On Steve Jobs (NSFW)

http://www.wired.com/business/2012/07/ff_stevejobs

I work in technology.  I'm writing this on a second generation Macbook Air.  My family owns or has owned: 2 ipod classics, 3 ipod nano's, 1 Intel iMac, 3 iPhones (1 3G, 1 iphone 4, 1 4s).  I'm not a fanboi, but I'm in the neighborhood.

That disclosed, let me be very clear in my position:  Fuck Steve Jobs.

Not because of what he did--he did great things (Apple, NeXT, Pixar, Apple...again), nor for his tyrannical management.  I raise the cyber middle finger to Jobs because people conflate the two.  They conclude that to do great things, you must be a tyrant, and that's just wrong.  In fact, the collateral damage of Jobs may take more than a decade to undo, just because people misunderstand who he was.

I find little to respect in Jobs the man or Jobs the leader.  He bred fear and distrust in his subordinates.  He surrounded himself with people afraid of him, and destroyed people for fun.  He was an awful father, the the point of self delusion.  His egomania in the 1980's left a company poised to fail once he was pushed out.  He was the autocrat; it's surprising he didn't mutter Apres moi, le deluge! on his exit.

So, why am I so twisted about the axle about this?   Because there can be one (EXACTLY ONE) Jobs within an organization, and he'd damn well better be the boss.  If Yegge is to be believed, Bezos is that for Amazon, minus the "You're an idiot" customer beratement.  Henry Ford was that for his eponymous company.  However, thanks to the best-selling biography and his cannonization, I fear a generation of middle managers who all want to be Steve Jobs.

This is already happening, as mentioned in the article, in an anecdote about a Professor of Management and Engineering at Standford:
In it he describes teaching an innovation seminar to a group of Chinese CEOs who seemed infatuated with Jobs. They began debating in high-volume Mandarin whether copying Jobs’ bad behavior would improve their ability to lead. After a half-hour break, Sutton returned to the classroom to find the CEOs still hollering at one another, many of them emphatic that Jobs succeeded because of—not in spite of—his cruel treatment of those around him.
Go ahead and try to be Atilla, Rasputin, and Ghengis Khan.  I'm sure you'll be temporally successful.

Look, you're not Steve Jobs.  For one thing, you made it past the first paragraph of this blog.  Jobs was a Sociopath, from my understanding of the term.  If you're Steve Jobs' scion, you don't give a shit about anyone else's opinion but your own.  You have no tolerance for anyone who wastes your time or tears you down (even if they're right).  If you have a shred of reflection or self-doubt, you're not Steve Jobs (YNSJ).  Basically, if you can look around your organization and you're not the boss--that is, if you can STAND not being the boss, YNSJ.

I'll leave you with this quote from the article:
 “Jobs was like dynamite,” Syal says. “Dynamite clears paths, but it also destroys everything around it.” Syal didn’t think much of Bill Gates before, but he does now. “Gates evolved from an asshole into a human being,” he says. “Jobs remained an ass.” 
Indeed.

Good on you, Apple employees, for creating great stuff.  I hope that continues.

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