1980’s Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs

We’ve done a lot of studies and tests on that, and it’s much faster to do all kinds of functions, such as cutting and pasting, with a mouse, so it’s not only easier to use but more efficient.

Steve Jobs, talking about that new invention “the mouse”

I came across this fantastic Playboy interview with Steve Jobs in the 80’s. He talks about the upcoming release of Macintosh and his predictions for a personal computer in every house.

Companies, as they grow to become multibillion-dollar entities, somehow lose their vision. They insert lots of layers of middle management between the people running the company and the people doing the work. They no longer have an inherent feel or a passion about the products. The creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do.

Steve Jobs

It really is a fascinating interview as he discusses his vision for Apple and computing. Looking back at his predictions 30 years later, he was incredibly prescient. Even back then, he was asked about standardising across the industry. He had this to say:

Insisting that we need one standard now is like saying that they needed one standard for automobiles in 1920. There would have been no innovations such as the automatic transmission, power steering and independent suspension if they believed that. The last thing we want to do is freeze technology.

Steve Jobs

I’m amazed how zoomed out his view was. He also shares some amazing anecdotes from his early years; picking up the phone book and calling Bill Hewlett (of Hewlett-Packard) and asking for a job, working to earn money so he could travel, traveling through India and getting his head shaved.

But the next thing is going to be computer as guide or agent. And what that means is that it’s going to do more in terms of anticipating what we want and doing it for us, noticing connections and patterns in what we do, asking us if this is some sort of generic thing we’d like to do regularly, so that we’re going to have, as an example, the concept of triggers. We’re going to be able to ask our computers to monitor things for us, and when certain conditions happen, are triggered, the computers will take certain actions and inform us after the fact.

Steve Jobs, 1985

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