Since there's a cult-of-personality around the guy, I think it's important to remind everyone that these behaviors are actually signs of poor leadership. If you work for someone like this, don't! You're better than that.
Not saying Steve Jobs didn't do great things. But let's all agree he accomplished them in spite of these flaws, not because of them.
This is probably the most accurate statement I can agree with about him with all that I currently know about him. I consider him eccentric in his own way but darn it I cannot deny he got results.
And it further seemed to me that had Apple let developers write apps from day one, the quality of apps would have been far worse, with many developers basing their iPhone apps on the designs and logic flows of their existing Blackberry/Windows CE apps.
Looking back on it, I think they did—whether by design or by accident—exactly what they should have done.
They couldn't have released an SDK in 2007 though, it simply didn't exist every system app was essentially put together by hand as part of the system and debugged and tested alongside the OS. At least that's what it sounds like from the interviews I've seen with developers on the project.
This meant that, from the start, Apple knew that as they did more and more varied consumer-electronics plays, Windows iTunes would necessarily bloat into the monster it is today.
Although even my Google Play Music app seems to have some annoying bugs lately that are starting to irritate me, like if I download songs for offline listening and I'm connected to the internet it still redownloads the song. Or how it always winds up failing to download albums for offline listening despite it streaming just fine at the same time.
I mean I thought we solved playing audio files ages ago, most people listen to pretty standard audio files so I'm surprised we dont have snappier apps to listen to music with. I can totally see an Electron app emerging that gives a better experience than iTunes, which is embarrassing given how many resources have been allocated to iTunes as a whole.
It’s awful on iOS, Mac and Windows.
I get that iTunes is horrible, unintuitive software. (Where's Apple's famed user-centricity? This looks like really developer-centred software. To get to actual information about backups one has to know that there is seemingly only one way of doing so which is to click the small icon of an iPhone in one particular place.) But it's a pain to have to use some insecure second-class operating system just to access it. (I have neither the money nor the interest in setting a MacOS machine just for iTunes.)
"He didn’t want to make a Windows version of the iPod and iTunes; when all of his lieutenants fought him on it, he eventually conceded they were right, though grudgingly: “Screw it. I’m sick of listening to you assholes. Go do whatever the hell you want.”
He actually goes into depth about why Apple stores were necessary in a talk he did at MIT in 1992 . Was it that he was not nearly as articulate in person with his team, as he was in this video?
Luckily, the transcript is available. The money quote is:
" ... current distribution channels for the computer industry over the last several years have lost their ability to create demand. They can fulfill demand, but they can't create it. If a new product comes out, you're lucky if you can find somebody at the computer store that even knows how to demo it. So the more innovative the product is, the more revolutionary it is and not just an incremental improvement, the more you're stuck [in getting people to try learn about it enough to try it out]."
Here's a fuller quote:
There are some things I can't talk about here. In addition to that, if you look at how we sell our computers right now, we have a sales force in the US of about 130 professionals in the field out selling NeXT computers. They spend 90% of their time selling NeXTSTEP software, and then 10% of their time selling the hardware.
In other words, if they can get the customer to buy into NeXTSTEP, then they're going to sell the hardware, because right now we have the only hardware it runs on. So they are out there selling NeXTSTEP right now. And this is what is required to launch a new innovative product. The current distribution channels for the computer industry over the last several years have lost their ability to create demand.
They can fulfill demand, but they can't create it. If a new product comes out, you're lucky if you can find somebody at the computer store that even knows how to demo it. So the more innovative the product is, the more revolutionary it is and not just an incremental improvement, the more you're stuck. Because the existing channel is only fulfilling demand. Matter of fact, it's getting so bad, that it's getting wiped out, because there are more efficient channels to fulfill demand, like the telephone and Federal Express. So we're seeing the channel become condensed on its way to I think just telebusiness.
So how does one bring innovation to the marketplace? We believe the only way we know how to do it right now is with the direct sales force, out there in front of customers showing them the products in the environment of their own problems, and discussing how those problems can be mated with these solutions.
It gives me new perspective on the value and purpose of the Apple Stores, which I previously viewed as just a luxury shopping experience as window dressing on the usual consumer electronics buying experience. That's still a big part of it, but your quote explains the deeper value.
