The lights dimmed as Jobs reappeared onstage and launched into a dramatic version of the battle cry he had delivered at the Hawaii sales conference. “It is 1958,” he began. “IBM passes up a chance to buy a young fledgling company that has invented a new   technology called xerography. Two years later, Xerox was born, and IBM has been kicking themselves ever since.” The crowd laughed. Hertzfeld had heard versions of the speech both in Hawaii and elsewhere, but he was struck by how this time it was pulsing with more passion. After recounting other IBM missteps, Jobs picked up the pace and theRead More →

The next morning the 2,600-seat auditorium was mobbed. Jobs arrived in a double-breasted blue blazer, a starched white shirt, and a pale green bow tie. “This is the most important When asked about his obsessive concern over the look of the factory, Jobs said it was a way to ensure a passion for perfection:   moment in my entire life,” he told Sculley as they waited backstage for the program to begin. “I’m really nervous. You’re probably the only person who knows how I feel about this.” Sculley grasped his hand, held it for a moment, and whispered “Good luck.”   As chairman of theRead More →

The technology writer Steven Levy, who was then working for Rolling Stone, came to interview Jobs, who urged him to convince the magazine’s publisher to put the Macintosh team on the cover of the magazine. “The chances of Jann Wenner agreeing to displace Sting in   favor of a bunch of computer nerds were approximately one in a googolplex,” Levy thought, correctly. Jobs took Levy to a pizza joint and pressed the case: Rolling Stone was “on the ropes, running crummy articles, looking desperately for new topics and new audiences. The Mac could be its salvation!” Levy pushed back. Rolling Stone was actually good, heRead More →

Jobs had asked Hertzfeld and the gang to prepare a special screen display for Sculley’s amusement. “He’s really smart,” Jobs said. “You wouldn’t believe how smart he is.” The explanation that Sculley might buy a lot of Macintoshes for Pepsi “sounded a little bit fishy to me,” Hertzfeld recalled,   but he and Susan Kare created a screen of Pepsi caps and cans that danced around with the Apple logo. Hertzfeld was so excited he began waving his arms around during the demo, but Sculley seemed underwhelmed. “He asked a few questions, but he didn’t seem all that interested,” Hertzfeld recalled.   He never endedRead More →

When it was over, Jobs smiled and offered a treat. “We’ve done a lot of talking about Macintosh recently,” he said. “But today, for the first time ever, I’d like to let Macintosh speak for itself.” With that, he strolled back over to the computer, pressed the button   on the mouse, and in a vibrato but endearing electronic deep voice, Macintosh became the first computer to introduce itself. “Hello. I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag,” it began. The only thing it didn’t seem to know how to do was to wait for the wild cheering and shrieks thatRead More →

It was a sensation. That evening all three networks and fifty local stations aired news stories about the ad, giving it a viral life unprecedented in the pre–YouTube era. It would eventually be selected by both TV Guide and Advertising Age as   the greatest commercial of all time. Publicity Blast Over the years Steve Jobs would become the grand master of product launches. In the case of the Macintosh, the astonishing Ridley Scott ad was just one of the ingredients. Another part of the recipe was media coverage. Jobs found ways to ignite blasts of publicity that were so powerful the frenzy would feedRead More →

Sculley was initially skeptical when he saw the storyboards, but Jobs insisted that they needed something revolutionary. He was able to get an unprecedented budget of $750,000 just to film the ad, which they planned to premiere during the Super Bowl.     Ridley Scott made it in London using dozens of real skinheads among the enthralled masses listening to Big Brother on the screen. A female discus thrower was chosen to play the heroine. Using a cold industrial setting dominated by metallic gray hues, Scott   evoked the dystopian aura of Blade Runner. Just at the moment when Big Brother announces “We shall prevail!”Read More →

Jobs liked that. Indeed the concept for the ad had a special resonance for him. He fancied himself a rebel, and he liked to associate himself with the values of the ragtag band of hackers and pirates he recruited to the Macintosh group. Even though   he had left the apple commune in Oregon to start the Apple corporation, he still wanted to be viewed as a denizen of the counterculture rather than the corporate culture. But he also realized, deep inside, that he had increasingly abandoned the hacker spirit. Some might even accuse him of selling out. When Wozniak held true to the HomebrewRead More →

The “1984” AdIn the spring of 1983, when Jobs had begun to plan for the Macintosh launch, he asked for a commercial that was as revolutionary and astonishing as the product they had created. “I want something that will stop     people in their tracks,” he said. “I want a thunderclap.” The task fell to the Chiat/Day advertising agency, which had acquired the Apple account when it bought the advertising side of Regis McKenna’s business. The person put in charge was a lanky beach bum with a bushy beard, wild hair, goofy grin, and twinkling eyes named Lee Clow, who was the creative directorRead More →

The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?” At that moment a screen came down from the ceiling and showed a preview of an upcoming sixty-second television ad for the Macintosh. In a few months it was destined to make advertising history, but in the meantime it served its purpose of rallying Apple’s demoralized sales force. Jobs had always been able to draw energy by imagining himself as a rebel pitted against the forces of darkness. Now he was able to energize his troops with the same vision.   Jobs was at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, preparing for the press previews, soRead More →