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what is
it about this machine? Why is this machine so interesting? Why has it been so influential?
Ah ahm, I'll give you my point of view on it. I remember reading a magazine article
a long time ago ah when I was ah twelve years ago maybe, in I think it was Scientific American.
I'm not sure. And the article ahm proposed to measure the efficiency of locomotion for
ah lots of species on planet earth to see which species was the most efficient at getting
from point A to point B. Ah and they measured the killer calories that each one expended.
So ah they ranked them all and I remember that ahm...ah the Condor, Condor was the most
efficient at [CLEARS THROAT] getting from point A to point B. And humankind, the crown
of creation came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the
list. So ah that didn't look so great. But ah, let me do this over again.
I remember ah reading an article when I was about twelve years old. I think it might have
been Scientific American where they measured the efficiency of locomotion of all these
species on planet earth. How many killer calories did they expend to get from point A to point
B? And the Condor came in at the top of the list ah surpassed everything else. And humans
came in about a third of the way down the list which was not such a great showing for
the crown of creation. And ah but somebody there had the imagination
to test the efficiency of a human riding a bicycle. A human riding a bicycle blew away
the Condor all the way off the top of the list. And it made a really big impression
on me that we humans are tool builders. And that we can fashion tools that amplify these
inherent abilities that we have to spectacular magnitudes. And so for me, a computer has
always been a bicycle of the mind. Ah something that takes us far beyond our inherent abilities.
And ah I think we're just at the early stages of this tool. Very early stages. And we've
come only a very short distance. And it's still in its formation, but already we've
seen enormous changes. I think that's nothing compared to what's coming in the next hundred
years. In program six we're going to look at some
of the past predictions of why people have been so wrong about the future. And one of
the notions is that today's vision of a standalone computer is just as limited as those past
visions of it being only a number cruncher. What's the difference philosophically between
a network machine and a standalone machine? Let me answer that question a slightly different
way. There have been, if you look at why the majority
of people have bought these things so far, ah there have been two real explosions that
have propelled the industry forward. The first one ah really happened in 1977. And it was
the spreadsheets. I remember when ah Dan Fylstra who ran the company that marketed the first
spreadsheet, walked not my office at Apple one day and pulled out this disk from his
vest pocket and said, "I...I have this incredible new program. I call it a visual calculator."
And it became Visicalc. And that's what really drove, propelled the Apple the success
it achieved more than any other single event. And...and with ah the invention of Lotus 123,
and I think it was 1982, that's what really propelled the IBM PC to the level of success
that it achieved. So that was the first explosion was the spreadsheet. Ahm the second major
explosion has driven our, the desktop industry has been desktop publishing. [MISC BACKGROUND]
The...the second really bit explosion in our industry has been desktop publishing. Happened
in 1985 with the Macintosh and the laser writer printer. And at that point people could start
to do on their desktops things that only typesetters and printers could do prior to that. And that's
been a very big revolution in publishing. And those are really, those two explosions
have been the only two real major revolutions which have caused a lot of people to buy these
things and use them. Ah the third one is starting to happen now. And the third one is let's
do for human to human communication what spreadsheets did for financial planning and what public,
desktop publishing did for publishing. Let's revolutionize it using these desktop devices.
And we're already starting to see the signs of that.
As an example in an organization, we're starting to see that as business conditions change
faster and faster with each year, ah we cannot change our management hierarchical organization
very fast relative to the changing business conditions. We can't have somebody working
for a new boss every week. We also can't change our geographic organization very fast. As
a matter of fact even slower than the management one. We can't be moving people around the
country every week. But we can change an electronic organization like that. And what's starting
to happen is as we start to link these computers together with sophisticated networks and great
user interfaces, we're starting to be able to create clusters of people working on a
common task in a s... you know literally in fifteen minutes worth of setup. And these
fifteen people can work together extremely efficiently no matter where they are geographically.
