1985-2000 Fearless genius! Chronicling the innards of the Dot-Com Boom by Doug Menuez.

1986 Steve Jobs shares with his team how technology evolves in 10-year cycles. Steve hoped to ride the next wave by putting the power of a refrigerator-sized mainframe computer into a one-foot cube at a price affordable to universities. Thus NeXT Computer began as Steve’s quest for redemption, after being fired from Apple in a humiliating boardroom coup orchestrated by his hand-picked CEO John Sculley. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1986
Steve Jobs shares with his team how technology evolves in 10-year cycles. Steve hoped to ride the next wave by putting the power of a refrigerator-sized mainframe computer into a one-foot cube at a price affordable to universities. Thus NeXT Computer began as Steve’s quest for redemption, after being fired from Apple in a humiliating boardroom coup orchestrated by his hand-picked CEO John Sculley.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

These photographs are from Doug Menuez’s new book Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley 1985-2000, from Atria Books, an eyewitness record of the brilliant engineers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who built our world. To buy the book or learn more, visit http://www.fearlessgenius.org.
In 1985, I returned to San Francisco after covering the horrific famine and conflict in Ethiopia for Newsweek and began looking for a more positive story for the human race. I noticed that in nearby Silicon Valley an explosion of innovation was fueling a digital revolution that might change all our lives. Although I was not interested in technology per se, the people inventing these new tools were an intriguing mystery.
That same year, Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple. He announced he was starting a new company, NeXT, and building a supercomputer to transform education. I’d found my story. I reached out to him through friends and gained unprecedented access to document him for LIFE magazine as he and his team built the NeXT computer. I ended up spending three years there.
Because Steve trusted me, so did the other leading innovators of Silicon Valley. I gained insider access to their secret labs, boardrooms, offices and homes for 15 years as they built the technology that shapes our world today. It was a time of extreme sacrifice, struggle and sublime creativity, and many paid a high price. There were divorces, ruined careers, billions made and then lost in tragic failure. One engineer I knew shot himself, another was committed to the psych ward and a manager went to prison for fraud.

1986 Steve Jobs was a consummate showman who understood the power of compelling settings, like this lunch pitch on the site of the future NeXT Factory with the NeXT board of directors. Ross Perot was blown away, and invested over $20 million in NeXT after this meeting. He later said it was the worst mistake he ever made.  IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1986
Steve Jobs was a consummate showman who understood the power of compelling settings, like this lunch pitch on the site of the future NeXT Factory with the NeXT board of directors. Ross Perot was blown away, and invested over $20 million in NeXT after this meeting. He later said it was the worst mistake he ever made.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987 IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987 Susan Kare listens to Steve Jobs as he discusses the unfinished tasks facing the country. Susan Kare’s playful icons and user interface design have impacted the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Susan was part of the original Mac team and designed the original Mac icons and much of the user interface. Leaving Apple with Steve after his ouster, she became a cofounder and creative director at NeXT Computer, where she oversaw the creation of its icons and logo, working with the legendary Paul Rand. Later she designed or redesigned icons for many other computer operating systems, including Windows and IBM’s OS/2. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987
Susan Kare listens to Steve Jobs as he discusses the unfinished tasks facing the country. Susan Kare’s playful icons and user interface design have impacted the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Susan was part of the original Mac team and designed the original Mac icons and much of the user interface. Leaving Apple with Steve after his ouster, she became a cofounder and creative director at NeXT Computer, where she oversaw the creation of its icons and logo, working with the legendary Paul Rand. Later she designed or redesigned icons for many other computer operating systems, including Windows and IBM’s OS/2.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1986 Steve Jobs lists the workflow ahead for his team at a company meeting at a Sonoma resort. He is outlining what remains to be converted from analog to digital. Indeed, everything in the world — photos, film, music — that was not already digital by now, would soon be, as the digital revolution expanded. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1986
Steve Jobs lists the workflow ahead for his team at a company meeting at a Sonoma resort. He is outlining what remains to be converted from analog to digital. Indeed, everything in the world — photos, film, music — that was not already digital by now, would soon be, as the digital revolution expanded.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987 A Steve Jobs to-do list made at an off-site brainstorming session lists a set of technical challenges remaining for his team to solve. While building the NeXT computer, Steve wanted to meet the challenge that Nobel laureate Paul Berg had set: to build an affordable workstation for education that had more than one megabyte of memory, a megapixel display and a megaflop of computing speed to allow a million floating-point operations per second. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987
A Steve Jobs to-do list made at an off-site brainstorming session lists a set of technical challenges remaining for his team to solve. While building the NeXT computer, Steve wanted to meet the challenge that Nobel laureate Paul Berg had set: to build an affordable workstation for education that had more than one megabyte of memory, a megapixel display and a megaflop of computing speed to allow a million floating-point operations per second.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
PALO ALTO:  NeXt CEO Steve Jobs and Susan Barnes, NeXt VP and CFO, reacting to a joke tod by an employee on the bus going back to the headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. The team was visiting the unfinished factory in Fremont in March 1987.(Photo by Doug Menuez, Contour by Getty Images)
PALO ALTO: NeXt CEO Steve Jobs and Susan Barnes, NeXt VP and CFO, reacting to a joke tod by an employee on the bus going back to the headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. The team was visiting the unfinished factory in Fremont in March 1987.(Photo by Doug Menuez, Contour by Getty Images)
1987 Steve Jobs was not the kind of guy who ever seemed to relax. He was usually focused like a laser on the task at hand. So it was surprising to see him kicking this beach ball around at a company picnic. He seemed to be having a good time, but it felt more like a performance designed to encourage the exhausted team to relax. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987
Steve Jobs was not the kind of guy who ever seemed to relax. He was usually focused like a laser on the task at hand. So it was surprising to see him kicking this beach ball around at a company picnic. He seemed to be having a good time, but it felt more like a performance designed to encourage the exhausted team to relax.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

