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Legacy of a Legend: Steve Jobs

During the days of our youth while living in Saigon many of us were part of a group known as The Clods: non-conformist who thought differently from the masses.

Our idols were James Dean and Elvis – the rebel non-conformists of our time who thought differently.

Years later, after we had all left Saigon for other far off place, Steve Jobs exemplified the Clod philosophy of non-conformity and thinking differently leaving the world a much better place then he found it.

Steve Jobs was the epitome of Clod. A rebel non-conformist who thought differently; and, because he dared to think differently he changed the world.

In 2005, following a bout with cancer, Steve delivered Stanford University’s commencement speech.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he said. “Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Steve Jobs told us what we needed before we knew

From Associated Press
October 06, 2011 6:06 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Steve Jobs saw the future and led the world to it. He moved technology from garages to pockets, took entertainment from discs to bytes and turned gadgets into extensions of the people who use them.

Jobs, who founded and ran Apple, told us what we needed before we wanted it.

“To some people, this is like Elvis Presley or John Lennon. It’s a change in our times. It’s the end of an era,” said Scott Robbins, 34, a barber and an Apple fan. “It’s like the end of the innovators.”

Apple announced his death without giving a specific cause. He died peacefully on Wednesday, according to a statement from family members who were present. He was 56.

“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple’s board said in a statement. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”

President Barack Obama said in a statement that Jobs “exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.”

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it,” he said.

Jobs had battled cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009 after taking a leave of absence for unspecified health problems. He took another leave of absence in January — his third since his health problems began — and resigned in August. Jobs became Apple’s chairman and handed the CEO job over to his hand-picked successor, Tim Cook.

Outside Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, three flags — an American flag, a California state flag and an Apple flag — were flying at half-staff late Wednesday.

“Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor.” Cook wrote in an email to Apple’s employees. “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

The news Apple fans and shareholders had been dreading came the day after Apple unveiled its latest iPhone, a device that got a lukewarm reception. Perhaps, there would have been more excitement had Jobs been well enough to show it off with his trademark theatrics.

Jobs started Apple with a high school friend in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, was forced out a decade later and returned in 1997 to rescue the company. During his second stint, it grew into the most valuable technology company in the world with a market value of $351 billion. Almost all that wealth has been created since Jobs’ return.

Cultivating Apple’s countercultural sensibility and a minimalist design ethic, Jobs rolled out one sensational product after another, even in the face of the late-2000s recession and his own failing health.

He helped change computers from a geeky hobbyist’s obsession to a necessity of modern life at work and home, and in the process he upended not just personal technology but the cellphone and music industries.

For transformation of American industry, he has few rivals. He has long been linked to his personal computer-age contemporary, Bill Gates, and has drawn comparisons to other creative geniuses such as Walt Disney. Jobs died as Walt Disney Co.’s largest shareholder, a by-product of his decision to sell computer animation studio Pixar in 2006.

Perhaps most influentially, Jobs in 2001 launched the iPod, which offered “1,000 songs in your pocket.” Over the next 10 years, its white earphones and thumb-dial control seemed to become more ubiquitous than the wristwatch.

In 2007 came the touch-screen iPhone, joined a year later by Apple’s App Store, where developers could sell iPhone “apps” which made the phone a device not just for making calls but also for managing money, editing photos, playing games and social networking. And in 2010, Jobs introduced the iPad, a tablet-sized, all-touch computer that took off even though market analysts said no one really needed one.

By 2011, Apple had become the second-largest company of any kind in the United States by market value. In August, it briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company.

Under Jobs, the company cloaked itself in secrecy to build frenzied anticipation for each of its new products. Jobs himself had a wizardly sense of what his customers wanted, and where demand didn’t exist, he leveraged a cult-like following to create it.

When he spoke at Apple presentations, almost always in faded blue jeans, sneakers and a black mock turtleneck, legions of Apple acolytes listened to every word. He often boasted about Apple successes, then coyly added a coda — “one more thing” — before introducing its latest ambitious idea.

In later years, Apple investors also watched these appearances for clues about his health. Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had been diagnosed with a very rare form of pancreatic cancer — an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. He underwent surgery and said he had been cured. In 2009, following weight loss he initially attributed to a hormonal imbalance, he abruptly took a six-month leave. During that time, he received a liver transplant that became public two months after it was performed.

He went on another medical leave in January 2011, this time for an unspecified duration. He never went back and resigned as CEO in August, though he stayed on as chairman. Consistent with his penchant for secrecy, he didn’t reference his illness in his resignation letter.

Steven Paul Jobs was born Feb. 24, 1955, in San Francisco to Joanne Simpson, then an unmarried graduate student, and Abdulfattah Jandali, a student from Syria. Simpson gave Jobs up for adoption, though she married Jandali and a few years later had a second child with him, Mona Simpson, who became a novelist.

Steven was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs of Los Altos, California, a working-class couple who nurtured his early interest in electronics. He saw his first computer terminal at NASA’s Ames Research Center when he was around 11 and landed a summer job at Hewlett-Packard before he had finished high school.

Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Ore., in 1972 but dropped out after six months.

“All of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it,” he said at a Stanford University commencement address in 2005. “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out.”

When he returned to California in 1974, Jobs worked for video game maker Atari and attended meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club — a group of computer hobbyists — with Steve Wozniak, a high school friend who was a few years older.

Wozniak’s homemade computer drew attention from other enthusiasts, but Jobs saw its potential far beyond the geeky hobbyists of the time. The pair started Apple Computer Inc. in Jobs’ parents’ garage in 1976. According to Wozniak, Jobs suggested the name after visiting an “apple orchard” that Wozniak said was actually a commune.

Their first creation was the Apple I — essentially, the guts of a computer without a case, keyboard or monitor.

The Apple II, which hit the market in 1977, was their first machine for the masses. It became so popular that Jobs was worth $100 million by age 25.

During a 1979 visit to the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Jobs again spotted mass potential in a niche invention: a computer that allowed people to control computers with the click of a mouse, not typed commands. He returned to Apple and ordered his engineering team to copy what he had seen.

It foreshadowed a propensity to take other people’s concepts, improve on them and spin them into wildly successful products. Under Jobs, Apple didn’t invent computers, digital music players or smartphones — it reinvented them for people who didn’t want to learn computer programming or negotiate the technical hassles of keeping their gadgets working.

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas,” Jobs said in an interview for the 1996 PBS series “Triumph of the Nerds.”

The engineers responded with two computers. The pricier Lisa — the same name as his daughter — launched to a cool reception in 1983. The less-expensive Macintosh, named for an employee’s favorite apple, exploded onto the scene in 1984.

The Mac was heralded by an epic Super Bowl commercial that referenced George Orwell’s “1984” and captured Apple’s iconoclastic style. In the ad, expressionless drones marched through dark halls to an auditorium where a Big Brother-like figure lectures on a big screen. A woman in a bright track uniform burst into the hall and launched a hammer into the screen, which exploded, stunning the drones, as a narrator announced the arrival of the Mac.

There were early stumbles at Apple. Jobs clashed with colleagues and even the CEO he had hired away from Pepsi, John Sculley. And after an initial spike, Mac sales slowed, in part because few programs had been written for it.

With Apple’s stock price sinking, conflicts between Jobs and Sculley mounted. Sculley won over the board in 1985 and pushed Jobs out of his day-to-day role leading the Macintosh team. Jobs resigned his post as chairman of the board and left Apple within months.

“What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating,” Jobs said in his Stanford speech. “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 one of the most creative periods of my life.”

He got into two other companies: Next, a computer maker, and Pixar, a computer-animation studio that he bought from George Lucas for $10 million.

Pixar, ultimately the more successful venture, seemed at first a bottomless money pit. Then in 1995 came “Toy Story,” the first computer-animated full-length feature. Jobs used its success to negotiate a sweeter deal with Disney for Pixar’s next two films, “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story 2.” Jobs sold Pixar to The Walt Disney Co. for $7.4 billion in stock in a deal that got him a seat on Disney’s board and 138 million shares of stock that accounted for most of his fortune. Forbes magazine estimated Jobs was worth $7 billion in a survey last month.

With Next, Jobs came up with a cube-shaped computer. He was said to be obsessive about the tiniest details, insisting on design perfection even for the machine’s guts. The machine cost a pricey $6,500 to $10,000, and he never managed to spark much demand for it.

Ultimately, he shifted the focus to software — a move that paid off later when Apple bought Next for its operating system technology, the basis for the software still used in Mac computers.

By 1996, when Apple bought Next, Apple was in dire financial straits. It had lost more than $800 million in a year, dragged its heels in licensing Mac software for other computers and surrendered most of its market share to PCs that ran Windows.

Larry Ellison, Jobs’ close friend and fellow Silicon Valley billionaire and the CEO of Oracle Corp., publicly contemplated buying Apple in early 1997 and ousting its leadership. The idea fizzled, but Jobs stepped in as interim chief later that year.

He slashed unprofitable projects, narrowed the company’s focus and presided over a new marketing push to set the Mac apart from Windows, starting with a campaign encouraging computer users to “Think different.”

Apple’s first new product under his direction, the brightly colored, plastic iMac, launched in 1998 and sold about 2 million in its first year. Apple returned to profitability that year. Jobs dropped the “interim” from his title in 2000.

He changed his style, too, said Tim Bajarin, who met Jobs several times while covering the company for Creative Strategies.

“In the early days, he was in charge of every detail. The only way you could say it is, he was kind of a control freak,” he said. In his second stint, “he clearly was much more mellow and more mature.”

In the decade that followed, Jobs kept Apple profitable while pushing out an impressive roster of new products.

Apple’s popularity exploded in the 2000s. The iPod, smaller and sleeker with each generation, introduced many lifelong Windows users to their first Apple gadget.

