Silicon Valley has always preferred to look to the world's future, not its own past. But a new movie, Jobs, hitting theaters next month, may well prompt the tech sector to think about how we grew from a cluster of fruit orchards to the Information Age's beating heart.
It all comes down to the stories of the people who created the technology we all use today. In the case of Jobs, that person is Steve Jobs, the late founder and former CEO of Apple. And I'm hoping that this movie will be more than just a splashy docudrama about a significant figure in the recent history of Silicon Valley. I'm hoping it will get us all to reflect on how we build companies and products, what innovation means to us and does to us as human beings, and how we tell stories about technology.
I'm going to host a screening this week in San Francisco with the movie's star, Ashton Kutcher, who plays Jobs, and the director, Joshua Michael Stern, for some special guests. And I'm really happy to announce that a handful of ReadWrite readers will be among them. (You'll find details on how to apply for an invitation below.)
Expect a lively discussion. Hollywood's last big take on tech, The Social Network, was controversial, especially for offering a critical characterization of a living subject, Mark Zuckerberg, and the still-young company, Facebook, that he founded. In the end, though, many of the movie's younger viewers took the movie as an endorsement of the hacker culture that gave birth to Facebook, and the startup ideal Zuckerberg epitomized.
By his own admission, Kutcher seems to have approached the role with the aim of sharing a similar message.
"As I read the script I had a knot in my stomach," he recently wrote on Quora, the question-and-answer site. "I imagined actors playing the role and not connecting to the love that went into some of the seemingly irrational decisions that Steve sometimes made. If this film becomes an enduring memory, of a man I admire, I wanted to ensure that it was portrayed by someone who cared about his legacy and took the time to represent him in a way that people who were close to Steve felt to be authentic.
Will Silicon Valley insiders find this movie to be an authentic document of Steve Jobs' life? Here's your chance to find out. Apply for a ticket below. (ReadWrite's editors will make the decision on who to invite at our discretion.) And if you're having trouble making up your mind, here's the trailer:
If you have trouble with the embedded form, you can fill it out online through this link.
Update: Thanks for your interest in this screening. We're no longer taking applications for seats from readers.