BBC airs ‘Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy’ in UK

Broadly considered a brand that inspires fervour and defines cool consumerism, Apple has become one of the biggest corporations in the world, fuelled by game-changing products that tap into modern desires. Its leader, Steve Jobs, was a long-haired college dropout with infinite ambition, and an inspirational perfectionist with a bully’s temper. A man of contradictions, he fused a Californian counterculture attitude and a mastery of the art of hype with explosive advances in computer technology.

Insiders including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the chairman who ousted Jobs from the company he founded, and Jobs’ chief of software, tell extraordinary stories of the rise, fall and rise again of Apple with Steve Jobs at its helm.

With Stephen Fry, world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and branding guru Rita Clifton, Evan Davis decodes the formula that took Apple from suburban garage to global supremacy.

BBC HD: Wed 14 Dec 2011, 21:00
BBC Two: Wed 14 Dec 2011, 21:00

More info here.


    1. This is really true. Until I started reading the bio, I had no idea how completely into the hippy culture SJ was. For example, Steve was absolutely convinced for many years that his vegan diet eliminated his BO, so he drove many people insane by not taking baths or showers for several days at a time.

      But while many hippies saw technology as a threat, SJ saw it as a means of liberation and empowerment.

    1. It’s ambiguously written, but the comma after Wozniak is intended to separate references to the two people, Woz and Sculley.

      It’s marginally clearer when you look at the whole sentence “Insiders including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the chairman who ousted Jobs from the company he founded, and Jobs’ chief of software, tell extraordinary stories of the rise, fall and rise again of Apple with Steve Jobs at its helm.”

    2. It was perfectly clear in the actual programme. It was very good, well balanced piece and showed some old Jobs footage I’d not seem before. A new interview with a very apologetic Scully. Nicely got around the SJ didn’t invent anything by explaining that there are Inventors and Innovators – though it did say that Jobs had the patent on the Apple Store staircase amongst other things. It also showed up Gates as the ripoff merchant he is. Well worth watching.

  1. I thought it was very good. Obviously when trying to fit so much material into only an hour you’re going to have to skim over some things, but I felt they got the gist right and told the story well. There was nothing that annoyed me about this.

  2. There was a great bit where Evan Davies (the financial journalist fronting the programme) mentions “style over substance” and Stephen Fry says (in précis) “No no no you could not be more wrong, style IS substance”. Another good bit when the same Mr Fry says “he wasn’t an engineer, he wasn’t a coder,.. he wasn’t even a businessman. People call him a visionary. He SAW things.”

    All in all a good programme. When us licence payers are done with it, BBC America can have it. Remember currently it’s our IP, don’t steal it.

    1. I thought Steven Fry was given too much licence to do his smartass git bit. I longed for more ‘heavyweight’ opinion from the likes of Tim Berners-Lee. Maybe it’s just me, but the BBC style they overlay is becoming a bit much. Enjoyable all the same.

      1. Tim Barnes Lee has lost a lot of credibility with me in recent years; particularly when he went on a relatively recent rant against iTunes as an evil Apple way to wall garden out his precious WWW revolution. He painted it like it’s Apple, AOL etc.’s war on the open internet movement. It was an astoundingly ignorant comment to make and I didn’t expect him to be so misguided.

  3. Yeah, it was pretty good, to be honest, although they got a couple of bits ‘wrong’ (the idea that the Mac was going to be the next big thing at Apple, rather than Lisa . . . that Jobs had clout when trying to set up the initial iTunes service because he was a majority shareholder at Disney [when Disney hadn’t yet bought Pixar] etc.). Not sure the Beeb should be getting things like this wrong (stuff that’s pretty well known and can be googled in ten seconds). In general, very interesting, though.

    1. i can see why they omitted Lisa which complicates the story, for an hour long programme. But I agree that the “largest shareholder in Disney” thing was incorrect in the context, and this a very strange editorial choice.

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