Over the years Steve Jobs would become the grand master of product launches.
In the case of the Macintosh, the astonishing Ridley Scott ad was just one of the ingredients.
Another part of the recipe was media coverage.
Jobs found ways to ignite blasts of publicity that were so powerful the frenzy would feed on itself, like a chain reaction.
It was a phenomenon that he would be able to replicate whenever there was a big product launch,
from the Macintosh in 1984 to the iPad in 2010.
Like a conjurer, he could pull the trick off over and over again,
even after journalists had seen it happen a dozen times and knew how it was done.
Some of the moves he had learned from Regis McKenna,
who was a pro at cultivating and stroking prideful reporters.
But Jobs had his own intuitive sense of how to stoke the excitement,
manipulate the competitive instincts of journalists, and trade exclusive access for lavish treatment.
In December 1983 he took his elfin engineering wizards, Andy Hertzfeld and Burrell Smith,
to New York to visit Newsweek to pitch a story on "the kids who created the Mac."
After giving a demo of the Macintosh, they were taken upstairs to meet Katharine Graham,
the legendary proprietor, who had an insatiable interest in whatever was new.
Afterward the magazine sent its technology columnist and a photographer to spend time in Palo Alto with Hertzfeld and Smith.
The result was a flattering and smart four-page profile of the two of them,
with pictures that made them look like cherubim of a new age.
The article quoted Smith saying what he wanted to do next:
"I want to build the computer of the 90's. Only I want to do it tomorrow."
The article also described the mix of volatility and charisma displayed by his boss:
"Jobs sometimes defends his ideas with highly vocal displays of temper that aren't always bluster;
rumor has it that he has threatened to fire employees for insisting that his computers should have cursor keys, a feature that Jobs considers obsolete.
But when he is on his best behavior,
Jobs is a curious blend of charm and impatience, oscillating between shrewd reserve and his favorite expression of enthusiasm: 'Insanely great.'"