CLEVELAND - Steve Jobs was in many ways as private as he was brilliant. The world knew the work of the man, but few knew the man himself. Bob Longo is one of them.
"He was very guarded about his personal side, his personal life, but those of us that were invited in we kept that very separate from the professional relationship with him," Longo said.
It was a relationship that started in 1981 when after years of trying, Longo was convinced to join Jobs at Apple, which was then a very young company.
"The average age was Steve's age," Longo said. Jobs at the time was in his mid-twenties. "So hardly anybody was married, hardly anybody had kids. So I was married and had a kid, and so I was sort of this anomaly and he had a million questions."
He built a special bond with Longo's son, one that spanned the years to the last time they saw him at a private dinner.
"He came into the room and he saw my son. And he B-lined for us right and sat in between us on the floor so nobody could see him. And he sat and pretty much talked to my son for an hour."
The dinner was at the home of Jobs' oncologist, who was also Longo's. You see, when Longo was diagnosed with cancer himself it was Jobs who immediately lined up the best doctor's for Longo.
Same thing happened after his wife was having heart problems.
"I was in ICU, I get a call from Dr. Dean Ornish, the famous cardiologist, whose on a phone saying ‘put the cardiologist on the phone,. Steve told me to call I want to talk to him.'"
Longo, who is president of the Cleveland-based technology company Schoolone, worked for and with Jobs over the span of three decades joining Apple in 1981, where he would eventually run education marketing until Jobs split with the company in 1986.
"Then when Steve left I went with him for five years at his second company NeXT and I ran half of North America for him." He would also return to Apple with Jobs in the 90s.
"He had really the soul of an artist, he wasn't a business guy," Longo said. It was that artist's eye that Longo said drove Jobs sense of vision and perfection and in the end made Apple what it is today.