tv Charlie Rose PBS October 26, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight so much anticipated biography of steve jobs by walter isaacson. we talked to walter isaacson. >> he saw himself in the tradition of hewlett and packered and other founders of companies and the question is can you make a really great product or great profit, it's can you make a company that will last. and he said his most important historic creation is probably creating a company i think a generation two generations from now will still be at the intersection of technology. >> charlie: walter isaacson on steve jobs for the hour.
>> charlie: walter isaacson is here, he's a ceo and author on biographiesf albert einstein and henry kissinger. steve jobs asked isaacson to write his biography. two years ago he began the product. he conducted over 40 interviews and spoke withundreds of friends, family, colleagues and competitors. the cofounder of apple later told isaacson he wanted the book written because he wanted his children to know him. steve jobs died from colications due to pancreatic cancern october 5th, 2011 in a series of reflections at the end of the book jobs says very simply we tried to use the talents we did have to show our nealings and deep contributions to those who came before us and add to that no that has driven me. the book is called steve jobs. i'm very pleased to have walter isaacson back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie.
>> charlie: following an appearance last night on 60 minutes, i mentioned it came to a point whe steve jobs asked yo tell me the story. >> in the early huuzmer of 2004,i got a phone c. we were talking about a variety of things. maybe he would come to aspen and say i don't want to speak but we ought to take a walk, i'd like to talk to you about something. and he mentioned if i would consider doing a dog fee of me. ihought he's young, he's got 20, 30 years ahead of him with an up and down career. i said yes maybe some day in 20 years whenou retire. but we kept in touch, it went back and fort andhen around 2009 his wife said to me if you're going to do steve you ought to do him now. i didn't focus on the fact he was sick when he first talked to me. she said well he wasn't, he hadn't yet had his first cancer operation, he was keeping it raer secret. and i thought well this is very
interesting. auy who has totally transformed six or seven industries and struggled, battling with cancer. i said i would love to do it. and then i think steve probably had a few trip -- trepidationss soon as i said yes. >> charlie: you would say congratulations it's going to happen. at the beginning of it were you certain he was going to go through with it. >> no. he told me on our last meeting he said i have trepidations to begin this project. i said yes, i know. but he said i'm really glad i did it and he had gotten more and more intimate in his discussions with me over the years. i understand why he had trepidation. he's a private person and likes to control things friend to end whether it's the hardware or the software of the apple product or his own image. so he tookuite a risk.
he didn't want to read it in advance because he didn't want to feel like an in-house book. he says i know you'll put things in there i don't like and i won't read it right away so i don't get mad bit. his wife was very very helpful. >> charlie: did he believe he was dying at the time. >> oh, no. i think until the very end he thought he was going to stay one step ahead of the cancer. there's been a lot written about how he was doing macro biotic diets and i should make it cler about steve there are two parts of his personality. the poetic alternative counterculture rebel but also this engineer business solid guy. he was also doing very advanced targeted therapies based on genetic sequencing and other things with the cancer. he told me over and over again,
i think i'm going to stay ahead. >> charlie: he had a race against time that something might come along to be discovered. >> every time the cancer would mutate and sort of circumvent the drugs he was using. he would try a new one. >> charlie: did he tell you. >> he thought about much more academic biographers. he said i wanted somebody who is both a historian and a journalist because i want somebody who can get other people to talk. which also baffled me a little bit because i knew i would have to get people he had fired or hired worked with or were rivals to talk. there was some trepidation initially when i was talking to some of these people that filtered back to him. eventually he really surprised me by encouraging rivals and people he had falling out with, former girlfriends and everybody else to talk to him. >> charlie: then near the end he looked at you and said i'm
not going to like some of this, am i. >> right. he didn't make it a question he said i'm not going to like some thing in this book. >> i laughed and said yes. there's just no way. i wrote about henry kissinger. if we read his no bell peace prize he wouldn't like some of it. it's very very hard. and he was, jobs was very smart about that. he said don't worry. i mean he thought he was going to be arou and i hoped the book would be out when he was alive. he kept saying don't worry i'm not even going to read it when it come out. >> charlie: how was it different writing this beyond the obvious. he was alive, franklin was dead. einstein was dead. >> it was astonishingly different in ways i hadn't thought of. two ways in particular. most biographers know very little really about the intimate details about their subject. and i realized how much you can
