tv Steve Jobs CSPAN January 28, 2017 4:00pm-5:26pm EST
wanted, but he's really the father of the bill of rights. thank you, thank you. [applause] gordon wood: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the >> the russian american history tv. follow us on twitter at c-span history. keep up with the latest history news. next, on history bookshelf, journalist walter isaacson talks about the personal life of steve jobs. cofounder of apple computers. this was recorded in mountain view, california. it is about an hour and a half. walter: shortly after steve'
death, it went immediately to number one on amazon. italy a month before its release. since then, it has dominated every bestseller list and every part of the world. walter isaacson has been at this for a while. he is not only a distinguished journalist, former chairman of cnn, former managing editor of time, next year will mark the 20th anniversary of his first major biography of henry kissinger. to that, he has added the biography of benjamin franklin, i would in this book on steve jobs. days agoi talked a few about opening this evening with something special returning items from her landmark collection which you can see you're on stage. what is going to have to introduce these guys with their black tournaments on. don't they look good? dozen itemst three
from apple, it is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world dealing with apple. after steve died, we would collectionsugh the of what was the best of the best, we discovered something very amazing. this was a tape that regis mckenna had made in 1980 of a 25 euros steve jobs making a 22 minute presentation at stanford on the race of apple and his vision for the company. we have digitized that and we put it on our website. it is never been seen before. we will play about two minutes of it tonight. i hope you will be as amazed as we were when you see it. idea what before going to think when we started out. we couldn't afford to buy a california -- computer. we got departs from different people. we worked out of designs for six
months and decided we would build our own computers. so we built them. he was up till four in the morning for many months. everybody wanted one. it took about 40 hours to the bodies. these.-- build one of we helped our friend bill computers. -- build computers. that one day we would put circuit boards without the parts. i got the calculator, we had 3000 bucks. 1300 bucks to do a layout.
we thought we would buy a circuit board for twice what it was. that is what we did. i was out trying to peddle pc boards one day. i wanted to a bike shop in mountain view. inwalked into a bike shop mountain view. i saw dollar signs and fun of my eyes -- in front of my eyes. ,e wanted one fully assembled tested and ready to go. that was a new twist. we got the electronic parts distributors around here and we worth of parts. we build 100 computers and result 50 of them for cash and in 29 days paid update distributors. that is how get started. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome me in joining -- please
join me in welcoming walter isaacson. [applause] how great it is to be here at the museum. can i give a shout out to steve wozniak?- steve all the history is here. totally intimidating me because i will look over and they will build -- be nodding and shaking their heads. this is a silicon valley crowd. we are so happy to have you here. >> let me ask you about the very first meeting with steve jobs. you described yourself as a junior editor of the times. he comes to new york to
demonstrate the macintosh. walter: walter: with the original mac. --walter: there he is with the original mac. it shows us how thin it is. he shows us all the graphical icons and you can tell he is passionate about every pixel. he is furious at time magazine for telling us we are not as good as newsweek. a horribled written story about him. i saw the petulant side. that is when i first started to realize the impatience and and p is a mega-salt -- etulance you solid steve jobs. make a particular impression on you at that moment?
>> i was mesmerized. he is very compelling person. he saw there, that is what he was. he's telling the stories. he was mad because he had not been made man of the year. i was an idiot on the wrong side and i voted for paul volker. none of your member who he was. but we had done the machine. it was machine of the year. you could tell the first time he met steve jobs that there was something compelling about him. 2004,forward 20 years to he gets in touch with you. walter: he gives me a call. please -- we talked a little while. he said he was to come take a walk with me. he says what you do a biography of me? i had done ben franklin, i was finishing albert einstein.
i went ben franklin, albert einstein, steve jobs. i set you are great subject but let's wait 30 years until you retire. until 2009 when he had his liver transplant that is sort of suck in that he was fighting cancer. he had transformed with his team a wide variety of industries. it had point, by 2009, transformed the music industry with itunes and the ipod. the way we listen to music, the phone industry, the publishing industry, tablet computing. all right,n i said this is too good to pass up. do you have a. about this -- eight. -- do you have a theory about this? he told me something that edwin
land had said to him. you always want to stand in the intersection of liberal arts and sciences. humanities and technology or engineering. that is something that we lost in the cp snow era. my. among others was that connecting feats ofy to wonderful engineering is what made him so magical. >> you wrote something in the book, a quote, his passion for perfection let him to indulge his instinct to control. i want to talk about the editorial control lesson. you must have had to raise that and settle that early on. and i was stunned that
it never came up. -- after al he said while he said it was your book, i'm not going to read it. he said i wanted to be honest. i want you to interview people who didn't like being as well as people who did. he said that he was brutally honest. his whole life, he did not want it to feel like an in-house book. he wanted it to feel like an independent book. therefore, he was going to exercise no editorial control. >> did that ever change? did,r: the one time he simon and schuster put into the design that was a placeholder. i landed in san francisco coming to a product launch he was going to do.
