“Boscutti’s Steve Jobs” Scene 55

An ongoing daily series of scenes for a Steve Jobs biopic.

It’s a narrative experiment. It’s not going to follow a neat dramatic arc. It’s going to be a little episodic and random. Much like the subject matter.

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Steve Jobs, 32, is slouched in first class high above America. Dressed in blue jeans and red flannel shirt, flipping through a copy of PC Magazine. He’s got a lot on his mind.

Next month he’ll be launching his NeXT Computer at Davies Hall in San Francisco. It’s the machine that will save him. It’s the future of computing.

256MB read/write magneto optical drive, Motorola M56001 digital signal processor, graphical UNIX operating system named Mach, and object-oriented application development software. Text, graphics, audio and video. All housed in a sleek 12-inch black magnesium cube.

Jobs launched NeXT the day he left Apple. It’s taken him three years to get the final product ready for release. And he’s still not happy.

He wants the NeXT computer to revolutionize the higher-education market and lead the industry into the 1990s.

When Jobs went out on his own, Apple sued NeXT for taking advantage of insider information. He found it hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300 people couldn’t compete with six people in jeans. The suit was eventually dismissed before trial.

Jobs has much more at stake than the $12 million he has invested in NeXT. He’s rebuilding his reputation, his future.

Learning from his defeat and re-emerging with a mature management style and machine will show the world that Steve Jobs is a serious computer maker who can run a company. The boy wonder has finally grown up.

Jobs has even learnt how to listen to people. And learnt to keep at least 51 percent of the company so you can’t get kicked out. Jobs has kept 63 percent of NeXT. What happened to him at Apple is never going to happen again.

He’s poured his heart and soul into his new computer. He wants to save the computer industry from itself. He wants to lead a new era of computing, a new age of thinking.

Some analysts think that no matter how impressive his new computer, Jobs may have misjudged the higher-education market. He has two big failures on his record – the Apple III and the Lisa computer.

Repeated delays have meant the new computer won’t be available until next spring, missing the fall college-buying season. Jobs also has stiff competition from other producers of powerful workstations.

Jobs if often dismissed as a nothing more than a slick showman. But the gaps in technical knowledge are part of his strength. Since Jobs isn’t a professional engineer, he doesn’t know what can’t be done.

Jobs believes in the impossible. That’s why he’s on this flight.

Jobs is heading to Chicago to persuade the die caster to retool again. He hates a tiny line left in the chassis by the molds for the cube.

It’s inside the magnesium shell and no one can see it. It’s part of the process. It’s unavoidable.

That’s why Jobs wants it gone.

Wants it clean.