actually know. i almost fell i knew more about him than i knew about myself. he was remembering things that happened to him when he was young. i was thinking, you know, it's hard for me to remember it that much. and so it was a whole, you don't have that our leaders. there are very few leaders, i can't ink of any who have been so open so that you really have a pretty full record. now there will be other people who write books based on their own vantage and eventually it will accumulate into a fuller truer picture of steve. the other thing that was difficult is what i sort of call the rashamon effect likehat old movie. when he stepped down as ceo of apple, he talked to me right after. 45 minutes later we talk board of director an hour. >> charlie: he called you up. >> yes. he said here's what happened, here's what i said. it was a nice emotional talk. within the next 24 hours i talked to other people at the
meeting. i looked at my notes and had four different versions of the story. not because people were spinning or because they were lying or trying to mislead me it's just that he had such a strong force field, magical field around him that when you were in his presence, people just remembered things differently, are thought about them differently. so it was awesome. with ben franklin he'll write in his diary hers what i did today and you don't have four other people saying here's what ben franklin did today. you have to and-a-half gate that. >> charlie: this is the most controlling of men as you have written. but he did notyou. >> right there were times i said here it seems to me is why the ipad and he would say no no, you don't get it. he also was very self aware. i mean, he would, you know, one of the main things about him that people always say, the sore of stories of him being rough on
people. you've known bosses that way. they tend to actually get good work out of people. he said no it wasn't getting good work out of people. it was the price of admission. you got to fight the bozo explosion that can happen at a company. mediocre people are doing mediocre things and i'm the only person who can say that. and that demands being brutally honest. there may be a way of the gentlemen's club. >>chare: he was brutally honest with himself. was he? >> yes, i think so but there are times en he got caught up in this famous reality distortion field. there are times when he would give me different versions of things. and i don't think he was being dishonest. i tnk that he just, sometimes had his own magical way of thinking. >> charlie: was he curious but. >> yes. lot of people that have sat at
this table have difficulty maki eye contact and don't emotional connect. i thought steve jobs would be like that. you can name the name of all the techies who have sat in this chair. that he would be good making eye contact with a circuit bored but he won't emotionally be able to connect with you. i was stunned how easily he could drill down and know emotionally what you were feeling. i think that ties into the products he created, which is what's the difference between the ipod and the zoon. i think the zoon is very very good and bill gates is awfully smart. it isn't that emotional connection. and steve jobs sometimes he was so, it was so paiul for some people because when he would snap at you, he would know exactly whe you knew y had fallen down. and he would get right to it. remember you know my wife kathy,
she came over for dinner, with the ree of us at steve's house in the kitchen. they always ate at the kitchen. he always ate with his family every evening. he didn't go out traveling and stuff. in this case his family was away so it was just the three of us. and immediately kn, you know, paid total attention to kathy and as he does with anybody. so i think it's both sides of thatersonality, to be able to be an engineer but also to be very emotionally connected. >> charlie: he thout he was a great man. >> you know, i think that he thought of himself in history. you know when i first met him was way back in 1984 we did the mcintosh. you remember we did it together, the time 100 shows that picked the hundred most influential people of the 20th century. at the exact same times he was doing things different. so we were both using picasso and john lennon and dillon and
the icons. specifically silicon valley history. he thought of himself in the tradition of hewtt-packardnd other companies. the question is not really can you make a really great product or really great profit, it's can you make a company that will last. he said his most important historic creation is probably creating a company that i think a generation, two generations from n will still be at the intersection of art and technology. >> charlie: he was a great genius. >> the very first call we had in 2009 when he deced he was going to do it after i decided and he got trepidation. he talked about bill hewlett and then he talked about edmond land the founder of polaroid. he said edmond land once told me those people that can stand at the intersection of humanities and science, the liberal arts