And no matter who they work for hierarchically. And these organizations can live for as long
as they're needed and then vanish. And we're finding we can reorganize our companies electronically
ah very rapidly. And that's the only type of organization that can begin to keep pace
with the changing business conditions. And I believe that this collaborative model
has existed in higher education for a long time. But we're starting to see it applied
into the commercial world as well. And this is going to be the third major revolution
that these desktop computers provide is revolutionizing human to human communication in group work.
We call it interpersonal computing. In the 1985 we did personal computing. Ah and now
we're going to extend that as we network these things to interpersonal computing.
What was the image of the computer in the mid 196Os or whenever you first saw one? And
where are we now? I ahm, I first saw my first computer when
I was twelve. [MUMBLES] I saw my first computer when I was twelve. And it was at NASA. We
had a local NASA center nearby. And it was a terminal, which was connected to a big computer
somewhere and I got a timesharing account on it. And I was fascinated by this thing.
And I saw my second computer a few years later which was really the first desktop computer
ever made. It was made by Hewlett Packard. It was called the 9100-A. And it ran a language
called Basic. And it was very large. It had a very small cathode ray tube on it for display.
And I got a chance to play with one of those maybe in 1968 or 9. And ah spent every spare
moment I had trying to write programs I was so fascinated by this. Ah and so I was probably
fairly lucky. And then my introduction to computers very rapidly moved from a terminal
to within maybe twelve months or so, actually seeing one of the first, probably the first
desktop computer ever...ever really produced. And ah so my point of view never really changed
from being able to get my arms around it even though my arms didn't quite fit around that
first one. What was the role, how have personal computers
changed the landscape of computers? I mean back then it was centralized power, it was
in a mainframe. Now we have three times as much power at the fringe than we have in the
center, five times as much power. How did the PC change the world?
Well, though the analogy is nowhere perfect and certainly ah one needs to factor out the
environmental concerns of the analogy as well. Ah there is a lot to be said for comparing
it to going from trains, from passenger trains to automobiles. And ah the advent of the automobile
gave us a personal freedom of transportation. In the same way the advent of the computer
gave us the ability to start to use computers without having to convince other people that
we needed to use computers. And the biggest effect of the personal computer revolution
has been to ahm allow millions and millions of people to experience computers themselves
decades before they ever would have in the old paradigm. And to allow them to ah participate
in ah the making of choices and controlling their own destiny using these tools.
But it has created ah, it has created problems. And the largest problems are that ah now that
we have all these very powerful tools, we're still islands and we're still not really connecting
these people using these powerful tools together. And that's really been the challenge of the
last few years and the next several years is how to connect these things back together
so that we can, can rebuild a fabric of these things rather than just individual points
of light if you will. And ahm get the benefit of both, the passenger train and the automobile.
What's the vision behind the next machine? Everything that ah, that we've done in our
[PAUSES] Everything I've done with computers in my life has been along pretty much a single
vector. Ah and next is just one more point on that same vector. Ah in this case what
we...we observed was that the computing power we could give to an individual was an order
magnitude more than the PCs were given. In the sense that people want to do many things
at once and you really need true multi tasking. We really did want to ahm start to network
these things together in very sophisticated networks.
So the technology to build that became available. And most important we saw a way to build a
software system that was about ten times as powerful than any PC. And where new software
could be created in a fourth of the time. So we spent four years with ah fifty to a
hundred of the best software people we could find building this new software system. And
it's turned out beautifully. Ah what happens in our industry... [TAPE CUT]
what's the vision behind NEXT? Ahm it's not so much different than everything
I've ever done in my life with computers starting with the Apple II and the Macintosh, and now
NEXT which is if you ah believe that these are the most incredible tools we've ever built
which I do, then the more powerful tool we can give to people, the more they can do with
it. And in this case ah we...we found a way to do two or three things that were real breakthroughs.
