1984: Steve Jobs on Technology “Appliances,” Competition and Innovation in Silicon Valley

Back in 1984, Newsweek created a short-lived technology-focused publication called Newsweek Access. Steve Jobs was featured in a cover story that discussed the business environment of the still nascent tech industry in Silicon Valley.

Here is a short excerpt of the interview between Tom Zito and Steve Jobs around the time of the launch of the original Macintosh:

Zito: Is the computer business as ruthless as it appears to be?

Jobs: No, not at this point. To me, the situation is like a river. When the river is moving swiftly there isn’t a lot of moss and algae in it, but when it slows down it becomes stagnant; a lot of stuff grows in the river and it gets very murky. I view the cutthroat political nature of things very much like that. And right now our business is moving very swiftly. The water’s pretty clear and there’s not a lot of ruthlessness. There’s a lot of room for innovation.

Zito: Do you consider yourself the new astronaut, the new American hero?

Jobs: No, no, no. I’m just a guy who probably should have been a semi-talented poet on the Left Bank. I got sort of sidetracked here. The space guys, the astronauts, were techies to start with. John Glenn didn’t read Rimbaud, you know; but you talk to some of the people in the computer business now, and they’re very well grounded in the philosophical traditions of the last 100 years and the sociological traditions of the ’60s. There’s something going on [in Silicon Valley], there’s something that’s changing the world, and this is the epicenter.

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