The arrival of the iTunes music store in 2003 gave people a convenient way to buy music legally online, song by song. For the music industry, it was a mixed blessing. The industry got a way to reach Internet-savvy people who, in the age of Napster, were growing accustomed to downloading music free. But online sales also hastened the demise of CDs and established Apple as a gatekeeper, resulting in battles between Jobs and music executives over pricing and other issues.

Jobs’ command over gadget lovers and pop culture swelled to the point that, on the eve of the iPhone’s launch in 2007, faithful followers slept on sidewalks outside posh Apple stores for the chance to buy one. Three years later, at the iPad’s debut, the lines snaked around blocks and out through parking lots, even though people had the option to order one in advance.

The decade was not without its glitches. In the mid-2000s, Apple was swept up in a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into stock options backdating, a practice that artificially raised the value of options grants. But Jobs and Apple emerged unscathed after two former executives took the fall and eventually settled with the SEC.

Jobs’ personal ethos — a natural food lover who embraced Buddhism and New Age philosophy — was closely linked to the public persona he shaped for Apple. Apple itself became a statement against the commoditization of technology — a cynical view, to be sure, from a company whose computers can cost three or more times as much as those of its rivals.

For technology lovers, buying Apple products has meant gaining entrance to an exclusive club. At the top was a complicated and contradictory figure who was endlessly fascinating — even to his detractors, of which Jobs had many. Jobs was a hero to techno-geeks and a villain to partners he bullied and to workers whose projects he unceremoniously killed or claimed as his own.

Unauthorized biographer Alan Deutschman described him as “deeply moody and maddeningly erratic.” In his personal life, Jobs denied for two years that he was the father of Lisa, the baby born to his longtime girlfriend Chrisann Brennan in 1978.

Few seemed immune to Jobs’ charisma and will. He could adeptly convince those in his presence of just about anything — even if they disagreed again when he left the room and his magic wore off.

“He always has an aura around his persona,” said Bajarin, who met Jobs several times while covering the company for more than 20 years as a Creative Strategies analyst. “When you talk to him, you know you’re really talking to a brilliant mind.”

But Bajarin also remembers Jobs lashing out with profanity at an employee who interrupted their meeting. Jobs, the perfectionist, demanded greatness from everyone at Apple.

Jobs valued his privacy, but some details of his romantic and family life have been uncovered. In the early 1980s, Jobs dated the folk singer Joan Baez, according to Deutschman.

In 1989, Jobs spoke at Stanford’s graduate business school and met his wife, Laurene Powell, who was then a student. When she became pregnant, Jobs at first refused to marry her. It was a near-repeat of what had happened more than a decade earlier with then-girlfriend Brennan, Deutschman said, but eventually Jobs relented.

Jobs started looking for his biological family in his teens, according to an interview he gave to The New York Times in 1997. He found his biological sister when he was 27. They became friends, and through her Jobs met his biological mother. Few details of those relationships have been made public.

But the extent of Apple secrecy didn’t become clear until Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had been diagnosed with — and “cured” of — a rare form of operable pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. The company had sat on the news of his diagnosis for nine months while Jobs tried trumping the disease with a special diet, Fortune magazine reported in 2008.

In the years after his cancer was revealed, rumors about Jobs’ health would spark runs on Apple stock as investors worried the company, with no clear succession plan, would fall apart without him. Apple did little to ease those concerns. It kept the state of Jobs’ health a secret for as long as it could, then disclosed vague details when, in early 2009, it became clear he was again ill.

Jobs took a half-year medical leave of absence starting in January 2009, during which he had a liver transplant. Apple did not disclose the procedure at the time; two months later, The Wall Street Journal reported the fact and a doctor at the transplant hospital confirmed it.

In January 2011, Jobs announced another medical leave, his third, with no set duration. He returned to the spotlight briefly in March to personally unveil a second-generation iPad and again in June, when he showed off Apple’s iCloud music synching service. At both events, he looked frail in his signature jeans and mock turtleneck.

Less than three months later, Jobs resigned as CEO. In a letter addressed to Apple’s board and the “Apple community” Jobs said he “always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

In 2005, following the bout with cancer, Jobs delivered Stanford University’s commencement speech.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he said. “Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Jobs is survived by his biological mother; his sister Mona Simpson; Lisa Brennan-Jobs, his daughter with Brennan; wife Laurene, and their three children, Erin, Reed and Eve.

4 comments to Legacy of a Legend: Steve Jobs

  • iSad: Digital titans, gadget junkies mourn Jobs

    From Associated Press
    October 06, 2011 8:10 AM EDT

    BANGKOK (AP) — From the titans of high technology to teenagers armed with iPads, millions of people around the world mourned digital-gadget genius Steve Jobs as a man whose wizardry transformed their lives in big ways and small.

    Google, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft — corporate giants that have all been bruised in dustups with Jobs’ baby, the technology prodigy Apple — put their rivalries aside Thursday to remember the man behind the iconic products that define his generation: the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad.

    “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote.

    Fans for whom the Apple brand became a near-religion grasped for comparisons to history’s great innovators, as well as its celebrities, to honor the man they credit with putting 1,000 songs and the Internet in their pockets.

