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Think different about Jobs (cridland.net)
159 points by andyking on Nov 13, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 193 comments



While you can point at how he conducted himself at Apple and scream "Monster!", what isn't mentioned in this post but is dealt with at length in his biography is how he conducted himself at Pixar.

He was much more low-key about the 'products' at Pixar, he mostly was an enabler and negotiator for them. In Pixar's early days he invested an awful lot of his then-fortune into keeping it alive, and it was his cunning negotiation skills that kept Pixar from being swallowed by the then flailing Disney.

If you contrast his behaviour at Pixar and at Disney, I think it illustrates that he didn't consider the work at Pixar to be 'his art'. There were other people at Pixar who were leading the 'art' there and it was all in hand.

At Apple on the other hand, it's completely clear that Jobs' considered the products to be 'his art' and his conviction was such that he literally was going to drag everyone, kicking and screaming, to realise his vision. And that he did, in a world of horrible consumer electronics he would not abide, he set out and truly lead the creation of some very awesome and uncompromising products. It was his Art.

Imagine if Andy Warhol or Piccasso or any other famous artist relied on the expertise of many individuals to realise their creations. Do you think they'd be considering that all you want is your 9-5 job and your 401k and 4 weeks holiday a year. Nope, they'd be behaving in exactly the same way: aggressive and fervent conviction. Work ceases to become merely a job and you're no longer working, you're crusading.

In a world of unambitious and mediocre individuals, you have to move mountains to do great work that requires multi-disciplined collaboration. You're going to upset people along the way but that just comes with the territory.

I don't think it's fair to blame him for his behaviour. The world needs more people like him: true leaders who will stand up for their convictions, no matter what the cost.


Hear hear. You make a point that is true as the day is long - one which nobody wants to hear.

Not long ago I became a boss and tried to be a textbook good one: paying generously, being generous in general (e.g. vacation/sick days on the honor system), being a real sweetheart, asking nicely, giving credit, supporting their initiatives, giving control… My employees were smart, capable, and hard-working, so I should trust them. So I thought.

I ended up having to fire all of them.

When they freelanced for me before I hired them, they were on the ball and contributing. Then I made the mistake of hiring them and it all went to shit. They were not contributing anything like the kind of value I paid them for, wasting my time & money, generally spoiled, ungrateful, and clearly contemptuous of me and what I asked of them, never considering my position as the person responsible for their salaries and keeping the company alive.

Somehow I accidentally led them to believe that they were "partners" in decision-making, even though they had none of the risk. Not that they acted like partners, of course. But they came away with the idea that it was "our" business, and proceeded to do jack all with it except act entitled.

And when I fired them, they were shocked. They apparently spent quite a lot of time bitching about me to other people (while not doing their jobs) but were caught completely unawares that the feeling went both ways. Shocking.

I certainly have learned a valuable lesson:

When you're a driven, exacting person, you have to either hope you will find somebody just like you (fat chance!!) -- or you have to make them. And the making of a driven, exacting person from the outside is never going to be pleasant for the one being made. (And no matter how much better it makes them, they will whine about it.)

What are the chances that the "beleaguered" employees Jobs upset would have done work half as good without a cruel taskmaster? Pretty low, based on my experience.

Me, I have to admire somebody who can keep the pressure on another person and force them to do great work. I don't have it in me.


You should give a good instance / concrete example of what your previous employees did that demonstrates your provided view...

1. It entertains us even more!

2. Half the time it turns out the problem is really with the person talking (there is a reality distortion field turned on).


Here's a couple of telling examples: I asked one of them to read a book on improving customer service and give me a report with 3 suggestions for what we could do. It never happened. Asked her to call a company to arrange the purchase & delivery of glass whiteboards. Never happened.

This is not hard stuff.

When my partner was VERY sick and yet we had a major server problem, and he went into the office to fix it -- telling them he was on his way -- both employees expressed anger at him for kicking them out after they had left the house & were on their way. (They didn't want to catch his virus.) This is despite the fact that this server problem meant we weren't able to charge customers. The most obnoxious one bitched later about the cleanliness of the office -- apparently my sick partner left Theraflu packets lying about in the kitchen.

She also made derogatory comments about the way I wrote the copy on the site, after I clearly told her it was a matter of branding.

When I held a meeting on "how we could work together better," one of the employees had the gall to tell me "Sometimes you hover." This is the employee who failed to complete basic tasks. I told her, "If I hover, it's because I don't feel like I know what's going on. You could give me more updates." Of course, the real reason I hovered was because the work didn't get done. (And trust me, I didn't start off hovering -- I don't have the time and energy to waste on it, that's why I fired them.) I probably should have just reamed her out right then -- maybe that would have clarified things. But I don't think I should have to tell somebody something so obvious.

