My book partner Robert Scoble has a great post about a chance encounter with Steve Jobs in a San Francisco sushi restaurant. Jobs was characteristically ungracious, and took the opportunity for the 30-second encounter to take a shot at Microsoft, for allegedly steal Apple's stuff, which of course was originally stolen from Xerox Park.
I had a similar encounter with a younger but equally ungracious Jobs in 1980, after he was keynote speaker for event sponsored by the long defunct The Executive magazine. It was the first time I heard the "computers will change the way we work, play and communicate speech," which was prophetic and inspirational to me. Afterwards, I waited outside for him in a cold December rain and when he left the building, I rushed up to him and told him that his talk had inspired me, that I had gone through a period where I had lost direction in life and that he had given it back to me. I wanted to join Apple and sprreead the word of the promise of his computers to humanity.
He stared at me for a second then asked me what I did for a living. I stammered that I loved to write, and right now I was working for a PR agency until I could find something meaningful. "My PR flack is Regis McKenna he snapped more than a little impatiently. Go work for him."
In fact, that's exactly what I did. But I never really worked much on the Apple Account. As it turned out, that was a good thing. And I learned something about Jobs that seems to be true all these many years later. He's much more appealing when he's standing in front of 500 people than he is close up.