When I was 13, my best friend and I were nuts about Star Wars.
We were determined to be at the very first screening of the sequel Empire Strikes Back at the big 70mm Dolby Equipped theater in nearby Cupertino.
We arrived at the theater 4 hours before the first show to get in line to buy tickets. Waiting in the hot sun, we eagerly debated what the sequel had in store for us.
As we approached noon, the time of the first showing, the line showed no sign of moving. Instead, a bunch of folks walked up that appeared to be cutting in front of the line! This caused a lot of consternation from those of us gathered! Who’s busting in front of us?
Soon news filtered back that a local company had bought every ticket to the first showing in advance; we’d have to wait for the 2:30 show to buy a ticket.
Who was this guy who bought his whole company tickets to see the first showing of Empire Strikes Back?
That’s right; Steve Jobs kept me from seeing the first showing of Empire Strikes Back! I got a wicked sunburn waiting in line that day and had to walk to a payphone to call my Mom and let her know to pick us up 3 hours later than we had planned.
But in retrospect, I’ve got to give him some props.
In 1980 Apple was riding high on their Apple ][ release from the year before, but was far from a sure thing. It was 7 months before their IPO, and the engineering teams were grinding away on their first “real” computer design, the Apple III.
Steve knew that Empire Strikes Back would be a sure hit with his young, nerdy workforce and figured out a way to turn the biggest movie release of 1980 into a memorable moment of respite for his team.
“Be mindful of the future… But not at the expense of the moment.” ~ Qui Got Jinn
Happy May the Fourth!