Number one was to put a much more powerful computer in front of people for about the
same price as a PC. The second was to integrate that networking into the computer so we can
begin to make this next revolution within a personal computing. And the PCs so far have
not been able to do that very well. And the third thing, and maybe the most important
was to create a whole new software architecture from the ground up that lets us build these
new types of applications and let's them, let us, let's us build them in 25 percent
of the time that it normally takes to do on a PC. So ah we spent ahm four years with 50
to a hundred of the best software people that I know creating a whole new software platform
from the ground up. And the way our industry works is that you create this platform software
first and then you go out and you get people to write new applications on top of it. Well
the...the height that these new applications can soar enabled or limited by the
platform software. And there's only been three systems that have
ever been successful in the whole history of desktop computing and that was the Apple
IIs platform software of which there wasn't too much. The IBM PC and Macintosh. So we're
attempting to create the fourth platform software standard and hopefully we'll succeed because
it will allow these applications to be written which far far exceed in capacity what can
be done in today's machines. What happens when you have a network that
allows the relative minorities in a whole different area come together. How does that
change the democracy? I don't know.
Okay. But...but what I have seen is I've seen interpersonal
computing happening at our own company. Or maybe the best way to put it is ahm, I remember
when the first spreadsheet came out. I saw it fly through Apple as well as other companies.
And when we ah, when we invented desktop publishing of course it influenced Apple first.
And I've seen the same thing happen with interpersonal computing here at NEXT. We decided to put
a NEXT machine on every employee's desktop about 18 months ago and connect them with
the very highspeed networking that's built in. And I've seen the revolution here with
my own eyes. And it's it's actually larger than the first two. Let me give you some examples.
Ah if we want to ah, if we're going to be doing a special project let's say with a company,
and we. and let's say the company is called ahm, what's your...
WGBH. WGBH. we're going to be doing a special project
with WGBH. And what we'll do is we'll create a ah special mailbox, WGBH and we'll put twenty
people on it that are going to be helping on this project. Now these twenty people will
be from all over our company. From marketing, from sales, from engineering, some from manufacturing.
Maybe some from our Boston office so they can be close by. And ah if one sends a message
to this mailbox, [SNAPS FINGER] they'll all get it like that, instantly.
And if ah one sends a reply they'll copy the whole mailbox so the rest of the team members
get to read ah the intellectual content going back and forth. And everyone on this, in this
mailbox will probably get around 30 mail messages a day. And they'll spend about twenty minutes,
thirty minutes reading these and answering these per day. And it will be like a beehive.
Now this project is very important for our company and I want to make sure it's getting
off right. So I'll put my own name on this mailbox and l'll see these thirty mail messages
fly by. All of the disagreements and the arguments and the thoughts and the decisions. And I
can just let it fly by and read it. I can do some background coaching with a few people
if I think they're a little off track. I can get right on the network and kibbutz if I'd
like. And after a month or so when I know that it's
going well I can take my name off. And so not only is this a way to organize violating
all management and geographic boundaries, it's also a way to manage. Where one can see.
Again the thoughts, disagreements and decisions of a company fly by a manager in a way that
they never could before. And ah we have seen it reduce the number of meetings we have at
least by fifty percent. we've seen it get far more managers and individual contributors
involved in decisions than there ever were before. We think the quality of the decisions
is a lot higher. And we've seen a window for management to look into the process of this
organism we call our company in a way that has never before been possible.
There was an article written by a guy by the name of . . . [END OF TAPE]
As we become part of this electronically community ahm that's going to provide us wonderful new
capabilities and ah communications abilities. But we still always want to be able to disconnect
that network spigot, take it off, and take our standalone computer somewhere, let's say
home. Now what's going to happen rapidly as with radio links and with fiber optics to
the home, you're going to be able to hook your computer up to your network at home.