More jobs and wealth were created than at any time in human history.
L. JOHN DOERR, PARTNER AT KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS

1988 Steve gives a rousing pep talk to inspire employees while also indulging in a short rant about revenge on Apple and John Sculley. The company was preparing to demonstrate the NeXT prototype at gala demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., although it would be almost another year before finished workstations would be shipped. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1988
Steve gives a rousing pep talk to inspire employees while also indulging in a short rant about revenge on Apple and John Sculley. The company was preparing to demonstrate the NeXT prototype at gala demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., although it would be almost another year before finished workstations would be shipped.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987 Steve Jobs agonizes over the surface texture of the anodized cast magnesium cube for the NeXT computer. Steve was ruthless with his team because he understood the stakes and knew that every one of his thousands of decisions would add up to failure or success. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1987
Steve Jobs agonizes over the surface texture of the anodized cast magnesium cube for the NeXT computer. Steve was ruthless with his team because he understood the stakes and knew that every one of his thousands of decisions would add up to failure or success.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
SOFTWARE Engineering Manager Donna Auguste, known by her childhood nickname Fi, leads a meeting of her software team. Auguste worked diligently to achieve cross-cultural representation among the group. April 1992.
SOFTWARE Engineering Manager Donna Auguste, known by her childhood nickname Fi, leads a meeting of her software team. Auguste worked diligently to achieve cross-cultural representation among the group. April 1992.

Later, what Steve described as a “noble cause” shifted into an unsustainable gold rush to IPOs during the dot-com boom. When the inevitable bust came in 2000, it was devastating, washing away trillions of dollars, millions of jobs and crashing the economy.
The people I photographed were on a mission. In the early days, money was secondary to inventing impossibly cool, new technology that would improve our lives. Their idealism and passion combined with patient, long-term investors did lead to lots of failures, but it also allowed staggering, unprecedented successes to flower.
And history mattered — Steve Jobs understood this and pumped the giants who’d built the Valley for all their knowledge, which shaped his later success. Today’s entrepreneurs and innovators could surely benefit from the lessons within the history of the digital revolution while we figure out how to catch the next wave to the next tech revolution. It’s coming, and it’s going to be mind-blowing. I can’t wait.

1991 Real-life boyfriend and girlfriend act out a rudimentary electrical metaphor for sex at an Adobe Halloween party. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1991
Real-life boyfriend and girlfriend act out a rudimentary electrical metaphor for sex at an Adobe Halloween party.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1995 Employees of Sun Microsystems celebrate outside the corporate campus in Santa Clara, California. With its Unix-powered workstation, Sun was the fastest-growing technology company between 1985 and 1989. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1995
Employees of Sun Microsystems celebrate outside the corporate campus in Santa Clara, California. With its Unix-powered workstation, Sun was the fastest-growing technology company between 1985 and 1989.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1988 Much of the arduous work of technology development involves solitary concentration and happens inside people’s heads. It was not only tough to think, but difficult to get away from the constant interruptions of daily work life that we now call multitasking. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1988
Much of the arduous work of technology development involves solitary concentration and happens inside people’s heads. It was not only tough to think, but difficult to get away from the constant interruptions of daily work life that we now call multitasking.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

