Don Melton, the guy behind the Safari and Webkit projects, has had the opportunity to meet Steve Jobs and talk to him in person. And these meetings have created a unique image of Steve Jobs for him, which he has decided to share on his blog.
Melton’s story is different, because we see the former Apple co-founder from the perspective of an employee who has the chance to be in a room with Jobs and talk about the projects he was working on. As he mentions, he was known to Jobs as the “Safari Guy,” but Jobs even knew his real name, which can be considered an honour but occasionally a terrifying responsibility.
Melton recalls the first time he met Steve Jobs: It was at a NeXT presentation back in ’88 scheduled during a lunch break. This was memorable not because of Jobs’ speech, but for his presence.
And we were all still eating. Some of us hadn’t even started. It was an ungrateful din of crackling sandwich paper, clanging forks, slurping straws, gnashing teeth.
Obviously he wanted us to quiet down. You could tell because he paused several times for us to hush ourselves. And out of respect, awe, and probably some fear, we all tried our best to do so. But, dammit, the room was now packed and that many people just swallowing food makes a lot of noise. Sitting so close, I felt especially self-conscious.
Who the hell scheduled him to speak at that time? Knucklehead. It’s entirely possible that person was taken out later and shot.
Anyway, I do remember Steve’s seriousness and apparent impatience that day. But not a thing he said.
From the employee’s perspective, Steve Jobs was like many other executives, at least those with good sense. He “wasn’t some mercurial ogre or cartoon autocrat,” he says. “He was just very, very busy. He didn’t have time for ‘yes men,’ the easily frightened. […] Steve expected excellence. Which is why he so often got it.”
Melton’s story is very long, but it is definitely a must-read.