Ah but there's always going to be that cabin in the middle of nowhere that I want to go
for a two week vacation where I want my computer. And if it doesn't work in a completely standalone
way, I'm I'm going to be no happy. So we have to provide a fluid way for these
things to kind of dock into the mother load network, but also undock and allow me as an
individual to carry my computer up into Yosemite backpacking. And where there's no radio links
and no fiber optic links and still be able to use it and then come back and dock back
into the network and find out what happened when I left and share some of my thoughts
maybe with some other folks. So we're working on that. That's our goal for the next five
years is that seamless transition between a standalone computer and the computer as
part of this network community. It also keeps away the welling aspects of
always being hooked into the network. That's right. I actually think what an interesting
paradox is the network which is ultimately going to define and create the home computer
market. Not keeping our recipes on these things or something like we thought in 1975. Ah being
a part of that network and not being able to stay away from it while you're home will
drive people to get computers in every house just like we have a telephone.
But computers then then won't be just computers. They'll be radios, and stereos, and TVs.
No I think, I think they'll be just computers. Just like your phone isn't your television
set. Just like your toaster isn't your radio. I think they'll be computers and they'll have
many of the capabilities of these other devices. Ahm multimedia, the ability to integrate sound
and video in with the computer is absolutely coming. But a lot of people have mistaken
it as the end rather than the means. Ah we see multi media as more of a means.
In other words, people aren't going to buy a computer for multi media. They're going
to buy it for training. Or they're going to buy it for interpersonal communication. And
in that communication, in addition to a text, they're going to want voice. They're going
to want, potentially I might want to send you a videoclip. But the real market is to
help us communicate better, or to help us train somebody. And ah we need to not lose
sight of that. I want to get your thoughts on the user interface
stuff. And I'd like to look at the transition ah Xerox to Apple. when did you hear, what
was the image of Xerox PARC and what was it like when you first went in there?
Ahm well Xerox PARC was a...a research lab set up by Xerox when they were making a lot
of profits in copier days. And ah they were doing some computer science research which
was basically an extension of some stuff started by a guy named Doug Engelbart when he was
at SRI. Doug had invented the mouse, and invented
the BIP map display. And some Xerox folks that...that Xerox ah I believe hired away
from Doug or split off from Doug somehow and got to Xerox, were continuing along in this
vain. And I first went over there in 1979 and I saw what they were doing with ah the
larger screens, ah proportionately spaced texts ah and the mouse. And it was just instantly
obvious to anyone that this was the way things should be. Ahm and so I remember coming back
to Apple thinking our...our future has just changed. This is where we have to go.
The problem was that Xerox had never made a commercial computer. This group of people
at Xerox was...was ah was more concerned with...with ah looking out fifteen years than they were
looking out fifteen months trying to make a product that somebody could use. So there
were a lot of issues that they hadn't solved like menus, other things like that. And at
Apple what we had to do was to do two things. One was complete the research which really
was only about fifty percent complete. And the second was to find a way to implement
it at a low enough cost where people would buy it. And that was really our challenge.
What did you succeed in doing with the MAC? Well the Macintosh as you remember when it
came out, we called it the computer for the rest of us. And what that meant was ah that
while experts could use some of the computers that were already out, most people didn't
want, again the computer was not an end in itself. It was a means to an end. And so most
people didn't want to learn how to use the computer. They just wanted to use it. And
the Macintosh was supposed to be the computer for people that just wanted to use a computer
without having to learn how to use one, spend six months.
Now it turned out that the...the paradox was that to make a computer easier to use you
needed a more powerful computer in the first place because you were going to burn a lot
of the cycles on making it easy to use. And so this computer that was easy to use was
actually more powerful and could do more things than the less easy to use computer. And it
took people a few years to figure that out about the Macintosh. But I think ah, I think
people did. Actually there's a funny joke that we were
clowning around one day. And one of our group is an IBM person. And so he was saying, some
little girls walks up and sees a prompt and goes to her daddy and says "it's broken".
Where's my desktop? Where's...where's my metaphor. And we've gotten, we've...we've adopted this
new metaphor. How has that changed the look of computers?
