“As you command, Sire.” Maege Mormont had ridden south with Robb, Jon knew. Her eldest daughter had joined the Young Wolf’s host as well. Even if both of them
had died, however, Lady Maege had other daughters, some with children of their own. Had they gone with Robb as well? Surely Lady Maege would have left at
least one of the older girls behind as castellan. He did not understand why Lyanna should be writing Stannis, and
could not help but wonder if the girl’s answer might have been different if the letter had been sealed with a direwolf
instead of a crowned stag, and signed by Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. It is too late for such misgivings. You made your choice.
“Two score ravens were sent out,” the king complained, “yet we get no response but silence and defiance. Homage is the duty every leal subject owes his king. Yet
your father’s bannermen all turn their back on me, save the Karstarks. Is Arnolf Karstark the only man of honor in the north?”
Arnolf Karstark was the late Lord Rickard’s uncle. He had been made the castellan of Karhold when his nephew
and his sons went south with Robb, and he had been the first to respond to King Stannis’s call for homage, with a raven
declaring his allegiance. The Karstarks have no other choice, Jon might have said. Rickard Karstark had betrayed the direwolf and spilled the blood of lions.
The stag was Karhold’s only hope. “In times as confused as these, even men of
honor must wonder where their duty lies. Your Grace is not the only king in the realm demanding homage.”
Babu exited the cage in the same careful way he had enteredit. The cage had two floors, one level with us, the other at
theback, higher by about three feet, that led outside to the island.
The goat scrambled to this second level. Mahisha, nowunconcerned with Babu,
paralleled the move in his cage in afluid, effortless motion. He crouched and lay
still, his slowlymoving tail the only sign of tension.
Babu stepped up to the trapdoor
between the cages andstarted pulling it open. In anticipation of satisfaction, Mahishafell silent. I heard two things at that moment: Father saying”Never forget
this lesson” as he looked on grimly, and thebleating of the goat. It must
bleating all along,
hear it before.
They had free folk drifting in most every night, starved half-frozen creatures who had run from the battle beneath the Wall only to crawl back when they realized there was no safe place to run to. “Was the mother questioned?” Jon
asked. Stannis Baratheon had smashed Mance Rayder’s host and made the King-Beyond-the-Wall his captive … but the wildlings were still out there, the Weeper and Tormund Giantsbane and thousands more.
“Aye, m’lord,” said Edd, “but all she knows is that she ran off during the battle and hid in the woods after. We filled her full of porridge, sent her to the pens, and burned the babe.”
Burning dead children had ceased to trouble Jon Snow; live ones were another matter. Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the
son, so both die kings. The words had been murmured by one of the queen’s men as Maester Aemon had cleaned his wounds. Jon had tried to dismiss
them as his fever talking. Aemon had demurred. “There is power in a king’s blood,” the old maester had warned, “and better men than Stannis have done
worse things than this.” The king can be harsh and unforgiving, aye, but a babe still on the breast? Only a monster would give a living child to the flames.
He spoke again. “Some people say God died during thePartition in 1947. He may have died in 1971 during the war.
Or he may have died yesterday here in Pondicherry in anorphanage. That’s what some people say, Pi. When I was yourage, I lived in bed, racked with
polio. I asked myself every day,‘Where is God? Where is God? Where is God?’ God nevercame. It wasn’t God who saved me – it was medicine. Reasonis my
prophet and it tells me that as a watch stops, so wedie. It’s the end. If the watch doesn’t work properly, it must befixed here and now by us. One day we will take hold of themeans of production and there will be justice on
earth.”This was all a bit much for me. The tone was right – lovingand brave – but the details seemed bleak.
I said nothing.
fear of angering
That spring Larry Ellison saw Amelio at a party and introduced him to the technology journalist Gina Smith, who asked how Apple was doing. “You know, Gina, Apple is like a ship,” Amelio answered. “That ship is loaded with
treasure, but there’s a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction.” Smith looked perplexed and asked, “Yeah, but what about the hole?” From then on, Ellison and Jobs joked about the parable of
the ship. “When Larry relayed this story to me, we were in this sushi place, and I literally fell off my chair laughing,” Jobs recalled. “He was just such a
buffoon, and he took himself so seriously. He insisted that everyone call him Dr. Amelio. That’s always a warning sign.”
Brent Schlender, Fortune’s well-sourced technology reporter, knew Jobs and was familiar with his thinking, and in March he came out with a story detailing the mess. “Apple Computer, Silicon Valley’s paragon of dysfunctional
management and fumbled techno-dreams, is back in crisis mode, scrambling lugubriously in slow motion to deal with imploding sales, a floundering
technology strategy, and a hemorrhaging brand name,” he wrote. “To the Machiavellian eye, it looks as if Jobs, despite the lure of Hollywood—lately he
has been overseeing Pixar, maker of Toy Story and other computer-animated films—might be scheming to take over Apple.”
Once again Ellison publicly floated the idea of doing a hostile takeover and installing his “best friend” Jobs as CEO. “Steve’s the only one who can save Apple,” he told reporters. “I’m ready to help him the minute he says the
word.” Like the third time the boy cried wolf, Ellison’s latest takeover musings didn’t get much notice, so later in the month he told Dan Gillmore of the San Jose Mercury News that he was forming an investor group to raise $1 billion
to buy a majority stake in Apple. (The company’s market value was about $2.3 billion.) The day the story came out, Apple stock shot up 11% in heavy
trading. To add to the frivolity, Ellison set up an email address, [email protected], asking the
general public to
vote on whether
he should go
ahead with it.
Jobs’s pep talk could have been a redeeming finale to Amelio’s frightening performance. Unfortunately Amelio came back onstage and resumed his ramblings for another hour. Finally, more than three hours after the show
began, Amelio brought it to a close by calling Jobs back onstage and then, in a surprise, bringing up Steve Wozniak as well. Again there was pandemonium. But Jobs was clearly annoyed. He avoided engaging in a triumphant trio
scene, arms in the air. Instead he slowly edged offstage. “He ruthlessly ruined the closing moment I had planned,” Amelio later complained. “His own
feelings were more important than good press for Apple.” It was only seven days into the new year for Apple, and already it was clear that the center would not hold.
Jobs immediately put people he trusted into the top ranks at Apple. “I wanted to make sure the really good people who came in from NeXT didn’t get knifed
in the back by the less competent people who were then in senior jobs at Apple,” he recalled. Ellen Hancock, who had favored choosing Sun’s Solaris
over NeXT, was on the top of his bozo list, especially when she continued to want to use the kernel of Solaris in the new Apple operating system. In
response to a reporter’s question about the role Jobs would play in making that decision, she answered curtly, “None.” She was wrong. Jobs’s first move was to make sure that two of his friends from NeXT took over her duties.
To head software engineering, he tapped his buddy Avie Tevanian. To run the hardware side, he called on Jon Rubinstein, who had done the same at NeXT
back when it had a hardware division. Rubinstein was vacationing on the Isle of Skye when Jobs called him. “Apple needs some help,” he said. “Do you want
to come aboard?” Rubinstein did. He got back in time to attend Macworld and see Amelio bomb onstage. Things were worse than he expected. He and
Tevanian would exchange glances at meetings as if they had stumbled into an insane asylum, with people making deluded assertions
sat at the end
of the table in a
Jobs had the audience cheering from his opening line: “It’s great to be back.” He
began by recounting the history of personal computer architecture, and
he promised that they would now witness an event “that occurs only once or twice in a decade—a time when a new architecture is rolled out that is going to
change the face of computing.” The NeXT software and hardware were designed, he said, after three years of consulting with
universities across the country. “What we realized was that higher ed wants a personal mainframe.”
As usual there were superlatives. The product was “incredible,” he said, “the best thing we could have imagined.” He praised the beauty of even the parts
unseen. Balancing on his fingertips the foot-square circuit board that would be nestled in the foot-cube box, he enthused, “I hope you get a chance to look
at this a little later. It’s the most beautiful printed circuit board I’ve ever seen in my life.” He then showed how the computer could play speeches—he
featured King’s “I Have a Dream” and Kennedy’s “Ask Not”—and send email with audio attachments. He leaned into the microphone on the computer to
record one of his own. “Hi, this is Steve, sending a message on a pretty historic day.” Then he asked those in the audience to add “a round of applause” to the message, and they did.