If you give someone a hammer, they can build a house or tear it down. Photoshop is just a better hammer.
RUSSELL BROWN, ADOBE SYSTEMS CREATIVE DIRECTOR, ON IDEA THAT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY WAS DESTROYING PHOTOGRAPHY

1988 An Adobe Systems employee howls with joy during a toast to the company's spectacular year. Their year-end party was staged at a massive pier in San Francisco and reportedly cost a million dollars. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1988
An Adobe Systems employee howls with joy during a toast to the company’s spectacular year. Their year-end party was staged at a massive pier in San Francisco and reportedly cost a million dollars.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1993 Apple programmer Sarah Clark delivers a message to the Newton War Room. Sarah kept her baby with her at work, almost never leaving the building for two years as the team rushed to finish the software. She pulled curtains over the glass of her office so colleagues knew when it was naptime or if she was breastfeeding. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1993
Apple programmer Sarah Clark delivers a message to the Newton War Room. Sarah kept her baby with her at work, almost never leaving the building for two years as the team rushed to finish the software. She pulled curtains over the glass of her office so colleagues knew when it was naptime or if she was breastfeeding.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak (left) and John Sculley (right), who joined Apple in 1983 as president and CEO looking at the original Game Boy, San Francisco, Ca., 1991.
Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak (left) and John Sculley (right), who joined Apple in 1983 as president and CEO looking at the original Game Boy, San Francisco, Ca., 1991.
1993 Backstage before a press briefing, Newton team members Michael Tchao, Nazila Alasti and Susan Schuman discover many of the prototype Newtons they brought to demonstrate are dead. They can hear the hundreds of German journalists, who’ve been quaffing free beer while waiting over an hour to see the promising new product, as they drunkenly chant “Newton, Newton.” Tchao soon took the stage and began his speech describing the non-functioning Newton by suggesting, “Imagine if you will...” IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1993
Backstage before a press briefing, Newton team members Michael Tchao, Nazila Alasti and Susan Schuman discover many of the prototype Newtons they brought to demonstrate are dead. They can hear the hundreds of German journalists, who’ve been quaffing free beer while waiting over an hour to see the promising new product, as they drunkenly chant “Newton, Newton.” Tchao soon took the stage and began his speech describing the non-functioning Newton by suggesting, “Imagine if you will…”
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
KEITH Yamashita celebrates with the Newton team after a successful introduction of Newton technology. May 1992.
KEITH Yamashita celebrates with the Newton team after a successful introduction of Newton technology. May 1992.

Maybe the revolution is the point, not the profit.
BILL JOY, COFOUNDER, SUN MICROSYSTEMS

