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Playboy Magazine interview with 29-year-old Steve Jobs (playboy.com)
75 points by unalone on Jan 31, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

From Steve Jobs talking in 1985 I learn something about color vision:

"You know, Dr. Edwin Land was a troublemaker. He dropped out of Harvard and founded Polaroid. Not only was he one of the great inventors of our time but, more important, he saw the intersection of art and science and business and built an organization to reflect that. Polaroid did that for some years, but eventually Dr. Land, one of those brilliant troublemakers, was asked to leave his own company—which is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. So Land, at 75, went off to spend the remainder of his life doing pure science, trying to crack the code of color vision."

Googling on Land's color vision work:




Ironic, considering that Jobs was himself asked to leave Apple a few years later. (And, of course, came back to re-conquer Apple from NeXT).

I like how the conclusion to that (These are the people America should be looking up to), along with several other comments of his, fit in nicely with the start-up scene. As another comment says, he says some things here that get used by 37signals for their sales pitch.

Great interview. A couple things struck me. Particularly, two of the major threads in the 37signals new-speak lexicon are almost verbatim from the interview:

I like to think of the Fortune 5,000,000 or 14,000,000. There are 14,000,000 small businesses in this country. I think that the vast group of people who need to be computerized includes that large number of medium and small businesses. We’re going to try to be able to bring some meaningful solutions to them in 1985.


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

"PLAYBOY: What will change? JOBS: The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone."

Trying to read that on my iPhone redirects to special iPhone portal. Pretty annoying for any site to not support direct linking for mobile versions of their site. For the playboy site it is weird, you find yourself on the playboy homepage... ;-)

why did this comment deserve downvotes? it's not abrasive, and it's true! the same thing happened to me.

seems like every site that has a mobile version does this. you follow a link from somewhere else, and instead of getting to the page you wanted to read, you wind up at the top page of their mobile site. annoying.

It was down voted because it was only tangentially related to the original post.

"only tangentially related" might be a reason not to vote it up. but my interpretation of pg's rules are that downvotes are only for comments that are inflammatory, spam, or some other violation of protocol.

"He is an engaging pitchman and never loses an opportunity to sell his products, eloquently describing a time when computers will be as common as kitchen appliances and as revolutionary in their impact as the telephone or the internal-combustion engine."

Well, he got that one right.

Not yet, there's more to be done. This is a good start perhaps, but we're nowhere near where we could be.

"Is that really significant or is it simply a novelty? The Macintosh has been called "the world’s most expensive Etch A Sketch" by at least one critic."

"Aside from some of the recurrent criticisms—that the mouse is inefficient..."

I'd say an important take away from this interview is to ignore (most) criticism, no matter what. Just imagine how silly some of the criticism for advancing technology today will look in 2040 :-).

"The petrochemical revolution gave us free energy—free mechanical energy, in this case. It changed the texture of society in most ways. This revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind: free intellectual energy." (page 2)

This is the vision - freeing the intellectual energy.

Yeah, who needs AI, when there are millions of people sitting around with nothing to do?

that is an excellent observation.

One reason there are still lots of truckdrivers and not AI's driving those trucks is that even if you could build one it would be very hard to make it cost effective.

Long term it will probably be more like the drones piloted by guys sitting a couple of hundred (or thousand) miles away, jobs will be broken up into groups based on the 'hardness' of the problems that need solving and then get parcelled out a-la the mechanical turk.

A.T.&T. is changing from a subsidized and regulated service-oriented company to a free-market, competitive-marketing technology company. A.T.&T.’s products per se have never been of the highest quality. All you have to do is go look at their telephones. They’re somewhat of an embarrassment. - Steve Jobs

Some early foreshadowing.

This is one of the best Jobs interview I've seen. It's long but it's well worth it; Greatly inspiring.

He was much more open then.

And then?

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