Thursday, October 6, 2011
One Degree of Separation
Here is a little story I can tell to my great, great, grandchildren, if I live long enough, about my one and only meeting with the late, great, Steve Jobs. It was in a small room, around a small table, in the Cupertino headquarters of Apple Computer. Jobs was wearing his trademark outfit, dark shirt and jeans, and I was there in my jacket and tie and reporter's notebook, about to get a sneak preview. It was late December of 1983. Jobs walked in the room with a bulky object in a sack. He placed it at the center of the table, in a gesture he had probably repeated dozens of times already. I guess it was meant to be a bit like a magician's act, raising the hat to reveal the rabbit. Up came the bag, and there was my first look at a Macintosh. Other than its cube-shape and small screen, I remember very little about it. What I do recall is that a British journalist, who sat in the room with me, asked Jobs why he called it a Macintosh. "Where I'm from, it's an old raincoat," he huffed. Then Jobs turned on a television. This was a first look at a commercial Apple had prepared for the 1984 SuperBowl. Woman in a track suit. Bald Zombies. A hammer to the face of Big Brother. It is sometimes called the Greatest Commercial Ever Made. And thanks to Moore's Law, you can see it here, almost 27 years later. You'll see why 1984 won't be like "1984."
I got to watch it with Steve Jobs.
My business instincts were as keen then as they are now. I thought was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen.