Oh absolutely. Definitely. Just to do what I just described to you was a risk. But that was a… Let me put it to you this way: the entire Apple Enterprise from then to the time he passed on, was Steve Jobs. You may recall that when Steve Jobs was running the enterprise, it was very successful. He got into an altercation with his Board of Directors, in which he lost and he left the enterprise. And from there, it took a huge dip. And it wasn’t going to come back again until Steve Jobs came back again — that’s got to tell you something.
Now, what’s sort of a personality did it take to do what Jobs did? Personality. Okay. If you had your choice between Steve Jobs and an ice cube, you’d nuzzle up to the ice cube for warmth. He had me come in to help work out a fairly simple dispute with Steve Wozniak because he himself was not much of a diplomatist. And he thought that I could do it — I’m the adult in the room. I worked it out; Wozniak was a reasonable fellow, all I had to do was to lay it out for him. He couldn’t understand that Jobs’ position was correct in that dispute and that was it. So that was fun, but that wasn’t Jobs — Jobs wasn’t a diplomatist. Jobs was the sort of fellow that played people like pieces on a chessboard and he was very serious about what he did and he had every reason to believe that he was absolutely right – which meant that if your view was different from his, you better have a damn good case to present.
Even at that young age. The last place you ever want to be was between him and any place he want to get to. You’d wind up with footprints on your forehead. I mean, this was the sort of guy he was. I had one altercation with him some years after Apple had gotten started — something he wanted me to do, he came to see me. And he wanted me to do this, and I didn’t feel that it was right. I think I was one of the few people in this world who said no to him. I don’t think he liked it.
Oh yeah, he was very strong about it, but I said “No, you’ve got your world, I’ve got my world. That’s the way I want it to be.” But I’ve been working for a company called LTD, I think it was, and it was a guy who had developed a chip that made it possible for a touch-switch to be expanded into a touch potentiometer. You do this on your iPhones and so on right now; you slide your finger along the screen and get your pictures to move and so on.
Well I worked for the guy who had the original patent on those chips that did this and Jobs wanted me to talk the guy into selling his company to Apple. And I said, “No I wouldn’t do that.” and I said I would talk to the guy about licensing the technology to Apple exclusively — no other computer company would have it — but I would not encourage the guy to sell his company because that’s all the guy had! That was it — that was the whole thing. I have to admit today that probably my decision in that was wrong. Not in the sense that it was wrong in my philosophical concept; I was wrong in not giving the man the choice to make for himself. And in that sense, I was wrong in that decision. But I know Jobs was not happy with me because I wasn’t going to talk this guy about selling his company to him.
He came to me at the beginning and he was telling me about this situation that he had with Steve Wozniak. Wozniak had developed this personal computer circuit and they wanted to found a company. But there were other things that he wanted to do, things that were more interesting. And he wanted my opinion: should he proceed? And I said, “Well that computer that you’re talking about is undoubtedly going to be a very successful product and whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it a hell lot more easily with money in your pocket. So if I were you, I’d go ahead and do it!” Well in that sense, he took my advice along with probably 50 other people’s advice and went ahead and did it. But I also told him at the same time I said, “Look, one of the pitfalls you have to watch for is success. When you have made a lot of money, don’t forget what you wanted the money for.” He forgot.
I had the distinct impression that it may have been making money in the beginning, but not very long in to the enterprise. It was the enterprise itself — it was the game — that drove him. The money was incidental, although he was not very openhanded when it came to money. But nonetheless, I don’t think it was making money that drove him. I think it was the game itself.
I had a stamp store in Tucson, Arizona. And I got a phone call, from Steve Jobs, direct. It hadn’t happen before! “Hi Steve, how’re you doing?” He says, “Look, I haven’t got a whole lot of time. There would be airline tickets waiting for you at the airport and my chauffeur would pick you up when you get here at San Jose and we’ll set you up — no it was San Francisco because they set me up at the Mark Hopkins. And I said, “Well what’s this all about?” He says, “We’re doing a presentation and I thought it would be nice of you to join us.
Okay, fine, but I was wondering what the heck is this is all about. What’s going on here because Steve… this is out of character for Steve Jobs. But anyway, okay. So I got on the plane, got picked up on the airport, they set me up in the hotel. The next morning, he has people come in and pick me up and take me down to the auditorium where they were doing a presentation on G3, I think it was — something like that. They were presenting [the iMac]. Anyway, he did this spiel on stage and afterwards he comes and gets me and we go over the back and there’s a buffet with coffee and sandwiches and whatever and we took the tour of the convention, and we jumped in the car we go off to the Apple facility where Steve Wozniak joins us in the cafeteria, had lunch and we’re sitting in this table out in the patio. They’re carrying on this conversation about absolutely nothing — small talk — and then that’s it. Have a good trip back and we’ll see you! And I’m thinking was all, “What the heck was this all about?” And I never was able in my life to find out what the heck it was all about. It was very anticlimactic! At the end, as I’m on the plane going home, “It must have been something he had in mind! What did he do this for?” I couldn’t understand! [I] still don’t know to this day what that was all about.
Book #1: Adventures of an Apple Founder
Book #2: Insolence of Office
Photography by Melly Lee