Naturally, when I would walk around our teeny tiny office, every time I went over to this employee's desk, she'd have Facebook up.

The few times the employees did come up with an idea, I praised them and told them to make it happen. We'd sit and make plans, I'd outline what I wanted to see, and when I wanted to see it, but "somehow" they never kept it up.

I'm sure I'm not the ideal boss. Obviously I spoiled them and led them to believe they were more important & more critical than they were. Nevertheless, I never yelled, never criticized in public, never did any number of "bad boss" things that might have actually gotten me what I wanted. I tried to accommodate them and be gentle. Instead, I had to fire them. Sad.


> The world needs more people like him: true leaders who will stand up for their convictions, no matter what the cost.

The true costs of these peoples' behavior is never on themselves.


I think you make a good point. People who are so convinced of their own rightness frequently turn into destructive monsters. But I also think that there's a difference between standing up for your convictions by insisting that people make a product right and standing up for your convictions by inflicting active harm on people.

The people of Apple could have quit. Many of them did. I suspect that the ones who remained felt the trade-off was acceptable. And Jobs didn't use his power to pursue people and inflict pain on them, so his dictatorial process had very clear limits.

When you're trying to realize a vision, compromise ruins everything. That said, not all visions deserve to be realized, and sometimes compromise avoids a lot of hurt. Jobs's hurt was not especially severe, and his vision was astonishing, so in his specific case I think it was justified; that ruling doesn't extend to everybody else who wants to push relentlessly towards a goal, because many goals are horrible and many pushes are just as bad.


"I don't think it's fair to blame him for his behaviour."

Then who should we blame?


even if the cost is other people? your last statement is a dangerous stance.


(Assuming that his behavior was necessary to the quality of the product (an assumption neither Steve nor his biographer were willing to make)):

He didn't "kill" them. He hurt their feelings.

Weigh a few bruised egos versus hundreds of millions of people with delightful, time-saving devices. As the book points out, yes, there is a real and measurable cost to wasting people's time with a badly designed device. And there is a benefit to delighting people.

I see a lot of people fixated on the, let's face it, pretty mundane human costs, unable to see what he actually accomplished. I don't want these people to be leaders, and in my opinion we are in a worse position when these people become leaders. They harm the rest of us because they cannot overcome their fixation on a few pitiable people to see the larger picture.


That's a pretty clear way of looking it.

The problem I have is that these attitudes are fragile. If you have a monarch, for example, with complete control over a country and who has tons of money and doesn't need to ask for permission, he can build a great nation of he's a good person.

When he dies and his son, who's an asshole but equally determined and powerful, takes over, now you have a bad situation.

Fortunately Steve Jobs wasn't in such control. But the point is that, yeah, if someone that determined and set in their ways and they're right...awesome!

But when people are like that and they're wrong, which happens a lot...god damn it's not good.

So I guess the question is whether this sort of "riskiness" is good? Like, when you win a horse race it's badass. The other 9 times out of 10 when you lose it sucks. Is that the human behavior we should model ourselves after? Interesting...


There are tons of behaviors which are great if you're right and bad if you're wrong. Should we never stand up for what we believe in? Should we let others decide things because we might be wrong?

And keep in mind that bad people won't care about these arguments. Only good people with reasonable and healthy self-doubt will be convinced to make less of an impact, and that's the opposite of what we should want.


I'm not at odds with your opinion, I agree. My point is that a lot of other fragile attitudes impact the person holding them. But a cavalier attitude like with Jobs or people set on having an impact on the world is fragile in that it can impact many others. That's the only concern with me.


I should have qualified the last statement. I was mostly thinking about how Jobs' was unequivocally indifferent to hurting people's feelings, taking their opinions into consideration or firing them for being what he deemed incompetent.

Specifically I wanted to contrast between populist politicians and business leaders who'd rather save face and avoid admitting to mistakes.

As someone mentioned in this post all he did was hurt people's feelings. Boo hoo!


Pretty sure the Foxconn suicide casualties didn't just have hurt feelings.


Suicide rates in populations around the world is much higher than you think. [1] The media don't report on them generally (if they did, there'd be more stories about them than horrific car crashes that the news outlets report on).

Car crashes in the US kill 40,000 people per year [2], and the US has a suicide rate of 11.1 per 100,000. With a population of 300 million, that's over 300,000 suicides in the US per year. 260,000 more than car crashes. Does that surprise you? What do the media report? Car crashes!

Given the number of Foxconn employees [3] (over 1 million) and the average suicide rate in China (13.8 per 100,000 per year), that's potentially 138 suicides of Foxconn employees per year.

Wired did an article on the suicides, there were 11 of them [4], to paraphrase the article "The nets went up after the 11th jumper took their life in less than a year.".

