Before He Was An Icon: My Encounters With Steve Jobs

Lewis DVorkin

Steve Jobs always controlled the media, even back in the early 1980s.

When I was a senior editor at Newsweek, he commanded our attention twice. For me, each time was memorable.

As if it were yesterday, I can remember Jobs actually carrying a Macintosh computer into my office. He stood near a sofa while I asked him questions sitting in a swivel chair behind my desk. Truth be told, he was orchestrating how Newsweek would cover the unveiling of his new creation.

Then in 1985, in that same office, my phone rang. It was Katherine Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, which owned Newsweek. Jobs had been pushed out of Apple, and Mrs. Graham (I always called her that despite her wish to be called Kay) told me he wanted to talk -- with Newsweek.

That sent us scurrying to set up an interview at this home. I didn't go, but two Newsweek reporters, including the San Francisco bureau chief, did the honors.

Here's the funny part: We were so concerned that our tape recorders might fail, we actually hired a court stenographer to be present during the interview. It all went smoothly and we worked till about 2 am that Saturday preparing the piece. Then a few hours later (I was back in the office by 8 am that morning) a devastating earthquake hit Mexico. Some time around 10 am Newsweek's editor, Rick Smith, came down to tell me he might switch the covers given the extent of the death and damage.

To this day, I recall him doing exactly that. I did a Google search tonight and found this cover image. I guess I was wrong, but I'm still not so sure.

Anyway, here's a link to that interview -- and the question and answer I can still remember editing that night.