It also explains to me why Microsoft chose to follow suite with their own Microsoft Stores, although I still wonder why theirs aren't as successful. It's always amusing and a bit sad to go to the Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, where the Microsoft Store is literally right across from the Apple Store, but Apple is packed where Microsoft is a ghost town. What secret sauce are they missing? My thought is that the Microsoft brand is still poison to the average consumer.
In the old days, a Thinkpad or Toshiba Tecra were only seen by commercial accounts and college kids. Your only way to see and touch an expensive ($2k in 98-2000) purchase was some awful bolted down display at CompUSA or BestBuy. And you only saw shitty consumer product, and were stuck dealing with a salesman of questionable knowledge looking for a warranty spiff.
The Microsoft vs Apple store thing is easy — they are selling the same dreck, spiffed up with a few first party products.
Steve put so much effort into giving Apple products life, figuratively. For example, he would call the iphone, "iphone", not "an iphone" and was adamant about it. Almost giving existence to it. Also, the way he introduced products was brilliant. He was a master at teasing the public and peaking interest prior to product launch.
Where Microsoft would release products akin to the Zune..in brown, or products with unmemorable names like 'Surface Pro x', with very little marketing. I've always thought MS has interesting products and they have been first to market many times. However, due to lack of marketing, they didn't gain traction.
I remember someone on ESPN segment which had been sponsored by Microsoft and the people on the screen were using MS Surface but the commentator said we are using an Ipad like device.
I guess MS needs some innovate ads which will tell people what MS does in the consumer space.
I mean: "iPad" is two syllables, short and sweet, and MS wanted people to call the devices the "Microsoft Surface Pro," six syllables that don't exactly roll off the tongue.
That's not even getting into how they packaged all of those Surface Pros in gigantic blue padded cases, giving the impression that Microsoft's version of the iPad was big and clunky. Necessary for use on the sidelines, I'm sure, but not well thought out.
I just found this out recently too, not a new member either!
Stealth prediction of Amazon. If you know what you want, you order it online (until Amazon kills itself with counterfeits.) If you don't know what you want, you go to a store.
-3rd party Amazon seller.
The software was fantastic, and thankfully Apple acquired NeXT, but let's be honest: if NeXT hadn't been acquired (by somebody) their days were numbered.
Official figures are hard to come by but estimates suggest that NeXT sold about 50,000 units over its entire lifetime. The company had to stop manufacturing hardware and was very much dying.
You could classify the deal with Apple as a merger in that both companies were in a certain amount of trouble by that point and needed eachother (or some other merger partner) for survival, but Apple had a lot more runway. They did, after all, hand over $429 million in cash for NeXT, plus some quantity of shares.
NeXT technology didn't just overcome technical debt, it became a solid foundation for over two decades worth of cutting-edge software, hardware and product development by Apple. It remains one of Apple's greatest technical assets. But again, the technology alone would not have fundamentally changed Apple's 1996 market position.
Apple's market position was turned around by Steve Jobs, the "freebie" included in the NeXT acquisition.
But the fact that you felt you "have to do the right thing and keep it secret from Steve until later" speaks volumes to Steve's leadership style. If everyone has to walk eggshells around you, that's a sign you're prone to flip out on them.
Being stubborn is not the same thing as being hostile. I wonder if steve ever learned how to separate the two.
As a founder, Steve gets to take at least partial credit for hiring Cook in 1998, although I believe Ive joined in 1992 while Jobs was absent.
It all comes back to Jobs being a founder, and the dramatic turnaround in Apple's fortunes that clearly began at his return in 1997.
I am a developer, but it surprises me how many developers don’t get that. Geeks canonize Woz and say that he was the success behind Apple, but geeks are a dime a dozen. We can look at what Jobs accomplished without Woz and what Woz accomplished without Jobs as a case study.
Jobs got results because of his relationships. He could get anyone on the phone and get things done. No one else could have picked up the phone and called Gates and made the deal he made in 1997 that saved Apple (not the money, the promise of continuing to support Office on Mac). He was able to negotiate with the music industry in 2003 and the mobile carriers before the iPhone came out and completely usurp their power.
Most of the targets of Jobs wrath weren’t afraid of losing their jobs and stuck around because they didn’t have an alternative. Good developers in the right market can get a job before their last check clears.
They stayed because they believed in the vision. If I had a choice between working on the original iPhone and writing yet another software as a service CRUD app, I know which one I would have chosen.
