Steve Jobs, the late cofounder and CEO of Apple, was known as much for his difficult managerial style and confrontational attitude as he was for his unrivaled product vision.
In his first public appearance in five years, ex-Apple exec and iPhone co-inventor Scott Forstall said that there was a lot more to Jobs than met the eye. He says that any given random lunch with Jobs could be more stressful than a sit-down dinner with a world leader, sure — but there was a softer side to him, too.
“[Jobs] was really compassionate and dedicated to his friends and relatives,” Forstall says.
Forstall’s comments came at an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
Since his controversial departure from Apple in 2012, Forstall had never spoken publicly about his time at the company until now. And while Forstall did not directly address his parting of ways with Apple, he did take the time to highlight the depth of his admiration for Steve Jobs.
In fact, Forstall says, “he saved my life once.”
How Steve Jobs saved Scott Forstall
Forstall says that around 2004 or so, not long before work started on the iPhone, he came down with a terrible stomach virus that caused him to vomit as often as every five minutes. He started wasting away, even as he was hospitalized with doctors feeding him through a tube.
Jobs visited and called Forstall in the hospital regularly, he says, offering all kinds of natural remedies. All the while, Forstall says, doctors were giving him the same kind of medicines they did to cancer patients, trying to reverse his terrible and non-stop nausea. Nothing helped, and Forstall was literally wasting away.
Forstall says he carried on like this for about two months. Finally, one night at around 10 p.m., Jobs called Forstall and said, “I have the best acupuncturist in the world,” and “she’s going to fix you.”
Forstall complained that the hospital would never let Jobs in that late. Jobs, already a very rich man by this point, merely responded that he’d smooth it over by promising to dedicate a wing to the hospital. Forstall notes that it’s nice to have friends who are that rich.
The acupuncturist came and stayed until sunrise, and then again for the next few days. It worked. Forstall felt well enough to eat again about a week after. He credits the persistence of Jobs with his rapid and sudden cure.
As a parenthetical to this story, Forstall recalls an argument with Jobs over the price of a new Mac computer. Jobs was complaining that Forstall’s suggested price was too low, to which Forstall responded that Jobs was a billionaire and couldn’t possibly understand.
A pause, and: “I’m a multi-billionaire,” responded Jobs.