From a Peter Burrows piece for Businessweek, “Working With Steve Jobs”, interviewing former AOL CEO Barry Schuler:
Steve Jobs was a genius, but he knew his limits.
“He was never a guy who tried to make believe he had expertise
in something,” said Barry Schuler, now a partner at venture
capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
That was clear to Schuler when he got a call from Jobs in early
1997 to come over to his old offices at NeXT Software in Redwood
City, Calif. Jobs, at that point, hadn’t yet agreed to run Apple
on a permanent basis.
“What’s this Internet thing?” Schuler recalled Jobs asking.
“I don’t get it. What are people doing on it? What do they
like about it?”
Steve Jobs didn’t get the Internet? In 1997? OK, sure. Here’s Steve Jobs, in his classic interview with Wired in 1996:
The Web is exciting for two reasons. One, it’s ubiquitous. There
will be Web dial tone everywhere. And anything that’s ubiquitous
gets interesting. Two, I don’t think Microsoft will figure out a
way to own it. There’s going to be a lot more innovation, and that
will create a place where there isn’t this dark cloud of
If you look at things I’ve done in my life, they have an element
of democratizing. The Web is an incredible democratizer. A small
company can look as large as a big company and be as accessible as
a big company on the Web. Big companies spend hundreds of millions
of dollars building their distribution channels. And the Web is
going to completely neutralize that advantage.
Yeah, he didn’t get it at all.
Update: Here’s Jobs in 1985 — 1985! — in his classic interview with Playboy:
The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for
the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications
network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a
truly remarkable breakthrough for most people — as remarkable as
Thanks to John Siracusa for the link.
★ Thursday, 13 October 2011