But when the dust settled, I would have put that on my resume and wrote my own ticket to work almost anywhere.
99% of software developers are the absolute dumbest smart people you could ever meet. On the plus side: this makes them very simply to beat, even without any sooper l33t c0ding ski11z. Just learn to do all the stuff that they don’t think matters—like talking to and listening to and learning from your users—and you’ll easily wipe the floor with the lot of them.
They ask me why would “their” company do that to them. My simple answer - because you let them. It took me awhile to get it, but for the last 10 years, I’ve changed jobs 5 times for greener pastures, compared to keeping one job for 9 years previously.
I’ve had to develop interpersonal skills to punch above my weight to get things done at a level that my title alone wouldn’t have accomplished.
Not really fair, Wozniak was in a plane crash resulting in head injuries and 5 weeks of "anterograde amnesia" (inability to create new memories). It is possible he was never the same as an engineer.
Again that's not meant to be an insult either. I personally have no desire to start a business or even be in management. Software development provides me with the comfortable balance of not disliking what I do, it's not stressful and it pays me well enough to be more than just comfortable.
He was as brilliant as the Sun before the crash, and not only designed optimal hardware, but also wrote Apple BASIC and designed the floppy controller software. Sounds easy today, but his work was all pre-Internet.
Around that time in Silicon Valley, there were several private plane accidents. A lot of flush engineers bought planes and treated them like snowmobiles. Nowadays the professional safety culture extends down to even private flights.
Steve used to say that great engineers are 10x the average and there are a few who are 100x and crucial to hard projects. He did everything he could to find them.
You'd be surprised how many companies survived without great engineers but with great salesmen.
So I don't think I would ascribe the valuation difference to beginning engineering chops.
Look, for example, at the way Jobs cheated Wozniak out of money early on.  That's not what I'd call "good at relationships". I'd call that manipulative and exploitative.
"If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair with them, it is like expecting a lion not to eat you because you did not eat the lion"
More people who blindly worship Jobs should learn about these back stabbings as well.
Know your worth, do not undersell yourself, learn by others’ errors, and always—ALWAYS—get it in Writing.
If the most important thing to you is not to be decent to others, you live poorly.
Knowing that the lion is not going to be fair to you, means you need to run from the lion and not sit there and get eaten.
“Once the avalanche has started, the pebbles don’t have a vote”.
The bad parts are going to flourish regardless....
The fundamental point remains: do your damn best to be decent to other humans; don't make excuses.
I dont think Woz got that memo, he assumed his friend would not betray him.
The smoking gun email came out in 2007. Google was actually a larger company back then. Apple was in no position to bully Google.
But why was he the only evil one and not the CEOs of Google, Adobe, and Intel.
But still the idea that Jobs was the mastermind “bullying” these other companies instead of all of them being equally responsible doesn’t pass the sniff test. And one of those companies - Pixar was also run by Jobs at the time.
That's exactly what the documents that came up in discovery showed. Not only does it pass the sniff test, but it passes the legal test too.
> But why was he the only evil one and not the CEOs of Google, Adobe, and Intel.
I never claimed he was. Still, measuring evilness on a scale, the one who proposed the no poach agreement to the others and tried to force it on unwilling other companies is clearly far more evil than the rest.
> And one of those companies - Pixar was also run by Jobs at the time.
How does that matter? In a world without illegal collusion, a graphics expert could be poached from Apple to Pixar or vice versa and make more money. What matters is that Jobs instituted his illegal program at all his companies, and that is evil.
(My point is, it's not gender specific. The research shows that abuse happens both ways and happens a very similar amount for either gender.)
Less so than it used to be, in that women now more often have the financial means to leave, but still gendered.
That isn't surprising to me, in that a lot of the psychology of abusers is clearly patriarchal. E.g.: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Does-He-That-Controlling-ebook/dp...
That is not to discount abuse against men, of course. Indeed, most of the people facing Jobs's abuse were surely men. But the trope I'm referring to is pretty clearly gendered.
Not that Wikipedia is a reliable source, but they do have citations anyone interested could look into, and they seem similar to the numbers I saw in my own reading.
However, even on NCADV, I see "1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.1" That's a somewhat skewed ratio but I wouldn't call it a one-sided gendered issue. And I suspect the reason that only 1 in 7 men have been victims of "severe" violence is that men are harder for women to significantly injure, and women are easier for men to significantly injure, so you would assume women would be more often worse injured even assuming both are aggressors in a similar number of situations and using the same amount of aggression, with difference in outcomes for their victims due to their difference in strength.
