Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview (2012) Poster

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The man and the mystery
Steve Pulaski6 July 2012
If there's one entrepreneur that deserves a seventy-two minute theatrical interview, it's Apple's Steve Jobs. Whether or not you like or support the infectious company, it is no doubt that Jobs was an incredible man of business, craft, and personality, one who provided shock treatment to Apple when bankruptcy was looming and one of incredible enigma and intelligence.

In 1995, filmmaker Robert X. Cringley sat down with the legendary Jobs a decade after he departed from Apple after contentious, power-hungry relations with John Sculley. At seventy-two minutes, a lengthy interview with Jobs was exceptionally rare due to the fact that he stayed out of the limelight and rarely let his true charisma and insight be revealed to the public. During this time, Jobs was the founder of his self-made company, NeXT, which he would then sell to Apple in 1996 to become the CEO of the company, producing a number of gadgets and time-savers that would eventually morph into things people seemingly couldn't live without. He makes very clear in the interview that he wants to make each generation better and better with a new and consistent line of technology. It's 2012, and we have already met such works as the iPod, the iPhone, the iTouch, the Mac computer, and the iPad, so it's needless to say that Jobs had hastily worked to make that vision a reality.

The interview was filmed, some of it was spliced into Cringley's PBS series Triumph of the Nerd, until the entire thing was reportedly lost after being shipped from New York en-route to London. Not long after Jobs' death, it was discovered on VHS and released theatrically in very limited theaters and is now currently on several video on demand services before its official DVD release later this summer.

During the interview, the loquacious, attentive, and always engaged Jobs talks in great lengths about his humble beginnings and fascinations with computers, how he researched at Hewlett-Packard, his friendship with Steve Wozniak, and gives a meticulous account of his vision for the future, his bold ideas, and continually presents himself with his unconditional charm and insights on his life and interests.

One of Jobs' many metaphorical references to his life is how, when he was young, he assisted an elderly man with chores that lived on his block, despite his ominous appearance and vibes. One day, the man showed him a rock-tumbler, where he put in ugly-looking stones, some liquid, and some grit-powder. He told Jobs to come back the next day, and when he did, the stones were shiny and polished, from the intense liquid bath and the friction they created from rubbing against each other. Jobs states that humans are the same way when put in a situation together that tests them intellectually. They will have to clash with other people, share different ideas, maybe argue a little bit, before creating something that is unique and impressive.

One of the final questions brought up by interviewer Cringley (who is heard, but never seen) is what are Jobs' views on Microsoft as a company. "Microsoft is McDonalds," Jobs replies. He states how they have a great success story and model, but have no creativity or substance behind their relatively bland products - strangely harsh words from a man so close with Bill Gates. But the interview itself it full of these kinds of surprises.

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview can't be called a film, for as it is one long, static shot of Steve Jobs, occasionally interrupted by a freeze-frame and a voice-over of Cringley wording the questions he remembers asking, and begins with a very brief introduction explaining the origins of this interview by Cringley himself. The only problem in sight with the interview is it neglects to provide the viewer with more context or history leading up to this point in Jobs' life. The filmmakers were probably riveted to find the lost footage and anxiously impatient to show it to the public as fast as possible. Nevertheless, the raw footage we get is compelling and intriguing and could brew a new documentary on Jobs in and of itself.

Starring: Steve Jobs and Robert X. Cringley. Directed by: Paul Sen.
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Thank you, Cringley
junkmail-38529 November 2011
That was a very interesting interview. Jobs relates some good stories. This covers a good-sized slice of computer history, snapped at a turning point in time. Thanks for making it available. Thanks to Landmark Theatres, too. Hopefully we'll see it on DVD/BD soon, too.

I can't believe anyone who paid to see it would give this movie a low rating. Not a stunning film, but what do people expect from an unedited interview? Yes, much of the material is covered in Isaacson's book. But it's great to see and hear the stories delivered by the man himself.

By the way, I agree with you about APL! :-) Great reaction from Jobs on that. :-)))
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Critical Thinking Skills: APL???
GeoPierpont4 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A rare glimpse into the mental and emotional thought process ascribed to a modern genius. I was extremely surprised at how congenial Steve interacted and replied to Cringlely's limited line of questioning. You could see the introspection and sincere desire to share his life experiences. I was completely shocked to see how deeply hurt, if just by a few additional blinks, he felt after Sculley's firing. I imagine this rage repression contributed to his isolation and alienation.

As I was involved in Xerox Parc Beta site testing of their 1979 Windows product, I also felt the inventive aspects of their object oriented user interface was above my head. That Jobs admitted this as well was alarmingly breathtaking, the likes of which would never be revealed again.

