When his leave was coming to an end, Hertzfeld made an appointment to have dinner
with Jobs, and they walked from his office to an Italian restaurant a few blocks away.
“I really want to return,” he told Jobs. “But things seem really messed up right now.”
Jobs was vaguely annoyed and distracted, but Hertzfeld plunged ahead. “The software
team is completely demoralized and has hardly done a thing for months, and Burrell
is so frustrated that he won’t last to the end of the year.”
At that point Jobs cut him off. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he said.
“The Macintosh team is doing great, and I’m having the best time of my life right now.
You’re just completely out of touch.” His stare was withering, but he also tried
to look amused at Hertzfeld’s assessment.
Andy Hertzfeld had taken a leave of absence after the Macintosh came out in
1984. He needed to recharge his batteries and get away from his supervisor,
Bob Belleville, whom he didn’t like. One day he learned that Jobs had given out
bonuses of up to $50,000 to engineers on the Macintosh team. So he went to
Jobs to ask for one. Jobs responded that Belleville had decided not to give the
bonuses to people who were on leave. Hertzfeld later heard that the decision
had actually been made by Jobs, so he confronted him. At first Jobs equivocated,
then he said, “Well, let’s assume what you are saying is true. How does that
change things?” Hertzfeld said that if Jobs was withholding the bonus as a reason
for him to come back, then he wouldn’t come back as a matter
of principle. Jobs relented, but it left Hertzfeld with a bad taste.
If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not
look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever
you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder
it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say,
“Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go
and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.
With each of those statements, Jobs seemed to have a premonition that his
life would soon be changing. Perhaps the thread of his life would indeed weave
in and out of the thread of Apple’s. Perhaps it was time to throw away some
of what he had been.