On what would have been Steve Jobs’ 68th birthday, the Steve Jobs Archive shared a favorite photo from 1984 — along with the promise of more content to come.
“We have so much to tell you about, but I want to start by sharing one of my favorite images from our collection,” wrote Leslie Berlin, the archive’s co-founder and executive director, in an email newsletter. “It’s Steve in 1984, spotting a new Macintosh in the wild.”
Steve Jobs Archive marks his birthday and promises more content to come
Jobs, who would have turned 68 on Friday if pancreatic cancer had not ended his life in 2011, was just 28 when the photo above was taken, said Berlin, who is a historian of Silicon Valley.
She started the Steve Jobs Archive in September 2022 along with others to share the late Apple co-founder’s life and values. Apple CEO Tim Cook, former design honcho Jon Ivy and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, discussed the man’s legacy and introduced the archive at the Code conference last September.
A classic shot of Steve from the 1980s
Berlin described how the Jobs photo released Friday arose:
Steve’s friend Jean Pigozzi, who calls himself a “serious amateur photographer,” took the image and told me the story behind it. Although Jean did not work in tech, Steve invited him along to a software conference in New Orleans. One evening after the event, as they were walking down O’Keefe Avenue looking for dinner, Steve—a notoriously fast walker—pulled to a halt. Someone in a store window was working on a Macintosh.
He had to take a closer look. How was this person using the Mac? Steve is so curious, so lasered in on trying to understand, that he is bent nearly double.
And she described the photograph’s telling details.
“As I zoom in on the image nearly 40 years later, I’m struck by its 1980s details: the woman’s perm and overstated shoulder pads; the wired telephone on the wall; the way calculators get top billing in the store name (‘Calculator and Computer Center’),” Berlin said. “And look, tucked in the corner at the far right of the frame — that’s a pile of computer boxes and an advertising poster from Apple’s chief rival at the time, IBM.”
A pivotal moment for the Apple co-founder
Berlin described the shot as one taken of Jobs in a “pivotal moment.”
“He’s about to turn 29. Apple, which he co-founded and chairs, has recently become one of the youngest companies ever to reach the Fortune 500. The Macintosh has been met with rave reviews. He is on top of the world. And he has no idea that it’s all about to change,” she wrote.
She noted Jobs probably had no idea that even though the Mac would change computing forever, it would also struggle to gain sales. And he would leave Apple in just a few months. He wouldn’t have known he’d move on to the launch of Pixar and NeXT, and spend 11 years away before returning to Cupertino.
“No hint that he will eventually return to Apple and find it on the brink of bankruptcy, then work for the rest of his life to turn it into the most valuable company in the world,” she wrote.
“We see this in Steve’s future, but all he knew in this fleeting moment on a New Orleans street was that somebody was actually using this product — one that he had poured his heart and soul into,” she added. “And that was enough to stop him in his tracks.”
Cook also marks Jobs’ birthday
Cook tweeted on Friday that Jobs showed more curiosity than anyone he’d met, “which made him the best teacher I’ve ever known.”
People with the most to teach live like they have the most to learn — and Steve loved learning. He was the most curious person I’ve ever met, which made him the best teacher I’ve ever known. Happy birthday, my friend. pic.twitter.com/J45swZfZQ8
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 24, 2023