In “Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview,” all you get is Jobs. That is, 7o minutes of his earnest spectacled face and trademark black turtleneck. His hair’s a little longer, but the sweater’s the same, as is the personality that we’ve all become so familiar with in the course of his decades-long reign in the technology industry.
Thought to have been lost forever, this interview was recently unearthed from the director’s basement and is now available for viewing in limited release. Ten minutes of this video have been circulating the web for ages already, having aired on a PBS television series, “Triumph of the Nerds.” An earnest and noticeably younger Jobs discusses the deep-rooted issues with Microsoft and IBM’s business model (too much focus on marketing/sales, not enough on product development).
The rest of the interview, we see, is much of the same. All we get is Job’s talking head, but it’s surprisingly not tiresome because he’s such a charismatic person. With just a few occasional freeze frames and voiceovers of explanation on the director’s part, it’s mostly raw, unedited footage of Jobs speaking extemporaneously for, with just a few words of prompting on the part of interviewer Robert Cringely.
Cringely and Jobs have a great rapport. Cringely, a technology journalist, isn’t afraid to really probe Jobs, and Jobs, it seems, appreciates the challenge. You see it in his amused expression when Cringely is speaking, as if he is humoring a small child.
It’s obvious though, that Jobs needs no prompting; he’s really an extraordinarily gifted orator and it shows. Taking his whole career into consideration, one can really see why, out of all the people who have been involved with Apple throughout its ascension, Jobs was and still is the one who stood out. Yes, maybe plenty of other people were more accomplished with the behind-the-scenes work, but Jobs stands alone in his ability to connect with real people on a gut level.
Much of what is said in the interview is probably old news to anyone familiar with the scope of Job’s career starting from his humble beginnings with Wozniak to his oust from Apple in ’85 (on John Scully, Jobs has nothing good to say). What’s worth seeing, however, is not Job’s career trajectory as narrated by himself, but the way he is able to just make these incredible metaphors about life and Apple and the tech industry as a whole, all in a way that is at once so enlightening and and yet so obvious you wonder how you never saw it all yourself before.
Jobs, here, is not even at the peak of his career. The year is 1995, and a barely-40 Jobs still hasn’t recovered from his embarrassing removal from Apple. However, you also see in him an undeniable and inexhaustible drive. Although he is probably unaware of the specifics of his eventual comeback, he knows it will happen and, just watching him wax poetic for 70 minutes, we know it too.