In 1995, Steve Jobs was on the cusp of middle age -- 40 years old -- when he sat down for an extensive and revealing one-on-one interview by the Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation as part of an oral history project. The Foundation also produced the Computerworld Honors Program, whose executive director, Daniel Morrow, conducted this interview.
At that point in his life, Jobs was already a tech superstar. He had founded Apple Computer, been forced out of his own company, started another computer venture, NeXT Inc., and launched Pixar -- which would soon release Toy Story.
In other words, Jobs' departure from Apple more than a decade earlier had done little to slow his entrepreneurial drive.
When Jobs sat down for this interview, which was recorded on videotape, his return to Apple was still two years away -- and his once and future company was struggling to remain relevant. The products that would turn Apple around in the first decade of the 21st century -- Mac OS X, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the iTunes store -- did not exist.
Steve Jobs in 1995
- Part 1: An interview with Steve Jobs
- Part 2: Early days of school, reaction to authority
- Part 3: Thoughts on computers and education
- Part 4: School vouchers; comparing schools to cars
- Part 5: Books about Steve Jobs; 'Let's throw darts'
- Part 6: Jobs' experience at Apple (the first time)
- Part 7: Why artists were attracted to computing
- Part 8: The decline of Apple (circa 1995)
- Part 9: Apple's early adventures in politics
- Part 10: How Macs infiltrated business; the birth of NeXT Computer
- Part 11: NeXTStep and object-oriented computing
- Part 12: Steve Jobs on the impact of the Internet
- Part 13: Steve Jobs on Pixar
- Part 14: Why life needs death (and startups)
- Part 15: Advice for entrepreneurs
- Part 16: Final thoughts; Impact of Silicon Valley
- See the unabridged interview
The complete interview, which lasted about 75 minutes, has been divided here into 16 different segments to make it easier for viewers to learn more about Jobs, his life and his views. (It's also available as a single video.)
Below each video is a written excerpt highlighting part of the interview. Jobs talked about everything from his childhood in California -- the area that later came to be known as Silicon Valley "was really paradise" -- to his early days at Apple, the iconic 1984 Mac TV ad, his plans for NeXT and Pixar, and his fears for Apple's future.
Not surprisingly, Jobs offered some not-so-kind observations about John Sculley, the man who had forced him out at Apple. He also showed himself to be prescient with his predictions about the Internet and about how disruptive it would prove to be. And he had advice for would-be entrepreneurs that in many ways seemed to open a window into his own world and how he became so successful.
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance," he said. "It's pretty much an 18-hour-day job, seven days a week for a while. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about, otherwise you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through."
Jobs, who died Oct. 5 at age 56 after a long battle with cancer, also weighed in on death:
"Live each day as if it was your last," he said, "because one day you'll be right."