Steve Jobs (pg 2)
Jobs' confidential phone list from the mid-1980s at Apple Computer, included in more than 500 boxes of company documents archived at Stanford, reveals the rarefied air in which he operated while still in his 20s. There are private listings for Joan Baez and Diane Keaton (both onetime romantic interests), the home phone for California Governor Jerry Brown, and the White House line for Richard Darman, one of President Reagan's top aides. By then, Jobs was already one of the first true business celebrities.
Jobs' phone list also reflected the complex crosscurrents of his personal life. There was Kobun Chino, the Zen Buddhist monk who was his spiritual guru and would later preside at his wedding; Clara and Paul Jobs, the working-class California couple who had adopted and raised him; Joanne Simpson, his biological mother, whom he'd tracked down as an adult with the help of a private detective; and his first serious girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Lisa, his out-of-wedlock daughter.
There was no listing, however, for Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, his Syrian biological father - a man Jobs has never discussed publicly. Jobs had been born to Jandali and Simpson, a pair of 23-year-old unwed University of Wisconsin graduate students, in 1955. Just months after giving their baby up for adoption, the two married, then had another child, whom they kept: Mona Simpson, who grew up to become a critically acclaimed novelist and never knew her famous brother existed until she was an adult.
A charming, promising academic, Jandali later abandoned his wife and 4-year-old daughter, moving from job to job as a political science professor before leaving academe. Now 76, he works as food and beverage director at the Boomtown Hotel & Casino near Reno. Mona Simpson's novel, "The Lost Father," is based on her quest to find him.
When Jobs had his own illegitimate child, also at the age of 23, he too struggled with his responsibilities. For two years, though already wealthy, he denied paternity while Lisa's mother went on welfare. At one point Jobs even swore in a signed court document that he couldn't be Lisa's father because he was "sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child." He later acknowledged paternity of Lisa, married Laurene Powell, a Stanford MBA, and fathered three more children. Lisa Brennan-Jobs, now 29, graduated from Harvard and is a writer.
At Apple during his 20s, Jobs served as board chairman and head of the Macintosh division. But he was never given the CEO job. Adult supervision - in the form of professional managers - was recruited to run the fast-growing business, notably Pepsi president John Sculley. "Back then he was uncontrollable," venture capitalist Arthur Rock, an early Apple board member, told Institutional Investor last year. "He got ideas in his head, and the hell with what anybody else wanted to do. Being a founder of the company, he went off and did them regardless of whether it ended up being good for the company."
To be sure, many of the gifts that would drive Apple's resurrection over the past decade were already evident in the 1980s: the marketing showmanship, the inspirational summons to "put a dent in the universe," the siren call to talent. Engineer Bob Belleville recalls Jobs recruiting him from Xerox in 1982 with the words: "I hear you're great, but everything you've done so far is crap. Come work for me." Jobs famously seduced Sculley to Apple by challenging him: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?"
But after two years of working closely with Jobs, Sculley came to liken him to Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. In "Odyssey," his memoir of this period, he called Jobs "a zealot, his vision so pure that he couldn't accommodate that vision to the imperfections of the world." In 1985, Sculley orchestrated Jobs' firing after a power struggle. And in his memoir, Sculley dismissed Jobs' vision for the company. "Apple was supposed to become a wonderful consumer products company," Sculley wrote. "This was a lunatic plan. High tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product." Of course, Sculley was dead wrong.
During the ensuing 12 "wilderness years," as they have come to be known, Jobs started Next Computing and bought what became Pixar from George Lucas. Next was a business failure, burning through hundreds of millions in investors' money. But by the time Apple bought Next in 1997, setting in motion Jobs' return, he obviously had developed the capacity to become a CEO for the ages.
Apple was on the ropes. Right away, Jobs dug into the mucky details of the business, creating a sense of urgency, radically reducing Apple's product line, and accelerating a wholesale cost cutting that would shrink the company back to profitability. Jobs had become a far better leader, less of a go-to-hell aesthete who cared only about making beautiful objects. Now he was a go-to-hell aesthete who cared about making beautiful objects that made money. No engineering spec, no design flourish was too small for his scrutiny. "It wasn't like he was some mythical creative genius and leaving the rest of the company to itself," says retired DuPont chairman Ed Woolard, a former director who was instrumental in bringing Jobs back. "It may have been true in the past. It was not true when he came back. He clearly was deeply involved in all the practical operations of Apple."
That's not to suggest that he ever became easy to work for. Jobs is even known to yell at company directors. Asked how she dealt with her boss, former Apple PR chief Laurence Clavere once told a colleague that before heading into a meeting with Jobs, she embraced the mindset of a bullfighter entering the ring: "I pretend I'm already dead." (Clavere says today that she doesn't recall making the comparison but notes that "working with Steve is incredibly challenging, incredibly interesting. It was also sometimes incredibly difficult.") Jobs' break-the-rules attitude extends to refusing to put a license plate on his Mercedes. "It's a little game I play," he explained to Fortune in 2001.
Often Jobs would suddenly "flip," taking an idea that he'd mocked (maybe your idea) and embracing it passionately - and as his own - without ever acknowledging that his view had changed. "He has this ability to change his mind and completely forget his old opinion about something," says a former close colleague who asked not to be named. "It's weird. He can say, 'I love white; white is the best.' And then three months later say, 'Black is the best; white is not the best.' He doesn't live with his mistake. It evaporates." Jobs would rationalize it all by simply explaining, "We're doing what's right today."
Despite all that, Jobs was able to put together a world-class team when he got back to Apple. He assembled an inner circle dominated by his brain trust from Next, which included his two top product guys: Avie Tevanian, who ran software, and Jon Rubinstein, who presided over the hardware team. Phil Schiller, already at Apple, was promoted to head of product marketing, while operations chief Tim Cook (now Apple's COO) was recruited from Compaq. Jobs hired Ron Johnson from Target to launch Apple's retail stores.
The group also included two executives who would later bear the brunt of Apple's backdating scandal. The first was general counsel Nancy Heinen, who had also come over from Next. Dominique Trempont, Next's former CFO, recalls that when Jobs was first considering whether to hire Heinen there, he asked to see some of the contracts she had written so that he could evaluate the "aesthetics" of her work. The second executive was the lone holdover from the previous regime - Fred Anderson, chief financial officer and the company's de facto No. 2. Anderson was widely credited with keeping Apple alive long enough to give Jobs time to work his magic. A calm, square-faced, retired Air Force officer, Anderson dealt with liquidity crises, restructurings, Wall Street - and the always volatile CEO. One former board member described Anderson's role as "tantrum controller."
To keep all this talent, Jobs took a typical Silicon Valley step: He eliminated most cash bonuses from executive compensation and started handing out lots more stock options instead. And here, as elsewhere, Jobs played by his own rules.