From the acclaimed Vanity Fair and GQ journalist-an unprecedented, in-depth portrait of the man whose return to Apple precipitated one of the biggest turnarounds in business history. With a new epilogue on Apple's future survival in today's roller-coaster economy, here is the revealing biography that blew away the critics and stirred controversy within industry and media circles around the country.
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December 31, 1999
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Excerpt from The Second Coming of Steve Jobs by Alan Deutschman
Andrea "Andy" Cunningham was so tired when she got home from work that she went to sleep without checking her answering machine. The following morning, around eight-thirty, she played the tape. The message was short and cryptic: Andy should show up at Steve's house at 10 a.m. for a press conference about his new company, Next.
The idea troubled her. Andy was a public relations consultant, one of the shrewdest and most insightful in the technology business. She wasn't summoned to press conferences as a last-minute thought. She was supposed to be the one who orchestrated the events following weeks of careful preparation, reflection, brainstorming, and strategizing, after thoroughly thinking through the message and exactly how it would be conveyed.
She didn't even know where Steve lived. And besides, he wasn't even her client.
She called around to get the address, then drove the five minutes from Palo Alto to the village of Woodside, which lay in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was just beyond the Stanford campus. Woodside was not far from the banal concrete sprawl of Silicon Valley but at least it felt isolated and remote, with narrow winding country roads and dozens of bridle paths but no street lamps or sidewalks. Traditionally favored by hillbillies and folksingers, it had more recently become home to a few centimillionaires, who made their money by promoting futuristic visions but, ironically, preferred to live in a semirural hamlet that evoked the romance of a lost era.
A few minutes before ten, Andy pulled through the wrought-iron gate to Steve's house. The gravel driveway was crowded with parked cars. She beheld a sprawling, dilapidated robber baron mansion in the Spanish mission style, that numbingly ubiquitous cliche of California architecture, with the de rigueur stucco walls and the sloping red adobe roofs, like tens of thousands of little anonymous tract houses throughout the valley's brutally cramped suburbs. The difference was that this crumbling monstrosity was large enough to be a real eighteenth-century Spanish mission. It had enough space for an entire order of monks to go about their daily routines.
She passed through the grand arched entrance loggia and came to a huge cavernous living room. Standing around, idle, restless, gossiping among themselves, were twenty reporters Andy knew well. The Business Week correspondent. The Newsweek writer. The reporter from USA Today. They were shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot because there was simply nowhere to sit other than the cold wooden floorboards. The living room was devoid of furniture, barren, austere, unwelcoming, a hollow decaying shell like the rest of the whole empty spooky house, the maze of echo chambers where Steve lived as a solitary bachelor. The closest thing to furnishings was a clear plastic case with an architect's carefully crafted and scaled topographical model of the property--just the lush pure mountainside land, not the presumptuous robber baron manse that Steve had never gotten around to demolishing.