    “I was so saddened. For me it was like Michael Jackson or Princess Diana — that magnitude,” Stephen Jarjoura, 43, said at the flagship Apple store in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney. He said Jobs’ legacy would surpass that of even Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.

    “The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve’s innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations,” Sony Corp. President and Chief Executive Howard Stringer said in a statement.

    Few companies felt Apple’s rise more than Japan’s Sony, whose iconic Walkman transformed the music listening experience in the 1980s but which proved no match for Apple’s iPod after it launched in 2001.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said Jobs exemplified American ingenuity. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon bemoaned the loss of “one of the most visionary minds of our times.” India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was “deeply saddened.”

    News of Jobs’ death Wednesday, after years spent battling pancreatic cancer, spread swiftly in the online world, which was alight with expressions of sympathy. Zuckerberg’s comments on Facebook were “liked” by more than 215,000 people within hours. The most heavily trending topics on Twitter in the hours after Jobs’ death included the phrases “RIP Steve Jobs,” ”thankyousteve” and “iSad.”

    Internet search behemoth Google starkly listed Jobs’ name and the years of his birth and death on its home page, with a link leading to a Jobs memorial on Apple’s home page.

    Thousands of celebrities and fans took to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to leave remembrances about him. Many noted that they had learned of his death via one of his products, such as the iPhone.

    Amalia Sari in Jakarta, Indonesia, said when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over a year ago, she decided to go on a monthlong pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. She bought an iPad for her mom to look at photos sent home and to keep in touch via Apple video conference.

    “Without Steve Jobs and his crazy inventions, that kind of thing would never have been possible,” she said, adding that after getting the first tweet about Job’s death she logged off because she couldn’t bear to hear more about it.

    “I was really sobbing. It is great loss for me, and for the world as well,” she said.

    In China, one of Apple’s fastest growing markets, Henry Men Youngfan said he was shocked by the news that his hero had died, remembering how he felt when he entered graduate school at Peking University’s college of engineering.

    “My teachers asked me what kind of person I wanted to be and I told them I wanted to be like Steve,” Men said in Beijing.

    Li Zilong, who was listening to his iPod in front of a Beijing Apple store, worried that Apple’s innovation may have died along with its co-founder, whose charisma and showmanship were an essential part of the company’s sales pitch.

    “Jobs was a legendary figure; every company needs a spiritual leader,” said the 20-year-old university student. “Without Jobs, I don’t know if Apple can give us more classic products, like the iPhone 4.”

    Competing companies that watched as Apple’s sales — and its stock price — took off over the past decade posted messages of admiration.

    “Steve Jobs was a great visionary and a respected competitor,” said Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-CEOs of Blackberry-maker Research in Motion.

    “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said.

    The chief executive officer of Samsung, which is locked in an intensifying court battle with Apple over patent rights, called Steve Jobs an “innovative spirit” who will be remembered forever.

    The South Korean electronics giant momentarily put aside its rivalry with Apple to praise Jobs as the man who “introduced numerous revolutionary changes to the information technology industry,” G.S. Choi said in a statement.

    Also in Seoul, 16-year-old student Yu Yong-hyun said he was devastated that the world lost a talented CEO so early.

    “People my age think using Apple makes them look more cool,” Yu said, adding that his iPhone organizes his life and connects him to the Internet while his iPod is always attached to his ears.

    In Tokyo, Apple aficionados gathered at an iStore for a sunset vigil organized via Twitter, holding up virtual candles on their iPhones and iPads.

    “I knew I had to come,” said university student Hideki Fujita, 18. “I just needed to be here.”

    In Lagos, Nigeria, technology specialist Gbenga Sesan said people will remember Jobs every time they use “an iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or an i-anything”

    “Even though Steve is gone, Steve is still with us,” Sesan said.

    Even the White House mourned. Obama remembered Jobs as one of America’s greatest innovators and said the world had lost a visionary.

    In a tweet sent separately from his statement, Obama said, in his words, “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

  • Jobs and his celebrity: A love-hate relationship

    From Associated Press
    October 06, 2011 5:34 AM EDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — It was the 1980s, relatively early in his career, and Steve Jobs was traveling in Japan. In a hotel lobby, a gaggle of girls came up and asked for his autograph.

    Jay Elliot was an Apple executive at the time, traveling with Jobs. “I was thinking, wow, how many CEOs have girls coming up and asking them for autographs?” Elliot says now.

    Over the next few decades, Jobs’ fame only increased, of course, and exponentially.

    By the time he died on Wednesday, after years of medical problems, Jobs had appeared on some 100 magazine covers and had numerous books written about him, not to mention an off-Broadway play, an HBO movie, even a “South Park” episode. He wasn’t the first celebrity CEO, and he won’t be the last. But he may have been the first in modern times to transcend the business world and become a veritable pop culture icon.

    And yet Jobs, who seemingly enjoyed the access his celebrity brought, also appeared deeply conflicted about his fame, zealously guarding the smallest details of his private life. And though he appeared smiling on countless magazine covers, he had a prickly relationship with the media and those who sought to write about him.

