The reporter who knew Jobs best discovers a trove of forgotten interviews
Rummaging through a storage shed after Steve Jobs' death, Brent Schlender came across a few dozen interview tapes he had made during 25 years of covering Apple's co-founder for the Wall Street Journal and Fortune. Some were as long as three hours. Some had never been transcribed.
Schlender drew heavily on those recordings to produce Fast Company's May cover story about Jobs' so-called wilderness years. He makes a strong case that this middle period was, in fact, the most pivotal of Jobs life:
"He finally settled down, married, and had a family. He learned the value of patience and the ability to feign it when he lost it. Most important, his work with the two companies he led during that time, NeXT and Pixar, turned him into the kind of man, and leader, who would spur Apple to unimaginable heights upon his return."
Schlender's story is lively, persuasive and rich with reportorial gold. I'll tease you with just two quotes:
On Apple's (AAPL) management after Jobs was ousted:
"Right now it's like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz: 'I'm melting. I'm melting,' " he told Schlender in the mid-1990s. "The jig is up. They can't seem to come out with a great computer to save their lives. They need to spend big on industrial design, reintroduce the hipness factor. But no, they hire [Gil] Amelio [as CEO]. It's as if Nike hired the guy that ran Kinney shoes."
On the organizational design of Pixar:
"I started to learn about how films are made," Jobs said. "Basically, it's bands of gypsies getting together to make a film. After the film, they disband. The problem with that is we want to build a company, not just make a single movie."
There's lots more where that came from. You can read the full story on here or, starting Thursday, on Fast Company's new iPad app.
A couple weeks after Jobs died, Schlender wrote a lovely reminiscence for Fortune. You can read that story here.
He mapped out a strategy to rescue the failing merger on a whiteboard in 2003
After a long meeting with Steve Jobs last year about what the iPad would mean for publishers, Fortune's technology editor Stephanie Mehta -- known to her colleagues as "Stephanie Telephony" when she covered telecommunications -- remarked that Jobs was a surprisingly astute student of other people's businesses, including hers.
Case in point: A story Brent Schlender, who covered MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 25, 2011 7:05 AM ET
Fortune contributor Brent Schlender shares some of the stories and personal photographs he collected during more than two decades as Steve Jobs' chronicler and confidant.
FORTUNE -- Most of us who wrote in depth about the brilliant career of Steve Jobs sooner or later came to realize that we were complicit in the making of a modern myth. You simply couldn't avoid it. And while it is true that Jobs was MOREOct 25, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Fortune's Kindle book is a treasure trove of vintage Steve Jobs vignettes
"Contempt" is probably the word that best describes Steve Jobs' attitude toward the press. But he courts the publications he cares about, and over the years one of the magazines he courted most assiduously -- at least until a certain 2008 cover story -- was Fortune.
While at Apple (AAPL), NeXT, Pixar and Apple again, he gave Fortune's writers and editors MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 28, 2011 6:45 AM ET
|The medical marijuana ad that never aired, despite contrary media headlines|
|The bull market at 5: Not old yet|
|2 million students missing out on college aid|
|Boeing reports wing cracks on Dreamliners|
|Get ready for 'over-the-top' TV|