i can remember which one. i saw six or seven missed calls from steve jobs. [laughter] you all know the san francisco airport. he just starts yelling at me. he says you have no taste, the title is gimmicky. it is ugly. i don't want you to come to the demonstration. finally, he says i am not going to continue to cooperate unless you allow me to have input into the cover. it took me somewhere between a second and a second and a half to say sure. he's been a lot of time trying to make it a simple, clean cover. that was the one time i felt his wrath.
also, one time he had editorial input. you quote his friend who coined the term walter:" -- field"y distortion he would talk to me about it. the engineers that come from a star trek series. simply by thinking something and be convinced of something, even if it is impossible, you can commit other people. the secret of the reality distortion field is that it sometimes works. they can convince people to do the impossible. steve wozniak talked to me about that. it was about his own book and steve saying you have to do this and a few days.
-- in a few days. steve said you can do it. that was the reality of the distortion field. fortis had been done. -- four days had been done. whether or not i have been stuck -- sucked into it. i found myself deeply, emotionally invested with him. i tried very hard to be honest in the book. i try to put all things and all sides in the book. there will be people in this audience to know more than most if you read the book and say ais guy got caught in reality distortion field. i guess the answer would be yes. you had the luxury of long historical detachment from einstein, benjamin franklin.
biographyre writing a of a very compelling living person, up close and personal interviews. 40 walter: when steve did his stanford speech, he said limit three stories. you become a storyteller, you don't try to preach. i just try to let the stories tell themselves. discoveredthings i by having so much time with him and so much time with 150 other people who work with him was how much more we know or i could know about him than i did about benjamin franklin were -- or einstein. einstein, they are so compelling his papers.
-- compiling his papers. we have one little journal entry here, maybe a newspaper clip. with steve, everything that happened, i hear about it at great length. then i hear other people possible versions of it. knowing 100nded up times more than him and a story in the book then you would doing somebody who is doing it through letters or journalists. >> lets talk about the storytelling. the place i would like to begin is his partnership with steve wozniak. that starts with him. steve was on the night shift because they find it easier to work with him if his -- he is on the night shift. he learned a lot at atari. the notion of how to do some subchips.
pongave to remember that had to be so simple that a stoned freshman could figure it out. that simplicity got embedded in him. at one point, you have one of the few copies at the computer history museum of the blue box when esquirerted magazine wrote about cap'n crunch and the people who can replicate the bone -- l system tones. a lot of that was steve jobs saying that we have to do this. they found the bell system manuals and made an analog version that did not quite work. -- stevegoes up to
wozniak goes off to berkeley. they make a digital version of it. you see the partnership. andn't see steve wozniak whether or not he is shaking his head or not. he comes up with this amazing circuit board and loves to show it off. steve says we can package it and sell it. we can make money. they start going door to door selling this thing. at one point, testing it out by calling the vatican with woz pretended to be henry kissinger. tell, they never really got the pope on the phone. the entire college of cardinals was eventually smart enough to figure out that it was not henry kissinger calling. when held me that described that story and the whole blue box story that if it had not been for the blue box,
it would not have been apple. >> what could they do together? walter: they commented each other well. that he say of woz could have way better circuit boards. woz had been taught by his father, being an engineer. he never thought about putting it in a package. we should get a good sour pie and integrated. .aybe we can sell it greatteve did was take ideas and come up with a great vision and pull it all together -- doit something amazing something amazing. that was a perfect partnership for somebody who can design a circuit board with one quarter of a number of ships that any other engineer would take to
make it work. >> the process of invention is not a singular endeavor. it is not one person sitting in a room, finding that moment. it is about that collaboration. when you take up einstein, was there a relationship? have you found that these kinds of relationships occur over and over? was a: with einstein, it true, solo act. especially the greatest and most elegant of theories, general relativity. he is pacing alone in his apartment in berlin on -- or months on end. wase, even though he sometimes tough on people truly created teams like the original macintosh team.
together as ifd they were pirates. able to create collaborative teams. he did at his whole life. even now, the past eight or nine years at apple, you have had an intensely loyal, great, collaborative team. applicants up and running. --apple get up and running. running.gets up and that is what you heard on the tape. when wozup and running creates a circuit board. then they put it all together. steve decides they have to
incorporate. just like these were here. -- right here. the way the steve tells me the story, he worked on a commune around reed college. was there, tended to the apples and him come back from the apple farm and says ok, we will create a company. he gets all excited. not only will we create a product, we will have our own company. they have all sorts of executrix and personal computer things. appl says, what about us -- just apple? it has a widthy, of counterculture. it is also americanized pie.
