For 70 minutes Thursday night, I sat in the Landmark Metro Cinemas on 45th Avenue and watched Steve Jobs.

I listened, too. We all did. Intently. It was the second of just two nights of screenings for “Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview,” a documentary comprised of a rare sit-down chat with Jobs that journalist Robert Cringely recorded in 1995.

I know Jobs was smart — who doesn’t? — but his eloquence, his clarity, his confidence. The way he answered questions with whole philosophies, concisely put. His emotional honesty. That I didn’t expect. Here’s a man known for being kind of a jerk, who could put into words things not just in his own soul, but in the soul of the world.

And then he sneezed.

The only movements we’d seen from Jobs up to that point were those small things you do when you’re sitting in a chair. He tilted his head. Shifted in his seat. But still, we looked. His words mattered most, of course. But this was film, not radio. And up there was Steve Jobs — alive. Every pause, every small movement said something. Had to say something. And we wanted to hear it all.

I didn’t know what Jobs was doing at first. “Excuse me,” he told the interviewer in the middle of talking about NeXT, the company he was running at the time. Then he put his hand out more than a half a foot from his face, held it there, sneezed into the air in front of it — “Ah-choo!” — kept it there a touch longer, and went right back to talking about NeXT.

We laughed. We weren’t supposed to see that. But there it was. And I felt my brain file away an unusual piece of data about one of the world’s greatest visionaries: Steve had a weird sneeze.

Jobs the genius, lest we fans forget, was also Jobs the human being.

Thank goodness.

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  • Anonymous

    Reading this article cost me 3 minutes of my life that I will never get back….

    On the other hand so did this comment…. Ok, never mind I just farted…. and it ain’t pretty….

  • Jason Preston

    I’m glad they left the sneeze in. I’m the kind of guy that likes to look in the margins of a screenshot to see what kind of apps someone has on their computer. I’ve also liked all the youtube clips that show Jobs immediately before interviews begin, because these off-performance moments can be so informative about the person.

    Not a whole lot in a sneeze of course, but it’s still nice to feel like you’re watching something that’s not totally produced, in this case.

  • Gurest

    What about his pettiness? arrogance? attitude with underlings? Immaturity that saw him replace his Mercedes every six months just so he could ride around with a tag? There are a lot of “geniuses”, particularly in the technology industry. Many (most?) are more impressive human beings than Steve Jobs was. Even his wife concedes he was deeply flawed on that level. And many have actually created net new things, not re imagined existing things like Jobs did in music players, mobile, and tablets.

    Jobs, on his return to Apple, has a magnificent run of success that for all time will make people forget about what happened at Apple previously under him or Next.  He had a great feel for when to enter markets and realized that entering late, as Apple always did, they needed to be significantly better. Most times they were. But can we please stop lionizing the guy? Particularly as a journalist, you’re at least meant to pretend to be objective.

    • Carl Setzer

      Hmmm…did we read the same article? I saw a review of an interview, not a biography of the life of Jobs. I guess any positive comment about Jobs is proof of bias. Just as any positive comment about Gates is bias for MSFT. 

  • Dan Anderson

    Monica, I’m a fan of your work. But this article isn’t one of your finer moments. That said, even Steve Jobs had a few products that failed. Here’s hoping your next article isn’t about the unique way Bill Gates cleans his ears.

    • Monica Guzman

      No doubt Jobs was as flawed as the rest of us, but it does say something when people fill theaters to watch a static, meant-for-TV, 15-year-old interview with one guy. Still – I solemnly swear I won’t document Bill Gates’ aural hygiene unless it’s really, really, REALLY interesting ;)

      • Candice802

        He was quite rivveting in person, and really charming in my limited experience. Two events were involved discussions to shareholders. The young Steve, however, was gorgeous. I’ll never forget the smile he gave me when he passed by on University Ave. and saw me in a coffee house. In the late 80s, and he knew I was registering,”That is Steve Jobs”!

        His products have made a positive difference in my life. I can’t say the same about MS
        products, which offend my sense of esthetics and waste my time.

        Can’t wait to see the interview tomorrow. Bought the bio on the first day it was sold. Bought Apple shares when he came back at about $15 a share. Have been a fan since the MacIntosh, but turned down an interview when he started NeXt because I didn’t particularly want to work for him.

    • Carl Setzer

      Odd reply, Dan. I viewed this as a simple review of the film/interview/segment (enter your own subject descriptor here). I don’t see any claim by Monica that Jobs was infallible, without any hint of failure. 

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