and tenology, that intersection, other people can change the world. and that was his unique genius, and i thought as soon as he said that, he's suggesting a theme for the book, he's being controlling. and maybe going into control it turned out to be right. this this is what creativity's about. we talked about needing to educate more engineers and mat -- mathematicians that's fine. but you have to connect creativity to engineering. the company that does that best, and i suspect will do it best a generation from w is apple because tt's the main thing he injected into the company's dna. >> charlie: look at the reaction. are you at all surprised. >> it does enter the emotional thing. here's a guy that makes an emotional connection. he has a patent on the boxes so that when you open it up and that iphone cradled. his great industrial design partner. they not only patented the
design of the ipod but they know what it's lqez[y to open i. it's an emotional thing. so so much people have been touched emotionally just by apple products. of course i was surprised by the outpouring. >> charlie: it was overwhelming. >> you dohat for like "nqd princesses and dead rock stars. >> charlie: anything you can imagine. in terms of 99% of it laudatory, 99% of it saying this was a true genius, this was a person for the ages, this was a person whose life could not see soon and aerson you said belonged right next to ford and edison. >> sure. when you look at people who are innovative, you know, that's what he was. not only innovative but innovative in creating thing for regular people. he grew up in what's called -- joseph was someone who replicated sort of a frank lloyd
write clean ste in the masses, in theuburbs, very expensive houses for the working class. and his goal is not just to create beauty but create beauty for everybody. >> charlie: when you look at steve jobs, there's also this argument that you make. he had a complicated difficult personality. controlling, demding. even mean. you seem to suggest that without that, there would never been apple as big as it was, as successful as it was. suggesting that if you're not that way, you will never achieve great historical. >> i think that the controlling passion for perfection, to make something end to end awesomely great and to push people so that only a players are there and
they know that mode occurrity is not accepted. that is not me, i wanted to push. i think there were times when he would emotionally sort of snap at somebody, and it made -- you have to look at the outcome. i mean there's a loyal on his team of truly great star players. from johnny ives to kim cook, to scott forestall that are so loyal and have stayed wit him soong. you can't find other companies with all those people. >> charlie: and they did because? >> because he was iniring. and sometimes inspiring comes from being unyielding, tough.
not willing to compromise with mediocrity. i lee it as an open question. we've all had bosses and maybe even at times been away i don't think every boss should be rough as possible but steve kept saying over and over again, this is who i am. >> charlie: it wasn't a question. >> but he was not, let me say in his defense here. he could be verbally short, tough, rough. en mean to people. he was not one of those people who plotted to really hurt people, you know those type. >> charlie: there were no grudges in fact. >> no. they gave an award in the early mcintosh team, in the early 1980's of who this year stood up the best to steve. he loved that award and he loved the fact he was giving it out. joanna hoffman won it. women used to win it.
those are pele who got promoted. even tim cook quiet gentle sphoal. when he would stand up to steve he would stand up to eve. and steve said we've had rip roaring discussions where i get to tell people thiss full of and they get to actual me it's full of. and those rip roaring discussions are the best times i've ever had. i think that you w not have had such a loyal team if you truly had been me. meaning he had sort of conspired to really -- it was a verbal brutal honesty. >> charlie: and you had people step forward to say he made me do thing i didn't imagine i could do because they demanded of me and he was a perfectionist. >> his partner, you know, the guy, they do a blue box togethr when enables them to rip it off. they do the apple 1 and apple 2
breakout. steve says you can do this breakout game in four days. no no it will take two months. ansteve would sta -- stare and say you can do it in four days. and he would say it's astonishing, i did it in fo days. every single person who survived are all the good ones or almost all the good ones. they say he made me do things i didn't think i could do. the was a guy who was doing sort of the start up when you booted up the mac in the old days. and it was a bit slow. and steve said take ten seconds off of it. he said no no, he said look, if you could save lives by doing that, would you do it. of course. and steve does the calculation and says ten seconds, millions of people using it, this i four human life spans. in three weeks the guy saved. >> charlie: this picture, did he choose this. >> not quite.
