Playboy posts interview with 29-year-old Steve Jobs from 1985

FREE Shipping at MacMall.comPlayboy has posted an interview with Steven Jobs by David Sheff which was originally published on February 01, 1985:

If anyone can be said to represent the spirit of an entrepreneurial generation, the man to beat for now is the charismatic cofounder and chairman of Apple Computer, Inc., Steven Jobs. He transformed a small business begun in a garage in Los Altos, California, into a revolutionary billion-dollar company–one that joined the ranks of the Fortune 500 in just five years, faster than any other company in history. And what’s most galling about it is that the guy is only 29 years old. Jobs’s company introduced personal computers into the American home and workplace. Before the founding of Apple in 1976, the image most people had of computers was of machines in science-fiction movies that beeped and flashed or of huge, silent mainframes that brooded ominously behind the closed doors of giant corporations and Government agencies. But with the development of the transistor and then the microprocessor chip, it became possible to miniaturize the technology of the computer and make it accessible to personal users. By the mid-Seventies, a starter computer kit, of interest mainly to hobbyists, was available for about $375, plus assorted parts.

Full article here.

[Attribution: The Atlantic. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. This here is the difference between how Steve Jobs describes his partner in crime Steve Wozniak and how Woz later offered up selective memories for numerous anti-Jobs books like accidental millionaires and Apple Confidential 2.0. Woz would often speak ‘off the record,’ only later on to stay silent when they’d ask him the same question on the record. Adding to the myth how Jobs had stolen from him amongst many other villainous acts.

    One of them is more articulate with finer wisdom than what others foolishly ascribe as merely charismatic, while the other is often a glory hog.

  2. Jobs: The developments will be in making the products more and more portable…maybe the merging of the telephone and the personal computer.

    If he only knew.

    Jobs: It’s Macintosh’s job to really penetrate the business market place. IBM focuses on the top down, the mainframe centric approach to selling in businesses. If we are going to be successful, we’ve got to approach this from a grass-roots point of view.

    Think iPhones and iPads in business.

    Jobs: Let me compare it with IBM. How come the Mac group produced Mac and the people at IBM produced the PCjr? We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build. When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

    Core values don’t change.

    Awesome article.

  3. Jobs was asked:

    You take great pride in having Apple keep ahead. How do you feel about the older companies that have to play catch-up with the younger companies–or perish?

    And his response:

    That’s inevitably what happens. That’s why I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete.

    There needs to be “death” in the political arena, the entertainment industry, the “too big to fail” ‘industry’, the communication industry, the energy industry—I’m sure you get the idea.

    Just imagine how far along a nation could be (for me, the United States) if the political system didn’t reward and legislate keeping companies “alive” that should long be “dead”.

  4. I own a small newspaper and graphic design business now, but I was in kindergarten when that interview was originally published. It was a lifetime ago for me.

    Everything about what I do for a living is completely affected by the computer industry — and its future is still being shaped by the evolution of computers.

    I’m blown away by the insight he had at that time. The old “skating to where the puck will be” thing requires rare imagination. It is this aspect of Jobs (coupled with his uncompromising taste) that will drive human history to place him in extremely high regard.

    Living in a time when people place little or no monetary value on their news as if it self-generates and distributes, I would love to know what this man would tell me to do with my business.

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