What was special about him is that he loved what he did and pursued it with passion that was overwhelming and was often even envied. His arrogance was justified. May be because he complemented it with his charm and intellect that produced ideas and decisions that are worthy of appreciation. That is what it takes to be a leader – the sheer absence of fear.
Now that he is no more, I am amused at articles like – What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs, that highlight the Bad Steve.
The writer lists a number of facts and anecdotes that are disturbing and yet presumably normal in the current world we live in. Check the tag on your tee – it is probably made in Jakarta in a workshop like the one in China, where iPhones are made. It is a game of demand and supply. An alternative adopted by industries, sponsored by organizations like Apple and many others. Why point the finger at a dead man? He did not invent sweatshops.
I am pretty sure that a company that is highly selective in its hiring does not expect shit from its employees. The example of MobileMe cited in the article, is humorous to me, given that MobileMe was indeed a failure. I’d rather have a CEO who is not in denial about the quality and usability of his company’s products and is honest in his feedback. It just ensures I get my promised pay check on time and may be a dollop of bonus on top of it.
Another classic fact cited is – “He has no public record of giving to charity over the years, despite the fact he became wealthy after Apple’s 1980 IPO and had accumulated an estimated $7 billion.” Hmm.. I don’t think I should waste my time on this. I will simply say – Why should anyone care about that ? Who said that a man who has money above a threshold shall support the poverty in the rest of the world?
Lastly my question to the writer is why this article was not published when the man was alive. If you are concerned about the lessons our generation will learn from Steve’s management styles and leadership tactics, then these concerns were as legitimate a week back when he was with us. Why did you not voice these concerns back then? Were you afraid?
About your note on appraising the life of man based on the products he has designed – all I can say is you have probably never attended a funeral. A dead man’s life is not appraised based on what products he designs; he is admired for the relationships he nurtured. His personal life was probably compromised, given his illness and the time he spent at work. But we don’t hear about his drunken kids in fancy cars or his dogs and their latest hair do. And moreover you and I are no one to comment on that aspect of his life, because he never made it open to us. And for that I give him respect. In complete honesty, the man was a genius and not everyone can digest that.
The picture above is my favorite simply because it captures who he was – a show man.