it's an albert watson photograph donemagazine. this is a picture in 1984 with the original mcintosh. the time he got really mad at me when he saw a proposed cover for the book almost a year ago. it was him and the apple. d he said that's t ugliest and in many words he said that i can't actually say even on public broadcasting. and he said i'm not going to cooperate anymore unless you let me be involved in the cover. in fixing the cover. i think it took me somewhere between one and one and-a-half seconds to say okay. it's the greatest design in the world and he's demanding to do the cover. okay, great. thank you. i remember agonizing, i turn the book in june and we're trying to get e cover straight. and lots of e-mails and calling
and calling family and saying can't you get him to sit down and take thpicture. and he is very good at focusing meaning sometimes if he's focusing on other thing, he's just not going to answer. he's not going to deal with it. that's fine he had other things focus on. then one day he focused and he got a couple thoughts idea. he said yes you can go with that picture. he said do it in black and white because there was a color version. he said i'm a plaque and white sort of guy. and he picked a simple font. >> charlie: what did you want to know that you never discovered >> actually a good question people keep asking me is why did you do this book. i say at the end and you quoted it earlier on my last visit with him he said i wanted my kids to know me. >> charlie: and wanted to know why. >> he had dinner every night at his kitchen. >> charlie: didn't he say that though. he wanted to know what i was doing when i was nothing. >> and when the antenna problem
happened with the iphone, reid being his older son, his son, bringing him into the meetings where they solved that crises. because he wanted him to know this is what i do. you learn more in business school or one day in this meeting. he was around thatable every night with his kids but as i said he focused. sometimes he would be focusing on w the shamfer or the curve ofhe bevel on an imad didn't touch it in the model. so he would be distracted. i think he felt i was the always focused intently as i should have been on it. once again you have to judge by the outcome just like you created a great team of of totally loyal players at apple and at pixar. his family truly was a loving close family and all four of his children and his wife and mona
simpson, his sister. they're all there when he's in his last days. there is a closeness and a love that even though he worried. so when he told me he did it because his kids may not know him. that wasn't exactly satisfying. he said i want to do it because there will be a lot of books written by me and nobody will know the real, my side of the story. he said i want to do it because want to tell the tale. i think he wanted to do it because he knows history, he loves history and he thinks of himself as you said in the introduction of being part of a flow in history in which we build on the people before us and try to leave something for the people behind us. and he wanted people to know that. this is a question i never really had answered. even in the end he said i had trepidation but i'm really glad i did this. i kept saying why are you so glad you did it. he said well,'m really glad i did it. i couldn't figure it out. >> charlie: there was a moment in which you told me while you wereki+o÷ writing thit
you got a call when he was at his daughter's graduation and tell me if i'm wrong about this. >> i think it was reid high school. >> charlie: graduating and he was in tears and he said i thought i might not live to be here. >> h sent me an e-mail about it and he called later. when he got diagnosed with cancer in 2003 he said to me i made my deal with god or whatever, you know. half religious, half not. it was a great mystery. he said i made may deal which is i just want to make it to my son's graduation. and he did. and it was a beautiful time. that night the whole family gathered and they all danced with each other. this is a very loving tight knit family. i think he kept looking for here's my next goal. and i think he was"that ipad ou.
unfortunately he was driven with a few more great visions including building the world's greating headquarters at apple and that was going to keep him alive but eventually. >> charlie: this is what norman foster thought hewas going to do. >> norman foster and a team of 50 architects. you've got to get them on the show here. he had sort of a racetrack and someone said it was like genitalia from above. and then it's just a pristine and pure -- every time i'd come over we would have to go through the plan and the models because he loved the physical models. his goal was not just to build great products to but to have a great company for centuries. >> charlie: before you talk
about his life as you lay it out in this book. when you look at him and you think about him, is it, is there anything that you didn'tet to know. >> the deep emotionalism surprised me. he wouldbe talking to me and we would be sitting there and i would look up and there were tears. it could be about anything. the most astonishing thing, he was describing the tigz agency, the great ad agency that made the 1984 adds. when he came back to apple, they had written here is to the crazy ones and the people, you know. and there was, you know, people say they're crazy the people who think they're crazy are the ones crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.
