This past October, the technology world was robbed of one of its most memorable visionary pioneers. Steve Jobs, the brains behind any product preceded by the letter "i" and dubbed by many as "Father of the Digital Revolution," passed away on October 5, 2011 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. While Jobs' death was certainly untimely and unfortunate, in this loss, something else has been found.
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview is an hour-long look into the charismatic and plain-spoken nature of one of this generation's most enduring figures. The footage, taken from a 1995 interview by Bob Cringely while making his television series Triumph of the Nerds, reveals a side of Jobs that was rarely seen. Many who are familiar with Steve Jobs are aware of two things: his undeniable genius and his fearless tongue — he was never afraid to speak his mind. Both of these traits are on display in The Lost Interview.
At the time of the interview, Jobs was t10 years removed from Apple after a brutal conflict with John Sculley, the man he brought in to be CEO of the company. Jobs was running NeXT, a smaller computer company he started after parting ways with Apple. Little did Cringely or Jobs (or anyone, for that matter) know that about a year and a half after the interview took place, Jobs would sell NeXT to Apple and, shortly thereafter, would be back in charge of the company.
Clad in his perennial black turtleneck and rimless oval eyeglasses, a fully-haired Jobs dives into both personal and professional topics during the film, which features footage that, for the most part, has never been seen before. The then-40-year-old Jobs talks about his beginnings in technology, mentioning that he encountered his first computer at age 10 or 11. Shortly thereafter, at age 12, he garnered his first job in the computer industry with Hewlett Packard, an experience he claims made a remarkable influence on him.
He goes on to discuss his early days of programming, mentioning that he met Steve Wozniak right around the time he started to become captivated by the wonders of computing. "He was the first person I had met that knew more about electronics than I did," Jobs admits. The pair became fast friends, venturing into projects together at a young age, discovering that they could build something small that had the remarkable power to control something much larger.
Jobs and Wozniak would shortly begin work on the Apple 1, the inaugural computer in what would soon become a billion dollar company. In the interview, Jobs reflects on their humble beginnings, admitting that at first, they hadn't the slightest clue what they were doing.
Throughout the interview, Jobs' insight in business mixes with subtle shots at not only his competitors, but also his successors at Apple. "Apple is dying," Jobs says, adding that hiring John Sculley was the wrong decision and that his lack of vision was, at the time, killing the company that Jobs built. Microsoft, which in 1995 was a juggernaut in the computer world, is the butt of more verbal abuse. "Their products have no spirit to them," Jobs explains, adding that Bill Gates' ideas lacked any sense of originality.
Amongst tales of Apple's beginnings and delicate bashings of a number of parties, Jobs brilliance shows most clearly with bold predictions of the future. His vision of computers being metamorphosed into devices used for communicating and the Internet being the world's largest marketplace shows his true genius years before this technological transformation actually took place.
The Lost Interview is by no means a blockbuster, but its simplicity exposes us to a side of Steve Jobs that gives us an almost warm-and-fuzzy feeling. In sharing his ideals, opinions, and insights, Jobs lives on not only in his products, but in his philosophy — a train of thought that relies heavily on the human spirit, something that he possessed in mass.