In his famous 2005 Stanford speech, Jobs admitted he "really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down, that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me."
He added, "I even thought about running away from (Silicon) Valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. And so I decided to start over."
The day after Labor Day, 1985, Jobs dialed up a former colleague and together they launched a new computer company, NeXT. Jobs also launched Pixar Animation Studios.
"I think he wanted to prove his early success at Apple wasn't a fluke, that he wasn't a kid who got lucky and was in the right place at the right time," Deutschman said. "He still had a lot to prove. He still had a chip on his shoulder."
In 1996, Apple Computer, by now struggling, acquired NeXT, returning Jobs to the company he helped to create. And the following year Jobs became Apple's CEO, driving the company to its greatest successes, from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad.
"The conventional wisdom was that Steve Jobs was a great visionary but not a good businessman," Deutschman said. "But in his second time at Apple he wasn't just a visionary. He made a point of learning how to be a great businessman."
Jobs put it this way in his speech to Stanford graduates:
"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life," he said.
"I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love."