20 minute documentary of Steve Jobs' NeXT years

[Video Link] Mel Marton of TUAW says:

The NeXT episode was filmed by John Nathan for a TV series called Entrepreneurs produced by WETA in Washington D.C.

Some of the most interesting sections are Jobs pressing Joanna Hoffman at the 11 minute mark. Hoffman was one of the original members of the Mac team. His interaction with staff about delays in shipping at 15:33 is also a peek into the Steve Jobs worldview. You can watch the video clip below.

Jobs introduced the NeXT computer in 1988 after he left Apple. In 1996 Apple bought NeXT, Jobs returned to Apple, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Inside NeXT: Steve Jobs documentary video


    1. We must worship our successful toy sellers. Thus “Steve Jobs is an asshole” is actually “Steve Jobs was a perfectionist.” 

      And “Apple drives it’s Chinese factory workers to suicide.” becomes, “The new Apple iLeap!”

      Now think positively.

    1. Yes – please, please, please change it back! BoingBoing had, until yesterday, the absolute best Disqus implementation I have seen on any website. The threading is awful (you already have the “in reply to” clicking on which brings up both a summary and a link to the original comment) and messes up comment sorting by newness and likes, and the avatars just make everything look busy and inelegant.

  1. NeXT was impressive and all, but in my opinion the best thing about Jobs getting fired from Apple in the late 80s was that it gave him time to co-found Pixar.

      1. Actually Pixar was incorporated in 1986 and founded by Jobs, Catmull and Smith

        Jobs bought the stagnant Computer Division of Lucasfilm in the late 70s, early 80s and used the technology to found Pixar with Catmull and Smith.

        Pixar’s original mission was to sell a computer called the Pixar Image Computer. Only later did it focus on making animated films.

      2. What liquidsky said. I recommend watching the documentary “The Pixar Story” if you’re interested in the details. The company is what it is today largely due to an unlikely combination of circumstances that brought several very talented and forward-thinking people together at exactly the right time.

  2. Where she starts talking about reality distortion, Steve’s face shows a strange expression. This little snippet is great, for some reason, it cuts little late to another great man, Mitch Kapor, the whole documentary must be fantastic, al ook at things to come from the 80’s.

    1. I think that is the whole documentary. It was just a glimpse into the life of a startup, that’s all. 

  3. @dmc10 easiest way to move on, would be for you to skip the post and not comment. But apparently you feel the need to troll. Kinda juvenile of you if you ask me.

    Interesting look at NeXT. Even back then, the focus on building a company versus targeting an IPO and cashing out. Now I have to find the Kapor part…

    1. Voicing your opinion is not ‘trolling’, in fact critical dialogue is how the world moves forward. Exactly the opposite of what you state. 

      1. Voicing your opinion is not ‘trolling’, in fact critical dialogue is how the world moves forward.

        Telling other people what they should be interested in, or not, is obnoxious however.

    2. Juvenile to not worship a very flawed man like so many iZombies do? Nor was I trolling, I just don’t see why he gets so much non-critical coverage. If Bill Gates did what Jobs did, the Apple fanatics would be raging non-stop about what a d*ck he is. But no, they treat him like a saint. But let’s look at some of what he did.

      Bailed on his daughter (and lied through his teeth about paternity and infertility), left the mother in poverty when he was a millionaire.

      Cheated Woz, his partner and supposed friend (the Atari Pong story)

      Cancelled all of Apple’s charitable operations, and as far as anyone can tell, never gave a dime to charity — compare that to the Gates Foundation.

      Turned a blind eye to horrific conditions for employees in Apple factories, esp in China.

      Took credit for upteen thing he didn’t invent or create. (such as http://www.yourdailymac.net/2011/10/steve-jobs-took-too-much-credit-for-ideas-he-hadnt-originated/)

      Countless, and I do mean countless stories of him being a total douchebag to employees, competitors and pretty much anybody who didn’t worship him or dared question him.

      Used his wealth and connections to facilitate moving up on the organ transplant lists ahead of more needy people.

      Parked in handicap spot at Apple without a placard and well before he was ill (just an example of his sense of entitlement). Also never registered his vehicle (guess he’s above the fees the rest of us lowbies have to pay)

      These are just a few off the top of my head of d*ckwad things Jobs is known for. With more time I could probably find dozens more. And yet, iCultists still think he was the second coming…

      1. Hell he was so cheap he refused to put tags on his cars, would swap them before he had to tag it.

        As for charity of billy, he only did that when he got uncomfortable at being called a monster.

        II run Linux, will not have anything to do with the robber barons.

      2. I’m bored so I’ll play along:

        Trolling: posting inflammatory, extraneous messages with the intent of provoking emotional responses or disrupting on-topic conversation.

        Who is “worshipping” him in this thread? Actually the guy got more than his share  of critical disparaging coverage.

        Yes, at 22, wanted to have his girlfriend have an abortion. She refused, they separated. Court order to pay paternity. Yet sent her to Harvard and she lived with his family years later. He also raised three other children.

        Cheated Woz out of some business money. Yes. What when he was 19 or 20?

        Can’t comment on charity as he supposedly was a private man. Lived quite humbly compared to other business titans like Gates.

