The next morning the 2,600-seat auditorium was mobbed. Jobs arrived in a double-breasted
blue blazer, a starched white shirt, and a pale green bow tie. “This is the most important
When asked about his obsessive concern over the look of the factory,
Jobs said it was a way to ensure a passion for perfection:
moment in my entire life,” he told Sculley as they waited backstage for the program to begin.
“I’m really nervous. You’re probably the only person who knows how I feel about this.” Sculley
grasped his hand, held it for a moment, and whispered “Good luck.”
As chairman of the company, Jobs went onstage first to start the shareholders’ meeting. He
did so with his own form of an invocation. “I’d like to open the meeting,” he said, “with a
twenty-year-old poem by Dylan—that’s Bob Dylan.” He broke into a little smile, then looked
down to read from the second verse of “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” His voice was high-pitched
as he raced through the ten lines, ending with “For the loser now / Will be later to win /
For the times they are a-changin’.” That song was the anthem that kept the multimillionaire board
chairman in touch with his counterculture self-image. He had a bootleg copy of his favorite version,
which was from the live concert Dylan performed, with Joan Baez, on Halloween 1964
at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall.
Sculley came onstage to report on the company’s earnings, and the audience started to become restless
as he droned on. Finally, he ended with a personal note. “The most important thing that has happened
to me in the last nine months at Apple has been a chance to develop a friendship with
Steve Jobs,” he said.
“For me, the rapport
we have developed
means an awful lot.”
The technology writer Steven Levy, who was then working for Rolling Stone, came to
interview Jobs, who urged him to convince the magazine’s publisher to put the Macintosh
team on the cover of the magazine. “The chances of Jann Wenner agreeing to displace Sting in
favor of a bunch of computer nerds were approximately one in a googolplex,” Levy thought,
correctly. Jobs took Levy to a pizza joint and pressed the case: Rolling Stone was “on the ropes,
running crummy articles, looking desperately for new topics and new audiences. The Mac could
be its salvation!” Levy pushed back. Rolling Stone was actually good, he said, and he asked Jobs
if he had read it recently. Jobs said that he had, an article about MTV that was “a piece of shit.”
Levy replied that he had written that article. Jobs, to his credit, didn’t back away from the assessment.
Instead he turned philosophical as he talked about the Macintosh. We are constantly benefiting from
advances that went before us and taking things that people before us developed, he said. “It’s a
wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool
of human experience and knowledge.”
Levy’s story didn’t make it to the cover. But in the future, every major product launch that Jobs was involved
in—at NeXT, at Pixar, and years later when he returned to Apple—would end
up on the cover of either Time, Newsweek, or Business Week.
January 24, 1984
Most of all, Jobs fretted about his presentation. Sculley fancied himself a good writer,
so he suggested changes in Jobs’s script. Jobs recalled being slightly annoyed, but their
relationship was still in the phase when he was lathering on flattery and stroking Sculley’s ego.
“I think of you just like Woz and Markkula,” he told Sculley. “You’re like one of the founders
of the company.
They founded the company,
but you and I are
founding the future.”
Sculley lapped it up.
When Yü-ts’un heard these remarks, he at length credited what had been told him by Tzu-hsing the day before, and he lost no time in again expressing his sense of gratitude to Lin Ju-hai.
Ju-hai resumed the conversation.
“I have fixed,” (he explained,) “upon the second of next month, for my young daughter’s departure for the capital, and, if you, brother mine, were to travel along with her, would it not be an advantage to herself, as well as to yourself?”
Yü-ts’un signified his acquiescence as he listened to his proposal; feeling in his inner self extremely elated.
Ju-hai availed himself of the earliest opportunity to get ready the presents (for the capital) and all the requirements for the journey, which (when completed,) Yü-ts’un took over one by one. His
pupil could not, at first, brook the idea, of a separation from her father, but the pressing wishes of her grandmother left her no course (but to comply).
“Your father,” Ju-hai furthermore argued with her, “is already fifty; and I entertain no wish to marry again; and then you are always
ailing; besides, with your extreme youth, you have, above, no mother of your own to take care of you, and below, no sisters to
attend to you. If you now go and have your maternal grandmother, as well as your mother’s brothers and your cousins to depend upon, you will be doing the best thing to reduce the
anxiety which I feel in my heart on your behalf. Why then should you not go?”
Tai-yü, after listening to what her father had to say, parted from him in a flood of tears and followed her nurse and several old matrons from the Jung mansion on board her boat,
and set out on her journey.
Yü-ts’un had a boat to himself,
and with two youths to wait on him,
he prosecuted his voyage in the wake of Tai-yü.
“There’s nothing new whatever,” answered Tzu-hsing. “There is one thing however: in the family of one of your worthy kinsmen, of the same name as yourself, a trifling, but yet remarkable, occurrence has taken place.”
“None of my kindred reside in the capital,” rejoined Yü-ts’un with a smile. “To what can you be alluding?”
“How can it be that you people who have the same surname do not belong to one clan?” remarked Tzu-hsing, sarcastically.
“In whose family?” inquired Yü-ts’un.
“The Chia family,” replied Tzu-hsing smiling, “whose quarters are in the Jung Kuo Mansion, does not after all reflect discredit upon the lintel of your door, my venerable friend.”
“What!” exclaimed Yü-ts’un, “did this affair take place in that family? Were we to begin reckoning, we would find the members of my clan to be anything but limited in number. Since the time of our ancestor Chia Fu, who lived while the Eastern Han dynasty occupied the Throne, the branches of our family have been numerous and flourishing; they are now to be found in every single province, and who could, with any accuracy, ascertain their whereabouts? As regards the Jung-kuo branch in particular, their names are in fact inscribed on the same register as our own, but rich and exalted as they are, we have never presumed to claim them as our relatives, so that we have become more and more estranged.”
“Don’t make any such assertions,”
Tzu-hsing remarked with a sigh, “the present two mansions of Jung and
Ning have both alike also suffered reverses,
and they cannot come up to their state of days of yore.”
“Up to this day, these two households of Ning and of Jung,” Yü-ts’un suggested, “still maintain a very large retinue of people, and how can it be that they have met with reverses?”
“To explain this would be indeed a long story,” said Leng Tzu-hsing. “Last year,” continued Yü-ts’un, “I arrived at Chin Ling, as I entertained a wish to visit the
remains of interest of the six dynasties, and as I on that day entered the walled town of Shih T’ou, I passed by the entrance of that old residence. On the east
side of the street, stood the Ning Kuo mansion; on the west the Jung Kuo mansion; and these two, adjoining each other as they do, cover in fact well-nigh
half of the whole length of the street. Outside the front gate everything was, it is true, lonely and deserted; but at a glance into the interior over the enclosing wall, I
perceived that the halls, pavilions, two-storied structures and porches presented still a majestic and lofty appearance. Even the flower garden, which extends over
the whole area of the back grounds, with its trees and rockeries, also possessed to that day an air of luxuriance and freshness, which betrayed no signs of a ruined
or decrepid establishment.”