Steve Jobs

Feb. 24, 1955 - Oct. 5, 2011. Highly-influential innovator in early personal computing (the personal computing era is still young as of 2011). Co-founder of AppleComputer and PixarCompany. Contributed to design and development of notable computing products: AppleOne?, AppleIi, AppleIii?, AppleMacintosh, MacOsx, AppleIpod, AppleiPhone, AppleIpad?, NextStep.

A professional entertainer (or slave driver) of software engineers.

He abhorred: He emitted:


He had a "nose" for what consumers wanted. He sensed in the late 70's that the future was in GUI's even though they would be tricky to implement on the desktop hardware of the time.

He improved and standardized digital font handling.

He was involved in early Pixar, which sparked the whole 3D animation revolution with Toy Story.

He started the general translucent craze with the iMac, a look that spread to irons and electric toothbrushes. The "Daisy" iMac was a true piece of industrial art.

The iPod found a convenient UI where others had tried before with mixed results, and the iPhone which made everything go through a touchscreen and changed the look and feel of cell-phones forever. It may seem obvious now, but that's because Jobs had a nose for what "should be" obvious but wasn't yet around.

He was the Forrest Gump of consumer technology in that he always seemed to be involved in the formation of trends.

He's one of the few CEO's who obtains success primarily from the "stick" instead of the "carrot". Excessive use of the stick almost always fails in management. He's one of the rare exceptions. However, he often does it by inspiring people so intensely that they feel like they actually deserve to be punished. It is somewhat comparable to a religious cult. It may also be that his company filters for a certain personality that is susceptible to his technique. It may work in certain niches, but is probably not universal. If Steve was in charge of making Model T's, they'd be 3 years late and cost twice as much. (However, perhaps Cadillac could have made use of him.)

The Stick in action:

Was Jobs "Greedy"?

I read the Isaacson biography, and it was pretty clear that money was NOT Job's main motivator; it was a means to an end to him. He really wanted to build "insanely great" things and see his ideas transform the future.

He almost went broke in some cases by funneling his own money into projects. Somebody who values money wouldn't part with it that long for a gamble.

He was driven to see his concepts turn into products people wanted badly. In his mind, the future was his orchestra to conduct his way.

One can arguably compare him to great movie directors who drive those around them insane trying to put their vision on screen in careful detail. It gave us masterpieces like 'Odyssey 2001, but many of the project "minions" used up their Excedrin (or 60's equiv).

"Greed" is not quite the right word. "Obsession" is more like it. Maybe there is a word or phrase that means "obsession to the point of harming others"?

Perhaps in his mind, progress is more important than comfort, a kind of social darwinism where struggle for survival is a "necessary evil" to be a viable species. Or it may merely be narcissism, or a combo: those who don't aggressively scrape to be at the very top spot "deserve" to be stepped on: A+ or death. Oddly, he got both. -t

The Anti-RMS
He can be compared to Jimi Hendrix in many ways. They both started out as kind of roaming gypsies, drifting from gig to gig, absorbing bits and pieces along the way, and ticking off some with their impatience and stubbornness. Jimi, like Steve, didn't invent most of the technology he used (although both helped shape it working with inventors & technicians), but knew how to take new tools of the day and put them together in ways nobody yet imagined or tried that caught people's attention and set the standard for the next decade. And they ultimately destroyed themselves.

Related to AppleComputer, PixarCompany and NeXt. Partied with SteveWozniak. The flawed hero in PiratesOfSiliconValley.

See also: DoEngineersNeedOpportunists, RealArtistsShip, InsanelyGreat, IgnoranceDrivenDevelopment, CleverTrollAdmiration (death as a weapon), AynRandDesignPhilosophy


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