So there were another 127 people to kill themselves to get up to the national average in that year. The whole issue was a load of FUD. I bet you own heaps of junk that was made in China in factories with worse conditions. If you live in a first world country, it's inevitable.

You my friend, in Jobs' parlance, are a bozo!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_ra... [2] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,146212,00.html [3] http://www.zerohedge.com/article/foxconn-employees-exceed-1-... [4] http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/02/ff_joelinchina/all/1


> Car crashes in the US kill 40,000 people per year [2], and the US has a suicide rate of 11.1 per 100,000. With a population of 300 million, that's over 300,000 suicides in the US per year. 260,000 more than car crashes. Does that surprise you? What do the media report? Car crashes!

Your math is off by 10x. 11.1 per 100k * 300M/100k = 33,000 not 300,000.

The rest of your comment is still valid.


there were 18 attempted suicides

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn_suicides

those suicides were still associated with work conditions at foxconn, regardless of whether the suicide is higher in the general population.


Why should suicide attempts count? They can't be compared to the rate in the general public -- most suicide attempts don't succeed. More importantly, even if you did count them as successful, there'd need to be another 119 suicides for Foxconn employees to be up to the general population's rate of suicide.

That means, conservatively, that people who work at Foxconn are 7x LESS likely to commit suicide than in the general population.

11x LESS likely if you don't do intellectually dishonest things as counting attempts as successful suicides.

People also kill themselves over Tamagotchis. Suicidal people find a reason. So unless there's actually evidence of a higher-than-normal rate of suicide, the whole line of argument is a red herring.


Downvoted. I was with you (and had upvoted your earlier posts) until the last sentence.


And why is that worthy of a downvote? Suicides aren't valid negative things? I am not against Steve Jobs. But to say all he did was hurt feelings is ignorant. He hurt feelings and perpetuated a supply chain with a lot of negative elements to it. And no, Apple is not the only company doing it.


?? It wasn't your post I was replying to!


You're comparing a semi-controlled environment (Foxconn) to entire fucking society. That's some pretty shoddy statistics to say the least.


I'm amazed people still trot this out. Foxconn has more employees than many mid-sized cities. Their per-capita suicide rate is lower than that of China as a whole. They make electronics for many of the big consumer electronics manufacturers, not just Apple.


I tried to post a reply last night from an iPhone app but it didn't go through. Maybe if it had my Karma would not have gone from 11 to -10...

Anyway, the reason I'm "trotting this out" is because to say all he did was hurt feelings is ignorant. He hurt feelings and perpetuated a supply chain with a lot of negative elements to it. And no, Apple is not the only company doing it. But I'm looking at some of the negative elements Steve Jobs had. Yes, he was rude to people. Also, he took part in a labor practice that I think is messed up, personally. That's all.


What does that have to do with Apple?


It's a greater good kind of thing. Eisenhower, Patton, Roosevelt won WW2, but were directly responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands. In most case people no their chances when they decide to work under these kinds of people.


I think that's different. Steve Jobs' innovative use of fonts in the early Macs wasn't squashing an alliance of tyrants bent on world domination...


Hitler exemplifies your last statement beautifully. The world needs people who stand strong with their ideas but constantly think about others and be open-minded. And not douchebags.


Yes, you just Godwinned on Hacker News. You need an Internet Time Out.


Pretty much everyone knows about the whole Nazi = bad thing. So, because so many people know about it, I'm pointing to an example where the original commenter's ideal behavior went wrong. Godwin and Glenn Beck just threw "Hitler" around to get a reaction. That's not what's going on here.


Anyone else read Sam Smith's "The Jordan Rules"? Jordan is without doubt one of the greatest, if not the greatest, basketball player the world has seen. He is also known to be egotistical, as many competitive athletes/alpha males are (it's probably the testosterone).

Like Steve Jobs, Jordan would not suffer fools gladly, would "bully" team-mates, had laser-focus etc. Had a good wingman in the form of Pippen (Tim Cook). Yet one cannot fault him for his many accomplishments. He rose to the occasion time and again (how many times have we seen him take the buzzer-beater?), and had an admirable work ethic.

As the saying goes "haters gonna hate". The fact is that Jordan, Steve Jobs, and many other people changed their respective industries and beyond. Jordan not only changed professional sports, but also sports management and sports equipment marketing. Steve Jobs' achievements probably need no introduction.


Have you seen the perception of Jordan lately? I was and probably still am one of the biggest Jordan fans ever but he's a dick and as a fan I have to admit it. His former teammates do not have many nice things to say about him and the people he played against even less so. Right now there are a bunch of young NBA players, who grew up watching Jordan's accomplishments, considering boycotting Jordan brand sneakers because of him being an asshole during the lockout negotiations. Even take a look at how poorly his hall of fame speech was regarded by the general public and his peers. The chip on his shoulder helped him be a winner on the court but not so much off of it.

