Michell Smith tells this story: Prior to his return to Apple, it was obvious that the company was in trouble. Larry Ellison had floated the idea of a hostile takeover of the company, but it seemed to some of us Apple watchers that then-CEO Gil Amelio’s turnaround plan might work.

I wrote an impassioned email to Steve at Pixar, pleading with him to find something else to do with his time. “Please,” I implored him, “don’t come back to Apple, you’ll ruin it.”

… And then he wrote the words I’ll never forget:

“You may be right. But if I succeed, remember to look in the mirror and call yourself an asshole for me.”

I wonder if Smith followed through with this?