From babysitter to billionaire
Nineteen ninety-four began as a lost year for Steve Jobs – though not for two-year-old Reed Paul Jobs nor, presumably, for Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve's wife of three years. According to numerous sources, Jobs spent a lot of time at home during that period – especially during the beginning of the year.
In February, however, he received good news. After Disney halted the Toy Story project in its tracks, Pixar's creative genius John Lasseter and his staff had taken Katzenberg's criticism to heart, and had rewritten the script. When they took it back to Disney, Katzenberg green-lighted it. Pixar was back in the movie-making business.
At first, Jobs was less than excited about the project, and tried to peddle Pixar to a few potential buyers, including Microsoft.
The turnaround of Jobs' opinion of Pixar came when he attended a lavish Disney event in New York's Central Park in January of 1995 to showcase clips from two of that year's blockbuster animations: Pocahontas, scheduled for summer, and Toy Story, scheduled for the lucrative Thanksgiving time slot.
The three men who made Steve Jobs a billionaire: Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story writer/director John Lasseter, and Woody
Ralph Guggenheim, Toy Story's coproducer, told Alan Deutschman that "Steve went bonkers" at the attention that the Pixar film received at the event, which was attended not only by Disney's top execs, including CEO Michael Eisner, but also New York mayor and celeb Rudi Guliani, plus assorted other VIPs.
"This was the moment when Steve realized the Disney deal would materialize into something much bigger than he had ever imagined," Guggenheim recalled, "and that Pixar was the way out of his morass with NeXT."
After that event, Jobs became more involved with the day-to-day workings of Pixar. In February, he hired away EFI's CFO Lawrence Levy to take the same position at Pixar, with the goal of taking the company public – and, audaciously, to schedule the IPO for immediately after the Thanksgiving debut of Toy Story.
If the movie were to be a success, the buzz surrounding it would fluff the IPO. If it flopped, so would the IPO.
Toy Story debuted on November 22; the IPO was held on November 29. Toy Story was the number one movie in the US on its opening weekend, and went on to be number one for its first three weekends, then number one again during the Christmas/New Years holiday break.
And the IPO? Shares of Pixar – a company that had lost money each year beginning in 1992 – had been pegged to be offered at $12 to $14 in a preparatory SEC filing, but opened at $22 during the first day of trading on the NASDAQ exchange. Shares rose as high as $49.50 during that day before settling back to $39.
Specimen Pixar IPO certificate with Steve Jobs' signature (source: Scripophily.com)
Jobs held 80.2 per cent of Pixar's shares. The IPO made him a very wealthy man. As David Price put it in The Pixar Touch, "Following the IPO, his shares of Pixar were valued at more than $1.1 billion – and the rounding error on that figure was almost as much as the entire value of his Apple holdings when he left Apple a decade earlier."
Next page: Back to Cupertino
A fully tricked-out Apple II – every geek's object of lust
Indeed it was.
I was but a young whippersnapper when my school received its one and only Apple ][ computer way back in 1980 and what a time of wonder it was.
We used to book time on "the computer" in 10 minute lots, most of which were spent copying each others disks.
Apple Panic (aka Lode Runner) , Escape From Castle Wolfenstein (Ach Leiben, your caught!"), Wizardry and Blitzkreig! were favourites that I remember to this day.
I had a disk box that I built out of wood with my own hands that would hold the handful of 5.25 inch single sided floppies that I could afford to buy.
Joyous was the day when we discovered that the judicious application of a boxcutter knife enabled us to double our "storage capacity" x2 by cutting out the write enable notch allowing the flip side of the diskette to be used.
Learning how to write programs in BASIC and later 6502 "machine code".
PEEKS and POKES.
In those days computers were exciting. They were a new frontier. It was like riding a wave. With a computer *anything* was possible.
These days it is all about lock down and lock in.
Computer users are something to be controlled and harvested for personal information.
Gone are the exciting days of finding a new program and the wonder of what can be achieved.
Ditching Windows (which has long been a tool for corporates intent on user control) for the "wild west" of Linux (and the Internet) has bought some of that innocent wonder of old back but the truth be told we will never see those halcyon days again.
I'm just grateful that I had some small involvement in the wonder of those times
I pity the kids of today. Bought up on Windows and WGA not to mention iOS and the "walled garden".
The tech is much more impressive these days, but it is also much more cold and sterile.
God I feel old.
You can hate Apple and there business practices all you want, but remember this, without the drive of Steve Jobs in the last 10 years we wouldn't have things as good as we do now. Apple products have forced other companies to up their game and that's a good thing for everyone.
RIP Steve :(
My Nan used to tell me "if you've got nothing nice to say, say nothing". Sage advice, but I'm going to ignore it for now. We all know what a vitriolic little shit you can be, so please do the world a favour and keep it to yourself for a day or two, not out of respect for anyone but yourself. You really are a petty and small man.
Name ten or so things you've done to change the world for the better?
It's very easy to be an armchair pundit and slate people, but the medium you are using to spew your negative comments (ie. the WWW) was developed on a NeXT computer, y'know the company Steve Jobs created when he left Apple.
Who knows, maybe the WWW would have been worse if Tim Berners-Lee had written it on another computer. Those who have programmed NeXT machines were always praising its ease of development.
Monopolies don't help any industry and the re-emergence of Apple has been good for the industry. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are heavily inspired by OSX.