Steve Jobs and Noah Wyle’s moment of truth

It’s ancient history now, but some of you may remember the 1999 TBS production called Pirates of Silicon Valley. The movie was about the early days of Apple and Microsoft, and the evolution of the relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Excellent subject matter, but clearly “made for TV” quality.

When the project got the green light, Steve was clearly excited. He shared the news with us at one of our regular marketing meetings. He was especially thrilled that Noah Wyle had been cast to play the part of Steve Jobs. At the time, Noah was flying high as one of the stars of the hit show ER.

As one might expect, the movie didn’t make Steve out to be the world’s nicest guy. One particularly bad moment was based on a story that’s floated around for years. The scene took place one day, in the early days of Apple, when Steve walked into a room where a job candidate was being interviewed. Steve immediately pegged him as an IBM-type and then, for whatever reason, blindsided him with the question, “Are you a virgin?” Even worse, he kept pounding away at it, making the candidate more and more uncomfortable. At least this was the way it played out in the movie.

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