So those are the only choices there are? There are a lot interesting things than working on the iPhone and a CRUD app.
The factor that comes through all these Steve Jobs stories is his incredibly strong drive to move forward. He didn't wait or equivocate... if he thought something was wrong, or he should hear from someone on a topic, he personally and immediately went after the very best information or person he could get. In my short career, it is striking how rare that seems, even among senior managers.
And if you think about it... those same traits are what you see demonstrated by the author in the linked story. He was worried that his company was headed in the wrong direction, so he personally and immediately went after the best solution he could think of: secretly calling the CEO of Intel!
The secret to reading these "Steve Jobs leadership" stories is that Jobs is usually not the only leader in the story.
People can debate the whys and hows, but there's no denying that key point.
Maybe it was by accident; maybe Steve's careful design; or perhaps a consequence of Steve's personality and the kind of people he found himself in the company of--those attracted to him, him to attracted to them, or both. I don't think those questions are easily answered. But you can't even begin to answer those questions without realizing that he was surrounded by leaders, and it probably wasn't a random fluke--that is even if it was accidental, the accident happened once in the beginning and thereafter perpetuated itself, not accidental in the sense that at every pivotal moment he was by chance surrounded by leaders.
And even if by accident there's much to be said that Steve didn't ultimately fritter away that initial good luck. Again, deliberate or not, conscious or not, most people would have frittered that good luck away. It's hard to deny that there was something peculiar about the man. But debates get caught up in our contemporary moral narrative about merit, intelligence, worth, etc. There can't be an objective assessment, if at all, unless we appreciate how that narrative colors our perspective and understanding.
This is a good point and probably not an accident. During my time there I worked with middle managers who, at most other companies would qualify as C-level executives. Yet there they were: world class leader sitting there managing small team X on project Y, Because Apple.
What I mean is, being a C-title executive means a different set of daily tasks than leading a small project or product team. A self-aware person who doesn't want to do the C-level tasks won't take a C-level job, even if they are a great leader who maybe could get that job. Instead, they look for the best environment in which they can do the job they want to do.
A big goal for any CEO is to create that environment and find those people. Steve Jobs seemed to be pretty good at that.
I guess Steve learned this during the Next years.
Even suffering nasty behavior. Now I'm sure that the minute Jobs would lose the original value people saw in him, his drive, his aesthetics, product-ethos .. they'd bail out in a second.
I'm even pretty sure I despise average boring friction-full project even more. I don't have a lot of mileage, but when I see people doing fluff just to put their name in a document, on top of a stack of other similar here-to-justify-a-raise names it sucks life out of me (not for their individual behavior but the overall project).
ps: similarly, some line of work, health, firefighters is full of people who can tolerate insane difficulties, because what they achieve is still more satisfying to their mind.
Never said the guy didn't have any good traits. Obviously, Apple and NeXT had lots of great people work there.
> I'd work for anyone with that ability.
Yeah you lost me. I won't work for someone who can't admit fault and treats their employees like dirt. I don't care how good they are at convincing people to work for them.
You should have priorities in your life. "Not being abused" should be higher than "being able to say you've worked with the greatest talent."
Kind of like the instructors at my workout classes, I don't always like them, they're not always that nice but they definitely make me better.
Working for an abusive boss can seriously take a toll on your mental health.
And then the thing you get in return - building the future. You think that will make you happy. But I know people who have a long list of accomplishments, who are deeply unhappy, because of the crushing work schedule and toxic people they work for. And in the end, the future you build may not be what you hoped. You wake up and realize you sacrificed your wellbeing all for a phone app or a new piece of adtech.
It's just not worth it. There are plenty of places where you can impact your industry and not be treated like shit. Your dignity is worth more than that.
And Forstall convincing Jobs to add the Carbon API to OS X.
And he said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘ Because I care about the team.’ And he said this brutally, brilliantly insightful thing, which was, ’No Jony, you’re just really vain.’ He said, ‘You just want people to like you, and I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed you were perceived by other people.’
I was terribly cross, because I knew he was right.”
- End of the first paragraph, Jony Ive says to be nicer.
- Next paragraph Steve shuts him down.
edited for formatting.