    “Steve had a love-hate relationship with his own fame,” says Alan Deutschman, author of “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs,” an unauthorized biography. “He wanted it both ways. He clearly enjoyed the celebrity and the access it gave him, but he wanted total control over his image.”

    And he largely got it. “Steve was masterful,” Deutschman says. “No one has come close to Steve in his ability to control and manipulate the media and get what he wants.”

    Where does Jobs fit in the pantheon of celebrity CEOs? Analysts struggle to find apt comparisons in the business world.

    “He’s on another plane,” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management science at Stanford University. “He reached a level in the public consciousness that’s beyond that of anyone in modern times. I mean, my mother doesn’t know the name of (former General Electric CEO) Jack Welch.”

    Sutton and others find that they have to reach back into history for comparisons: to Henry Ford, for example, who revolutionized transportation with the Model T automobile, or to Thomas Edison, the master inventor who similarly transformed the way we live. Or to Walt Disney, with his vast influence in entertainment.

    It’s Edison’s name that pops up the most often, partly because he wasn’t only a visionary but, as Sutton says, “He could really sell. He was very good at his external image.”

    Like Jobs, whose name is well known to children as young as 6 or 7 (even if they’re too young to read business magazines or, let’s hope, to see that edgy “South Park” episode), Edison was emulated by young children of his time, says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management.

    Sonnenfeld, who studies business leaders, compares Jobs — and his fame — to other “folk heroes” who’ve emerged in various fields at times of great change in our history, be it politics, culture, or, in this case, technology.

    “What heroes do is personify complex change,” Sonnenfeld says. “It’s a shorthand that we use. It reduces things to the level of an individual.” Jobs’ ability to channel technology into products people didn’t even know they wanted — but then had to have — is “almost unfathomable,” he says.

    Unfathomable, uncanny, otherworldly — such adjectives have frequently been used to describe Jobs. But there’s another side to it all. Can being a celebrity be detrimental to one’s performance as a CEO?

    “It’s a huge problem when the boss becomes the brand,” Sonnenfeld says. “The upside is, it gives the brand human terms. The downside is that none of us are immortal. These branded bosses often start to believe in their own immortality.”

    Sonnenfeld, like some others, believes that Jobs should have stepped down as CEO earlier than he did because of his health.

    On the other hand, one could argue that no rules or generalizations apply to Jobs and Apple. Sutton, at Stanford, wrote years ago that there was evidence that the more famous CEOs were distracted by all that public scrutiny, to the detriment of their companies. But, he says, “Jobs clearly doesn’t fit into that category.”

    Compounding Jobs’ astonishing fame was the early age at which he achieved it. He spent virtually his entire career in the public eye, co-founding Apple at age 21. His first magazine cover came just five years later, at 26, on Inc. magazine, with the headline: “This man has changed business forever.” Four months later he was on the cover of Time.

    One of the covers he wanted most, though, was one he didn’t get. A front-runner for Time’s 1982 Man of the Year, Jobs instead lost out to a machine — the computer. An accompanying article about him included descriptions of him as a sometimes fearsome boss, and the fact that he had a daughter, Lisa, by a former girlfriend, whom he had not acknowledged and was not supporting. (He later acknowledged Lisa, and she became part of his family.)

    “Steve was incensed,” says Deutschman, the author, who also teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. “Ever since then he has been extremely controlling of everything — except for small, handfed amounts of carefully managed information.”

    Of course, that only led to huge curiosity about Jobs, compounding his fame. “He wasn’t flaunting it like Donald Trump,” says Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School. “He didn’t do Architectural Digest. Do you even know what his wife looks like?” Indeed, Laurene Powell Jobs, whom Steve married in 1991, was rarely photographed with him, their children even less so.

    Yet Jobs also showed early on how he enjoyed his fame.

    At the 1999 Macworld Expo, he was the star of the show, coming out in his trademark black mock turtle, jeans and sneakers, hands clasped together as if in prayer, giving a pep talk about “the resurgence of Apple.” But actually it wasn’t Jobs at all — it was actor Noah Wyle, of “ER” fame, who had played Jobs in the HBO movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley.”

    Then the real Jobs, who had asked Wyle to make the appearance, came onstage, jokingly telling the actor his imitation was all wrong, all to the delight of the crowd. It ended with Jobs asking Wyle for a part on “ER.”

    As a celebrity himself, Jobs had easy access to other celebrities. Before his marriage, he was said to have dated Joan Baez, and, at one point, Diane Keaton.

    Yet there were times that Jobs did appear to eschew his fame. Deutschman describes an incident where Jobs was helping a woman who had fallen on the street in Palo Alto, Calif., not far from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. Her reaction: “Oh my God, it’s Steve Jobs!” Deutschman says the incident left Jobs deeply upset.

    However Jobs may have felt about his fame, there’s no question that one key element of it was his struggle with — and triumph over — adversity.