He, unlike Gates, freely admits to stealing, and appeared to justify his actions when he states that Xerox or HP just did not have the vision to implement their life changing ideas. He does not recall the huge argument over whether to allow his team to view the demo, I do not believe this. I assume there was a negotiation as Jobs knew this was something that would propel his company into the next stratosphere of existence.

The NeXt product line seemed to be almost an embarrassment to him but of course that could not be the case. His humble description of it's goals were so understated compared to every other product he developed.

I agree with his assessment of learning a computer language to improve critical thinking skills as it greatly enhanced mine. I was in awe that after Cringely admitted that his use of APL did not make any impact, Jobs just shrugged it off. Wait a minute, an opportunity to share why he feels so strongly about changing a college curriculum and he just let's the topic go was a HUGE disappointment. I also like the fact that he elaborated on his Hippie vs Nerd connotation and promoted the rank of geek to genius.

Extreme high recommend for any business owner, PC enthusiast, technology history, and all dreamers. This was an exceptional insight into a man with exceptional vision and product ethics.
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An Interview With Jobs Back In 1995
Marian2019 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Steve Jobs:The Lost Interview is an hour-long interview by the producer of the Triumph Of The Nerds,a documentary about the history of the personal computer and internet,Robert X. Cringley done back in 1995.

This basically was the full hour interview he made with Jobs,who was then part of NeXT Computers,as he reflected on various things such as when he was part of Apple Computer from the garage days of his parents' house until he was fired by the board led by the man he hired - John Sculley to become the CEO as well as his views about Bill Gates and Microsoft as well as what is to come in the computer industry.In addition to that,he also recounted the discovery of the Graphic User Interface and the mouse when they visited Xerox PARC(Palo Alto Research Center) back in the 80's as well as Microsoft Windows as it became the standard operating system of computers today.

Listening to this interview,we definitely would have a better appreciation of the late Apple CEO as he shares his views on what's to come in the computer industry.While he maybe at his lackluster years as his company NeXT isn't thriving when the interview was made,we definitely have seen a man who never once gave up in life as he would later lead Apple to a comeback from being on the brink of bankruptcy into becoming the most valuable company in the world worth $500 billion. It was definitely worth watching indeed.
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True visionary
Tadas Talaikis16 November 2013
I've read "Steve Jobs", an authorized biography, by Walter Isaacson and for me this interview cover most of aspects of this remarkable visionary. It spans through almost all of history of high-tech, telling us about things that we use without noticing them in our life today as extensions of our human being.

I've seen "jOBS" which I rated 7/10 because it didn't mentioned "the little blue box" which is very important as Steve Jobs is telling in this interview was one of things he remembered for life - even small things can empower small people with capability to rule billions worth of industries. And it is true, everything that is big grows from even smallest things. Visionary is a person who can see those small things that will change our life in the future.

Steve Jobs was first to see the importance of GUI, mouse, desktop publishing, the internet, computers for schools. He had changed our life.
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Wasn't much of a fan of Steve Jobs, but am now
earthling-0030125 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I've watched my share of movies, loved many of them, feel changed and awed by many of them; I look for reviews from the pros and amateurs alike, looking for other opinions to confirm or challenge my own. But this is my first ever review.

My spouse just happened to find this gem on Netflix last evening, and once it got started, I was completely enthralled. An intimate interview like this gives those of us of only average aspiration a powerful glimpse into the workings of one truly great innovator. I have heard Mr Jobs had a reputation, among those who worked closest with him, as being extremely difficult to like. So I started watching this interview with a pre-jaundiced perspective. I am pretty sure you don't compete in the world in which Steve Jobs dominated without being hard to please sometimes, almost pathologically so.

But it is important to put those impressions aside, and just listen to the man talk as if you didn't know who he was or what he was yet to do. He freely acknowledges the auspiciousness of his natural skills nurtured by the environment in which he grew up. He speaks candidly of his mistakes. He talks about his infatuation about computing machines, and the importance of learning a computer language because it forces you to learn how to think in new ways. He gets emotional about being forced to leave Apple (incredible and ironic that he hires the person that would lead the Board to oust him, and subsequently dismantle Apple). His ability to think back to formative experiences of his much younger self, and relate them to his leadership style and decisions is nothing less than profound. He can talk about old widowers from his childhood, a Scientific American article about living things and kilocalories/kilometer efficiency, ordering his first shipment of 100 printed circuit boards for the Apple I, Bill Gates, what he learned from two brief visits to Xerox (a lot!), what "diseases" infect large established companies, process versus content, what "taste" means, and why it's so important, and much more. He relates the story of his uninhibited 12-year-old self calling Bill Hewlett (of Hewlett-Packard!) to ask questions about computer technology. Back then, everyone was just in the phone book! He speaks off the top of his head in completely coherent logically formed paragraphs as if he had been reading from an essay he'd been working on for weeks.

