Not exactly MEETING him, but…
When I was at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989, some salesfolks from NeXT did a demo of the NeXT Cube to some students at the Distributed Systems Lab. I noted on their business cards that NeXT email addresses were of the form email@example.com. On a lark, I shot off a note to Steve_Jobs@next.com asking if he read his own email and expressing my fanboy sentiments.
I received the following reply:
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 89 21:41:51 PST
Subject: re: Just a hunch….
Yes, I do have an internet address. Please help me by not spreading this fact around indescriminately….
Thanks for the feedback.
I’m glad you like our little machine.
In May 2003, Apple invited me to their headquarters to discuss getting CD Baby’s catalog into the iTunes Music Store.
iTunes had just launched two weeks before, with only some music from the major labels. Many of us in the music biz were not sure this idea was going to work. Especially those who had seen companies like eMusic do this exact same model for years without big success.
I flew to Cupertino thinking I’d be meeting with one of their marketing or tech people. When I arrived, I found out that about a hundred people from small record labels and distributors had also been invited.
We all went into a little presentation room, not knowing what to expect.
Then out comes Steve Jobs. Whoa! Wow.
He was in full persuasive presentation mode. Trying to convince all of us to give Apple our entire catalog of music. Talking about iTunes success so far, and all the reasons we should work with them.
He really made a point of saying, “We want the iTunes Music Store to have every piece of music ever recorded. Even if it’s discontinued or not selling much, we want it all.”
This was huge to me, because until 2003, independent musicians were always denied access to the big outlets. For Apple to sell all music, not just artists who had signed their rights away to a corporation, this was amazing!
“I tried to convince him to be the voice on that commercial,” Clow said, “and he naturally called me the next morning — after I argued with him way into the night — and said ‘Lee, we gotta go with Richard Dreyfuss,’ who was the voice that was actually on it, ‘because if people think this is about me and not about Apple, then we’ll have blown everything.’ “
Clapping slowly, Clow quipped, “Yeah, that’s why you’re the genius and I’m just the ad guy.”
I worked for Steve Jobs at Pixar Animation Studios in 1997 and ‘98 before he sold Pixar to Disney. I don’t have many heroes in my life, but Steve was (and still is) one of them. Meeting him and having him ask me to work for him were dreams come true.
John Lasseter, the director of the early Pixar movies (he now runs Disney animation) recommended me for the position. My first interview was actually at Steve’s house. You can probably imagine the giddy feeling I had as I walked up to the front door, rang the bell, and waited for him to greet me. This was the first time I’d talked to Steve or seen him in person. We began to talk about my past experience, and Steve explained that this role was to be a liaison between Disney and the producers at Pixar. In one of the most surreal moments of my life, I actually said “no” to Steve Jobs. Although I’d love to work at Pixar, I explained, having “middle people” doesn’t work, as it’s better to just put everyone in touch directly. Although I declined the initial role, Steve ultimately offered me a job running new business development and marketing.
Pixar is an awesome place to work. My title was “International Man of Marketing.” As soon as I started, I began learning, absorbing, and doing as much as I humanly could. Turns out, when you worked for him, Steve Jobs was almost impossible to say no to. If you had an idea that he disagreed with, Steve would respond with persuasive arguments about why you were wrong, enumerating them for you immediately. “James, here’s seven reasons why you are wrong.” At the time, this was very intimidating because even if you know you’re right, it’s almost impossible to stand up to his relentless intellect. If he felt it was going to be a particularly difficult conversation, he’d take me out for a walk. It was never, ever, a good sign when Steve dropped by and said “Hi James, let’s go for a walk.”
(Source: Fast Company)
I worked as a software designer for MECC (Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium) from 1982 till 1999. We did primarily Apple software and I accumulated lots of Apple micros we used in our development and even met Steve Jobs in the fall of 1982. He inspired me to find an Apple 1 computer for my collection and I got lucky and ended up with 3 of them! They are all gone now, but I do have some stories about them to share.
During the 12+ years I worked at Apple I never met with Steve Jobs for work purposes. Of course like all Apple employees I saw Steve in Caffé Macs or walking with Jony Ive around the courtyard inside the Infinite Loop campus. And of course there were Comm meetings that he would run. But I didn’t have any direct contact. Until…In March 2010, just a couple of weeks before the iPad was due to be released publicly, I had a reason to contact Steve. A friend of mine was dying of liver disease and I was going to San Francisco to hopefully see and communicate with her while it was still possible. She was a friend from my Adobe days and was very much into technology. I thought it would be a treat for her to see an iPad. And I had one. But until the product was officially released I could not show it to anyone without permission from Apple management.There was no way I was going to take the iPad with me unless Steve personally approved it. I knew that asking anyone in my direct management chain was a non-starter. I knew that nobody would take the risk. Only in the higher levels of iOS development would they be able to approve such a request and it seemed like a waste of time to bother trying. The easy answer was “No” and that is what I would hear. Nobody would care.So I wrote Steve....
One weekend day sometime around 1987 my (now) wife and I were walking the Stanford “Dish”; a lovely path in the hills above Stanford with wonderful views of the bay and even San Francisco if the visibility allows.
We were walking along with very few people and when we saw Steve Jobs coming from the other direction there was no mistaking who it was. Along with him was a little girl. I’d read enough about Steve by then to be pretty sure that little girl was Lisa.