and he starts crying just thinking how pure the art of this ad agency. >> charlie: that's how he saw himself. >> he saw himself. >> charlie: he saw himself in that tradition. >> oh, i think if you leave that here's to the crazy one, i think it's the epilogue to the book which is the people who are crazy enough who think they can change the world are the ones that do. here's the interesting thing. as with everything on steve, it sort of has two sides. there's that rebel counterculture artist crazy side and when he first did the mcintosh, it was such a closed
appliance, he always wanted to reassert that rebel counterculture part of his personality. that's what the 1984 ad was all about. after he made this pristine product, the original mac, he does the ad would of where they're throwing the sledge hammer of big brother. likewise here's to the crazy one, the rebels and misfits, he actually was a rebel and to some extent a misfit. >> charlie: this point too, there was on the drawing board a whole range of idea that he wanted to see to fruition. one great television. >> yes. >> charlie: and he thought he could design a great camera. >> the software thing where you could have the algorithms really enhance just the number, the photons that are coming in and the room without much light. they can do it with software. so he was always thinking of how an i going to disrupt the next
industry. there are industries that would have disrupt it had he lived another seven years. television because maybe you can do this but if i go to a hotel room and even at home and i'm trying to record something that's on cable, no. i got two remotecontrols. it shouldn't be that way, it should be like the ipad, you know, simple. secondly he would have disrted the textbook industr there's no reason kids should be lugging around three year old textbooks that weigh 50 pands and nap sacks. they should have interactive learning and i tnko/?$ñ it would disrupt digital photography. i actually didn't use in the book. he hadome ideas about the interfaces and i in some ways think he's no longer with us, are those still proprietary. because i'm sure he didn't take them to the grave. i'm sure that people are still working on them. those are things not in immediate development but when we say he disrupted seven industries, we should look and
say he and maybe the people he worked with can disrupt more strips. >> charlie: and seven were. >> first of all personal computers. wozinak made a good board but not a power supply. then with the graphical interface and sort of a home computing revolution the music industry with the itunes and ipod, the whole way we look at music. he disresults the telephone industry. you no longer have silly little cell knowns we don't know how to use. our iphone is everybody from a web browser to our e-mail and in fact very rarely am i on the phone, i'm always texting. and retail stores, you know.
retail stores bng the brand just like when you open that box and you pull the joy phone -- iphone out of the cradle. when you go to the stores that were designed for steve. he sat there worrying about the sienna marble and the gray on the floor cause when he was young he took a trip and saw the sienna marble quarries near florence. and he sat there with his people, his ad agency as well as his graphic designe giving out the bathroom size in the store, what color they should be to go well, what type of gray should they be. so we invent the stores a sort of symbol of a company. and of course he does it with movies. once given the intersection of artist tree and technology.
he takes pixar and invents digital animation. >> charlie: let's talk about his life. >> i don't know if that's seven. >> charlie: born and then opted. did not know his birth parents for a while. >> rht. his mother was a wonderful woman whwas a graduate from the univerty of wisconsin. happened a relationship with a person from syria, john dolly. they go to syria. she comes back after that summer and she's pregnant and they can't get married. her father's a very strict catholic and so he goes to san francisco and finds a very kindly doctor who helps pregnant unwed mother and puts up the child for adoption. after a false start steve is
placed with jobs. he repossessed cars for the finance company and also was a mechanic, loved fixing up the cars and sometimes reselling them. a perfect set of parents for him because even though they were not the well educated, they were solid and smart and paul jobs is a trulyareful craftsman. he just loves building things. he loves tinkering in the garage. >> charlie: he loves them to be perfect. >> not only perfect. wh they do the fence around that joseph home he tells steve the back of the fence that nobody sees has to be just as good. nobody will see it buthe says you'll know and the true craftsmalways puts it good. >> charlie: in the sense of appreciation. >> define, beauty and a passion for perfection. look the apple 2 and especially the mctosh. you can't open the original mcintosh, the ones on the back of that book.