Yes, your egotistical ways might lead you to win in your field but don't expect the people you ran over to all of the sudden see the light and respect you as a person. You can respect a persons accomplishments while also despising who they are as a human being.


There is no way to please everyone all the time. I saw the HoF induction speech. Did it come across as self-centered... yes, I thought it did. But that's his privilege, he earned it.

About a person's qualities as a human being: I feel there isn't much need to pass judgment on others, whether they are celebrities or not. Each of us are also humans and are also prone to our own lapses of judgment, integrity etc. That's what we are. Otherwise we'd all be saints and life would be predictable and boring. :)

There was a time in the 90s where there was all this talk about being a "role model" and Barkley famously got into trouble for it. It's touching on exactly the same issues. And I agree with Barkley: that parents should be the ones bringing up their offspring, not the media,entertainers, sports/tech heroes et al.

Coming back on topic: I respect Jobs for the things he'd done, to "push the human race forward". He was a giant, and my opinion is that the world became a better place for it. You're free to disagree (refer to RMS's stance), but that doesn't mean my own opinion is any less valid, and I'm sticking with it. :)


I agree with you about Jobs and even about Jordan. They most likely have probably made the world better than when they came in. But there has been a sacrifice made in that achievement. On a personal level. But to be considered great that is always going to be the case.

And I also add Bill Gates to that list as well. His enemies were more competitors than personal but he has gathered a lot of bad will over the years. But he was able to place computers in a lot of homes at a reasonable price. He sacrificed a lot of good will in the tech community to accomplish that.


From watching Jordan it appears to me his self motivational technique was to make everything personal. Of course it makes him sound like a dick when he can pick out something that happened 20 years ago, explain why it pissed him off, and then thank the person for doing it to him.

As far as ego is concerned, that's basketball. It is probably the most individualistic team game out there. A single player can and does win games. A great player must believe they are going to hit every shot they take so that they don't have any fear when taking that last shot. Jordan certainly recognized he wasn't perfect and used that as even more motivation:

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed. -Michael Jordan

And finally, how Jordan is acting during the lockout is completely expected. He was once a player, then an ex-player and now that he owns 80% of the Bobcats, he is an owner.


Copy the good qualities. Learn from and ignore the bad ones.


The "bad" qualities are what made them effective. If they didn't have them, you would never have heard of them.

Just be yourself. You don't really have a choice in the matter. You are you. You can only be you. If you try to graft aspects of somebody else's personality onto your own, you will find that it's a rather futile effort. You can't. Find out who you truly are, discover yourself, and then embrace yourself in the fullest sense. You can be a better you, but you can't be somebody else. If that means you don't end up a minor celebrity, c'est la vie.


>>The "bad" qualities are what made them effective. If they didn't have them, you would never have heard of them.<<

Please justify the above statement. How could you possibly know that? What is to say that these people would not have gone to achieve even greater heights if it had not been for their bad qualities? There is something incredibly depressing about this attitude that pretty much states that it's okay to be a complete and utter jerk if you have achieved some level of success. Maybe it's cool to say that because it's counter-cultural thing or maybe we as a society have reached a state where people have a knee jerk tendency to apotheosize those who are successful and explain away their flaws as somehow critical to their success (also read the Mark Pincus stuff to further observe this phenomenon). Either way it's depressing.


Ex. 1: People would go the length of the world making sure that they accomplished every minute detail of what he had asked to perfection. Had he not been such a hardass and callous type person, I highly doubt things would have been done in the time frames and to the scope that he required. It's the tragedy of success in his circumstance. Take the bad with the good.


He could have done that without screwing over Wozniak. He could have been a perfectionist without acting petulant.


He could have. Those were character flaws that he may have been better without. Perhaps if he'd lived another 20 years he'd have outgrown his petulance.

Then again, maybe not. Petulance isn't the worst thing a person can be. If that's the character flaw somebody clings to in their old age, they're probably not entirely bad. Screwing over Woz was much worse, but he was in his twenties, and twentysomethings barely count as human beings. (I say this as a twentysomething myself.)


maybe thats true in some cases for steve jobs, but that doesn't have to be true for you. there are no rules. start a company where people would go the length of the world making sure that they accomplished every minute detail of what you had asked, to perfection by not yelling or demeaning them . . . it's possible. move things forward. steve (and others) have shown the world that you can use aggression to motivate folks, show the world that you can use an even-temper. nothing's holding anyone back. nothings written in stone.


You're saying his way was the only to motivate people?


> Please justify the above statement. How could you possibly know that?

Please provide an example of a single billionare or minor celebrity who isn't an asshole. The fact that you can't is evidence enough.

