I realized this evening that "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview" is available on Netflix and Amazon's Prime Instant Video. It is a must watch for the last ten minutes alone, when he predicts the future with keen prescience. But on the whole, this piece provides some of the most complete commentary of one of the major leaders of the personal computing movement, and arguably the internet, and its impact on himself and the world as it was happening.
As I meandered through my own youth, I at first thought of Jobs as an ethereal and primordial spirit shaping the world in a subtle but distinct way. Later my impression evolved, to seeing him as a fully realized titan terraforming the land I did and do inhabit. I grew up with a Macintosh, I downloaded the first version of iTunes. As I'm writing this I'm listening to Spotify over an iPad Mini and writing on a MacBook Air....
Love him or not, he changed what we understand a computer to be and be capable of.
Like I said, though, the most intriguing part of the interview -- filmed in 1995 -- is not the segment about the rise of Apple or the raiding of PARC, but the final ten minutes. Robert Cringely, the interviewer, poses to Jobs his final major question: What does the future look like to you? What will this technology bring in ten years?
Jobs response is the most categorically accurate predictions I have ever seen. He describes, with an almost knowing grin, just how important the Internet would be. He predicts, with relative precision, the rise of Amazon and Ebay (without mentioning anyone by name) over the next several years, and that the Internet would truly revolutionize once again what computing meant for each of us as consumers.
Jobs' predictive power and certainty is one of the rarest gifts - something that cannot be taught. This is, I believe, what made Steve Jobs truly great.