        My understanding is that Apple conducts reviews of factory conditions in China. Foxconn also does work for Acer, Amazon, B&N, intel, Cisco, HP, Dell, Microsoft etc

        Link appears to be old and doesn’t bring up anything substantial.

        Reality is that one usually has to be a jerk at times to get difficult stuff done. To fire people who can’t perform. To not accept sub-par work. To not waste your time with BS. I imagine alot of titans operate like this.

        Reality is that people of wealth and power usually do get preferential treatment. Can’t comment on if or how he moved up on an organ list.

        My understanding is that he had revolving leases on two cars which allowed him to legally drive without a plate which he viewed as a game along with everyone knowing that a Benz without plates was his car.

        Heard about the handicap spot parking at Apple, but really can’t comment. Meaning, did they have four spots and he used one? How often? etc etc

        I just find him to have been a flawed but fascinating individual. Not worth worshipping, but definitely worth studying. Also intriguing how worked up  his critics get…

  4. He was a greedy dirtball, who became rich beyond avarice, on the back of slave labor, and the American people.

    A Buddhist, reincarnation… and damn if he did not come back as his karma warranted, I enjoyed flushing him!

  5. I understand a lot of what people are saying here, and I don’t disagree with all of it…but really now, the Chinese factory stuff?  Look around your room.  Whether you’re at home, work, or school almost everything around you and half the clothes you’re wearing were made by oppressed foreign workers (including some of the expensive supposedly-made-here clothes the snobby person who’s about retort is wearing, because yes, supposedly-made-here stuff is often as bogus as “organic” food).

    Have some rational perspective before blaming other people for factory suicides.

    1. Track you are dense! yes all of your crap came from china, because every american sold you, me and all other americans out.

      Jobs no diff. but for the 4 k puter he’d sell, made by some broke azzed Chinese.
      To be sold out by your countrymen is treason.

      The reward for treason is an ignoble death, jobs got it!

      I just had to solve a problem with a wally world debit card, how nice it was to talk to someone in India, about my American problem with an American company.

      Revolution is in the air, hold on to your hats!

      1. Yes all of your crap came from china, because every american sold you, me and all other americans out. … To be sold out by your countrymen is treason.

        It really should not matter to which arbitrary grouping, the piece of land that you happened to be born on, belongs. No one owes anyone anything, particularly for such empty ‘accomplishments’ as citizenship, which are distributed by luck of the draw.

    1. He did, he made lots of people become obsessed with overpriced, oooh shiney toys, that really doesn’t mean sh*t in the big picture. He didn’t change the world, he just made a lot of money off of it.

  6. They had such high hopes to produce this thing in 18 months and at a price tag of $3k and they were right to think that if they missed this mark they would fail. And fail NeXT did when they finally shipped in 1988 for $6k–well it wasn’t an instant fail, but they never really recovered from that. But NeXT became the foundation for Apple’s revival so failure is relative I guess. 

  7. you could almost believe that the narrator’s voice is a synthesized audio stream. not sure if its the original speaker’s inflection or the (accidental) DSP created by the way this video stream was captured.

    i used a next for a brief period in the early 90’s, as the “console” of a KSR 64 processor NUMA parallel system. it was … irritating, certainly compared to Ultrix or Solaris. but it had a DSP chip! and MIDI I/O! and here i am today … ( ardour.org )

  8. jobs was the epitome of late 20th century Barnumism.
    couldn’t design or solder a circuit board to save his life.
    but he could spin gold.

    spinning along with other “global leaders” until the world market collapses and people once again need people who can actually do more than talk.

    woz made wood ignite.
    jobs packaged and sold the light.

    in my corner or my foxhole i want the wozes of the world.

    1. I don’t think that’s right. For any given situation I see two major challenges – figuring out what to do, and figuring out how to do it. Jobs was great at the former. Woz is great at the latter. It is a symbiotic, yin-yang kind of relationship – one is not really worth very much without the other.

      Of course, there are also some issues around selling what you’ve done, but if you do the first two things right, the selling part will more or less take care of itself. Actually, if you look at Apple’s sales and marketing activities, not only does the company not do anything special/difficult to replicate, but those activities are strikingly similar both for products that succeeded and for products that failed throughout its (and NeXT’s and Pixar’s) history.

      So no – it’s not at all about “spinning gold”.

  9. More like this, please. That was fascinating. Although a lot’s been said recently about Steve Jobs, I can’t remember ever seeing him in action.

    From that video, he seemed to be an “always on” kind of guy. (Did he really fund NeXT with $7 million of his own money? No VC investment? At only around 30 years of age? Must read more.)

    To all the carpers: If you watch a David Letterman video clip, it always ends with the words “There’s no off button on the genius switch” on the screen. Which, God bless David Letterman, is just ridiculous. Now in Steve Jobs’ case, it seemed to fit, to one degree or another. Think about it.

    OT: Looks like someone turned on Disqus’ user icon and threading capabilities.

  10. At 4:30, Steve says “Just follow your heart” (that’s what I do)
    At 4:32: Napoleon Dynamite sitting, left front.

  11. At ~17:30, one of the big expenses Steve Jobs complained about was “brand new Macintoshes”.  Hilarious.

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