One of Jobs’s management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and “bet the company” on some new idea or technology.
At the NeXT launch, he boasted of an example that, as it turned out, would not be a wise gamble: having a high-capacity (but slow) optical read/write
disk and no floppy disk as a backup. “Two years ago we made a decision,” he said. “We saw some new technology and we made a decision to risk our company.”
Then he turned to a feature that would prove more prescient. “What we’ve done is made the first real digital books,” he said, noting the inclusion of the
Oxford edition of Shakespeare and other tomes. “There has not been an advancement in
the state of the
art of printed
When they happened to meet in the hallway at a conference, Jobs started berating Gates for his refusal to do software for NeXT. “When you get a market, I will consider it,” Gates replied. Jobs got angry. “It was a screaming
battle, right in front of everybody,” recalled Adele Goldberg, the Xerox PARC engineer. Jobs insisted that NeXT was the next wave of computing. Gates, as
he often did, got more expressionless as Jobs got more heated. He finally just shook his head and walked away.
Beneath their personal rivalry—and occasional grudging respect—was their basic philosophical difference. Jobs believed in an end-to-end integration of hardware and software, which led him to build a machine that was not
compatible with others. Gates believed in, and profited from, a world in which different companies made machines that were compatible with one another; their hardware ran a standard operating system (Microsoft’s Windows) and
could all use the same software apps (such as Microsoft’s Word and Excel). “His product comes with an interesting feature called incompatibility,” Gates
told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t run any of the existing software. It’s a super-nice computer. I don’t think if I went out to design an incompatible computer I would have done as well as he did.”
At a forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1989, Jobs and Gates appeared sequentially, laying out their competing worldviews. Jobs spoke about how
new waves come along in the computer industry every few years. Macintosh had launched a revolutionary new approach with the graphical interface; now
NeXT was doing it with object-oriented programming tied to a powerful new machine based on an optical disk. Every major software vendor realized they
had to be part of this new wave, he said, “except Microsoft.” When Gates came up, he reiterated his belief that Jobs’s end-to-end control of the software and
the hardware was destined for failure, just as Apple had failed in competing against the Microsoft Windows standard. “The hardware market and the
software market are separate,” he said. When asked about the great design that could come from Jobs’s approach, Gates gestured to the NeXT prototype that was still
sitting onstage and
sneered, “If you want
black, I’ll get you
a can of paint.”
Jobs had always indulged his obsession that the unseen parts of a product should be crafted as beautifully as its fa?ade, just as his father had taught him when they were building a fence. This too he took to extremes when he found
himself unfettered at NeXT. He made sure that the screws inside the machine had expensive plating. He even insisted that the matte black finish be coated onto the inside of the cube’s case, even though only repairmen would see it.
Joe Nocera, then writing for Esquire, captured Jobs’s intensity at a NeXT staff meeting:
It’s not quite right to say that he is sitting through this staff meeting, because Jobs doesn’t sit through much of anything; one of the ways he dominates is through sheer movement. One moment he’s kneeling in his chair; the next
minute he’s slouching in it; the next he has leaped out of his chair entirely and is scribbling on the blackboard directly behind him. He is full of mannerisms. He bites his nails. He stares with unnerving earnestness at whoever is
speaking. His hands, which are slightly and inexplicably yellow, are in constant motion.
What particularly struck Nocera was Jobs’s “almost willful lack of tact.” It was more than just an inability to hide his opinions when others said something he thought dumb; it was a conscious readiness, even a perverse eagerness, to put
people down, humiliate them, show he was smarter. When Dan’l Lewin handed out an organization chart, for example, Jobs rolled his eyes. “These charts are
bullshit,” he interjected. Yet his moods still swung wildly, as at Apple. A finance person came into the meeting and Jobs lavished praise on him for a “really, really
great job on this”;
the previous day
Jobs had told him,
“This deal is crap.”