-- it is kind of friendly, it also has a whiff of counter culture. e. is also american as pit apple is growing and they are the earlyis team in history of the post-incorporation. . period. they come on the scene and you need money. what they are doing is going from the apple one to the apple two. they created a beautiful case, the plastic molding. it is going to cost a lot of money to do. you can't sell your calculator to get them.
they need investment capital. they sign a line of credit. gives steve a great piece of advice. needs to focus. keep your focus. the other is empathy. it isperfect word for it, to make in emotional connection for the people who will buy your product. then the third is also not a great word. "impute" means to cast an aura around what you do. steve had his own personal name on the patents. when you open up and there was that ipod cradle, you imputed that it was something really
cool just the way it was. that is what the apple ii does. it imputes that is a very cool machine. onhe obsessed with the curve the corners. he had been fascinated by the sony style. right when they moved out of the garage they were in a little office. is a sony showroom -- next door is a sony showroom. eichlerup in a joseph home. simple,e massmarketed, frank lloyd wright style homes for the everyman. it was that style of thinking is is thebut the simplicity ultimate sophistication. clean, white, simple.
that is the style for apple. the apple ii takes off and they are selling hundreds of thousands of units. servicese in the book "tempermental and bratty" it seems there is a very big breakout. there was a petulant side. people.ts to grate on walter: he was temperamental. he has a passion to have end to end control of a project. there was an original president, mike scott, he tried to temper
jobs. eventually, they bring in john steve.to try to handle but with steve, you got the all package. s was aperamentalnes part of it. it showed how he cared. book was a story in the where steve was made by his house where he grew up. he built a fence with his dad. he said by that taught me to make the back of the fence as beautiful as the front. i asked him why. i said nobody will ever know. my dad said but you will k now. when they get to the macintosh, even though you can't open it, he held it up for a while.
boardairs on the circuit -- the chips of the circuit board were not aligned. they told him the same thing, nobody will know, no one can open it. he said you will know. end to end control. it has slots., you could check into it. you could open it up, you begin to the circuit board. steve was against having slots. he didn't want anyone to have an open source on the lyrics. he didn't want people jacking in an opening up. he wantsts that them to have these slots.
that was very steep jobs like. all the way through his career, really believing and tightly controlling like the gardens of kyoto that he loved to visit, carefully walled, carefully tended by one artist. >> let's move to the macintosh in iraq. there is so much -- macintosh era. there is so much going on. walter: it was a bad mistake. it was almost like he saw john skully as a father figure or mentor. scully really wanted to be cool steve'sand wanted approval. , the apartment
that he was thinking of buying, andrings john skully up want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want to do something meaningful? he is a man of cap school disability, great manners. it is hard for him to deal with conflict. steve felt the price. steve said the price of admission of being with me is i is be able to tell you that yo uau are full of it. you need to be able to tell me i'm full of it. we need to be able to duke it
out. skully was not worrying about the product. he wasn't worried about the radars. it was shelf space marketing. felt thatat steve skully didn't get into how awesome the mac was. at 2500riced macintosh bucks. microsoft started dominating the computer business and so i think their relationship was doing fine as long as apple is doing fine and the apple ii was a workhorse. didn't. is a horrible falling out that culminates on memorial day in 1985. >> but always talk about the
falling out, let's talk about the design of the macintosh itself. this is the point in the book where you insert the famous quote from jobs. good artists copy, great artists steal. you always been channels about stealing great ideas. -- shameless about stealing great ideas. they take two visits to xerox parc. xerox had come up with the concept of the desktop metaphor. these pixel on the screen could be mapped to fit in the microprocessor. you can make a beautiful machine. you and i are beautiful -- young to remember it. we remember we have to do those green letters with c prompt
and\whatever command. it was god-awful. suddenly, time magazine, we get the mac. you can drag and drop. i do a whole section on the visit to xerox parc. i think they took the graphical interface from xerox parc. it took years from some of the most amazing designers to take what -- the metaphor that xerox used and to make a great. xerox came out with something before the mac came out. it was a bad machine. what they did was take that metaphor and take the mouse with three buttons and simple fire. you will be a look to click and drag and drop and double-click and open things up. we will invent pulldown menus.
you can have documents looking like the top of other documents. it was like a messy desktop. none of that was in the xerox original graphical interface. they take the xerox metaphor and actually make it insanely great. secondly, tsl is lining up. this falls between conception and reality. they were able to execute on its. it is true that part of steve's at a thousand ideas at any given point and saying that one is great. this one sucks. we're going to ignore this one. but pulling together ideas including ideas from xerox parc. this is one of the times where he is pushing this team incredibly hard. reality distortion field is coined. is in of the engineers
charge of the bootup of the machine. says it is taking too long to boot up. you need to shave 10 seconds off time.ot up he says i can't. shavesays " if you could ten seconds off of saving a life, would you?" he goes "yeah." he multiplies it out and says that you can save this number of lives every year if you shave off 10 seconds. example of the reality distortion field working. within four weeks, larry shaved off 28 seconds. everything about that, you see the screen. it is a rounded rectangle. i will be corrected.
