When his leave was coming to an end, Hertzfeld made

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.


Perhaps it was time to say

“Bye, I have to go,”

and then reemerge later,

thinking differently.