I'm about one third of the way through Steve Jobs' authorized biography by Walter Isacsson, and while I might write a complete review whenever I finish it, I already have a few things to get off my chest.
Even though I consider myself an early adopter and bought the first iPad the day it came out (and have already owned four different iPhones), I've never read a book digitally until now. It seemed fitting to give my first trial with iBooks on the iPad to Jobs' biography, and honestly, it's no less pleasant than reading a hard copy. Even reading pages on the tiny iPhone isn't too bad – what's cool is the the "cloud" knows where you left off, from device to device. It's extremely convenient.
But beyond the delivery method, I'm mostly taken aback by the subject of the book and Jobs stood for. I'm not a stockholder, but I've used Macs exclusively since my parents bought first one in 1985. Before that, I learned BASIC on the Commodore 64, but at school, we all used Apple IIs. Jobs' imprint has been with me since third grade.
As of today, I'm at the point in the book when Jobs and his team launched the first Mac. It takes me back to a time when I would fiddle with MacPaint, learn about fonts and teach myself how computers worked. In many ways, it's not so different today, and I've lost count how many Apple computers I've owned, but it's well into the double digits. I've grudgingly used PCs running Windows and Linux and Blackberry phones, but at this point, there's virtually no chance I will ever buy a computer or mobile device that doesn't run the Apple OS du jour. I'm a customer for life.
The man behind Apple, though was clearly an insane genius, and at least up until 1985 (and probably beyond) was an insufferable bastard. He motivated alternately out of fear and grandiose predictions about changing the universe. He was fickle, stubborn and weird. Naturally, as an entrepreneur, myself, I am drawing some comparisons between us.
Yes, Jobs was smarter, more driven, more visionary and more successful than me, but I still see some parallels about how we manage our teams (and most aren't so good). I realize that as I read this book, I'm rooting for him to straighten himself out and grow up. Because he was such a private person, I honestly don't know if and when that happened, but I can barely put the book down. I can relate to more than I want to admit.
It's not because Jobs was my business hero, though his products and his legacy are interwoven into every hour of my waking life. It's because his unlikely story, and now, the platforms upon which I learn about it, have me obsessing about "The Steve."
Oddly, in life, he was just that quirky guy who ran the company I loved to hate. Only in his death am I beginning to understand what this cocky, insane, complex and brilliant man meant to the world – and how I interact with it.
The man was a visionary...and a very good marketing person, but I can't imagine working for a person who would scream at his employees...belittle them, stand behind them and micro-manage every project at the company...and fire people as fast as the company could hire new ones...the guy was a strange guy, but I sure do love my imac. Rest in Peace Steve (he believed there was a 50/50 chance of an after-life)
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