobbled up and if one was found it would be expensive. As for Pixar. Any of those computers are also hard to find. Seems since Steve's death all real countable memorabilia is mostly bought up.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    iPad illustration of Steve Jobs by Jorge Colombo | Source: Fast Company



    I am not sure the jeans and mock turtle neck look work for Elvis Costello.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gordonp View Post


    I am not sure the jeans and mock turtle neck look work for Elvis Costello.



    LoL



    He's right about the Beatles - a Paul McCartney song would end up being too choir-boy cheesy if John Lennon didn't intervene and spike it up;



    A John Lennon song would have so much offensive anti-establishment stink that it would take Paul's "scented air-freshener" style to tone it down.



    The end result was some of the most perfect slices of Pop Music ever composed; add to that some sublime George "Mahavishnu" Harrison guitar mantras and funny Ringo Star quips, and the rest is glorious history.



    If this is the "formula" Apple is employing going forward than I can't wait to see the exciting stuff Tim Cook and co are going to be announcing in the years ahead...
  • Reply 8 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    Was this interior of the Apple jet really........ pink?



    loool! that's also my question
  • Reply 9 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Never had any interest in his authorized biography or the specials that appeared on TV but i would love to get more insight into how he thought as a business man and, dare I say, futurist.



    Anybody with a serious desire to understand what made Steve the greatest businessman of the last hundred years would have read his biography by Walter Isaacson.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Anybody with a serious desire to understand what made Steve the greatest businessman of the last hundred years would have read his biography by Walter Isaacson.



    Well, Warren Buffett seems a serious contestant. I read both bios, Buffett's is "the snowball".

    Not to mention some of the "serious businessmen" of the 40s, such as Onassis.



    While Jobs was certainly a genius, genius seems to be abundant in humanity. Well, sometimes as evil genius, sadly, Hitler, Stalin spring to mind, but I'm getting sidetracked here. My point is: Steve revolutionnized computers and movies, but "the greatest businessman of the last century" might not be his real clame to fame...
  • Reply 11 of 41
    kovacmkovacm Posts: 57member
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



    And where we can download this audio ... ???????



    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
  • Reply 12 of 41
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Good to see Schlender hasn't lost his touch about knowing nothing about NeXT other than the histrionics of early NeXT. He did get the interior correct, but the claim of rewriting NeXTSTEP truly shows you how technologically inept journalists continue to be.



    Porting to the x86 architecture is not a rewrite, but then again, he's a journalist. Mach, by design was portable, Brent. BSD 4.3 was already on x86 long before NeXT ported it.



    In reality, Brent, the Industry refused to welcome a 3rd system solution and the help of Gates tanking any porting of MS Apps, along with Adobe only made it that much more difficult to expand the Quad FAT NeXTSTEP into consumers hands.



    Hell, we couldn't even get OEMs to send us specs to write device drivers because they didn't think the market was worth it.



    Of course, now that NeXTSTEP is OS X and iOS with the same minds they refused to listen to now dominates they want to kiss everyone's ass.



    Matrox, Diamond, you name it, they are all near death or gone and instead of working with us back then they snubbed us.



    Linux survives much in part because OS/2 failed and IBM got sick and tired of being married to MS who they despise. Billions later and along with Oracle, Sybase, RedHat, Intel and so many others it's still no where near the polish of NeXTSTEP in it's day.



    There is a lot to be said for vision and Linux has too many geeks who think they are smarter and more talented than the likes of Steve Jobs and the eye for talent and focus he famously earned.



    I actually thought we were going to see some old interviews. Hell, I've got plenty of those of Steve. I'm sure as hell not putting them out on the Web. I'll hold onto my memories of working there at a place you always walked into knowing your stuff was ahead of the competition.



    Gates famous line about crap APIs on NeXTSTEP immediately told me the guy is a bald face liar who always couldn't seem to figure out how come Steve was always 10 steps ahead of him and was seriously annoyed the day Steve slowed down a bit to the point the Industry could `get it' and start to dump Microsoft in droves.







    It is great that the reality of NeXT instead of being a failure actually helped Apple put the Art in to computers. whereas I believe MS's mad dash to become the Richest OS company, in effect removed any trace of Art...and any that it does have is Kitschy.



    "Fast" and "Right" but not "Cheap" is Apple (State-of-the-Art)



    "Fast" and "Cheap" but not "Right", but eventually "Correct" due to "Stockholm syndrome", seems to be MS and the rest of the PC Industry, State-of-the-Cheap...
  • Reply 13 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    I did a search for NeXT Computer on google and found no NeXT Computers for sale. I can only assume that they have all been gobbled up and if one was found it would be expensive. As for Pixar. Any of those computers are also hard to find. Seems since Steve's death all real countable memorabilia is mostly bought up.



    Search for NeXTStep and NeXTCube. There are certain products on eBay right now.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Anybody with a serious desire to understand what made Steve the greatest businessman of the last hundred years would have read his biography by Walter Isaacson.