i think it is atkins who is doing the primitive that you can put on the screen. he does a square which is easy. then he does a server which is hard. the microprocessor doesn't do square root. you need not only a rectangle in a circle but a rectangle with rounded edges. the guy says no, that can't be done. why do we need it? steve walks around the neighborhood parking lot 22 windshields and the boards and no parking signs and screens and roundeds saying rectangles our people see every day. they are more beautiful to look at. atkinson came up with a permit to do a rounded rack. he fretted over them.
even doing the fonts, steve was there, he had taken the calligraphy course. he was carrying about the spacing -- caring about the spacing of those fonts. the perfection he was taking at that point was an almost impossible task. it was engendered in the book as he reported it. two completely different camps it seems to me. people weren't for jobs at that point. there were people who push you and you think you'd be better for. say ite are others who is the were six pairs of my life. you balance, not only in this case but in other cases two, the number of people you encounter who felt one way tremendous affection and a number of people who felt
another way, would you say -- >> a lot of people felt both. it was an agonizing experience. especially with the macintosh team. even in the team today. he overwhelming number say pushed me to do things i never thought i could do. he drove me nuts at times, it was the greatest experience of my life. is a greateres, it commercial. a legendary commercial. talk about his view of it. >> the 1984 ad is interesting. steve jobs does have the heart of a misfit. it appeals to the rebels and the misfits. incredible is an
cultural landmark and icon. obviously because of the novel. we had been thinking up until then of computers as being centralizing and controlling. the province of pentagon and the power structure and big corporations. the notion that a computer can be personal and empowering to the individual had grown up a bit in opposition to that. sort of the store brand holder catalog of doing computers for the people. steve was in that mentality. he also liked to think of himself as part of the hacker ethos. the problem with him thinking like that is that he doesn't want slots and he doesn't want you to be able to hack in. in some ways he has violated the hacker egos by creating an appliance you can't open up as opposed to putting your own software here. that i amo assert
still part of that hacker ethos. fighting the establishment. donehe scott, who are just late runner films it in london. being chased by the thought police. a brother is on the screen, droning. she decimates big brother. apple introduced macintosh. 1980 413 like 1984. they show it at a board meeting hatedl the board members it. >> skelly is so frightened of backe says he will scale
the advertising time on the survival and not run the ad. steve is curious. -- curious. -- furious. woz says let's pay for the add. they don't need to. lee cloud, it beats bomb of a bum ofant genius -- beach a brilliant genius says we can't sell the time back. the ad runs. it runs once nationally. the bests advertisement of all-time. >> it doesn't sell well.
>> is on youtube. >> we can get the rights for that. removed from running the macintosh division. that begins the end for him. his relationship with skully. you go in the book day by day, that fateful week in may. week, he brings people up to his house. plot that steve should not take over the company. it is one of the great learning experiences but he feels abandoned. he was going through a. th --rough -- through a period.
they all go around the room and vote against him. they abandoned him. he really takes it hard. does he recover from that? that is a pretty dark time. what did he say? walter: he described vividly every single day of that week, including where the food came from when he was serving on the patio when they are trying to -- mikeke barco about markel around. he goes and bicycles around in new york. he talks to some people and talks about doing next computer. 1985, he has recruited a lot of people from apple.
he causes a lawsuit. the board and skully thinks he is stealing their people. he creates next. he says a liberated me and helps me change. i think it was the experience at next their liberated him and matured him more. at next, there was no board of directors sitting on him. he could indulge every instinct. his instinct for design against -- he gave him $100,000 to do the next logo. beautiful headquarters with patented staircases. next to be a perfect cube.
angle thatdraft means it is 91 degrees or stop. you can pull it out of the mold. -- t is 90 degrees, it had to be matched black -- matte black. insaneindulging this drive for perfection. including building the factory and having it in pure white and having it be robotic. it is a glorious machine that is an absolute market failure. first macintosh off-site, he does a series on the whiteboard. the first one is don't compromise. maxim. a great inspiring way to run areat
business. then franklin said, my's is do not make great democracies. realized that you don't have to compromise or principles, you have to have some sense of balance. that is what he weren't -- learned at next. >> simultaneously doing pixar. pixar is the intersection of art and technology. if rendered him brought him up to george lucas to meet some of george lucas's people. steve thought that was really cool. he thought he could make it for consumers. that never really took off but there was one guy working there who was in charge of making sure it's to show off how cool they machines were -- the machines
were to show off the capabilites. --ar becomes a transfer transformative thing in the animation business. the strain of running pixar and simultaneously next was on him physically. he said that he thinks that had to do with him getting cancer. i do think that is the case. i don't think you can get cancer from working hard or stress. he felt it was great stress. it was driving up to pixar. then when he goes back to apple, he is juggling quite a few things. i think that was a time of great stress in his life. also, some unhappiness. next is not doing very well.
