Katie Hafner (left), a journalist who covered Apple in the 1980s, interviews women who helped develop the Macintosh. They include, second from left, Joanna Hoffman, Debi Coleman, Susan Barnes, Barbara Koalkin Barza and Andy Cunningham.
As an account executive for the Regis McKenna public relations firm, Andy Cunningham planned what turned out to be the tech industry's biggest PR campaign at the time. Cunningham later left Regis McKenna to form her own PR firm and helped Jobs launch Pixar. She currently runs Cunningham Collective, a consulting firm.
Cunningham put together Monday's panel of women.
"When you're in an environment where you're respected for what you do and not...your gender or age, it's really refreshing," Cunningham says. "That's what Steve offered back then."
Susan Barnes worked as controller of the Macintosh division before leaving the company to co-found NeXT with Steve Jobs as the company's chief financial officer. She went into investment banking after leaving NeXT and later served as financial chief at Intuitive Surgical. Barnes currently holds that same title at Pacific Biosciences, a DNA sequencing company.
"His real skill was knowing which buttons to push," Barnes says of Jobs. "The thing that kept me going with him was the intellectual spark. He could get so much out of you."
Debi Coleman joined Apple in 1981 as controller for Steve Jobs' Macintosh project. She became head of Macintosh manufacturing in 1984. Coleman later served as chief financial officer of Apple in 1987, after Jobs had left the company. Coleman most recently was co-founder and co-managing partner at venture capital firm SmartForest Ventures from 2000 to June 2015.
Coleman says it took her a year to learn how to confront Jobs. She credits colleague Joanna Hoffman for serving as her teacher. "Joanna said, 'Look him in the eye. You've got to stand up.' From that point on -- I'm not saying he wasn't tough, totally demanding and totally critical -- but he was totally wonderful to me."
Joanna Hoffman was Apple's head of international marketing for the launch of the Mac. She's a major character in the new "Steve Jobs" film by Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle. Played by Kate Winslet in the film, Hoffman was Jobs' confidante and colleague, able to challenge him when no one else could.
"What is true is that so often Steve was so enthusiastic and so brilliant and visionary and not necessarily reasonable," Hoffman said at the panel. "I found myself sort of being the party pooper in a weird way."
Andy Hertzfeld (in red) was one of Apple's early software developers. Behind him, speaking on the panel, is Andy Cunningham, who served as Jobs' publicist for the launch of the Mac. Both were portrayed in the new "Steve Jobs" film. Hertzfeld said it was "just weird" seeing himself on film.