Today in Apple history: Mac marketing guru Joanna Hoffman is born


Kate Winslet (left) plays Joanna Hoffman (right) in Steve Jobs.
Kate Winslet (left) played Joanna Hoffman (right) in last year's Steve Jobs movie.
Photo: Kate Winslet/Apple

27July 27, 1955: Joanna Hoffman, a marketing executive who was part of the original Macintosh and NeXT team — as well as Steve Jobs’ first right-hand woman — is born in Poland.

Six months younger than Jobs, Hoffman (who was played by Kate Winslet in last year’s Steve Jobs movie) is one of the few people willing and able to stand up to the oftentimes-fierce Apple co-founder during the first part of his career.

Kate Winslet bags Critics’ Circle award for Steve Jobs


Kate Winslet, middle, praises the portrayal of Steve Jobs by Michael Fassbender (right).
Kate Winslet, middle, watches on as a pre-keynote argument rages.
Photo: Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs may have proved divisive among critics and an epic flop at the box office, but that’s not stopping it from cleaning up on the awards circuit.

The latest prize the Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle movie picked up was a Supporting Actress of the Year award for Kate Winslet at this weekend’s Critics’ Circle Film Awards in London. Winslet, who has already earned a Golden Globe for the role, stars in the movie as legendary PR guru Joanna Hoffman.

Steve Jobs ‘flop’ bags two Golden Globe awards


Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.
Cheer up, Steve. You won!
Photo: Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs picked up Golden Globes for “Best Screenplay” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role,” but lost out on the “Best Actor” and “Best Original Score” prizes at last night’s star-studded Hollywood event.

“I’m usually better at words,” said screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, claiming his award. “You can perform surgery on me. I’m so stunned by what’s happened.”

Watch Steve Jobs’ right-hand woman talk early days of Apple


Kate Winslet (left) plays Joanna Hoffman (right) in Steve Jobs.
Kate Winslet (left) plays Joanna Hoffman (right) in Steve Jobs.
Photo: Apple

Kate Winslet has been earning rave reviews for her performance as Joanna Hoffman in the new Steve Jobs movie. Hoffman was one of the original members of the Macintosh (employee #5 to be exact), and was notorious at Apple as one of the few employees who boss Steve Jobs around.

In a recent interview, Hoffman revealed what it was like coming to Apple as an architect and working with Steve Jobs at the age of 25. She also dished on other doomed projects like the Lisa computer and the Apple 3, and took some questions from the audience at Maker School about Silicon Valley and startup culture.

Watch Joanna tell developers about how she met Steve and other juicy tidbits below:

How Xerox PARC Helped Produce the Macintosh Business Plan


Mac Business Plan
Preliminary Macintosh Business Plan from 1981 (photos: Digibarn)

On Friday, January 24, 2014, the Mac turns 30 years old. As we look back on three decades of Macintosh, there are some stories that have largely avoided the light of day for some time. One of these tales involves the production of the Macintosh Business Plan back in the early 1980s.

The tale was told by Mac design team member Joanna Hoffman to Bruce Damer, curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum. In 1981 Apple was beginning development on their new product lines, Lisa and Macintosh, and Hoffman was helping develop the business plan. She presented multiple drafts for Steve Jobs to review, but Jobs repeatedly kept sending her the plan back saying he didn’t like it.

After a few rounds of this Hoffman realized that it was not the contents of the business plan that Jobs objected to but rather the appearance of the document itself. What he was reviewing looked just like every other business plan, nothing special. Jobs wanted the pages of the Mac business plan to look like the screen of the computer they were creating – WYSIWYG graphics, fonts, and pages with menus and submenus for section headings. The problem with this request was that Apple did not yet make any computers or printers which could produce the document Jobs desired.