those machines are not selling. pixar was a hardware-software company. nobody is buying pixar except for disney. pixar only sold a few to disney. he is hemorrhaging money at both companies for it well. >> also, one of the most wildly creative periods. he is producing these phenomenal things. produces twice story,they are no -- toy they are no longer hemorrhaging money. apple was his baby, it was his child. he was deeply frustrated that it was being screwed up. after a wild, they were not inventing new products. the products sucked. they were coming out with new
lines of macintoshes, just not better. they couldn't even create a new operating system. i think he is watching as people screwed up the wonderful baby he helped to create. >> eventually it leads to his triumphant return. walter: he says i have to buy an operating system. is it the beos? microsoft. adopting windows would have been weird. then there is this amazing operating system. it.e is a unix kernel to eventually, apple decides they have to buy next to get the operating system. but then you buy next to get
steve jobs. i'm not sure what woz said. io, meetit was gil amel steve jobs, game over. amelio tried to resist that. begins one of the greatest decades that any corporation has ever had. totally stunning, first of all, he creates -- with billling out gates. bill gates comes back and mexican investment and start making microsoft word. he also truly focuses on design. you all remember and probably remember here, the first imac.
when he first goes back to apple in 1997, they form this bonding and they create the imac. johnny eyes sketches it out. it looks like a rabbit that is hopped up on your desk. they make a translucent and go to jellybean factories to see how you make it look right. they let you see the circuit board inside. johnny comes up with the notion that even though it is a big desktop machine up putting a recessed handle on it. that will cost to much money. why would you want to handle? and thate and johnny guy understood is that computers were still intimidated to people. the handle gives you permission to touch it. it says i am at your service. just by having that handle, even if you didn't use it, you felt that the computer was being
deferential to you. design, when they have flat screens, they take the imac and johnny design something with that and says no. steve says the integrity of the flatscreen, you have screwed it up. he goes home and johnny comes back to steve's house in the backyard, there are all these sunflowers, they walk around and try to figure out what to do. finally, you get that beautiful imac. everything they do, whether they are playing with plastic, titanium, metal, it is distant wishing apple from those commodity -- distinguishing apple from those commodity machines. once he writes the ship with that strategy -- he makes thisp, decision in 2001. it won't be a computer company anymore.
they used to go on ri retreats. everybody would try to get on those retreats. when he went back to apple, that was it, focus on four things, desktop, laptop, professional. to take 20 lines of macs. we are going to make for. when he nails it and gets that top of the list is consumer devices. what he does is he realizes that the having and to and control of the hardware and the software, you can create a digital hub where you put your video camera connected to your computer and middle -- maybe like your video. the one thing he screwed up that he wanted a tray slot in the newer imacs.
he was furious. one of those pure slots. it meant you couldn't burn music cds when panasonic and other musics came out with cds. because of adobe and says you have to make your video editing software for the new mac os. gates, the people of adobe said no, you have to small of a market share. he never really forgave a dobe. the mark of a good company is not what you think of things first, it is when you fail to
think of things first, and you leapfrog -- can you leapfrog? can you catch up? others were making cd burner trays. everybody was downloading from napster and burning cds. you couldn't do it that well on the apple. we have to make a perfect and to anything. music, the device itself, when they start making simpled, he makes it so because it is entered and integrated with the wrong thing. you can take the complexity and put it on the mac and the itunes software. not one ofitself is these complicated mp3 players where you had to figure out how to do it, you have to look at it. it was intuitive. he kept saying i want to be able
to get to where i want. every song i want or every function i want in three clicks. he drove them and drove them until the ipod becomes perfect. that is what he leapfrog's and does the music. that took apple into the digital hub business. it was really bit with the ipod and music. the ipod is hugely successful. he starts to worry what will kill it. he realizes people putting music on their phones will kill it. so he focuses and does the iphone and does it this way. modifier,an ipod there was a track wheel, it was not good for a phone. many other people were goaded on by microsoft.
was this notion of a touchscreen technology. when he finally sees how the touchscreen can work, he says that doesn't, that is how we will do the iphone. you have a series of consumer it --s from the decade beginning in 2001. that totally transformed the industry. he is bending other industries at the same time in the direction of his vision. the music industry, disney. he can't abide the fact that he is making these insanely great products. he comes up with the notion of the apple store. that is not a store but a whole branding exercise. just that notion of bending industries for the ipod and itunes store to work.
