October 6, 2011
Steve Jobs did not like government lawyers much.
Which, unfortunately, is exactly what I was when we met back in 1997. (That part is a long story I won’t bore you with here). But I spent a couple hours with him back then. And he scared the hell out of me. During that period of my career I was used to spending time with very powerful and important people, like Senators and Supreme Court Justices and Attorneys General. In retrospect, what I realize is that those people were powerful because of what they were, not because of who they were. Jobs, on the other hand was powerful. Period. In all senses of the word. Apple then was not nearly what it would become, obviously. But that I was in the presence of an extraordinarily compelling man was never in question.
i recall vividly the agonizing dilemma I faced. I was scheduled only to have a brief meeting with Jobs, and then to meet with Jerry Yang. At the time, it was Yang not Jobs who was on the cover of magazines. And as my meeting with Jobs went past its scheduled time by fifteen minutes, then 30, then 60, I was getting later and later for my Yang meeting. I was horrified that I was going to be later for none other than THE CEO OF YAHOO! But horrified as i was, there was no way, no friggin way, i was going to dare interrupt Jobs. Which of course I didn’t. And i made the right call. That was my one and only brush with a truly great man (and Yang was as forgiving as could be).
The world lost one of the few, very few, truly great ones yesterday. And it is very hard not to feel very sad about that. But his legacy is clear.