> There is something incredibly depressing about this attitude

What is really depressing is that you feel your life isn't worthwhile unless you are incredibly "successful" and you define success as being filthy rich or being a minor celebrity or really a clone of Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/Larry Ellison/etc. I know myself. I know that I don't have the qualities necessary to be that and knowing that has relieved me of any desire to have that.

More than that, that single realization has allowed me to focus on the qualities I do possess! It has allowed me to become a more supportive leader. My team will never make the next google.com or iphone. That's ok. Instead, they'll have families and they'll spend time with them. They'll do amazing work! Just not on a scale that will earn me billions. That's fine by me!


>Please provide an example of a single billionare or minor celebrity who isn't an asshole.

What about Warren Buffett?


> What about Warren Buffett?

It is very easy to trash another person. As an example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett#Personal_life and see the wonderful letter he penned his grandchild.

That's not the point.

The point is that all of my experience tells me that you really have to be an asshole and stand on the backs of others to get that far. Nobody is born nor becomes such a savant that people shower you with billions of dollars. You have to be smart, devious, aggressive, and abrasive. That just isn't me. It's not you either. That's OK.


> (Incidentally, my Kindle crashed three times while reading this book.)

I don't know which Kindle the author is talking about, but it seems weird to me, I never heard of a Kindle crash and I have 4/5 around, not counting colleagues'.

And, maybe it is off-topic, but maybe it is not. Why would the author add this parenthesis if it was not a necessary adjunction to his point? Maybe it was a way to underline how non-Apple products have the bad habit of crashing randomly just for the purpose of annoying their owners?

It is the same with "I’ve yet to encounter a businesswoman, on any level, who treats people in an unpleasant way". This is a way to say, "I am a very gentle guy, I don't want to discriminate against women, love me please", but this apparently innocent statement is 1) pure and simple sexism 2) plain wrong.

Then the main point, Job being a "detestable human being", well, it seems obvious. Let's just hope no too many people idealize him for too long a time.


The closest I've ever come to a "Kindle Crash" was a multi-second delay on page turn, which has only happened once. I've been using mine every day on my commute for the last year.

No idea what the author was referring too. Maybe the new Kindle Fire?


Agreed. I use Calibre to download all of my news subscriptions to it and between that and a several books per week, I've never seen my kindle 3 crash in the many months that I've been using it.

As opposed to my iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad2, all of which I've taken down rather horribly with just the normal apps (typically frozen, sometimes insta-reboot), not even counting things that bad programs _I_ wrote were doing.


Mine does occasionally crash / freeze, but it's because of a known issue:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/forum/kindle/Tx348MMDYTQ4AFC?_encodi...

I've just been too lazy to change the cover, and it's not been overly inconvenient yet. Amazon, to their credit, offers a refund. Perhaps this blogger is using a non-lit cover and is unaware of the issues with it?


I've owned a kindle 2, a kindle DX, a kindle 3, and a black kindle DX. I've had a few crashes. Spontaneous reboots, actually. The most recent ones I think happened when I was looking at a PDF, so presumably something about the PDF did it.

Nothing major.


I've owned almost every kindle up to the current and experienced one crash- while using the "experimental" web browser. Not one of my 3 kindles has ever crashed while reading a book.


As the author...

It's a Kindle Keyboard. I just found it ironic that a competing product to the iPad was crashing when reading the biography of the person responsible for the iPad. That's all.

I think mine has an issue with the battery level sensor, and that it was actually very low on power. I do not have any cover for it.

In terms of my businesswoman comment, it is based on my experience, as is very clear, and accordingly is neither 'wrong' nor 'sexist'. Your experiences may differ.


Kindle crash: then maybe you could have removed this line, because it sounds like a software issue.

Businesswomen: if your experience doesn't involve hundreds of women of power, it is incomplete and you must get the experience of others in the game, eg read books.


Mine did crash one or two times, when I used it to read PDFs.


I've read quite a few biographies and what i hate about Walter Isaacson is that everything becomes an oversimplified Time magazine article, which makes every character into a flat cartoon caricature. My guess is that Jobs could be a jerk, but then if you were a multimillionaire in your early 20s how could you not be a jerk? Also the tech industry is filled with tons of very bright people who are social cripples. The harsh reality is that to build something like a Macintosh you might have to be quite nasty to pull off the scale of cat herding that may be required.

I also hate to admit this: But I half suspect Jobs picked out Isaacson because he'd draw a cartoon sketch instead of doing a serious biography. I'm still not done reading the book yet, but I almost feel that I know less about Jobs than before I started reading the damn thing. And the other thing that drives up the wall is that you get the feeling that Isaacson doesn't have a clue about technology -- so you half wonder how much he missed. And I suspect Jobs wanted it that way -- instead of burning his papers he just picked a lightweight.