you had to convince seven record companies to put other music -- all their music on itunes. the songs were $.99 initially. none of the music companies liked it. to do therying walkman. they had a great music division. nobody wanted to come aboard. steve personally brought the itunes software to the time warner building and showed it to roger ames at warner music and got him aboard. and you had doug morris at universal. circling sony. no other ceo would have been so going at people until they surrendered. sony was the last holdout. and the lack was running sony music. running sonywas
staying out of itunes. andy lack is moved out of sony. go on toox set doesn't reall the itunes store. it helps dylan more than the ipod. itunes and the ipod has such a cachet that him doing that at introduced him to doing another -- to another generation,. n. >> you look skeptical about the questions. >> i'm not skeptical. my expression meant to say where do i start. i want to ask you one more question about the final chapter. you write, if reality did not comport with his will, he weigh -- would ignore it as he had , done with the birth of his daughter and would do a few years later when diagnosed with cancer.
the question people wanted most wanted me to ask you tonight was why when he was first diagnosed, did he undertake all of these natural, nonmedical solutions? >> there were two sides to steve jobs at all times. whether it's his personal life, cancer, professional life, the products he makes. there's the counterculture , alternative, romantic, since ability of steve. and there's the hard core scientific side of steve. and the cancer was no different. both sides kick in and he spends a lot of time wrestling with the two alternatives. wrestling with alternative treatments and diets. but also, as i say in the book, didn't get as much, having his d.n.a. sequenced having targeted , therapies done. unfortunately, it takes some month before he does what he does in every other aspect of
perfect, is find the synthesis of something that is very scientific and also comports with his alternative view of things. he does. it takes longer. it was implied had he gotten operated on right away or something he might have stopped , the cancer. we don't know that. cancer spreads in mysterious ways. so it is quite likely the cancer had already spread. but it was somewhat typical of steve to say, the normal rules don't apply to me. i'm going to look at this from both an alternative viewpoint as well as a deeply rooted scientific viewpoint. everything in some ways he does in his life ends up being a synthesis of that hippie rebel with the guy who in the
hewlett-packard geek explorers club. >> interesting. i'm going too start with a couple questions now. what was the greatest misperception about steve jobs in your mind that was addressed or maybe that you could address in this book? >> i think the greatest misperception was right when the book first came out and people were quickly reading it and pulling out anecdotes treated it was the petulance and impatience of his character was a weird thing. his own personality was integrated, including with his profession and the products he made, just like apple products are integrated so that perfectionism, or bratty temperment. that's not a disconnected thing that has nothing do with the passion for perfection or the product, you know, drive that he had.
and so i try -- that's what the last chapter is about -- to show how all of this was woven together. >> words like petulant and bratty are also maybe a little euphemistic. there are much stronger words you use in the book from time to time. >> i remember i was at time inc., and at one time fortunate -- one time, "fortune" was doing a story involving his cancer because they reported the cancer treatment first, not my book. steve was furious and called up the editor and the editor in chief. i was there and heard the stories. and he says to the editor of fortune, wait a minute. you have discovered i'm an ass -- hole? why is that news? he was very self-aware he could be a strong cup of tea. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> this is an interesting question. did he have to be who he was in
that way to do what he did? >> that's the question i'm most asked. did he have to be that way? did you have to be that way to get done what you did? and i'm going to back off a little from giving you a great answer because i'm a story teller. i had to write about the person who was in front of me. that's who we has so i wrote the story of him. this is not a how-to book. this is not a manual for, you have to be this way to run a company. of course you don't. very nice people run very successful companies and there are also total assholes who are total failures at running companies. that said, i am not trying to say here's the way to do it like steve did. i am trying to write a book about a flesh and blood human being who i didn't know all of his aspects, but when i knew them, i tried to tell the story, and part of the story is being
driven or is euphemistic. and had he not been that way, i doubt he would have been as successful. on the other hand, i suspect there were other ways to get things done at times. but when you say, did he have to be that way? my only job is to tell you the way he was because i'm just a biographer, not a preacher or management consultant. >> do you think that question will be answered with the sort of the luxury of distance and time? >> yeah. i mean, i guess -- christianson is another great management guru who could probably do a case study. "60 minutes" was saying, did he have to be so hard, so tough? i said, wait a minute. you work for don hewitt. don hewitt was a genius. he was also a real pain in the butt. we all know people like that.
