I can’t find the tape of my first interview with Steve Jobs. At some point in the past 28 years—the conversation took place in November 1983—it got lost. But I do have the 43-page transcript, complete with the transcriber’s misunderstandings (“lease the technology” instead of “Lisa technology,” for instance). It was the first of what turned out to be many interviews, currently stacked in a dog-eared tower of pages here on my desk. After Jobs died on October 5, I’ve found myself drawn back to this archive and now realize that it comprises an idiosyncratic portrait of Jobs himself as he evolved over the years.
The topic of that first interview, conducted in a Cupertino restaurant over meatless pizza, was the Macintosh, which Apple was preparing to launch. I was covering it for Rolling Stone. Jobs started our conversation on a combative note, with a spirited attack on the magazine. It turns out he was miffed that he wouldn’t be on the cover. (That honor went to the Police.)