Chris MacAskill shares memories from his NeXT days

11 Jul 2018 | in Steve Jobs personality, Updates

Check out these great first-hand memories from Chris MacAskill, a former NeXT employee, who convinced Steve Jobs to speak at the 1991 Unix Expo.

Loved this bit in particular:

It seemed like a dream when, two years later, I walked into Steve’s office to ask him to give the keynote at Unix Expo in New York. It didn’t go well at first. I was nervous because I was new to the computer industry. Steve had a larger-than-life reputation.  His rapid-fire answer went something like this: “That’s INSANE! That’s a show for Unix weenies. They don’t get it. It would cost $25,000 to get me with desk and computer there. No!” And with that he pointed me to the door.

And of course these two, which ring particularly Jobsian:

My coworkers explained that Steve had to have a certain desk for his presentations because it was NeXT black. Steve was incredibly fussy about colors so NeXT machines and peripherals had to be that exact black.

One Saturday I was at work when we got a delivery at the front door. I went down to sign for it and it was case after case of white shirts that Steve had ordered from his favorite tailor in Florence, Italy, where he had spent the week. He loved hanging out in art museums. My memory could well be off, but I remembered it as 300 new white shirts. He wanted a new one each time he dressed up.

That last anecdote about the shirt echoes the one from John Lasseter about Steve’s collection of hundreds of black turtlenecks from Issey Miyake.

“He found this one really great black turtleneck which he loved – I think it was Issey Miyaki – so tried to buy another one and they didn’t have any more,” Mr Lasseter confided to the FT recently. “He called the company and asked if they would make another one, and they refused. So he said: ‘Fine, how many do you have to make before I can buy them?’ So they made them – I think he has a closet full of them.”