Well I think, I think the Macintosh was created by a group of people who felt that ah there
wasn't a strict vision between sort of science and art. Or in other words, that mathematics
is really a liberal art if you look at it from a slightly different point of view. And
why can't we interject typography in the computers? Why can't we have computers ah...ah talking
to us in English language? And ahm looking back, five years later, this seems like a
trivial observation. But at the time it was cataclysmic in its consequences. And the battles
that were fought to push this point of view out the door were very large.
The balance between thinking and doing. I mean one of the things in the semiconductors was
you had risktakers. Bob Noyce learns to hang- glide at age 40. These people like laying
their butts on the line. How important was that in the early days? I mean we're going
back to '75. Well again after seeing... my entire life has been spent only in one industry
which is this one. And but I've been in it now for about fifteen years and I've seen
a lot of people make a lot of things. I've seen a lot of people fail a lot of things.
And point of view on this, or my observation is that the doers are the major thinkers.
The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker
and doer in one person. And if we really go back and we examine, you know did Leonardo
have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would
paint or the technology he would use to paint it, of course not. Leonardo was the artist
but he also mixed all his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments.
Ah knew about human anatomy. And combing all of those skills together, the art and the
science, the thinking and the doing, was what resulted in the exceptional result.
And there is no difference in our industry. The people that have really made the contributions
have been the thinkers and the doers. And when you, when you ah, a lot of people of
course, it's very easy to take credit for the thinking. The doing is more concrete.
But somebody, it's very easy to say oh I thought of this three years ago. But ah usually when
you dig a little deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people
that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual
problems as well. What's it going to take to make computers
accessible to the rest of the public. And I don't know what the statistics are but 20
million people on computers or .... What's it going to take to get it to a hundred million?
Well probably death is the best invention of life. Ah because it means there's a constant
turnover. And so if you want to make a change in our society, the best place to do it is
in the educational system. So that you're ah, there are, there are now generations of
people that have come out of school who computers are second nature to them. And the people
in our society that...that ah at this point still have, have not embraced these things.
Or getting older. Has that cycle, that wheel of birth and death turns, ah just like driving.
People that don't drive are very rare. Another generation or two, people don't use computers
are, will be pretty rare. Going back...
It's a harsh way of saying it but... It's very true. I mean there is a line that
says those people that don't adopt it will die off. Focusing now on the third program
where we've gone from semiconductors and the vision is that IBM is this big machine, UNIVAC,
big large machine. And we take the line through an integrated circuit microprocessor. And
I actually got some great stuff from Ted Hoff about, you know, it's a lightbulb. It burns
out, you replace it. Then we lead up into the beginnings of the personal computer. So
what were you doing at the time and how did that get started?
Actually you know, it wasn't Intel that first figured out that the microprocessor was a
computer. They designed these things to be used in calculators. And they thought, the
reason that the microprocessor came about was they thought if they could design a slightly
programmable one, the next customer that walked in the door that wanted a slightly different
calculator they could just spend a few months rather than a few years designing a new piece
of silicone. But I think the thought of making a computer never really occurred to them.
And it was the hobbyists that thought about making a computer out of these things. It
was the computer hobbyists community that first did that.
Ah and I don't think Intel quite understood that for a few years. But again the first
thing that happened was these people came together and formed a club, the home ____
computer club at Stanford was the first one in the country. And ah it was a beehive of
all of these people who were interested in these small little computers. People that
might have been ham radio operators, people that might have you know worked with large
computers ah were all gathered together to share, discuss their ah, their latest little
projects. It was very exciting. And there was not a month that would not go by where
some breakthrough didn't happen. And then the first magazine came along which was Byte
magazine to communicate on a national scale with all these hobbyists. So that it was a
very, very exciting dynamic time. what did you think when you saw the Apple
I? What did I think when I saw the Apple?
Yeah when you first saw that Woz was building that board.
Well it didn't quite work that way actually. what happened was that Woz and I ah had known
each other since I was about 12 or l3 years old. And we built, ah our first project together
was we built these little blue boxes to ah make free telephone calls. And ah we had the
best blue box in the world. It was this all digital blue box. I don't think it works anymore.