If you're at all curious why Steve Jobs was "Steve Jobs"; why his name is synonymous with edgy brilliance; why YOU almost certainly have an Apple product somewhere (and why you, even begrudgingly, appreciate it), do not wait to flip on this movie.
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The Icon of the 20th Century?
gavin69421 June 2016
A conversation with Steve Jobs circa 1995 as he was running NeXT, the company he had founded after leaving Apple.

Now, maybe it's just me, but it seems like Steve Jobs was a key figure for the second half of the 20th century. Maybe just even the last quarter. But such a big part of our world today. I am not a fan of Apple, but there is no denying the power they have. And having grown up in the 80s and 90s, I really appreciate how candid Jobs is when he speaks about the history of computing. This is the third or fourth Jobs film I've watched, and I feel like I learn something new each time.

And I love how he believed that without blue box, there would be no Apple. I was never a hacker or a phreaker, but I was aware of it, and was involved in BBS culture. So I can completely understand how the computer revolution came out of hacking culture and from clever young people who were reverse engineering bigger technologies and finding their weak spots.
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Fascinating to watch the past predict the future
lannaheim21 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Although there is absolutely nothing "cinematic" about this film, I liked it way more than six stars; I was bowing to my rule of not over- rating (since I generally only rate films that I think were worthy of 8 or higher, because I rarely waste the time watching dogs!).

How could there be a spoiler on this? He's dead; his life is a matter of public record and history. JUST AMAZING that this interview was located. It truly shows what a fascinating and dynamic fellow Jobs was. I have always admired him. I work in the computer field -- have done for 27 years -- so I am not just blowing smoke here.

There's a story (there are so many) about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. There's also a film, depicting their mutual relationship when they were young, the name of which I can't recall. (unwilling to do the research right now) I started in 1984 or '86 working with computers, and started a business; I recognized that the money lay with the 88% (usually higher) of PC users; I built PCs from parts and taught people how to use them. It was a big business back in the late 80s and early 90s and I did very well. I have that master rip-off artist, Bill Gates, to thank for that. Steve Jobs was highly original. One only has to watch the major-production commercials he made for the Apple/Mac, using top directors and state-of-the-art graphics, to GET that he was about perfection and elegance. I DON'T have a Mac, but whenever clients asked me which they should buy, I would say, well, the Mac is better, if you can afford it. 9.9 times out of 10...well, what I can I say? Their market share was almost always under 9%.

Having blathered on about all that, watching this was a real treat. He's over the Gates/PC thing and has even left Apple. He's smart, articulate, visionary, he's talking about the future. He doesn't know that he will become a huge cultural icon, that his standards of perfection will create a benchmark.

Essentially, WOW. Thank you for making this available for viewing.
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Clearly Jobs Is Ahead Of His Time
Desertman8426 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In 1995, during the making of his TV series Triumph of the Nerds about the birth of the PC, Bob Cringely did a memorable hour-long interview with Steve Jobs.During that time of the interview,Jobs was running NeXT, the computer company he had founded when he got fired from Apple after a bruising struggle with John Sculley, the CEO he had brought into the company.The whole hour long interview was presented in it after it was found by the series director,Paul Sen.

I enjoyed the interview thoroughly.In it,Jobs was at his charismatic best explaining his rise and fall as founder of Apple by narrating the early days when he and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I in a garage, and unknowingly invented cell phones by rigging it to send a telephone call around the world to ring the pay phone next door a minute later. As I quote him,"We realized we two could control billions of dollars in infrastructure!".He also remembers them and his one time experience of calling the Pope and hanging up when they realized they'd actually gotten through.Aside from that,he was frank about John Sculley,the CEO at Apple he hired from Pepsi especially after he drove him out of the company he started.Besides that,he was clearly a visionary as he stated of things to come in the computer industry after visiting Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in the 1980's. He was simply witty and outspoken.

Most of all,the was simply a visionary who proves himself to be ahead of his time when it comes to computer industry especially with things to come like the internet,mobile devices,computers,software,networking and many others that exist today after coming back as CEO of Apple in the late 90's when he mentioned them when the interview took place. Overall,this is one excellent interview that an Apple device owner should watch.
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