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Steve Jobs Plays FDR in Corporate Retreat Video

Filmmaker Michael Markman reminisces on the making of the video

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In case you missed it, see Steve Jobs play FDR in a corporate retreat video for Apple employees in 1984.

The Full 8 minute video can be seen HERE It is definitely worth a view. It reminds me of what Micheal Scott might have done if he had Steve Jobs’ money.

Gizmodo was one of the first to show it, citing NetworkWorld as the original source. Now they have found a blog post for a filmaker that worked on the project, Michael Markman. Markman gives a detailed account of the events leading up to making the film, most of it uninteresting, until he gets to talking about pitching the idea to Jobs:

“Mike talked to us in general terms about marketing strategy. He said that in 1984, Macintosh had established a beach head in businesses, but had very little penetration so far compared to IBM. In the coming year, however, with new products coming on line—including a laser printer, a revolutionary plug-and-play network architecture (AppleTalk), a file server, new software, and ways to bridge into existing IBM networks, Mac would move in from the beach.

“If you know Apple history, you’ll know that some of those products didn’t make it to market on time. AppleTalk and the LaserWriter were the few that shipped. The rest of what was termed “The Macintosh Office” was announced, but were not ready for the market. In 1985, Mac sales stalled. Apple went into crisis. Steve into exile—until 1997. Mike Murray moved on to Microsoft where he became VP of HR. Image Stream folded as Apple contracted, and I hired on at Apple.

“But as Glenn and I sat in Mike’s office, we had no clue that Mike’s strategy rested on some unrealistic development schedules.

“As Glenn and I listened to Mike [Murray, head of Mac marketing] talk about beach head and market penetration, and as we watched him draw on his white board, the parallels to the landings at Normandy seemed obvious. I think Glenn was first to connect 1984 to 1944. And the idea clicked in almost immediately.

“Given the way Steve had positioned Apple against IBM, it just seemed to fit. Glenn, Mike, and I began brainstorming right there in the office. Ideas came tumbling out. IBM had Charlie Chaplin for P.C. advertising. And, it turns out that Charlie Chaplin not only had a Hitler-like mustache, he had actually done a Hitler sendup in The Great Dictator. We’d show oppressed workers liberated by the brave forces of Macintosh. We got so excited by the idea that Mike wanted to rush right in and pitch to Steve.

“I called Chris in L.A. to outline what we were thinking. War movie. Stock footage from the D-day landings. Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel hanging on the wall. Mac marketing team in cameo roles. And the topper: Steve as FDR…

“Glenn, Mike, and I marched into Steve’s office to give him the pitch. Pretty much the way I outlined it in the previous paragraph. Steve’s eyes were sparkling through it all. By the time I got to, “and you as FDR,” I had made the sale. In the binary universe of Steve Jobs, something is either a zero or a one. This was a one. Instantly. Definitively.”

So basically, the only reason this worked as a pitch is because of Steve Job’s immense love for himself, and the desire to see himself like the fearless leader FDR was. Makes sense.

Steve Jobs Plays FDR in Corporate Retreat Video
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