But ah we had, we had a fun time doing that. So when it came to building a computer together
ah Woz focused mostly, Woz was the brilliant hardware engineer and focused on the core
design of the computer. And ah I was worrying about which parts we ought to use and how
we were going to build these things and how it sort of, and somebody that wasn't a Wise
was going to manage to buy all the extra parts you still needed to buy and plug this thing
together because you still needed to buy your own keyboard, your own display, and your own
power supply. And ah so you needed to be pretty much of a hardware hobbyist.
Now we made the, a very important decision was to not offer our computers a kit. Even
though you needed to buy these extra parts. The main computer board itself came fully
assembled. We were the first company in the world to do that. Everybody else was offering
their little computers a kit. And what that meant was was there was maybe an order of
magnitude of more people who could actually buy our computer and use it then if they had
to build it themselves. And the Apple II was actually the first computer
to come fully assembled where you didn't have to do anything. And the reason there was it
was our observation that for every hardware hobbyist, someone who could either build the
kit themselves or at least find these five or ten extra parts they needed, there were
a thousand potential software hobbyists. And if they didn't have to do anything with the
hardware except use it, make... that meant write their own programs.
Still there was a much larger group of people that could take advantage of this. So we wanted
to reach them. That was the real breakthrough of the Apple II.
Contrast if you will the Atlantic City fair over the West Coast computer firm.
Ahm well the....the Atlantic City ah computer show was the first... [PAUSES] [
Look at the light bulb. [SNEEZES] The ahm, the first an face to face
gathering of personal computer hobbyists from all around the country was the show put on
in Atlantic City in 1976. And it was in the basement of some dingy hotel. And it just
happened to be about 300 degrees outside. So the basement, it was like a steambath.
And it was impossible to be down there for longer than a half an hour without being completely
drenched. And nevertheless there were a few hundred hobbyists completely drenched walking
around for hours. And we had a little tiny booth there.
There was a table tablecloth over a hotel table. And there were, Woz and I and a friend
or two of our went there and we had our few Apple ls there and a little poster we made.
And that was really our first ah, the first computer show in the, the ah world. A year
later, I think ah maybe even nine months later, there was the first West coast computer fair
which was a much more professional operation by, in comparison with Atlantic City. But
still very every hobby oriented compared with what goes on today. And that was in San Francisco
and there were maybe a hundred ah companies showing their wares. And it was attended by
maybe a thousand people which was a lot for our industry at that time.
13,000. l3,000, wow, really. 13,000 people. That's
a lot. Jim Warren told me that.
That's a lot. I...I'd be surprised at that. But maybe.
Call it half that. 6,000. 6,000. Thousands of people. And ahm that's
when we introduced the Apple II. And ah I think the Apple II is probably the hit of
the show. Inbetween you went and found McKenna and Markkula?
Well we found Regis by ahm, I used to like Intel's advertising. So I called him up one
day and I said who does your advertising? And he said Regis McKenna. And I said what's
Regis McKenna? He said no it's a person. He gave me his phone number and I called Regis
up. He told us to go away about four or five times, but eventually he ah agreed to help
us out. And then Mike Markkula I found ah from ah
a venture capitalist actually. Ah told me that I should go talk to Mike Markkula. Now
we...we hooked up with Mike just around the time we introduced the Apple II. Maybe a month
before. But the Apple II was pretty much designed and ready to go. And then Mike came on board
and ah things really started to take off. How important was the disk drive in the development
of Apple? Disk drive was crucial. Ah one of the things
that people forget when they think about...about Apple and the Apple II in particular was that
we were the first company to come out with a reliable, inexpensive floppy disk drive.
And we had a low cost floppy disk drive that really worked about two to three years before
any of our competitors. And that was an incredibly important reason why the Apple II was successful.
A matter of fact, ah there were a few others. The Apple II could hold up to 48 kilobytes
of memory which today doesn't seem like much, but at that time was maybe three times as
much as its competitors. And that's why Visicalc was written for the Apple II. It was the only
computer that could hold it. And so if Visicalc had been written for some other computer you'd
be interviewing somebody else right now. And it was because of that design decision and
other design decisions like it that the Apple II really beat its competition.