    It was a truly American story in many ways: First, achieving success despite humble beginnings. Then failure — getting pushed out of his own company. And finally, a return to grace, first at Pixar, then by returning to Apple for a string of huge successes that continue to this day.

    “Our heroes are only truly heroic if they suffer crushing defeat — then come back from it,” Sonnenfeld says. And again, the comparisons to Edison, Ford, Disney apply: Each suffered failures before their ultimate triumphs.

    There was also, of course, Jobs’ illness in his later years — a final bout with adversity. In keeping with his penchant for secrecy, few details were shared. However, his determination to keep working — even as he appeared increasingly and alarmingly thin — buoyed many, Galloway says.

    “Everyone in America over 30 has had their life touched by illness in some way,” he says. “This humanized him. You just felt for the guy. It was hard not to pull for him.”

    After years of opposing attempts by writers to capture his life — not only declining to cooperate in biographies but actively discouraging them — Jobs finally agreed in 2011. Simon & Schuster announced in April that Walter Isaacson, who’d written biographies of Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein, would come out with “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” in early 2012. (The release date was later moved up to November.)

    As one small measure of the intense interest in Jobs, news of his first authorized biography was the top story on blogs that week — a rare occurrence for a technology story — and the second top story on Twitter that week, according to the Pew Research Center.

    “There are very few business people who’ve been cultural heroes, icons, heroic figures to ordinary people — and we desperately want these heroes,” Deutschman says.

    “We needed Steve’s story.”

  • The World-Changer: Steve Jobs knew what we wanted

    From Associated Press
    October 06, 2011 1:52 AM EDT

    CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — In dark suit and bowtie, he is a computing-era carnival barker — eyebrows bouncing, hands gesturing, smile seductive and coy and a bit annoying. It’s as if he’s on his first date with an entire generation of consumers. And, in a way, he is.

    It is Jan. 24, 1984, and a young Steve Jobs is standing at center stage, introducing to shareholders of Apple Computer Inc. the “insanely great” machine that he’s certain will change the world: a beige plastic box called the Macintosh.

    Here is the Wizard of Cupertino at the threshold of it all, years before the black mock turtleneck and blue jeans. He is utterly in command — of his audience and of his performance. All of the Jobs storytelling staples are emerging.

    The hyperbole: “You have to see this display to believe it. It’s incredible.”

    The villain: “And all of this power fits in a box that is one-third the size and weight of an IBM PC.”

    The tease: “Now I’d like to show you Macintosh in person. All of the images you are about to see on the large screen will be generated by what’s in that bag.”

    He retreats into the shadows, pulls the inaugural Mac out of its satchel. He inserts a disk and boots up. Suddenly, on the screen — roughly pixelated by today’s standards but, for 1984, stunning — a typeface rolls by to the theme from “Chariots of Fire.” A picture of a geisha appears. Then a spreadsheet. Architectural renderings. A game of video chess. A bitmapped drawing of Steve Jobs dreaming of a Mac.

    The computer speaks. “Hello. I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag,” it says. “It is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me: Steve Jobs.”

    Applause shakes the place. Steven Paul Jobs, basking in it, tries not to grin. He fails. The future, at this moment, is his.


    It is 27 years later now, and Steve Jobs has exited the stage he managed so well. We are left with the talismans of his talent, a tech diaspora: the descendants of that original Mac. The iPod and iTunes, Nanos and Shuffles and Classics and Touches. The Apple Store. The iPhone and the App Store and the iPad 2. They are part of the cultural fabric — tools that make our lives easier and, some insist, sexier and more streamlined.

    But taken together, what do they mean? Are they merely gadgets and services that sold well, that answered the market’s needs for humans of the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Did Jobs’ prickly perfectionism — born, some said, of outsized ego — merely create a whole run of really useful tools? Or is something more elemental at play here?

    Jobs the CEO, Jobs the technologist and futurist, Jobs the inventor and innovator and refiner of others’ ideas: All of them, in the end, relied upon another Steve Jobs who sewed the others together and bottled their lightning: Steve Jobs the storyteller, spinning the tale of our age and of his own success, and making it happen as he went.

    From his earliest days with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, he was a half-step ahead of the rest of us, innovating and inventing and creating and doggedly marketing it all by building a lifestyle around it. From Apple’s personal computers, he harnessed the new and repackaged the existing to create something fresh, something more.

    Beyond his measurable successes, though, Steve Jobs claims one spot in history above all others: He realized what we wanted before we understood it ourselves.

    We wanted easy to use. We wanted to lose ourselves in what our gadgets did. We wanted sleek, cool, streamlined — things that weren’t always associated with consumer electronics. We wanted the relationship between object fetish and functionality to be indistinguishable. We wanted to touch the future without seams that would yank us out of our communion with our machines. We wanted, in short, intricate simplicity.

    To Jobs, the above sentences might have been commandments. They were used to denounce — in a friendly manner, but always pointed — what Apple cast as the corporate, bland chaos of the PC culture that IBM and Microsoft were creating.

    In Jobs’ hands those principles were potent weapons. Apple’s successes and missteps are well known, but things seemed to accumulate voltage when they passed through the switching station of Jobs’ brain.