i guess you could do a study of nice bosses, tough bosses, jerks, and correlate it somehow with the regression analysis and say who is more successful. but that's way above my pay grade. [laughter] >> are you writing the screen play and would you choose george clooney? [laughter] [applause] >> i am not. the reports of the movie are premature. way overdone. i am not involved. >> could you see george clooney? >> i am not a movie person. steve went over every frame of pixar movies the way he went over every curve of the first macintosh. and he would say something about finding nemo, and i remember having to go back and quickly download the movies because i just don't know -- it's one of my blind spots. in fact, when i was editor of
"time," i was famous for make really bad movie cover calls. so, asking me who should play what in a movie is -- >> all right. we'll give you a pass. i'm going to read you the preface. it says on behalf of historians, what were steve's stipulations about using the interviews you collected for the book and where will they ultimately be deposited? >> most of them are notes. some transcript of the four or final formal interviews he gave me. my notes will go somewhere. maybe we should talk. but not for another 20 or 30 years. and not -- i mean, partly because steve, and then the people around steve, would say things that could be very hurtful, or they would say -- you know, say something just offhanded, especially steve,
about certain things. and there are things i didn't put in the book and things i would have to take out of my notes just because they were unnecessary to understanding steve. and probably in the interests of kindness, you don't want to hurt people with certain comments. so, i will some day go through my notes and -- if it's the 20-year rule, maybe some of the things will have gone by the wayside. >> someone picked up on the quote about great artists steal, and said, he said that, yet he resented bill gated and google and many others for stealing from apple, as he saw it. how did his zen self recognize -- reconcile this? >> steve was not an expert at reconciling conflicting things. [laughter] >> anderson and many others have great quotes about people having conflicting thoughts at the same time.
steve was totally ballistic first at bill gates and microsoft for ripping off, as he put it, the macintosh graphical interface. berating howusly he felt android and google had ripped off the apple mobile operating system. you know, did he -- no. he didn't try to reconcile that. but i will say he didn't rip off xerox. i mean, there was a financial deal. xerox invested a million dollars in apple. there was an exchange of technology. i think he has some right to feel that he came up -- or apple came up with the beautiful
operating system and it is pretty much copied by windows. and likewise, the mobile operating system. in can argue this 10 years court, and there was an argument, about whether you can copyright the look and feel, whether there's an intellectual property theft there. but i can understand why he was pissed off. >> in his mercurial -- a great about his --book mercurial, i love the word. >> and dictatorial style. how was he able to engender such loyalty -- let's go to mercurial. he was new curiel. -- new curiel -- mercurial. >> so he is showing off the next computer at symphony hall here when it's been unveiled and he helped invent digital books. but he put a thesaurus and shakespeare's book, and he is
showing off the thesaurus and he says sometimes i'm called mercurial. he says, let me look it up and it says changeable moods and then it described another word, somebody who doesn't have enough emotions. and he says, maybe it's not so bad to be mercurial. so i think he understood his mercurial nature and that was part of who he was. and having said that. i've now forgotten the second half of the question. >> given he was that way, how did he engender such creativity? >> oh, look. when you're creating a machine as insanely great as that, even if you're in the middle of the night saying, this code is -- sucks, you got to make it better. by the time you've created as an engineer the original macintosh, you're loyal to the genius and the vision there. and people who have strong personalities either can turn people off or they can say, hey,
i got inspired here, and got to be on a team, and, look, the proof is -- i hate cliches like this, proof in the pudding -- but look at the team he even has at apple. reviews that bad of a boss, why do so many a players stay with him? because he like to be on a team with only a players. if he ran off the b players that doesn't mean the team at apple filled with a players -- they're quite loyal to him. >> can you tell us about the relationship between larry ellison and steve jobs? >> larry says best friends. it was a deep friendly relationship. one of my favorite anecdotes is late '96 when the question of steve coming back to take over apple is first being kicked around. larry ellison says, why don't we
buy apple? why don't i launch a hostile takeover. i'll buy apple. we'll put you back and set it into motion again and we'll all make a lot of money. and steve finally says, i think i might go back to apple. but i don't want you to invest. i don't want you to buy it. i don't want me to invest. i want to be able to go back at a dollar a year and no ownership of it. and larry ellison say, if you do it and come back that way and it makes it a great company again, how are we going to make money if we don't invest in it and buy it? and they were walking along a beach. and steve grabbed him by both shoulders and says, larry, this is why it's important i'm your friend, you're don't need anymore money. [laughter] i won't go there. >> a couple more questions. let me just ask you quickly
about the current technology, this great conversational interface that siri represents. did he talk about that with you, what the vision for that is? >> yeah. i do think that the simplest, most natural interfaces have always been his passion, and there's no simpler one than just talking. i did not know the name siri but we talked and i was careful in the book, even though he told me a lot of things in detail what he wanted to do, i decided, you know, i shouldn't put in things in that he might not be able to do and that apple may be working on for the next couple of years. but at the last board meeting when he tenders his resignation as c.e.o., they have a lunch afterwards. all the engineers bring out the various things they're working on. and one of them which i knew was voice out soon was this recognition thing. and they know steve is not