it has no screws that will allow you to open it. just as they were finishing it, he looks at the circuit board and says the circuit board is ugly. the chips aren't liked up perfectly, spaced right. and somebody says nobody will see it and he says we will know and he has to redo the circuit. >> charlie: he starts apple in the garage with steve wozniak. why the name apple. >> steve after dropping out of college, spiritual enghtenment. what's on apple commune in oregon. he's trying to trim the trees and he comes down one weekend and he's with woz and they've done a few things together
before. and z has a circuit board and he was giving it away. this is woz, a wonderful guy. i've got a great circuit board here are the schematics i'll give them for free and steve says no, we can fix these up and sell them. they had to form a company and they had weird names like computer treks personal computer corporation. steve says how about apple computer. the words don't go together particularly well. it's kind of friendly and counterculture in a way and it gets us ahead of atari in the phone book he told me. the we can't stick with a a better name we'll stick with apple. >> charlie: he worked with atari. >> yes. he learned a couple thing at atari. we talked about simplicity. i hate to say it. you and i are old enough to
remember paul. those games, they had to be simple enough that a stoned freshman could figure out. it's like the instructions were inse quarter avoid cling-ons. here's how you juice up micro chips in order to make the design delightful. and he also had two people at atari, bush envelope and alcorner, the chief engineer and the founder. they don't believe the ordinary rules apply to them. and steve actually being a rebel didn't believe the ordinary rules apply to him and i think he took some lessons. >> charlie: that was true throughout his life. >> absolutely. he never put license plates on his car. >> charlie: there's also this, the india thing you referenced. he learned something there, the spirituality of india, the sense of respect for intuition, all were lessons he came back with.
>> absolutely. the thing he told me, he realized after his months in india, he said i realized the role intuition plays. intuition based on experiential as opposed western analytic thought. and it get ba, i'm sorry to keep harping on it on the two f facets to steve's personality. the intuitive poetic side and the rational enneer businessman side. he was able to join them. but if there's a difference between, if steve jobs ishe smartest guy ever in silon valley, not especially but he's a genius because he had an intuition of how emotion connects. that intuition, i don't know how you develop great intuition but he says it was experiencallism.
he was in the ment and you have ntuitions you're willi to trust. we have intuitions mine aren't generally that good and i don't trust them all that much. but he had these intuitions of, i mean for example the imac. it's a desktop computer and johnny wants a recessed handle on it. and he tries to explain it. and steve has the intuition, which is we don't need the handle but it makes it friendly. it makes you know you can touch this machine. people who are scared of computers, this is johnny ivez, buhe gets. let's put that recessed handle in and it intuitively felt right. >> charlie: he was influenced by the countered culture of height ash berry. >> he loved dropping acid. >> charlie: without lsd he would not be the man he was.
>> i'm not sure that's totally true. bill gates would have been a much better person too if he dropped acid once in a while. >> charl: but the counterculture influenced him greatly and he loved music and he loved dillon. >> he said growing up in silicon valley once again is dichotomy. we have hewlett packard engineers but you also have janis joplin and the greatful dead. you have acid and you have the rebels and the free speech movement and people who are crazy and people -- the mixture in the bay area of the electric culture and counter culture. they looked at computer things that would oppress big brother in 1984. but soon computers became thought of as tools for
empowerment. the whole earth catalogs. stewart brand, that whole thing. you get a fusion the counterculture and the electronics culture, and other than the whole earth catalog and stewart brand, the ultimate symbol of that is steve jobs. >> charlie: he said in fact quoting stewart brand and his famous commenc the speech stay hungry, the idea, because i want to use a portion of it at this point. the idea of the commencement speech, i was amazed to know that he reached out to the screen writer. >> i don't know if aaron agreed to do much of anything. >> charlie: but he reached out toim. it was steve realizing this was big, he didn't do this all the time. >> he never -- >> charlie: and he decided this is the mace. >> right. >> charlie: and reached out and said -- >> helped me do this. >> charlie: and sorkin he never responded. >> it was one person i tried to get to but sorkin never wrote the speech.