After our walk we went to (the now defunct) Caffe Verona in downtown Palo Alto. Shortly after we arrived, Steve walks in with the little girl and sits at the table right next to us. My wife and I just looked at each other with surprise. After a few minutes we just had to leave – we had to talk about how crazy it was to bump into Steve again that day.
In 1989 or so when I was working at Adobe I got to go to a NeXT developer training session in Redwood City. On one of the evenings was a dinner hosted by NeXT and when I heard Steve sometimes goes to them I had to go. I sat down at one of the tables that seats 4-5 and sure enough, soon thereafter Steve comes and sits down directly next to me! He asked me a bit about who I was and what ideas I found interesting. My ideas obviously weren’t particularly interesting to Steve since he soon turned to the guy he came with and spent the rest of the dinner talking with him. He wasn’t rude to me really, he just wasn’t interested.
I came to Apple in 2000 and of course you’d see Steve around quite a bit. Usually in the cafeteria, sometimes headed into the lockdown area where product design is located, and, in the later years, frequently sitting on one of the benches in the quad talking with Jony Ive.
After his death the “celebration” event on campus was really something special. I really lost it when Norah Jones sang “Forever Young”. With her beautiful voice and the huge banner photos of a young Steve surrounding the quad it was just too much.
During the go-go days of the mid to late 1980s, the primary criteria for landing a job in the nascent high technology industry was the ability to hang on to the tiger’s tail. In my case, I was only six years removed from a rural Iowa high school when I had the experience of working with Steve and his inner circle on development of a third-party software product for NeXT.
For nearly anyone working on the frontlines of high-tech at the time (especially the self-taught, as so many of us were), Steve Jobs was the zeitgeist personified.
With several friends at Apple, I was well acquainted with the Apple milieu. Upon visiting the NeXT offices for the first time, it was clear that Steve was attempting to build something very different in both physical and cultural space. While modest in size, the NeXT offices were extraordinarily well appointed (including a remarkable free-standing spiral stairway, bespoke by Steve and which I recall as being one of the few of its kind in the world).
In vivid contrast to the physical space was a classic Silicon Valley bootstrap culture that screamed ‘laid back’ (with seemingly displaced hippies at every turn), while possessing the energy of a coiled spring just beneath the surface.
I met with the NeXT inner circle numerous times over a period of several months, with Steve in attendance at each meeting. Reputation aside, in my entire experience with Steve I found him to be soft-spoken and gracious to the point of being deferential. What others have characterized as bluntness struck me as simply an efficiency of words. Each word spoken by Steve furthered an objective.
In the end, I was offered a job at NeXT. I declined, afraid the energy of the place, and of Steve Jobs, would consume me.
(Source: Fast Company)
I met Steve at Whole Foods and got 5 minutes of chat out of him.
I was checking out and was tapped on the shoulder. I was asked where I got the lemonade I was checking out with. I pointed to the back of the store and told him where I found it. As he turned around I said something bro’ish like “this stuff rules and you should go get some” and he laughed a bit.
About now I made eye contact with him. In hindsight he knew what was about to happen, because he started nodding as soon as I started saying “You kind of look like Steve Jo…”. Right about here he is grinning, almost implying that I should spit it out. “I guess you’re Steve Jobs. I’m Ryan, I work at Facebook.”
Then I shook his hand and let a chat flow, ready to leave him alone if it seemed I was getting on his nerves.
Not so interesting, but this is a pretty rough description of what happened next. He asked what I do for Facebook. I told him I deal with “Internet Bad Guys” and he mentioned that Apple’s got some good folks that “deal with that too”.
Ran out of trivial chats, and I said it was nice to meet him. He remembered my name and said bye, and I remember being impressed with him minutes later that he remembered my name considering how many people he must have to deal with.
I shot Steve Jobs on a magazine assignment, in 1989, at NeXT Computer in Palo Alto, California (before he reconnected with Apple). I arrived on location early to look around for props. I found a replica of theRosetta Stone hanging on his office wall. Perfect! Consider it the original tablet computer. I took it to the lobby, where I had more room to set up lights and cameras, and I wouldn’t have to drive Jobs out of his own workspace while making Polaroid test shots with a stand-in. (In the analog era we called them “Paranoids.”)
But there were several huge windows in the lobby. I sent my assistant out to bring back yards and yards of opaque, black velvet drapes to block the daylight, so I could control my lighting effects. It took a few hours to seal out the sun and turn the lobby into a makeshift studio. Everything was ready to make this photo shoot as convenient as possible for Jobs.
He arrived accompanied by an entourage that included musician Stephen Stills (of Crosby Stills Nash & Young), whom I already knew from an album cover shoot we did in 1977. Jobs brushed right past me, took a perfunctory look at my set and said, right In front of everyone, “Who’s stupid f%∞&@¢# idea was this?” I said it was my stupid f%∞&@¢# idea, and if he didn’t like it he could go f%∞& himself because I went to a lot of trouble just to make him look good—for me to look good for my client, too.
I don’t remember the details, but while some huffing and puffing went on among Jobs’s acolytes, I went over to say hello to Stephen Stills. I was prepared to pack up and leave without a picture. But Jobs came over, all smiles, and apologized.
Only recently, after reading his posthumously-published biography, I discovered that such startling outbursts of invective were not reserved for visiting photographers, like me. Apparently, they were pretty common. Jobs used shock and awe to separate the meek from those with more mettle. Anyway, we got down to work. Several different setups and wardrobe changes later, we finished with The Nose.