feeling well but he has been brought into the meeting so he is going to try to make it look bad. so he asks what is now called siri, do i need an umbrella, and it says, the prediction is for sunny day tomorrow in palo alto. so, it really is doing the beautiful thing. so finally steve says, are you a man or are you a woman? and they all kind of hold their breath because he is trying to trick the machine, and siri is very good. the two layers, and it says, they have not yet assigned me a gender. [laughter] >> and they all breathe a sigh of relief and steve thinks its great. he loves that technology. by the way bill gates and , everybody has been trying to crack voice recognition. >> yeah. what do you think of the apple that he leaves behind? you talked about the team and the great group he has built. there's rumored to be this product road map that goes on and on. but the history of technology
companies with a founder like this, is someone driving it with a vision like this, leaving, is not great overall. what do you think about where apple goes from here without steve jobs? >> well, the last meeting i told you about when he goes the board and does that lunch, somebody at the lunch makes fun of h.p. because that day or that week it had gotten out of the tablet business, was getting in or out of the pc and was totally confused. steve said, wait a minute. he stopped the person making fun of the troubles at hewlett-packard. he said, when i was 13, bill hewlett give me my first job, and he created company that was designed not only to make a calculator and then make a computer and make other things, but to continue and last and continue to make new products
and come up with new ideas even after they were gone. and those bozos screwed it up for hewlett and packard. i don't want that to happen at apple. and he tried deeply to fight off the bozo explosion so there was only a great team of eight players, and also to say there's a simple, simple thing, that apple stands for, which is, the intersection of great creativity in the humanities with great engineering and technology. and he says that's what disney did. that's what a lot of people have done. there are companies that last. ibm is almost 101 years old. i think apple has imbued in its genetic code this desire to drive great design and artistic creativity with great engineering and technology. and it will be at that intersection and the people
there now are capable of keeping it at that intersection. you know, 10 years from now, 25 disney has ups and downs. but they're doing fine right now after a few rough patches since walt disney died. if i had to wager, and unlike rick perry, i am a betting man . not $10,000 but i would wager that a generation from now, even a century from now, apple will still exist, at the intersection of the humanities and the technologies. >> so that's apple. one final question about steve jobs. 100 years ago the great industrialists and philanthropists, carnegie, rockefeller, melon, built institutions as well as corporate legacies. and that legacy survives.
steve jobs might have done the same thing. but he chose not to do it. and his legacy is apple, and it's built on shifting sands of technology. 100 years from now what do you , think the legacy of steve jobs will be as people look back on him and this era? the last five or six pages of the book is him talking about his legacy. it's putting something back in the flow of history. i asked him, what was his greatest creation. i was thinking maybe it would be the ipad or whatever. he said, apple as a company . because products come and go but the hard part is making a company that will continue to make good products. so i do think apple will be his legacy. but also more specifically, the legacy will be somebody who truly transformed industry after
industry by pulling together great ideas and driving the technology to support them. i mean, look at the ipad. people made fun of it. i was there when he launched it. there were also the articles, what is this an iphone on , steroids? nobody makes a tablet work. the ipad is now -- when i walk into a doctor's office or anywhere else, it is transforming industry after industry. $2 billion last year just in the industry of creating apps for it. the textbook industry. you know, carnegie was great with education philanthropy. bill gates was great with education philanthropy. in the end, the ipad may change education as much as any of the carnegie schools. so, i think he's got a pretty solid legacy if you look at each of those industries he transformed.
>> so, we often ask our authors to do a short reading at the end . and you graciously agreed to coda of the biography. i wonder if you would do that for us now. >> yeah, thank you. as i said, i end -- i'll start earlier on. one more thing, his signature phrase, and i do say -- this is one of steve jobs, and even though he didn't impose his legendary control, i suspect i would not be conveying the right feel for him and the way he asserted himself into any situation if i just shuffled him on stage without letting him have the last words. so i take a series of interviews i did with him about his legacy and let him talk without me getting in the way. but then the coda is about a one sunny afternoon when in the back garden of his house he wasn't
feeling well, and he reflected on death. and i say he talked about his experiences in india almost four decades earlier. his study of buddhism, his views and spiritualon transcendence. 50/50 on believing in god, he said. for most of my life i felt there must be more to our existence than meets the eye. unquote. he admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in the afterlife. quote, i leak to think that something survives after you die. it's strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. so i really want to believe that something survives. that maybe your consciousness endures. and then he fell silent for a long time.
and then he said, but on the other hand, perhaps it's just like an on-off switch, he said. click, you die. you're gone. and then he paused again, long pause, and he smiled slightly, quote, and maybe that's why i never liked to put on-off switches on apple devices. [laughter] >> that's the end. [applause] >> hear from the country's best-known american history writers of the last decade every saturday at 4:00 eastern. you can watch any of our programs at any time. visit our website, c-span.org /history. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on cspan3. weekend, book tv brings
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thes interviewed by "washington post" indicated columnist. >> the crucial thing is to be thataware about what it is is really worth spending money spendingat is just because people tell you this is the kind of thing you ought to be doing or buying. the georgetown university professor looks at the country's racial divide. cessation want is a of the velocity of stereotype and a granting to us of the same humanity that you grant each other. for the booktv.org complete weekend schedule. >>