and one day steve sits down with his wife laurene as a sounding board and arthur heyly once said if you have to write an essay or give a lecture you start with let me start a story. steve job says that three fold. let me tell you three stories. it's that simple, they stories. >> charlie: it's one of the greatest commencement speeches if not the greates >> i went to youtube and all sorts of anthologies, other than, may have been more important is george marshall announcing the marshall plan in 1947. but let's show it. >> charlie: what you want to show is the three stories. one was his illness. the other was. >> dropping out of reed. >> charlie: dropping outof reed college and the trd was beg fired from apple. he's created apple, and then because of a conflict with john that he brought in as the ceo, john skully gets steve jobs out
of the job and eve jobs is in the wilderness. here is what he said about that experience. remember, this is the company he created. this was his baby. this was a place he was pouring everything into and he was losing control. here's what he said. >> i didn't see it then but it turned out getting fired from apple was the best thing that everappened to he ma'am the heaviness of being successful was replaced of the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. during the next five years i started a company named next, another company named pixar and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. pixar went on to create the animated feature film toy story and is now the most successful animated studio in the world. in a remarkable turn of events, apple bought next and i returned to apple and the technology we developed at next is at the heart of apple's current renaissance. and laurene and i have a
wonderful family together. i'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if i hadn't been fired from apple. it was awful tasting medicine but i guess the patient needed it. sometimes life's going to hit you in the head with a brick. don't loseote. i'm convinced that the only thing that kept me goingas that i loved what i did. you've got to find what you love. >> charlie: so he says the apple experience. what was it about being in the wilderness that was important to him. >> you know people sayeing fired at apple helped make him a more mature person. first of all i think he felt very abandoned. >> charlie: back to the point that he was abandoned. >> i'm not a psychologt but i mean he,ou know, does feel of course his biological parents weren't there for him. but he's abandoned by the father figures that he had in mind. mike who was the chairman of apple who lived on as a father
figure. arthur, the great venture capitalist look added add him as a father figure. they all abandoned him in 1985. but i think the experience that really changes him is when he does next computer and he can indulge all of his instincts good and bad. and he creates a insanely perfect computer. it's a perfect cube. it has digital mowers and digital books but it takes too long to get it out and the market flops. he says i've got to join the romance and sensibility. then when he comes back to apple he's a lot more sensible. >> charlie: i think i told you this story. i told you before you sat down. and he came over to say hlo. i was talking to a young techie and clearly the young techie was
thrilled. so i introduced steve to him. and i said, do you haveny advice for this young guy and steve says stick to your knitting. stick with what you know. >> he calls up and says i'm going to go back to google and be ceo. i want to come to you for advice. at that moment, apple and steve jobs were having a knock down drag out war with google over the android operating system and whether it had taken unfairly the look and feel from apple ie and ipad system. then he says wait a minute bill hewlett, , 15 years ago he mentored me and took me.
i'm part of this history, i'm willing to invite him over. and he does. what's the advice same thing he told you a dece earlier. focus. stick to exactly what you think your company is going to do best. don't try to be all over tap because you will end up like microsoft with hundreds of products and not knowing what you do. anfocus, i mean if you had to say what did steve jobs have, he had the imability to impute which is an odd word early on he learned about making things stand for something. but he also h the ability to focus. when he came back to apple in 1997, them making all sorts of mcintoshes. trying to stay above the water trying to have the 9600 -- 35 products and you didn know which mac to buy. after listening to the white board thing four squares,
professional consumer laptop and desktop. >> charlie: i heardteve jobs said bill gates is more -- from your book his impression of gates was that he was more interested in market share than he was in the perfect product. steve believed the perfect product neighborhood him to have at one time and still the largest comny in the world. >> well, he believed that you can either focus on profits or focus on the product. and that apple had gon astray during his wilderness years by focusing on trying to make a profit rather than tryingto make a great product. and he said every decision he makes stems from that subtle