    Defend. What part of Isaccson's fluffy biography that mostly covered a story i've followed most my life went into the technical detail about the man's approach to business? As lightknight points out Snowball is an excellent example of such a book.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,975member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Hell, we couldn't even get OEMs to send us specs to write device drivers because they didn't think the market was worth it.



    Ah hardware companies... I think too many of them took Alan Kay's quote about being "serious about software" to mean that they can just design hardware and do a half-arsed job on the software side. I had the exact same experience writing drivers for Linux about 10 years ago (even as part of commercial projects).

    Quote:

    Linux survives much in part because OS/2 failed and IBM got sick and tired of being married to MS who they despise. Billions later and along with Oracle, Sybase, RedHat, Intel and so many others it's still no where near the polish of NeXTSTEP in it's day.



    Linux survives because it's an easy system for comp sci students to tinker with.



    That's why I got into it - it was easy to download and install on the "built from scrap parts" x86 box I had at the time (all I could afford). All of the development tools were free, and the source code for everything was easy to find.



    I realize now that I could have done the same with BSD. However, at the time, Linux was much more accessible. The community developing around it was friendly (largely because everyone was new to it) and Linus was still an enjoyable guy to work with at the time.

    Quote:

    There is a lot to be said for vision and Linux has too many geeks who think they are smarter and more talented than the likes of Steve Jobs and the eye for talent and focus he famously earned.



    In terms of creating polished commercial technology (like iOS), I agree, Jobs' approach is much better. But there is something to be said for having a system where everything is wide open and the only limit is your imagination. There will always be a need for such systems as a place for comp sci students and academics to tinker, learn, and grow (be it Linux or some other open system).
  • Reply 15 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Defend. What part of Isaccson's fluffy biography that mostly covered a story i've followed most my life went into the technical detail about the man's approach to business? As lightknight points out Snowball is an excellent example of such a book.



    You haven't read the book. On what basis can you claim that it is "fluffy?" Steve's approach to business is detailed in so many parts of the book, it is impossible to list them here.



    I repeat. You haven't read the book !! C'mon, you are a shallow poseur, admit it !!



  • Reply 16 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    You haven't read the book. On what basis can you claim that it is "fluffy?" Steve's approach to business is detailed in so many parts of the book, it is impossible to list them here.



    I repeat. You haven't read the book !! C'mon, you are a shallow poseur, admit it !!







    1) The book was been detailed and dissected for months. You couldn't not see an article about it every day on tech sites yet all that came out is fluff and no insight into Steve Jobs as a business man.



    2) Steve said he cracked it! You really think that will make this book required reading for many business and economic students across the globe? Let me know when schools make this required reading.



    3) What chapters are dedicated to detailing business management?



    PS: You can make all the personal attacks you want but it's probably not your best course of action.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) The book was been detailed and dissected for months. You couldn't not see an article about it every day on tech sites yet all that came out is fluff and no insight into Steve Jobs as a business man.



    2) Steve said he cracked it! You really think that will make this book required reading for many business and economic students across the globe? Let me know when schools make this required reading.



    3) What chapters are dedicated to detailing business management?



    PS: You can make all the personal attacks you want but it's probably not your best course of action.



    If you have not read the book, you are not qualified to opine on it. Nothing personal.



    A film critic's review about a movie he has never seen would have no credibility, would it?
  • Reply 18 of 41
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    If you have not read the book, you are not qualified to opine on it. Nothing personal.



    So why do YOU keep talking about it, then? You don't seem to have read it, otherwise you'd know it doesn't really cover what we're discussing.



    Covers him crying. Covers him being a jerk and being remorseful about it. Has great lines like ' thermonuclear' and 'cracked'.



    But it doesn't talk much about his approach to business.



    As clarification, I don't really consider the fence painting teachings as an "approach to business". That's design more than anything else.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    If you have not read the book, you are not qualified to opine on it. Nothing personal.



    That's an asinine comment on multiple levels. I have read plenty about the book to know that it's not a technical book.



    I've never read Louisa May Alcott's Little Women but by your reckoning simply knowing about the book's subject matter isn't enough to know that it's not a book about space travel. If only there were such things as synopses, reviews, cataloging, and critical thinking that could clue someone in to whether something is what they are looking for.



    And I looked for cues about Steve's deeply internalized business strategies when reading reviews... yet I found none. Nearly all of it was a rehash of topics I had already known, much like his biography of Ben Franklin... the world's most elusive serial killer.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So why do YOU keep talking about it, then? You don't seem to have read it, otherwise you'd know it doesn't really cover what we're discussing.



    Covers him crying. Covers him being a jerk and being remorseful about it. Has great lines like ' thermonuclear' and 'cracked'.



    But it doesn't talk much about his approach to business.



    As clarification, I don't really consider the fence painting teachings as an "approach to business". That's design more than anything else.



    I had pre-ordered the book from Amazon, and read it cover-to-cover as soon as I had it in my hand.



    If you think "it doesn't talk much about his approach to business," then either you haven't read it, or you are still in kindergarten and the fine points of business strategy will always escape you.
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