Books are piling up in my closet. I have many pending to be read. I finished with all those Nicolas Sparks mushy far-from-reality romances. I did lap up on treasure hunting thrillers.
I was reading short stories by Forsyth and abandoned it mid way to read Steve Jobs. The world mourned the death of Steve Jobs just few days ago. He was a saint to many people. I was not particularly inclined to him and my only association with Apple has been owning an iPod and a MAC on which I am typing now :). I chose an Android to an iPhone and have restricted from owning an iPad. The first time I heard about Jobs was sometime in 2005 just after his Stanford commencement speech. Few friends in college thought that I was too up-to-date and too technical to know who Steve Jobs was and when I asked who he was; I recall getting that dirty look. I dont know if I should be mortified to confess that I still have not viewed his commencement speech :-/ Few things make you unperturbed and ignorant for not any particular reason.
The second time I heard about Jobs was the very next year. I was in the Bay area on work; one Saturday decided to visit Hewlett and Packard's garage at their Palo Alto home. I stopped on one street and an American couple were unloading their groceries from their car. I approached them and asked for HP's garage. They gave me directions and added Steve Jobs apartment was 3 blocks away. I just nodded and left. I still didnt know why Steve Jobs was so important.
So now I am reading his biography; I am half way through; at the back of my mind I fail to fathom why he was treated like a saint after his death. Steve more than one way revolutionized the personal computer industry and made our lives so simpler.
When they sell their first PC Apple I; he realizes its presentation was as important as feature. He transforms an engineer's hobby to a business and thus his friend (Woz) had a conflict with his belief and Job's ambition.
He had a way to get people do so that he can get what he wanted. A time when he takes Woz's help to design a game in an optimal way; he intentionally hides the bonus he was being offered by Atari and just shares his base earnings.
Or the time when he flatly denies he fathered Lisa and got around with a statistics that any one among the 28% of the male population in USA could be her father; later agreeing for providing for her just before Apple went public!! His college friend Kottke at Reed who stood by Jobs was not provided any IPOs. So very untrustworthy, non ethical and a person who could steal credits as he famously quoted "Good artists copy, great artists steal" when he hijacked Xerox's PARC GUI design. Was it his heist or Xerox's stupidity?
What set him apart was his ingenuity to bring art and technology together. Technology should be aesthetic. How he could go at any lengths to dominate. He cried when Scott assigned him a employee #2 so that it keeps his ego under check and Jobs requested for #1. #1 went to Woz; Jobs wouldnt have any of it and finally asked for #0 but BoA wanted a positive integer for a payroll account; so he had to stick with #2 :)
Throughout; he tactically talked people into his job; used them and disposed them off. "All you did until now was shit, so why dont you work for me?" was what he said to a Xerox engineer. Thinking otherwise; if he had not got his way; we might not have products as its now. Like GUI, the mouse, the book sized laptops; which all others like Microsoft copied.
He did not ask to read the draft and wanted people to know the real him. Is this why he is regarded as great? I could see him more as a shrewd man who could stare anyone down to get things done his way. Maybe there is more to him.
I will be able to understand more once I am done with reading the book.