The Mysterious Little Man Steve Jobs Wanted To Add To Every Mac

We all know that Apple’s iconic founder, Steve Jobs, was a marketing guru and a lot of Apple’s marketing strategy was based off of his ideas. In fact, Steve Jobs had an active role in some of the most memorable ad campaigns, such as the “1984” Super Bowl commercial and the incredible “Think Different” campaign. What most people are not aware though, is that he sometimes proposed some small marketing… gimmicks just to spicy things up and bring a little bit of “culture” into Apple’s products.

Such as the story you are about to read.

Andy Hertzfeld, an early Apple employee who was responsible for designing the first Macintosh OS, tells the story of how Steve Jobs wanted to add a small mysterious character that would appear about every one thousand times you use an OS UI element. It would wink at you and disappear so fast that you would never quite be sure if it was real! (the article continues after the ad)

In an article to, Andy Hertzfeld recalls Steve Jobs bursting into the office with a flash of inspiration:

“Mr. Macintosh! We’ve got to have Mr. Macintosh!”

“Who is Mr. Macintosh?”, Hertzefeld wondered.

“Mr. Macintosh is a mysterious little man who lives inside each Macintosh. He pops up every once in a while, when you least expect it, and then winks at you and disappears again. It will be so quick that you won’t be sure if you saw him or not. We’ll plant references in the manuals to the legend of Mr. Macintosh, and no one will know if he’s real or not.”

“How often? What should he do when he shows up?”

“One out of every thousand or two times that you pull down a menu, instead of the normal commands, you’ll get Mr. Macintosh, leaning against the wall of the menu. He’ll wave at you, then quickly disappear. You’ll try to get him to come back, but you won’t be able to.”

Steve then reached to the marketing people and told them to start preparing to hint Mr. Macintosh in official materials and hired Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon to drew the figure. Folon created a mysterious yet playful character in a fedora wearing a Mackintosh raincoat:

Photo: Fast Company

They even had him embedded into some of the early Macintosh prototype logic boards:

Photo: DigiBarn Computer Museum

According to Hertzfeld, the idea was never implemented due to ROM space, or more specifically, the lack of it. As most of the software had to be packed into a 64KB ROM, it soon became clear that, as the development proceeded, it would have been impossible to fit bitmaps into the ROM for Mr. Macintosh.

Now how awesome is that?!

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Apple Logo Designer Reveals Why The Logo Has A Bite

Main Article Photo: WikimediaDigiBarn Computer Museum
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie

Sources: Mister MacintoshHow Steve Jobs Almost Put A Little Man In Every Mac | The Story of Mister Macintosh

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