Douglas Engelbart

The first time I met Steve Jobs

August 28, 2011: 10:41 AM ET

... he lied to me. Although to be fair, it was more a lie of omission than a barefaced lie

Photo by Ted Thai for TIME

Pardon me if this feels like ancient history. But this is a story I've never put into print (or pixels) before, and I figured if not now, when?

It was December 1982 and a crowd of journalists had gathered in a meeting room at The Pierre, a luxury hotel one block north of the site Steve Jobs would later choose for the Fifth Avenue Apple Store's big glass cube.

Jobs, then 26, was there to introduce the media to the wonders of the Lisa. He was selling it hard, even though (we later learned) he'd already been forced off the Lisa team and had seized control of a second, top-secret project.

I was a reporter-researcher at Time magazine on a 12-month probationary writer's trial. I'd heard that the Lisa had something to do with work done at Xerox's (XRX) Palo Alto Research Center, and to prep for the meeting I had read and re-read the only substantive story I could find about Xerox PARC -- a long article in Byte magazine on Smalltalk.

More

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.