Time Capsule: An Hour With Steve Jobs in 1990

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

This unedited, almost hour-long interview with Steve Jobs was shot in 1990 for The Machine that Changed the World, a documentary series about computing co-produced by WGBH Boston and BBC-TV and released in 1992. Now WGBH's Open Vault has unearthed the tapes and made the interview available in its entirety. 


It's fascinating to watch 35-year-old Jobs ponder questions and hash out answers in real time. Unlike the polished sound bites that made it into the final series, the pauses and the do-overs are what make this recording so interesting.

A BBC-TV/WGBH Boston Co-Production

While only die-hard Jobs fans might want to spend an hour mulling over the footage, Open Vault has also posted a searchable transcript so the rest of us can skip to some of Jobs's most memorable quotes from the interview, like this one: 

My observation is that the doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the 'thinker-doer' in one person. And if we really go back and we examine, did Leonardo [da Vinci] have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it? Of course not. Leonardo was the artist but he also mixed all his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments, knew about human anatomy. And combining all of those skills together, the art and the science, the thinking and the doing, was the exceptional result.

And there is no difference in our industry. It's very easy to say, 'oh I thought of this three years ago.' But usually when you dig a little deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well.

See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/time-capsule-an-hour-with-steve-jobs-in-1990/246388/

For more historic interviews from WGBH's Open Vault archive, check out http://openvault.wgbh.org/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/time-capsule-an-hour-with-steve-jobs-in-1990/246388/