distinction who you hire how you promote and market yourself. i think he thought of him sees an in no innovator like edison who was always inventing new things. steve was interested in creating something like an ipad or an ipod and making it as cool and beautiful as he could then to say how would we maximize profit. he even does things that are against his short term business -- i think if you wanted to maximize profits for example you would license out the ios meaning the operating syst for ipad, ipod. you would license outer the mcintosh operating system in the old days. he was allergic to that because you can thought make a perfect product unless you control it from the hardware to the software to the content to the device. i think he would rather, if they could have shown him a hundred power point slides saying if we license that, like dell and hp also make products using this
operating system, we wl triple our profits. he would say fine. but our products won't be insanely great so we're not going to do it. he does end up working. off and on in the past few weeks it's the biggest company in the planet. >> charlie: with respect to people, if you look at the last six months or four months, when did he know he was going to die? >> well as i said a few weeks before when i was there, he said he was looking at a year. i think, i mean that's between him and his family but i think he always had some powers of magical thinking and probably until is last few days he thought there will be this new therapy. >> charlie: and he was building a boat over a 200 foot boat. >> he used to say the journey is the reward. with that boat, i actually think
building the boat, designing the bolt was more exciting to him than actually having the boat. he spend more time sort of looking and making a perfect design. >> charlie: why didn't he want to beperated on. >> he told me that he didn't want his body opened. >> charlie: what did that mean and why did he say that? >> i just think that he had a certain sensef his integrity of his body and to have it opened up, he wanted -- >> charlie: there were people who rallied against that idea. i'm told andy said he had some experience. >> andy grove said things i can't say on this show about eating horse roots and vegetables. he can't do it. but let's be clear, while steve was doing the alternative romantic type of doing it. he was also looking at the scientific ways to deal with it, with a real focus and obsessio.
and he eventually does have an obsession. it works. four seven years afterhat operation he's beating it back. i mean somewhat astonishingly at times and creating ipods and ipads. >> charlie: when we realize he has cancer he's among the lucky ones that you can live with. >> right. and you can beat it backnd it's slow growing but it's clear that by whatever, 2009 obviously made it all the way to the lifer which is why he has a lifer transplant. >> charlie: i'm still fascinated by the motion or somebody talked him into it not having surgery. >> i think he met with a lot of people, southern california and other places who had some methods that were actual me sensible and some methods that i think were probably lacking, i'm not an expert on alternative medicines. and you know, he was hopi for that but he was also looking for conventional cures, conventional ways of treating him. >> charlie: butot senior.
>> he was looking at that possibility. the question is should he have done it sooner. i think as long as he was going to do it. he probably felt in retrospect i should have done it sooner but we'll never know. >> charlie: who were the last people to see him. >> his whole family. he worried am i focusing enough on my family. at the very end, every one of his four children standing there with him. and his wife laurene, mona simpson, the novelist is his sister and a couple people, i think johnny ives was around. st and they are all really right there with him at the end. and he was able to talk, able to say exactly wt he wanted in terms of like, in term over yo-yo ma playing at memorial sur services, that sort of thing. wanting to be buried near clara and paul job, his parents.
so as passings go, it's about the most elegant and loving e you n imagine. and there were ups and downs he had had with his first daughter who -- >> charlie: come back to live at home with him. >> yes, come back to live at home with him. but just like you have to judge his way of treating his colleaes by the fact that they all remain loyal to him. that final moments, those final days when everybody in his family the four kids are all by the bedside. it's, it was pretty moving. and i think -- >> charlie: when was the last time you talked with him on the phone. >> the last long conversation was right after he stepped down from apple as ceo of apple. it was a long conversation because it went on for quite a long time. at one point, he's still telling me about all the things he wanted to do. and i said i didn't want to in
the book violate all of his specific ideas but just he said i could talk about the geral things in the book. and so i said well what's it like to leave the company you founded. he actually got mad. it was like he snapped back and said what are you talking about. i said what do you mean. he says i'm not apple. i'm going to be there, i'm going to help wit the products or whatever. and i think he thought i would be around for a while. but it was odd because later in the conversation he suddenly shifted into the past tse and he suddenly said i've done all that i can do. i didhe best icould. so you know, he was quite emotional. >> chaie: thank you. >> thank you charlie. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org