I don't see that as standing up to Steve at all - just the opposite. Jony justifies Steve's rude behavior.
Some people (like yourself) have more of a sense of agency than others. It's not my cup of tea but some people prefer to implement the goals of others ("be part of something bigger"). Sometimes they get sucked in by abusive leaders.
There are people who say that working under Jobs was the best work they ever did.
The interesting take away here at least in my eyes is that incredibly seemingly irrelevant plot points become climaxes. The fact that they invested a bit into the Intel chip for reasons unrelate may have been the fulcrum for the most valuable company in the history of the world.
So no this isn't an artificial narrative. There's probably some truth there.
They're both in the same cluster of personality disorders but borderline tends to be associated with more self-loathing and self-destruction since there is still harmful and hurtful behavior like sociopathy but also a good deal of empathy related to an overactive amygdala. Those mix like fuel and air. Sociopaths have reduced empathy so they find harming others and transgressing much easier to live with and move on, so they tend to be less self-destructive as long as they're somewhat high-functioning. They can both be quite manipulative but in my experience people with BPD are less likely to capitalize on it.
Yeah, work for that other asshole right out of McKinsey who perfectly matches the leadership templates in the management handbook written by another asshole out of HBS or McKinsey and have moved up the ladder in a hierarchical organization by perfectly playing politics and being diplomatic.
That's considered good leadership, by the management books, sure.
I don't know that you can separate the success from the flaws. It's hard to find truly impactful leaders that didn't have a large number of character flaws.
He apparently worked with / found people who did these things without Steve knowing and it helped. If you had a bunch of yes men (or if that is what Steve had chosen) things would be different. Indirectly or directly he had people around him making these calls and it worked.
Not trying to dispute your statement at all, just add to it. Perhaps it illustrates how hiring knowledgeable, talented, passionate people is more about them doing the things you don't know they're going to do than say a resume or such... (I say that of course because I'm looking for a job and in that mindset). There is a video making the rounds on LinkedIn where Steve talks about hiring talented people and getting out of their way to some extent. Even apparently when he doesn't realize it (i'm sure he eventually figured some of it out).
If you're fine with spoilers, look at Steve Jobs meets Bill Gates scene. Or a bunch of them. :)
Maybe not. Could also just be an example of manipulation on a higher level than what appears to be obvious.
For example take this part from the article:
> Steve spent all day in early Apple recruiting Bill Atkinson, a Phd student in neuroscience. Steve told me he didn’t know if they could have pulled off the Mac without him.
Seems like he is just complementing a brilliant guy, right?
Well maybe not. Maybe he is just manipulating a brilliant guy. In other words part of the plan is to appear to be boneheaded or not as smart. This is almost a cliche "I surround myself with people smarter than I am". As if 'being smart' can be definite the way winning a road race can (in absolute terms).
You find this sometimes also with guys who put their wife up on a pedestal intellectually. Maybe it's true but maybe it's also a way to get them in a place where they feel smarter and you get the benefits of that at no cost whatsoever. Women do this with men as well to get things they want from them.
Once again not saying Atkinson was or wasn't what Steve says but there are also methods to madness that have to be considered just the same.
And let's also take a moment to imagine all of the people he harmed with his abusive ways. E.g. how many marriages foundered because people worked insane hours? How many kid-parent relationships were harmed? How many people burned out and left the industry, or never did as much as they could?
Yeah, such poor leadership that he founded 3 huge multi-100 million companies (Apple, NeXT, Pixar) and turned the third one to the largest company of earth from its near-bankruptcy at the time he returned to it.
Perhaps what's "poor leadership" or not should be correlated with actual results?
Steve Jobs bought Pixar from George Lucas.
The team had not done anything previously as Pixar.
In which case it would be more accurate to say that he acquired and rebranded. But you said he founded Pixar, including Apple and NeXT in that statement, which sounds as though he launched Pixar from scratch.
Obviously being able to code is better than not being able to code! Steve succeeded despite never writing code, not because of it!
Can you imagine what kind of Supersteve we would have had if he learned to code! Rather than an Apple worth $0.95 trillion in 2018, might it be worth $3 trillion? $5 trillion? $30 trillion?
After all knowing how to code is obviously better than not knowing how to code!
Moral of the story: if you want to succeed like Steve don't be like Steve! If you work for someone like this, don't! You're better than that.