    “There are two sides of it. One is the interface design side. The other is his ability to persuade major media outlets and others to work with him,” says Edward Tenner, a technology historian and author of “Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity.”

    “His personal mystique,” Tenner says, “became a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    Some of it is the American penchant for big personalities. Microsoft had Bill Gates, Facebook Marc Zuckerberg. A dominant human face focuses things. Think of IBM, one of the 20th century’s most influential companies: It dominated as the computer age dawned but lacked a defining figure; does it hold the same place in popular culture as an Apple or a Facebook? The Hollywood storytelling tradition, built on the American cult of individual achievement, feeds the belief in a national history of invention and innovation.

    Progress by committee? Not so compelling a script, even though Apple succeeds on the hard work of thousands. But the American inventor mystique — the notion that one guy armed with a combination of a good idea, hard work, challenging conditions and a bit of snake oil, can still change the world? That’s been a big seller since Eli Whitney and the cotton gin.

    When it comes to Jobs, comparisons are legion. Like Edison? A little, but not really; Edison didn’t understand the elegance of interfaces. Like Barnum, selling the sizzle? Except that Jobs had the steak, too. Perhaps more like broadcast pioneers David Sarnoff and Bill Paley, who realized they must harness the pipeline — the airwaves, in their case — so that the content could flow through.

    In a world of corporations and committees and consultation and collaboration, Jobs personified the power of the individual to effect an outcome — or at least the appearance of it. He was nothing if not cinematic. He projected his own image onto giant screens behind him as he rolled out product after product like some microchip Merlin. He was not merely a technologist; he was a stylemaker.

    Jobs “saw there was this personal quality to computing,” says Paul Levinson, author of “Cellphone: The Story of the World’s Most Mobile Medium and How It Has Transformed Everything.”

    “The attractiveness of the product . They’re gleaming, beautiful objects that are physically attractive,” Levinson says. “iPods are almost worn as jewelry. Who would have imagined it would have been cool to see wires coming out of somebody’s ear?”


    Every medium, of course, needs messages. Every container needs content. Every gadget, to endure, needs to transcend itself and become what the people who use it dream it could be.

    Imagine, in the Foghat and Starland Vocal Band days of 1976 when Apple came into existence, if someone said you could acquire all the music you could listen to in a lifetime, from the best bands, in a matter of moments — and not by ordering 10 eight-track tapes for a penny from Columbia House. Unthinkable.

    Imagine if, on the day Jobs introduced the Mac, someone said: Hey, wanna watch “Risky Business” on this screen that looks like a thick piece of paper? And we can read magazines and newspapers AND play Missile Command while we’re waiting for it to — what’s the word? — “download.” Preposterous.

    Sure, we had downloaded music and even movies before iTunes; yes, we had been digital when it came to reading before the App Store. But again Apple stood in the intersection of utility and desire. Those services helped free content from physical format and let it go where people were.

    When Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, his sexy-beast patter made a great point of identifying the three fundamental gadgets that people sought out: the music player, the cellphone and the Internet-access device. The iPhone, he made great hay of saying, was all three.

    Apple didn’t just want to make money from things it made; it wanted to make money from things others made — to be a distributor of content through its devices. So if you want The New York Times on your iPad, Apple gets a cut. If you want premium Weather Channel maps, Apple gets a cut. If you want the Beatles or “Harry Potter” and you get ’em on iTunes, Apple gets a cut.

    Put another way: Jobs built a tech company, then left. When he came back, the landscape had changed enough that he decided, hey— this should be a media company, too. The Internet era had arrived and the two notions had grown together. And there Steve Jobs stood in the middle, getting it — and controlling the conditions of distribution to benefit Apple, much to content companies’ irritation.

    “Asking if something is a media company or a tech company is now irrelevant. Media is technology. Technology is media,” says Dale Peskin, a principal at We Media, a Virginia firm that studies how media, technology and society are changing each other.

    “The distinction,” he says, “has become nonsensical.”


    In one episode of “Mad Men,” the ad-exec main character, Don Draper, builds a campaign around Kodak’s slide projector, which the company calls the “photo wheel.” Draper understands that what resonates is not what the gadget does; it’s what it means that’s important.

    “There’s the rare occasion,” he says, “when the public can be engaged beyond flash — if they have a sentimental bond with the product.” And lo: Draper rechristens the photo wheel the Carousel — because, he says, “it lets us travel the way a child travels — round and round and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.”

    What Don Draper did with the slide projector in fiction, Steve Jobs did with technology in the real world. He constructed meaning from desire.

    “What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values,” Jobs said in a Playboy interview in 1985.

    For Jobs, it was about harnessing the here and now with devices that propelled you into the future — the one “Star Trek” and “The Jetsons” promised, where gadgetry lived alongside us without devaluing humans in the process.

    As eulogies pour in, it’s easy to conclude that Apple was Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs was Apple. The reality is far more complex. Teams upon teams of creative people built the company’s dreams and hid its seams.

