(Thanks to Jackie Taylor for the pictures, which she took in Palo Alto, outside of Steve Jobs’ home.)
Gish Jen in Saturday’s opinion pages of the NY Times:
IN 1980, Steve Jobs went to a brown-bag lunch at Stanford business school, looking for summer help. Other Apple executives were busy explaining what a personal computer was when he sauntered in; they stopped mid-sentence as, dressed in a vest, jeans and Birkenstock sandals, he settled himself, cross-legged, on top of a desk. He looked as if he were about to hold a yoga class. Then he began to talk, instead, about revolutionizing the world.
Some four or five students heeded his call, including my husband-to-be, David O’Connor. This was less than half the number who signed up to work for Hewlett-Packard, but never mind. That summer job became a full-time job when David graduated, and a kind of dream. Apple, back then, had a hot-air balloon. It had a race car. When the second “Star Wars” movie opened, Apple bought out a theater so the whole company could go. A friend’s father called a job at Apple the worst possible thing that could happen to a young person, as everything that followed was bound to be a disappointment. And perhaps that was true.
But, of course, it was exciting in a way even an onlooking writer could understand — strangely familiar, too, as if it were being run by a cousin. Apple was, for example, antiestablishment, as all writers are. It was anti-DEC and anti-I.B.M, a harborer of an anti-acronym acrimony that writers, naturally, shared. What’s more, Steve Jobs’s perfectionism made perfect sense to people like me: Of course, he sweated every detail; of course he drove others mad. He was a J. D. Salinger who, weirdly, knew computing
For a lot of us who had read Salinger and thought that everything could be rethought, Apple and Jobs were strangely familiar indeed.
The writing says, “Thanks for being the best boss ever.”