ACG Research

ACG Research
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

My "Brush" with Steve Jobs

Last night I was reading Newsweek and came across this article on Steve Jobs, which also mentioned him being at Michela's Restaurant in Cambridge MA (

I too, was at Michela's that year as manager and occasional bartender before I went to business school. It was the late crazy 1980's (yes folks, the 1980's were crazy too!) and expensive restaurants and high priced wine was totally in style. And, what most people don't realize is that the chef at Michela's at that time was Todd English before he left to open Olives.

Anyway, Steve came in with his group from NeXT and had dinner, and what happened that night set in motion a short friendship I'd like to tell you about. Steve's new marketing person had his coat taken by someone else that night (one of those Burberry look alike coats), so as we do in the business we try to help out as much as possible. Turns out the coat which was left had some information in it and we found the guy and they swapped coats the next night. A few nights later Steve and his marketing guy came in with some folks from MIT's media lab where they were testing the NeXT machine and Steve's marketing guy gave me a present: a NeXT T-shirt for helping him out that week.

Turns out Steve and his team were not just dining at Michela's for fun, they were also looking for space in the building (the Carter Ink building, best known for its picture in the 'Make Way for Ducklings' book) for his new company and wanted only to move into the area where Thinking Machines was. Since I knew a lot of TMC folks, I mentioned he'd have to badge everyone since TMC was very careful about 'industrial espionage' in those days (open disclosure: I worked for Thinking Machines Corporation for 4 years right after business school). That night I also recommended an Italian 'super Tuscan' wine for Steve called Monte Vertine ( that he loved. He asked me to save him the 3 or 4 bottles I had left from that vintage, and I promptly went and tagged them in the cellar with a note that said: "Save for Steve Jobs". How often do you get to do something like that?

Steve came in and drank the rest of the wine over the next month or so, and was always gracious, kind and funny.

I followed Steve's career after that and read several books about his early days at Apple and what brought him back to Apple after such a bad parting. I guess that writing this personal note about him is more important to me to do while he's still with us, since he's had such an impact on not just our marketplace, but on how we connect with people in general. Social networking is great, but without great devices and networks to enable those devices, we'd all still be on AOL (O.K., exaggeration). Anyway, I hope Steve sticks around for a long time, just like the fine wine he appreciated.

Eve Griliches

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