Joanna Hoffman

Joanna Hoffman
Joanna Karine Hoffman

(1953-07-27) July 27, 1953 (age 66)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Chicago
Known forMember of both the original Macintosh team and NeXT team
Spouse(s)Alain Rossmann

Joanna Karine Hoffman (born July 27, 1953)[1] is an American marketing executive. She was one of the original members of both the Apple Computer Macintosh team and the NeXT team.[2][3]

Early life and education

Hoffman was born in Poland, the daughter of film director Jerzy Hoffman and his Armenian former wife Marlena Nazarian. She lived with her mother in the Armenian SSR until age 10, when she went to live with her father in Warsaw, Poland. Around age 12 in 1967, her mother married an American and moved to Buffalo, New York. Hoffman joined them in the United States in 1968.[4] Hoffman quickly became fluent in English and excelled in school.

She has a background in anthropology, physics, and linguistics,[5] a Bachelor of Science in Humanities and Science from MIT, and pursued a doctorate (which she did not complete) in archaeology at the University of Chicago at the Oriental Institute. In 1979, she was scheduled to travel to Iran for an archaeology dig. She stopped in Poland to visit her grandmother and received word from Iran that she would have to return to the United States because of the Iranian Revolution.[5]


Hoffman was on a leave of absence from the University of Chicago when she was encouraged by her friends to attend a lecture at Xerox PARC in California.[6] While there, she had "a heated discussion after the lecture" with Jef Raskin.[6] The discussion focused on "what computers should look like and how they should improve people's lives."[6] Raskin was so impressed with Hoffman that he asked her to interview for a position at Apple.[6] She began on the Macintosh project in October 1980[7] as part of Raskin's initial team of Burrell Smith, Bud Tribble, and Brian Howard.[8] At the time she began, the Mac was "still a research project"[7] Her position "constituted the entire Macintosh marketing team for the first year and a half of the project."[5][7] She also wrote the "first draft of the Macintosh User Interface Guidelines."[7] Hoffman would eventually run the International Marketing Team which brought the Mac to Europe and Asia.[7] She later followed Steve Jobs to NeXT, as one of its original members.[2][3]

Hoffman had a reputation at both Apple and NeXT as one of the few who could successfully engage with Jobs. In both 1981 and 1982, she won a satirical award at Apple given to "the person who did the best job of standing up to Jobs”. (Jobs was aware of the award and liked it.)[2]

During the early 1990s, Hoffman was vice president of Marketing at General Magic, retiring in 1995 to spend more time with her family. On occasion she has given public lectures discussing her early life at Apple and working with Steve Jobs.[7]

Personal life

Hoffman is married to Alain Rossmann, a native of France, who also worked at Apple, with whom she has two sons.[6] Her children attended the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, where she served on the school board.[9]

Portrayal in media

Abigail McConnell [10] portrayed Hoffman in the 2013 film Jobs. British actress Kate Winslet portrayed Hoffman in the 2015 film Steve Jobs. Winslet won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.[11]

On the nature of the relationship between Hoffman and Jobs, Winslet described her as Jobs' "work wife", and that "she was an extraordinary, feisty Eastern European person who was pretty much the only person who could actually knock sense into Steve".[12]


  1. ^ Joanna Hoffman public record accessed 11-7-2015
  2. ^ a b c Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. ebook.
  3. ^ a b Patton, Phil (1989-08-06). "Steve Jobs: Out for Revenge". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  4. ^ Joanna Hoffman Interview at Makers Conference 2016 accessed 2-7-2015
  5. ^ a b c "The Wizards behind the Macintosh". Mac-history.net. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  6. ^ a b c d e Terdiman, Daniel (2009-01-22). "Recollections of the Mac's creators". CNET. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Hertzfeld, Andy (2005). Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made. O'Reilly Media. p. xxii.
  8. ^ Hertzfeld, Andy (2005). Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac was Made. O'Reilly Media. p. xxiii.
  9. ^ Hoffman Conversation Archived 2017-07-30 at the Wayback Machine accessed 1-27-2016
  10. ^ "Abigail McConnell". IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 2017-04-16.
  11. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (June 22, 2015). "What Kate Winslet would tell her 19-year-old self today". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2015-06-24.
  12. ^ Kachka, Boris (August 26, 2015). "How Kate Winslet Won a Role in Steve Jobs and Managed All That Sorkin Dialogue". Vulture. Archived from the original on June 18, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2017.

Further reading

External links

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