At a special event for entrepeneurs hosted by the top venture capital firms, Joe Schoendorf, from Accel Partners, reacts to an entrepeneur's idea for a start-up.
At a special event for entrepeneurs hosted by the top venture capital firms, Joe Schoendorf, from Accel Partners, reacts to an entrepeneur’s idea for a start-up.
1995 Legendary venture capitalist Brook Byers takes a moment to recoup during a company retreat in Aspen. While Silicon Valley offered many rewards, the pervasive expectation from the companies (and from colleagues) was that everyone would work until they dropped. It could get competitive. A manager at Apple often challenged people to work all night and then to run with him at 6 a.m. Then he ran meetings all day and went out with clients at night — in both a macho display and a lesson about what sheer willpower can accomplish. Today we know that sleep deprivation leads to significant increases in errors and a loss of productivity. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1995
Legendary venture capitalist Brook Byers takes a moment to recoup during a company retreat in Aspen. While Silicon Valley offered many rewards, the pervasive expectation from the companies (and from colleagues) was that everyone would work until they dropped. It could get competitive. A manager at Apple often challenged people to work all night and then to run with him at 6 a.m. Then he ran meetings all day and went out with clients at night — in both a macho display and a lesson about what sheer willpower can accomplish. Today we know that sleep deprivation leads to significant increases in errors and a loss of productivity.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1998 Workers inside Intel’s largest chip fabrication plant exercise and stretch as part of their normal workday break time. They produce five chips per second, 24 hours per day. Many of the workers are from the nearby Pueblo tribe of Native Americans, who maintain their traditions when not working with new technology. After work, in good weather, many tend their corn and bean fields with their families before dinner. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1998
Workers inside Intel’s largest chip fabrication plant exercise and stretch as part of their normal workday break time. They produce five chips per second, 24 hours per day. Many of the workers are from the nearby Pueblo tribe of Native Americans, who maintain their traditions when not working with new technology. After work, in good weather, many tend their corn and bean fields with their families before dinner.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1992 Microsoft CEO Bill Gates discusses cheap content for the masses and debates with reporters about the long delayed “vaporware” upgrade to Windows at the Agenda ‘92 Conference. The conference was hosted by the irreverent pundit Stuart Alsop, who showed Gates no mercy. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1992
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates discusses cheap content for the masses and debates with reporters about the long delayed “vaporware” upgrade to Windows at the Agenda ‘92 Conference. The conference was hosted by the irreverent pundit Stuart Alsop, who showed Gates no mercy.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1989 Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s senior vice president of systems software (right), engages with a group of programmers at company headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Ballmer is known for his explosive and quirky personality, and his tendency to shout. He could be wickedly fun, or downright terrifying, especially to Microsoft’s competitors. He rose to become CEO in 2000 and recently announced he was stepping down. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1989
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s senior vice president of systems software (right), engages with a group of programmers at company headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Ballmer is known for his explosive and quirky personality, and his tendency to shout. He could be wickedly fun, or downright terrifying, especially to Microsoft’s competitors. He rose to become CEO in 2000 and recently announced he was stepping down.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1992 With its fast, low-cost workstations Sun Microsystems reached a billion dollars in revenue faster than any other tech company. The massive success came with increasing competitive pressure, and the company grew over 15,000 employees worldwide in a few short years, forcing whole divisions to quickly move to bigger offices. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1992
With its fast, low-cost workstations Sun Microsystems reached a billion dollars in revenue faster than any other tech company. The massive success came with increasing competitive pressure, and the company grew over 15,000 employees worldwide in a few short years, forcing whole divisions to quickly move to bigger offices.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

I want some kid at Stanford to be able to cure cancer in his dorm room.

STEVE JOBS, ON THE POWER OF THE NEXT WORKSTATION

1999 CEO and cofounder of NetObjects, Samir Arora, faces down his two main investors, who were unhappy with his leadership. Despite immense pressure, he refused to resign, and they pulled funding for the 125-person company. After a desperate round of phoning investors, Arora managed to raise $10 million to keep the company afloat. A short time later, he engineered a sale of the company to IBM for $150 million, netting his investors — including the ones he stood up to — a 1,000% return on investment. Later that year, after a lukewarm IPO, CNN asked, “Is this the beginning of the end of the dot-com bubble?” It was. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
1999
CEO and cofounder of NetObjects, Samir Arora, faces down his two main investors, who were unhappy with his leadership. Despite immense pressure, he refused to resign, and they pulled funding for the 125-person company. After a desperate round of phoning investors, Arora managed to raise $10 million to keep the company afloat. A short time later, he engineered a sale of the company to IBM for $150 million, netting his investors — including the ones he stood up to — a 1,000% return on investment. Later that year, after a lukewarm IPO, CNN asked, “Is this the beginning of the end of the dot-com bubble?” It was.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

The best part of the story is, by noon Monday I had ten million dollars in the bank.
SAMIR ARORA, COFOUNDER AND CLO OF INTERNET START-UP NETOBJECTS

2000 The dot-com bubble collapse was such a slow-motion disaster at first, unfolding hesitantly through late 1999 into 2000, then accelerating with neck-snapping g-forces as it spread from local VCs, to Wall Street, to the big retirement funds and mom-and-pop investors. By 2001, trillions of dollars of shareholder value had washed away. It felt as though a toxic cloud had descended and hung over everyone and everything in the Bay Area, suffocating jobs and dreams. But soon Web 2.0 would boot up, with Google already growing fast and soon to be joined with Facebook, Twitter and others to disrupt and burn new pathways, luring yet another generation to the Valley. IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
2000
The dot-com bubble collapse was such a slow-motion disaster at first, unfolding hesitantly through late 1999 into 2000, then accelerating with neck-snapping g-forces as it spread from local VCs, to Wall Street, to the big retirement funds and mom-and-pop investors. By 2001, trillions of dollars of shareholder value had washed away. It felt as though a toxic cloud had descended and hung over everyone and everything in the Bay Area, suffocating jobs and dreams. But soon Web 2.0 would boot up, with Google already growing fast and soon to be joined with Facebook, Twitter and others to disrupt and burn new pathways, luring yet another generation to the Valley.
IMAGE: DOUG MENUEZ/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

Source: Mashable

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