By the way if any of you want to read an amazing biographer look at the work of Robert Caro who is a real writer. His first book "the Power Broker" is an amazing study Robert Moses who is a very flawed hero who really made NYC what it was (for both better and worse). He's also written several books on LBJ who also starts out as a progressive and does both amazing and terrible things in his life. I wish someone like that had done this bio...


It paints Steve Jobs as a jerk far before he became a millionaire.

Also, the harsh reality is that neither of us knows if your assumption about the state of the harsh reality is valid.


----------------------------------------

From Malcolm Gladwell's "The real genius of Steve Jobs" [1]:

Jobs, we learn, was a bully. "He had the uncanny capacity to know exactly what your weak point is, know what will make you feel small, to make you cringe". Jobs gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then denies that the child is his. He parks in handicapped spaces. He screams at subordinates. He cries like a small child when he does not get his way. He sits in a restaurant and sends his food back three times. He arrives at his hotel suite in New York for press interviews and decides, at 10 pm ... the flowers are all wrong: he wanted calla lilies. When his public-relations assistant returns, at midnight, with the right flowers, he tells her that her suit is "disgusting". Machines and robots were painted and repainted as he compulsively revised his color scheme, Isaacson writes, of the factory Jobs built, after founding NeXT, in the late nineteen-eighties. He insisted that the machinery on the 165-foot assembly line be configured to move the circuit boards from right to left as they got built, so that the process would look better to visitors who watched from the viewing gallery. ...when Jobs returns, in the late nineteen-nineties, and our natural expectation is that Jobs will emerge wiser and gentler from his tumultuous journey. He never does. In the hospital at the end of his life, he runs through sixty-seven nurses before he finds three he likes...

...Even within Apple, Jobs was known for taking credit for other's ideas. Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone, tells Isaacson, "He will go through a process of looking at my ideas and say, 'That's no good. That's not very good. I like that one.' And later I will be sitting in the audience and he will be talking about it as if it was his idea."

----------------------------------------

If Jobs was really such an A-level asshole, I think he was goddamned lucky to have Steve Woz as his co-founder. From what I know about Woz, in addition to being a first rate engineer, he is also a very good guy. Maybe if Woz was even half (milli-Jobs?) the asshole that Jobs seems to be, he would have kicked him out before Apple went public (à la Saverin in The Social Network) and Jobs would have been just another tantrum throwing hippie hanging around some starbucks in Berkeley or wherever it is angry hippies like to hang about these days.

[1] http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/14/111114fa_fact_...


" he would have kicked him out before Apple went public (à la Saverin in The Social Network) and Jobs would have been just another tantrum throwing hippie hanging around some starbucks in Berkeley or wherever it is angry hippies like to hang about these days."

And woz would have been just another engineer working for some company.


If Jobs was really such an A-level asshole, I think he was goddamned lucky to have Steve Woz as his co-founder.

I don't get this attitude. Woz was just as goddamned lucky to have SJ as a business partner. From all accounts I've read, Woz was perfectly happy working/hacking around for whatever large company was good to work for at that time. It took SJ to see how much talent Woz had and then leverage that into a giant business success for both of them. Woz wasn't a salesman, business guy, or even a product guy. He was a hacker through and through. To make it big Woz needed someone like SJ as much as SJ needed a Woz.


There would have been no Apple for Woz to kick anyone out of if it wasn't for Jobs.

They needed each other, that's why they split the company 50/50.


From the book Woz's dad didn't like the idea of Apple until Jobs pretty much showed him that it was a viable opportunity to make a living. Woz then listened to his dad...


In fact, that they split the company 50/50 when Jobs could have likely easily talked his way into a 70/30 split, is proof positive that the stories about Jobs being an asshole are bullshit.

When you have high standards, a lot of people are going to call you an asshole. When you produce fantastic products that are hugely successful, you'll get scores and scores of stories on hacker news from jealous people who want to tear you down.

But anyone who looks at the facts will see the truth.


Well, if the Park at handicapped place thing is true, then asshole seem to be adequate, even if SJ invented a way to bring water to Sahara.


I hope he also avoids products and media made my anyone who has not been an absolute saint their entire life. It's perfectly acceptable to dislike Jobs, no question about that whatsoever. It's also acceptable to stop buying Apple stuff for any reason. But if you're going to put a proverbial line in the sand on moral grounds then you had better stick to your guns and apply that to everything or you just end up looking ... silly.