How did the Apple II change the world of computing? Well the Apple II was the world's first successful
personal computer. And really defined the personal computer as we know it today. So
ah I think it changed the world a lot from that point of view. [END OF TAPE]
One of the theses is that um .... well let me turn this question around. How important
is market research? How much did you rely on it in the early days?
Well you know I think in the early days it was very easy because you would go to a home
group computer club meeting and there was your whole market and so you could find out
what they thought. Now if you show them your product and see what they thought and you
could because products were much simpler then and within a few months you could change it
all around and come back and show the new one.
But as the market got more sophisticated it was less easy to do that. And the problem
is is that market research can tell you tell you what your customer think of something
you show them. Or it can tell you what your customers think of something you show them.
Or it can tell you what your customers think of something you show them. Or it can tell
you what your customers want as an incremental improvement on what you have but very rarely
can your customers predict something that they don't even quite know they want yet.
As an example no market research could have led to the development of the Macintosh or
the personal computer in the first place. So there are these sort of non incremental
jumps that need to take place where it's very difficult for market research to really contribute
much in the early phases of thinking about how to you know what those should be.
However once you have made that jump possibly before the products on the market or even
after is a great time to go check your instincts with the marketplace and and verify that you're
on the right track. And usually when you show people something they'll they'll say oh my
God this is fantastic. Or give you some feedback along those lines.
How has the personal computer changed society? I mean how have we fundamentally changed the
way we do do our do our daily business our our daily lives? How's it affected that?
I'm not the right person to ask. when you were getting started out I read somewhere
that you had no intention of building a company you were just out to do something for yourselves.
Well at the time when we started Apple um _____ was working for Hewlett Packard I was
working for Atari actually for ______ ______ designing video games and ah we we went through
Atari and showed them our early protoypes and we went to HP and we encouraged each company
to hire the other one and let us do this for them. And we got we got turned down in both
places. Probably for good reasons but ah we started
a company because it was the only alternative left. Not cause we wanted to.
when did you ever think that it was going to really this was really going to happen.
That this was going to go from just an interesting idea that ah....
Oh it didn't take very long. It it happened for me when I saw people that could never
possibly design a computer. Could never possibly build a hardware kit. Could never possibly
assemble their own keyboards and monitors. Could never even write their own software
using these things, then you knew something very big was going to happen.
When we got into that stage where we were high enough on the food chain if you will
that ah a lot of people could use these things and they were really liking it.
What's the the goal of the the the next factory? why why is it so automated? Why is that necessary?
Um one could go on for a long time about how the US has forgotten about manufacturing which
has certainly been true but we're starting to wake up. And ah what we're finding is is
that ah time to market is very important and quality is very important and the way we can
make tremendous increase in quality and and reductions in market is through automation.
So the automation isn't there to lower the cost although it does do that it's really
there to increase the quality and decrease the time it takes us to get a new product
as an example to market which is very important in a technology based market place.
So um we happen to be the lowest cost producer in the world already next of our class of
products. we also happen to be one of the highest quality producers of our type of product
in the world. And we think for a company to survive much less prosper in the nineties
that these are going to be very very important things to be world class at. we're not competing
at the home group computer society anymore we're competing with Europe ink and Japan
ink and IBM ink ah and ah in order to do that we really have to be world class manufacturers.
[BACKGROUND DISCUSSION] What if computer networks offered education?
Well ah education been on computer networks for longer then almost anyone else. The Department
of Defense has an office called DARPA and they funded a thing called ah ARPANET many
many years ago to try to build a command and control network for military ah ah purposes.