(My comment is entirely sarcastic. It's a rebutt to your
>Not saying Steve Jobs didn't do great things. But let's all agree he accomplished them in spite of these flaws, not because of them.
NO. I don't agree with you that Steve accomplished what he accomplished despite the qualities, practices, influences, and decisions that made him Steve, and not because of them. In fact it's kind of a laughable claim as I hope my sarcastic "critique" that he didn't code, shows.)
There are "taste leaders" in other fields—this is what a movie director is, or a chef, or a newspaper's editor-in-chief, or any master of a trade. It's a job-role that's all over the arts. It's just not seen much in science-driven, engineering-driven, or business-driven industries, because taste doesn't usually drive customer-demand in these fields. Apple's consumer-electronics niche is even an exception within their larger field. (I.e. taste certainly doesn't drive computing products in general—just look at the "gaming" PC peripherals on the top of the Amazon rankings to see what I mean.)
Usually, to get a project off the ground when a "taste leader" is in play, you have to ensure that your project is already to their tastes before they see it. That is, the taste-leader will can any project that doesn't currently fit their aesthetic, even if it might later fit their aesthetic. This is what forces the underlings of these people (in all of these fields) to work long hours, and to hide their work, and to lie about their work: they can't show it to the "taste leader" until it will suit their taste.
Why is this done? Why do taste leaders do this? It's a pretty universal trait of taste-leaders in successful businesses, so it's probably a good strategy somehow (if it's not just an effect of success.)
My guess is that taste-leaders do this for two reasons:
• They think that if they don't, a project will gain momentum while still not matching their tastes, and then they won't be able to stop it from "taking off" once it has enough smiling, happy faces invested in it. They just won't have the heart to can it at that point, even if they think it sucks. Much easier to can it early.
• They know that, by forcing everyone to adhere to this stringent set of aesthetic criteria at all times, they're imparting these same aesthetics to everyone around them. In order to please a taste leader, you can't just learn their tastes; you have to grok their tastes. Their tastes have to become your tastes. If you can't just iterate a project toward being something they like, but have to get it right from the start (or from the earliest point they're allowed to see it), then you have to be able to evaluate your own concept work against the aesthetic—and in fact use the aesthetic to figure out how to move across the fitness-landscape of possible features for the thing.
And, if those two things are true, then "taste leaders" are probably not as flawed as you think—rather, they're playing a role. Some might play it naturally, but I think that for a lot of them, they know that this is how to best drive their business toward optimizing for their taste (which they believe is a taste customers have demand for.)
That is: there are plenty of stories about people lying to Jobs. But did anyone ever get a chance to ask Jobs whether he knew they were lying, and just pretended to be oblivious to these skunkworks projects because he had faith in these people to eventually produce something he'd like (but just didn't want them showing their not-yet-aesthetic iterations off where others in the company could get excited about them)?
I've known both chefs and directors who do this sort of thing. Why would Jobs be different?
I feel like you can replace Steve Jobs name by Donald Trump and it still sounds true.
What's impressive, to me, is that this leader was able to inspire his team to take such steps while sticking around instead of jumping ship. I think that's a big part of what makes a good leader; maintaining a team which wants to see you succeed, despite whatever flaws you may have.
NeXT had a booth there and I remember asking the folks if it ran on Intel processors.
I distinctly the remember all the folks there laughing at me as if that was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard and asking me to move right along.
Why was running on Intel important to Apple? Apple didn't use Intel at that time (Dec 1996), and didn't decide to use Intel until much later (announced 2005)? Whereas BeOS already did run on the CPU platform that Apple did use at that time?
I don't have any insider information, but I wouldn't be surprised if Apple felt like they needed a backup plan in case the PowerPC alliance was unsuccessful at matching the speed growth of Intel's products. I'd say the G3 was the first PowerPC CPU that impressed me, I think Apple only stuck with PowerPC for two more generations (the G5).
The PowerPC allowed Apple to overtake the Pentium and gave it boasting rights until the failure of the G5.
My opinion: when released, performance didn't meet my expectations and failed to meet my expectations for another five years (when the G3 was released). IMHO, I don't believe the Mac was competitive against the PC until the release of the G4. I could understand why Apple would want to hedge against the PowerPC.
And of course, as those from the Lost Amiga Civilization recall, it took about a 500 MHz Windows 9x PC to feel as responsive as a 25 MHz Amiga.