(Nice attempt at a clever title, but it misses the intended meaning of "think different" which is not "think differently" but more along the lines of "think bigger", as in "think of something different".)


you really think that "anyone who has not been an absolute saint their entire life" is a equivalent to "Devoid of any kind of feelings towards anyone else, he shouts, screams, cries and sulks his way through his petulant life"?

because i don't. i think there's quite a difference. everyone can be an arsehole sometimes, sure. but that doesn't excuse those that are consistently unpleasant. there's a clear difference. so you can distance yourself from the latter without having any problems with the former.


If anyone believes that Steve Jobs was "devoid of any kind of feelings towards anyone else" they are only fooling themselves. Painting him in a universally negative light is just as naïve as painting him in a universally positive one. Few things are black & white, and fewer humans are 100% good or bad.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/opinion/mona-simpsons-eulo...


In 30 years, I've never seen the kind of people who hate Steve Jobs or hate Apple be honest about either.


> Devoid of any kind of feelings towards anyone else, he shouts, screams, cries and sulks his way through his petulant life

Sounds like full-on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Various people who knew Steve have also said that he must have had this.

As far as I can see, it's probably true.

I don't think it's right to attribute malice to the man if it's the case. Neither is it right to insist that someone be prevented from being successful in business because they have something wrong with their brain.


"Sounds like full-on Narcissistic Personality Disorder."

And/Or some OCD and some kind of autistic spectrum disorder, combined with early success which probably encouraged or reinforced some things that a regular person would have to learn to avoid doing.


Nobody who's actually read anything written by Jobs, or read any number of excerpts from interviews, etc., could believe that he is what you are describing.

Case in point: his Stanford commencement speech.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Most brilliant people are hard to work with -- look at Edison, or hell, Mother Theresa. She was famously horrible and designed a system that actually created suffering.

Jobs hurt a few people's feelings because he screamed at them. And yet he obviously thought deeply about love and life, and cared for his family and close friends.

Boo fucking hoo.


If people think that the reason for Job's success is because of his attitude is indeed lacking in intelligence. It is more correct to say that Job succeed in spite of his attitude. This trait is perhaps the easiest to emulate, therefore it will be sad if people emulate Job's worst trait and think that it will make them successful.


actually its both "thanks" to his attitude and other traits (intelligence, etc. putting it all in the same bag)

if you aren't an asshole, at least a little bit, it's difficult to manage a company successfully. you'd be seen as weak and/or other sharks would eat you anyway.


Ed Catmull is anything but an asshole and he's run Pixar brilliantly. It's also possible to get people do what you want just because they respect the hell out of you.


And he's worked for Jobs for over 20 years.


I worked for Ed for ten of those. Jobs was very hands off at Pixar. I think he realized that Ed had things under control.


True, but if anyone at Pixar was going to experience the worst of Jobs over the years, it would probably be Ed, because he would be one of the few interacting with Jobs.


Probably, which makes it that much more impressive (IMO) that he never tried to emulate Steve's less admirable qualities.


Human communication is a funny thing.

We possess fragile egos and staggering amounts of pride. Consequently, we take great offense if even the simplest of statements are misworded (regardless of intention). Consider the difference between, "Give me the salt", and "Hey, would you mind passing me the salt? Thanks." We constantly pollute our speech by adding phrases whose only purpose is to prevent offense. And anyone who doesn't is an asshole. An arrogant jerk.

You've heard the advice, common in books on communication or leadership, that the best way to persuade another is to avoid harming his ego. Allow that person to save face at whatever cost. Lie if you have to. Suggest that your idea is really his idea, and that it's brilliant.

Is this type of manipulation (and let's be honest -- this is manipulation) really so much better than blunt honesty? It's more effective, to be sure. If you don't already command the respect of a deity, you have to play this game. But for a Gates or a Jobs, is bluntness really such a travesty? Is it really the end of the world because Steve Jobs told you that your shitty design was shitty?


"Is it really the end of the world because Steve Jobs told you that your shitty design was shitty?"

Especially if you then went on to make a truly great design.


Wouldn't it be nice if the people behind the things we loved were as pure and perfect as our love for the products they created?

It doesn't happen.

I ended up great friends with someone who created a body of work I hold dear. He isn't perfect. His faults make the relationship between who he is as a person, as an artist and the body of work he's created complex. But that fissure between the creator and the created is what makes the work that much better.

Jobs seemed to be similar.

The art of creation is a messy thing indeed.


It is not limited to just creation, we seem to be giving up easily the ability to grasp that not everything is black or white. There was much to admire and like about the man, there was much that was flawed about him. But, for most, it is either fully angelic or 100% the devil's cohort that they work overtime to fit him into.


I think there's a difference between being pleasant and being good and the writer of the linked article appears not to. A lot of good people aren't especially pleasant (Richard Stallman, much as I disagree with many things he says, might serve as a nice example). Jobs certainly seems to have been unpleasant in many ways, especially when he was young.