And they did a very brilliant thing. After they got a prototype working they gave it
to the university community in America and said bang on this for awhile and see if it
works and help us make it better. And after a few years of the university community doing
that they created a separate version for military purposes but they left the ah educational
version going. And that is tied together the research community
of the United States now for about a decade. And it's vital to the functioning of higher
education in this country. So higher education has actually led the way. That's why we started
off focusing exclusively on higher education because where else could you find five thousand
people on a network but university as an example.So higher education has been five years ahead
of business in using computers in some of these powerful new ways which we're going
to see now ripple into business in the first half of the nineties. It's pretty exciting.
How about lower education? How about school? How about lower ....
Um sharing valuable resources. So far ah computer use in K-12 has been primarily Apple IIs.
And ah I wish ah I wish that they'd be upgrading the MacIntosh's faster then they have been
but I think ah I think that slowly happening and IBM is is getting in there as well. The
primary purpose of computing in K-12 has been just computer literacy and um there's been
a bottle neck because there hasn't been enough sophisticated course wear written and that's
a problem for our society in general amongst all the other problems with our K- 12 education
system. One could talk about that for a few days easily. Easily. [BACKGROUND DISCUSSION]
Going back to the Mac and meeting the deadline for the Mac how crazy did it get? I mean you
had already said that you were going to have this big scratch at the Super Bowl.
Um actually we wanted to get the Mac out a year before we did so we had internal deadlines
ah that we were not able to meet but by the time we set ah by the time we bought the spots
for the Super Bowl and things like that it was basically in the bag. It's not that we
didn't work twenty four hours a day for the last six months to get it out but um we were
on the ______ run at that time. I love this this I don't want to call ______
this thing that you did was just have everybody sign the _______ that was great. Why did you
do that? Um because the people that worked on it consider
themselves and I certainly consider them artist. These are the people that under under different
circumstances would be painters and poets but because of that time that we live in this
new medium has appeared ah in which to express oneself to one's fellow species and that's
a medium of computing and um so a lot of people that would have been artists and scientists
have gone into this field ah to express their their feeling and um so it it seemed like
a the right thing to do. what was it like when you announced at the
shareholders meeting? Oh wow it was well I got the first few rows
had all the people that worked on the Mac. About a hundred people. A hundred fifty people
that really made it happen were all seated in the first few rows and when it was introduced
after we went through it all and had the computer speak to people itself and things like that
ah the whole auditorium of that twenty five hundred people gave it a standing ovation
and ah ah the whole first few rows of Mac folks were all just crying.
All of us were just .... I was biting my tongue very hard because I had a little bit more
to do. But ah it was a very very emotional moment because it was no longer ours. From
that day forward it was no longer ours. We couldn't change it. If we had a good idea
the following day it was to late. It belonged to the world at that point and time. [BACKGROUND
NOISE] So what did you accomplish? what did you set
out to do and what did you do? Well I think maybe it's something different
along the lines then what you want to ..... . You know the semi-conductor people didn't know
what they had in the micro-processor for two to three years. It was the computer hobbies
that really got the idea to make this into a computer rather then a calculator.
Would you like to build a company or change the world?
Ah when we started Apple we were out to build computers for our friends. That was all No
idea of a company. How important is a user interface in the design
of a computer? Well the whole idea of the MacIntosh was a
computer for people who want to use a computer rather then learn how to use a computer.
So....One way we've been playing with it is it's not how it does it but what it does.
In other words I don't care how it does it anymore I just want it to do what I want
it to do. [BACKGROUND DISCUSSION] Where are we in the evolution of the user
interface? And where are we going? The whole discussion about user interface
is just strange to me because to me it's just sort of a natural thing that had to happen
and did happen and it's happened. It's kind of like automatic transmissions. Um not quite
the same as that but... [BACKGROUND DISCUSSION] Um okay networking. Why is networking important?
Why is it the future? Well in the nineties we're going revolutionize
human to human communication using these desktop computers in the same way that spreadsheets
revolutionize financial modeling and the desk top publishing revolution as publishing.
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[subtitle] Steve Jobs Lost Interview 1990 [50 min version from wgbh]

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VoiceTube published on July 5, 2013
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