Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Michael Moritz: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

In April 2010, Owen Thomas reported on the author, Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital and author of the book, Return to the Little Kingdom, for Venture Beat. Tech pundits like to look forward, not back. But at a speaking appearance on Tuesday, Mike Moritz, a partner at Sequoia Capital, admitted to two regrets: passing on Netflix and never repairing his relationship with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Moritz appeared at the Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road, the epicenter of the venture-capital business, at an event sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank to discuss his new book, Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the Creation of Apple, and How It Changed the World. The book is actually a reissued and updated version of his original 1984 biography of Jobs, The Little Kingdom. And the reporting for that book, done when Moritz was a reporter for Time magazine, is part of what led him to his unlikely career as a venture capitalist.
“So much of what has happened has been associated with Apple and the tale of this extraordinary company that I find that Apple’s breadcrumbs are strewn across the path of my life. As a correspondent for Time magazine, I had this wonderful calling card.”

- Michael Moritz, author of the book: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

“At that point, Steve Jobs had just begun work on a little computer that at that point didn’t have a name, was just a skunkworks project. He was interested in having its evolution documented, and I was interested in telling the story of Apple Computer.”

- Michael Moritz, author of the book: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

In December 1982, Andy Hertzfeld recounted incidents that were corroborated by Michael Moritz’s book. Those anecedotes were recently archived on Folklore.org, a collection of first-hand accounts at Apple. The February 15th, 1982 edition of Time magazine featured none other than Steve Jobs on its cover, appearing in an article entitled "Striking It Rich: America's Risk Takers". Instead of a photograph, Steve was depicted in a drawing with a red apple balanced on his head that was pierced by a zig-zag bolt of light emanating from an Apple II. The article inside focused on a number of high tech start-ups, but there was a long sidebar that told the story of Apple's meteoric rise, written by a young business reporter named Mike Moritz. It was a bit critical in places ("As an executive, Jobs has sometimes been petulant and harsh on subordinates"), but in general it was positive about the company and its prospects. Macintosh development was shrouded in secrecy, even within Apple, so we were surprised one day a few months later when Steve appeared in the software area of Bandley 4 accompanied by the Time reporter, Mike Moritz. Steve requested that I give him a demo of the Macintosh, and answer all of his questions. Apparently, Mike wanted to write a book about Apple, and managed to convince Steve to give him total access to the company, including the Macintosh team.
“The previous year, a development team at Data General was immortalized by Tracy Kidder's best selling book, "The Soul of a New Machine", about the ups and downs of developing a new mini-computer. Now it seemed like Mike Moritz was going to do something similar for the Mac team. Over the next few months, Mike spent lots of time hanging around the Mac team, attending various meetings and conducting interviews over lunch or dinner, to learn our individual stories. Mike had grown up in South Wales and attended Oxford before moving to the US for grad school, obtaining an MBA from Wharton. He was in his mid-twenties, about the same age as most of us, and was very smart, with a sharp, cynical sense of humor, so he fit right in, and seemed to understand what we were trying to accomplish.”

- Andy Hertzfeld, former Apple Employee; December 1982

Recent Quotes, by Steve Jobs:

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Jan 17, 2011 BusinessWeek (1479 occurrences)

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