Steve Jobs would have turned 68 years old today. The recently announced Steve Jobs Archive has shared a special snapshot in time of the late Apple co-founder and the Macintosh to mark the date. In the photo, Steve Jobs is seen closely examining a person using the newly introduced Macintosh in a store window in New Orleans in 1984.
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The photo was shot 39 years ago in February 1984. The original Macintosh was introduced only a month earlier. Leslie Berlin, who is the founding Executive Director of the Steve Jobs Archive, shares the story behind the image of Jobs spotting the Mac in the wild nearly 40 years ago.
“Steve’s friend Jean Pigozzi, who calls himself a “serious amateur photographer,” took the image and told me the story behind it,” Berlin writes. “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,” Berlin continues. “How was this person using the Mac? Steve is so curious, so lasered in on trying to understand, that he is bent nearly double.”
Leslie Berlin, who is also a Silicon Valley historian, points out that Jobs is about to turn 29 when the photo is captured. Apple has already become a Fortunate 500 company, yet Jobs has no idea what the future yet holds.
“No idea that while the Mac will revolutionize computing, it will also struggle for sales; no clue that he is months away from being fired by Apple, or that he will spend the next 11 years helping launch Pixar and NeXT; 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,” Berlin writes.
“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 continues. “And that was enough to stop him in his tracks.”
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