The Launch, October 1988Jobs had perfected the art of turning product launches into theatrical productions, and for the world premiere of the NeXT computer—on October 12, 1988, in San Francisco’s Symphony Hall—he
wanted to outdo himself. He needed to blow away the doubters. In the weeks leading up to the event, he drove up to San Francisco almost every day to hole up in the Victorian house of Susan Kare, NeXT’s graphic designer, who had done the original fonts and icons for the Macintosh. She helped prepare
each of the slides as Jobs fretted over everything from the wording to the right hue of green to serve as the background color. “I like that green,” he said proudly as they were doing a trial run in front of some staffers. “Great green, great green,” they all murmured in assent.
them on television, he said, “I was finishing their sentences for them.” It was a line eerily similar to one Sculley had often used. Perot called Jobs the next day and offered, “If you ever need an investor, call me.”
Jobs did indeed need one, badly. But he was careful not to show it. He waited a week before calling back. Perot sent some of his analysts to size up NeXT, but Jobs took care to deal directly with Perot. One of his great regrets in life,
Perot later said, was that he had not bought Microsoft, or a large stake in it, when a very young Bill Gates had come to visit him in Dallas in 1979. By the time Perot called Jobs, Microsoft had just gone public with a $1 billion
valuation. Perot had missed out on the opportunity to make a lot of money and have a fun adventure. He was eager not to make that mistake again.
Jobs made an offer to Perot that was three times more costly than had quietly been offered to venture capitalists a few months earlier. For $20 million,
Perot would get 16% of the equity in the company, after Jobs put in another $5 million. That meant the company would be valued at about $126 million. But money was not a major consideration for Perot. After a meeting with
Jobs, he declared that he was in. “I pick the jockeys, and the jockeys pick the horses and ride them,