    But on the inside, dictatorship, however benevolent, tends to be more efficient than democracy. And looking from the outside, the charismatic front man trumps communal, incremental progress. Genius may indeed be 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, but selling genius to the masses — well, that ratio is probably far more balanced.

    There is criticism that Jobs was an amplifier, a conduit of others’ originality. But he understood how to turn raw ideas into applied, coveted tech. “People always knock him for building off other people. But he knew what to do with it,” says Leander Kahney, editor and publisher of the tech blog Cult of Mac.

    He made people believe his reality was the one they desired. He convinced us of what we couldn’t live without, then packaged it and sold it to us. With a sales sensibility drawn from the 19th century, he sold us the 21st. Which did he do more of — nuts and bolts or smoke and mirrors? Does it matter? Aren’t both necessary for what he and Apple accomplished?

    In the end, these things are true: a beige plastic cube with a gray screen and a slot in it changed computing. A tiny box that stored bits and bytes, helped along by a virtual store that sold digital files for 99 cents each, changed music. Another tiny one-button box that did hundreds of things changed phones and media. And a flat, paper-sized slate, a latter day tabula rasa, is still changing all of the above in ways we haven’t yet measured.

    David Gelernter offers insight into the Jobsian personality in “Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology,” his 1998 book. “We believe implicitly that the scientist is one type, the artist a radically different one,” Gelernter writes. “In fact, the scientific and artistic personalities overlap more than they differ, and the higher we shimmy into the leafy canopy of talent, the closer the two enterprises seem.”

    On a recent lunch hour in Cupertino, de Anza Boulevard, which runs right through the campus of Apple headquarters, is full of pedestrians — the acolytes of Jobs. Stop at a red light and watch as they cross. Invariably, each one carries a device. A woman is engrossed in what’s on her iPad. A young man is chatting on an iPhone. Three people wear earbuds with white cords snaking into various pockets. One is singing.

    Here’s the funny thing. Three days later and 3,000 miles east, an urban crosswalk produces the same sight — human beings interacting with the fruits of the Apple tree, doing what they do with Jobs’ vision of progress, integrating his gadgets and their contents into everyday life.

    Was he inventor? Salesman? Entertainer? Visionary? Those questions miss the point. Like his devices, Steve Jobs was a medium that led us to other destinations — the ones of our own choosing. That’s what made him different. He’s gone, but the future he saw is still, quite literally, in our hands.

  • Apple co-founder Wozniak says he’ll miss Jobs

    From Associated Press
    October 06, 2011 1:37 AM EDT

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Steve Wozniak, who started Apple in a Silicon Valley garage with Steve Jobs in 1976, said he’ll miss his fellow co-founder “as much as everyone.”

    “We’ve lost something we won’t get back,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press following Jobs’ death on Wednesday.

    “The way I see it, though, the way people love products he put so much into creating means he brought a lot of life to the world.”

    Wozniak, a high school friend of Jobs’, last saw him about three months ago, shortly after Jobs emerged from a medical leave to unveil Apple Inc.’s iCloud content syncing service and the latest version of its iOS mobile software. At the time, Wozniak said, Jobs looked ill and sounded weak.

    Jobs had battled cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009 after taking a leave of absence for unspecified health problems. He took another leave of absence in January — his third since his health problems began — and officially resigned as CEO in August. Jobs became Apple’s chairman and handed the helm to his hand-picked successor, Tim Cook.

    Apple announced Jobs’ death Wednesday afternoon. The company did not specify a cause. Jobs was 56.

    Wozniak, 61, said Jobs was a good husband and father and a great businessman who had an eye for details. He said Jobs was a good marketer and understood the benefits of technology. His string of hits includes the Apple II and Macintosh computers, iPod music players, the iPhone and the iPad tablet computer.

    When it came to Apple’s products, “while everyone else was fumbling around trying to find the formula, he had the better instincts,” he said.

    After dropping out of Reed College in Portland, Ore., Jobs returned to California in 1974, where he attended meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club — a group of computer hobbyists — with Wozniak.

    Wozniak’s homemade computer drew attention from other enthusiasts, but Jobs saw its potential far beyond the geeky hobbyists of the time. The pair started Apple Computer Inc. in Jobs’ parents’ garage in 1976. According to Wozniak, Jobs suggested the name after visiting an “apple orchard” that Wozniak said was actually a commune.

    Wozniak and Jobs both left Apple in 1985. In Jobs’ case, it followed a clash with then-CEO John Sculley. Jobs resigned his post as chairman of the board and left Apple after being pushed out of his role leading the Macintosh team.

    Jobs returned in 1997 as interim CEO after Apple, then in dire financial dire straits, bought Next, a computer company he started.

    According to Wozniak, Jobs told him around the time he left Apple in 1985 that he had a feeling he would die before the age of 40. Because of that, “a lot of his life was focused on trying to get things done quickly,” Wozniak said.

    “I think what made Apple products special was very much one person, but he left a legacy,” he said. Because of this, Wozniak hopes the company can continue to be successful despite Jobs’ death.

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