A lost conversation with Steve Jobs

“On a late-November day in 1983, Steven Levy, then a freelance journalist for Rolling Stone, got into a car outside 10460 Bandley Drive, in Cupertino, Calif.,” Nick Bilton reports for The New York Times. “As the vehicle sped away from the white office building, Mr. Levy looked at the driver and said hello to Steven P. Jobs, then the young, spry co-founder of Apple, who immediately responded with a voluble tirade about the magazine Mr. Levy worked for.”

“The interview was a rare and raw moment for Mr. Jobs, where he bared his true feelings on the record with a reporter,” Bilton reports. “While some snippets of the 11,500-word conversation were used in the Rolling Stone feature (which never did make it to the cover), until now, the transcript has been tucked away in one of Mr. Levy’s files. To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Mac, Mr. Levy said Friday that he was appending the transcript, which is ‘essentially unexpurgated,’ in an updated Kindle version of the book about the birth of the Macintosh, ‘Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Why an update version for Kindle? Why not for Apple’s iBooks Store? Perplexingly incongruous.

“‘I look at myself as an artist if anything,’ Mr. Jobs said. ‘Sort of a trapeze artist,'” Bilton reports. “‘With or without a net?’ Mr. Levy asked. ‘Without,’ Mr. Jobs replied, and then he said one of the more profound things in the interview: ‘You know we’re constantly taking. We don’t make most of the food we eat, we don’t grow it, anyway. We wear clothes other people make, we speak a language other people developed, we use a mathematics other people evolved and spent their lives building. I mean we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful ecstatic feeling to create something and put it into the pool of human experience and knowledge.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. After about Steven Levy’s article I see it this way. Steve Jobs took the time to speak with him and his romance or “other woman” was the Mac. Levy is sleeping with the devil and I find it insulting that he appended the article for the Kindle and not Apple’s iBooks. What a slap in the face. I won’t read this.

    1. Why do some people on this site have to make every story a with us or against us situation. Steven Levy is one of the good ones when it comes to tech reporting. He has written quite a few books and articles covering the big tech companies. He has talked to Jobs and others at Apple numerous times over the past three decades. He knows and loves the industry that he covers. Some people have suggested that he would have been a much better person to write Steve Jobs’ biography than the unqualified Isaacson, who couldn’t see why Jobs mattered.

      Levy knows the importance of Jobs and the Macintosh, and decided to help give us a better picture of the man at the time. We don’t know why there is only an updated Kindle version, but it wouldn’t be due to malice on Levy’s part. Just enjoy the quotes for what they are.

      1. It’s about polarising opinion. The world is full of it – if you’re not with us, you’re against us. It seems for someone to win, someone has to lose … It would be great to see more win/wins in the world. A lot of people won’t even consider alternate ideas these days

  2. This reminds me of a vision I had of Steve Jobs not long after his death.

    I was visiting the San Francisco area from the eastern time zone, and so woke up hours before sunrise. I left the motel to not wake my wife, and sitting outside on the steps Steve’s car drove up and he rolled down the window and said let’s go for a ride. I got in my car in this sort of weird vision place, and kind of said to myself where are we going? I started driving and ended up at Stanford, at the business school. I got out and walked around asking Steve what he was trying to show me. He said look at all these facilities and all the capacity here. It’s not worth anything if it’s not filled with people. He said to me, you’ve got all sorts of ideas, all sorts of skill, all sorts of creativity and things to offer. But it’s not worth shit if you don’t never send it out so that it makes a difference to people.

    I sat there on the steps to the empty dark B-School contemplating Steve’s creativity and how wonderful it was to be paired with his brashness that made him able to push things out to people to change the world by them. When the sun started to come up, and the janitors started to arrive, I got back in my car and went back to the motel were my wife was still sleeping. My eyes never did see Steve, but in this weird way I feel like I met him on that night. And I still think about that lesson to this day…

    1. You guys are turning someone who was essentially
      just a neurotic suicidal asshole into Buddha.

      Jobs and PT Barnum are probably whooping
      it up together. Wherever they both may be….

  3. I look forward to a book of Steve Jobs’ quotes.

    Quotes are the closest we can get to revealing “the source.”

    Video to a certain extent is staged by the interviewee & interviewer.

    Quotes tend to come from life as you live it.

    1. A Jobs’ quotes book is a great idea:

      “Yeah Steve, go ahead and make the Atari board and
      we’ll split the $700.”

      “Your honor, I swear on this affidavit I am not this girl’s father”

      “Go ahead and do it Fred, the board gave it the OK.”

      “The real beauty of this thing is that all these goddamn
      nerds will be compelled to buy a new one every year.”

      “Make sure you see them drink the kool aid, asshole”

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