Machines and robots were painted and repainted as he compulsively revised his color scheme.
The walls were museum white, as they had been at the Macintosh factory,
and there were $20,000 black leather chairs and a custom-made staircase,
just as in the corporate headquarters.
He insisted that the machinery on the 165-foot assembly line be configured
to move the circuit boards from right to left as they got built,
so that the process would look better to visitors who watched from the viewing gallery.
Empty circuit boards were fed in at one end and twenty minutes later,
untouched by humans, came out the other end as completed boards.
The process followed the Japanese principle known as kanban,
in which each machine performs its task only when the next machine is ready to receive another part.
Jobs had not tempered his way of dealing with employees.
"He applied charm or public humiliation in a way that in most cases proved to be pretty effective," Tribble recalled.
But sometimes it wasn't. One engineer, David Paulsen, put in ninety-hour weeks for the first ten months at NeXT.
He quit when "Steve walked in one Friday afternoon and told us how unimpressed he was with what we were doing."
When Business Week asked him why he treated employees so harshly, Jobs said it made the company better.
"Part of my responsibility is to be a yardstick of quality.
Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."