I do suspect that Photoshop filters might get some real performance gains out of AltiVec instructions, maybe my boring developer style workloads weren't reaping similar benefits from the availability of those instructions.
Of course, POWER would go on to be a great arch for desktop and server use, but that wasn't enough for Apple after the G4.
Running on Intel certainly saved NeXT in that by version 3.3 with the ability to support IDE CD-ROM's the cost of a machine that could run NeXTSTEP 3.3 had dropped dramatically. It's just a shame that the OS cost nearly as much as the machine.
Being more open like the later Darwin sure may have helped, although I don't think NeXT much like later on Apple really wanted to either take in code from outsiders, or made the open software rediably usable.
Or, perhaps Apple was considering switching earlier than they did. Maybe they thought G3->G4 was going to experience the problems that didn't end up cropping up until G4->G5.
Apple was working on X86 compatibility as early as Mac OS 7 in 1992. 
The iPhone just further cemented Apple's position as the device people want to carry to consume media. I don't see how going with Gasse or Be would have made the Apple of today possible.
You had Improv, which when Lotus killed it, was cloned into Quantrix which is still sold today to financial modelers.
You had the McCaw Cellular custom app (don't know what it was called) that allowed them to grow - they later became Cingular, then ATT Wireless. William Morris Agency, Booz Allen Hamilton (big consulting firm), etc. all had custom apps that they used under NeXT.
In contrast, BeOS had a few small desktop apps and some other cool demos.
Also, I believe around that time the deal between IBM and Motorola was ending and they had already decided not to continue development of the PowerPC.
It's an interesting bit of history about how many very bright engineers had zero faith in intel being able pull off what they did with the P6 micro architecture: A superscalar, out-of-order x86 CPU that supported SMP on a power budget that, while high for the time (25 watts!), wasn't astronomical. That breakthrough ultimately became the foundation for Intel's Core micro architecture, which Apple later adopted in their first intel-based machines.
If Apple had switched to Intel with the arrival of the Pentium, things could have been very different.
This was quite a stretch of time (92->97?). What happened after that, though, was that Intel hit the afterburners, and rocketed up to about 800mhz, and PPC got left in the dust. There was a huge 500mhz speed bump that the G3 and G4 both stalled at for a few years, and by the time they got over that, the pentium 4 was coming out, which started another jump from the P3's 1.5ghz, pushing the P4 up to about 3.5ghz.
The G3 and G4 were much faster than either the 603 or P2/P3 and especially the P4, per mhz, so the launch day ad campaign saying the iMac's 233mhz CPU was "twice as fast" as the 250mhz pentiums that were out at the same time was true - it just didn't stay true once 500 mhz P2 machines came out less than a year later. It's notable that intel was so focused on the marketability of that metric that the later pentium series were worse per clock than their predecessors - a P4 had to actually be several hundred mhz faster than a P3 to be the same speed. Intel was primarily doing this to fight AMD, and it got bad enough that AMD actually had to introduce a new marketing term to indicate how fast their chips were compared to the mhz ratings of P4s.
Intel completely reversed course on this with the core series - modern "core" chips like the i5 and i7 are several times faster than P4s running at the same clock speed. Far better heat/power consumption specs, too.
I’ve no doubt that internally Apple engineers knew this.
The Rhapsody DR1/DR2 releases that would shape up to become OS X Server 1.0 were intel based. And the then released source code for Darwin 0.1/Darwin 0.3 although commercially only released on the PowerPC, still compiles and runs on i386 just fine.
I'm sure with the overhaul of the kernel while going from OS X Server 1.0 to OS X 10.0 where the Objective C driver model was dumped for a C++ framework, along with updating the Mach code from 2.5 to 3.0 broke the i386, but it was quickly fixed in the Darwin releases, making the overall chain unbroken from the inside.
It wouldn't surprise me in the lost years of Apple looking for a plan out of the demise of the 68000 that there would have been projects looking again and again at Intel, especially after the Star Trek project.
Of course the NeXT merger brought back Steve Jobs who killed the clone program immediately.
Next and Microsoft both sought to hire him, and he eventually went on to be in charge of the OS at Next and later Apple.
One of the topics he covered in the interview was how Next (and Apple) decided to use and contribute back to open sourced software at the lower levels of their stack.
He also covers what it was like to work for Steve Jobs.
