“I know that it’s possible I will die and leave Laurene with a half-built boat. But I have to keep going on it. If I don’t, it’s an admission that I’m about to die.“
Steve Jobs on the then-uncompleted yacht in his biography by Walter Isaccson.
Like Tupac’s hologram at the Coachella music festival, and the CGI generated likeness of Elvis appearing in Coca-Cola commercials, the ghosts of past giants still walk among us.
Perhaps none more than Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple. When Jobs passed away in October 2011 he left a slew of unfinished secret projects that never saw the light of day. Now, a year after his death, one of his most personal visions has been completed.
It’s called the Venus, and it’s a 260-foot yacht, a minimalist design that Jobs conceived and that his biographer Walter Isaacson described as an “obsession” for the Apple co-founder.
True to his singular vision, the Venus is a floating Apple device, with seven 27-inch iMacs on board, sleek like a floating piece of hardware, a vertiable Air Force One for the tech giant, albeit one he never got to play with.
The vessel is made of lightweight aluminum and a special glass conceived by Apple engineers. The ship was built by a Dutch manufacturer with the interior done by renowned designer Philippe Starck.
As a token of appreciation for the completed project, yesterday Jobs’s widow and three of their children were on hand for the yacht’s formal launch in the Netherlands. As a token of appreciation, Jobs’s family gave custom iPods and wrote personal thank you notes to everyone who worked on the yacht (see what I mean here). Details about the vessel’s price or what the family plans to do with it are as yet unknown.
Here’s a video look at the Venus’s launch via the Dutch blog One More Thing:
Jobs’s yacht wasn’t the only secret project he was working on. Another project was Apple University, an executive training program to mold employees into thinking like the enigmatic Jobs. In 2008, Jobs accelerated his vision after his second medical leave and hired Joel Podolny, the dean of Yale University’s School of Management who left that post suddenly to lead the push in Cupertino.
The project was closely guarded and said to mirror in structure Jobs’s other company Pixar, which developed a Pixar University training program.
The basic idea behind Apple U was to impart Jobs’s thinking to Apple’s worker bees so they could keep his vision alive after he was gone. Jobs even developed university level courses to teach the business principles that helped him lead the tech behemoth.
It’s unclear where the project is now, but it appears Podolny is still with Apple as of this July and an “Inside Apple Recruitment” video.
Another dream of Jobs was to create a futuristic spaceship like Cupertino facility on the grounds of the old Hewlett-Packard headquarters. Jobs made his last public appearance (against his doctor’s wishes) to pitch this idea to the Cupertino city council.
The plan calls for a giant new Apple complex on the site of HP’s old space where Jobs worked part-time at the age of 13. A 2.8-million-square-foot building that resembled a metallic dome with natural light, the design put 12,000 people in one building, taking the idea of an office park to a whole new level. The Cupertino city council approved the project while trying to strongarm him to open an Apple Store in the city, which Jobs coyly declined. The project is supposed to be completed in 2015.
Here is Jobs presenting to the Cupertino city council in June of 2011:
Photo courtesy of Bas van der Ploeg