That put all the more pressure on the Macintosh, due out in January 1984, three months away, to save the day against IBM.
At the sales conference Jobs decided to play the showdown to the hilt.
He took the stage and chronicled all the missteps made by IBM since 1958,
and then in ominous tones described how it was now trying to take over the market for personal computers:
"Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?"
At that moment a screen came down from the ceiling and showed a preview of an upcoming sixty-second television ad for the Macintosh.
In a few months it was destined to make advertising history,
but in the meantime it served its purpose of rallying Apple's demoralized sales force.
Jobs had always been able to draw energy by imagining himself as a rebel pitted against the forces of darkness.
Now he was able to energize his troops with the same vision.
There was one more hurdle: Hertzfeld and the other wizards had to finish writing the code for the Macintosh.
It was due to start shipping on Monday, January 16.
One week before that, the engineers concluded they could not make that deadline.
Jobs was at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, preparing for the press previews,
so a Sunday morning conference call was scheduled.
The software manager calmly explained the situation to Jobs,
while Hertzfeld and the others huddled around the speakerphone holding their breath.
All they needed was an extra two weeks.
The initial shipments to the dealers could have a version of the software labeled "demo,"
and these could be replaced as soon as the new code was finished at the end of the month.
There was a pause. Jobs did not get angry; instead he spoke in cold, somber tones.
He told them they were really great. So great, in fact, that he knew they could get this done.
"There's no way we're slipping!" he declared. There was a collective gasp in the Bandley building work space.
"You guys have been working on this stuff for months now, another couple weeks isn't going to make that much of a difference.
You may as well get it over with. I'm going to ship the code a week from Monday, with your names on it."
"Well, we've got to finish it," Steve Capps said. And so they did.
Once again, Jobs's reality distortion field pushed them to do what they had thought impossible.
On Friday Randy Wigginton brought in a huge bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans for the final three all-nighters.
When Jobs arrived at work at 8:30 a.m. that Monday, he found Hertzfeld sprawled nearly comatose on the couch.
They talked for a few minutes about a remaining tiny glitch, and Jobs decreed that it wasn't a problem.
Hertzfeld dragged himself to his blue Volkswagen Rabbit (license plate: MACWIZ) and drove home to bed.
A short while later Apple's Fremont factory began to roll out boxes emblazoned with the colorful line drawings of the Macintosh.
Real artists ship, Jobs had declared, and now the Macintosh team had.