NeXT was never about UNIX, rather the foundation libraries, UI Builder and everything that was possible to do with Objective-C, including writing device drivers.
UNIX compatibility was a way to embrace the software of the blooming market of UNIX workstation startups, and fill a checkmark on the requirements list.
I'd wager it was far more expeditious to develop on top of a professional-grade OS than to start over from scratch. He wanted to sell high-end hardware, and it's hard to do that with a primitive operating system.
Anyway, interesting question, would also like to know how that decision was made.
NeXT tried to get away with a closed-source fork of GCC for Objective C, but eventually backed down under legal threat.
If there's one thing companies don't like, it's uncertainty - and the whole GPLv3 discussion gave them exactly that. They needed an alternative - and placed their bets on the more liberally licensed LLVM project.
In late 80's there were multiple projects that attemped to build unix-like system on top of Mach (what essentially is academic project) out of these NeXT/OS X is the only one still really relevant. Another such project was OSF/1, which also took the way of running essentially all of real unix kernel space as one big Mach thread with code derived from BSD, this became DEC/Compaq/HP(E) Tru64 and all other systems build on this OSF/1 base never really worked with sufficient performance. (And for Tru64 on it's original Alpha platform Mach is slightly weird choice as the CPU essentially comes with it's own "microkernel" in microcode/firmware).
Unfortunately browsers don't currently offer any good way for us to make Ctrl+F work for not-yet-rendered posts in this scenario, so this is a tradeoff between better performance and worse find-on-page functionality.
I'll give some thought to how to improve this.
The benefit of the JS approach is that we can load and render only the stuff you're likely to see, which keeps data usage down and performance up. This is especially nice on mobile devices and slow connections. We think the infinite pagination is also a nicer experience than manual pagination.
But we also want things to work when JS isn't available, primarily because that improves SEO. It's a nice bonus that the tiny percentage of people who prefer to browse with JS disabled can still read Cake.
As well, how many conversations are more than 25 posts? Looking at your front page I only see one and it's just 26 posts (https://www.cake.co/conversations/x97rrxl/why-can-t-apple-ma...). Pulling it up, there's just not that much text there across all 26 parts (less than 30k of actual text).
I don't mean to be grumpy-old-man here, but it seems like you've added a bunch of complexity and broken ctrl-f for questionable gains.
Cake also uses client-side routing when JS is enabled. While the initial pageview might be on the large side since it contains all the data necessary to render the entire page (albeit gzipped for most clients, so typically much smaller than the uncompressed sizes you shared), subsequent pageviews will load a much smaller amount of data.
We also use a few heuristics to avoid serving a server-rendered page if we know the client can render it more efficiently, which can further reduce the size of the initial pageview (pretty significantly actually). So you're pretty much measuring our worst case scenario. :)
> Mr. Chris MacAskill serves as President of SmugMug, Inc. Mr. MacAskill serves as Chief Executive Officer of Cakes Inc. Mr. MacAskill served as Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble.com Professional, Technical and Business Bookstore since co-founding Fatbrain in June 1995. From September 1983 to September 1990, Mr. MacAskill served as Vice President of Engineering at Western Atlas International. In September 1981, Mr. MacAskill founded PSI, which was acquired by Western Atlas International in October 1983. Mr. MacAskill also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Barnes & Noble.com Professional, Technical and Business Bookstore. He serves as a Director of Cakes Inc. From June 1991 to June 1995, Mr. MacAskill served as Director of Developer Relations at NeXT Computer and General Magic. Mr. MacAskill received his B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Utah and received his M.S. in Geophysics from Stanford University.
Sorry for the formatting, but it's the same on the site.
If there's a better bio somewhere, I didn't see it.
Thanks for all the great stories from the NeXT era -- either you have an incredible memory or took very good notes during those years. The level of detail in the stories sets them apart from many you read.
Dunno if you saw this one from Wayne Goodrich, who was there and continued to Apple:
(edit: oh I am slow today. Its told in story form, the meeting with Andy Grove is several posts down on the page).
"I closed my office door, picked up the phone, and asked for Andy Grove. I wanted to know why they weren’t in the conversation. I guessed it was because we used the Intel i860 chip on one of our graphics boards and it didn’t impress us. But what were Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Andy going to do about the Intel 80486 facing the same fate as Motorola’s 68040? I had to know."