As far as I can tell, Jobs is guilty of three major sins in the book:

1) He screwed Woz on the Breakout deal. (Well-documented.) He did not screw Woz on the Apple IPO, however, and made him a very rich man.

2) He behaved abominably to his daughter Lisa's mother, but tried to make up for it later. Lisa's mother comes across as a dissolute user (e.g. she cons Lisa into signing over a house Jobs had given her to live in but bought in Lisa's name, and then sells it to go traveling with her guru). We don't know if Jobs had reasons for what he did, but Lisa chose to live with him.

3) He screwed Kottke out of equity in Apple during the IPO, deciding that his contribution was insufficient. This seems pretty unfair based on what we learn (which isn't much) in the book.

That's it, as far as I can recall. There's probably a few minor things, but those are the ones that stuck with me. Aside from that there's a lot of screaming, shouting, and whining, but it's basically pretty much a story of an incredibly dedicated guy trying to make great products and not really caring about money.

(How is Jobs supposed to have used Ives? By making him rich and giving him a huge amount of power?)

If you wrote the life story of pretty much any businessman, I think you'd be unlikely to find fewer immoral acts.

He also did some really mean things to some of his friends early on, but -- at least in most cases -- he owns up to them and tried to make amends. This is not like, say, Bill Gates who pretty much screwed everyone he did business with at some point and rationalizes it all away. But hey, he's curing malaria now so all is forgiven. (Bill Gates also comes across as an asshole, not to mention unhygienic and smelly, in various biographies.)


I don't care what Steve Jobs' personality is like... or Larry or Sergey's, or Hans Reiser's or Linus Torvalds'.

If a product is well-engineered I can respect the narrow aspect of the engineer's brilliance, which is enough. The rest is silly to waste time on.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.


First off, I say all this as a fan of both Isaacson and Jobs.

I am convinced that this book is Jobs' attempt to counter worries that Apple is in trouble without him at the helm. Given that he was a perfectionist, that he would both commission, support and supposedly proof a work that paints him in the light that it does, there must be a motive to the caricature it paints.

Think about it. Everyone is worried about the staying power of Apple without him at the helm. He is the quintessential micro-manager, so the concerns are valid. He was also a very private person that, despite some oft-reported claims, held a demi-god like status in the company and with a lot of people around the globe.

The book repeatedly (oh god, the repetition) remarks on his intent on "creating a legacy", "making a dent in the universe", "working only with the best" which speaks directly to Apple's future without him.

Isaacson even doles out micro-biographies on Cook and Ive. Two entire chapters!

It then completely obliterates his demi-god status by painting him as a petulant child, terrible father (early on), liar and narcissist. I cannot imagine anyone reading the book and idolizing Jobs afterwards. It makes him very, very human which is an ideal image to paint if you are/were worried about Apple's future.

I am more interested in the biography on Jobs that will be written in 10-20 years from now.


I wouldn't say I "idolize" Jobs after reading the biography, but I still consider him a hero. His arrogance and narcissism is justified in the end; an inflated self-image is unbecoming in someone mediocre, but Jobs really was a special and important person. Still, Jobs never seemed outright grandiose, as he often acknowledged his own flaws and appreciated people who stood up for him. His other flaws, while he could certainly do without some of them, do seem to tie into his greatest strengths. And his heroic qualities greatly outweigh everything else. He was never physically violent, never even seemed to cheat on his wife, and aside from the Breakout incident, never outright screwed anyone out of money.

There's a line between mean and immoral, and Steve stayed on the better side of that line a lot more than a lot of other people who get idolized with far less question. I'm not even talking about people who are unfairly idolized, like Edison or Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama. I'm talking about people like JFK or Martin Luther King or Winston Churchill, genuinely heroic figures who cheated on their wives or killed innocent people.


I agree! I think the book portrays him unfairly. I think Isaacson fudges a few facts here and there which to someone unfamiliar with Apple and the early days of modern personal computing, really puts Jobs in a poor light.

My point was more about why Jobs allowed the book to portray him like that. I have a hard time believing that there is no motivation behind it.


This article has a gaping whole: most/all of the people mentioned would not feel that they were mis-treated by Jobs. Quite the opposite, in fact: most people who worked closely with Jobs consider it the highlight of their lives.


This is, sadly, something that happens often to victims of sociopaths. The sociopaths came, he did bad things to them (that is, directly, mentioned), then left them in the cold, feeling sad, and still, he was "the highlight of their lives".

At least that's what I see in so many stories in that book.


I think he's more commenting on Jobs' behavior and how he doesn't like it. I mean, lots of people at Enron talked about it being the thrill of their lives. But as observers we can recognize that their behavior sucks and not like it.

(reference -> "Enron: Smartest Men in the Room")


I would not equate breaking the law and causing lots of people to go broke with hurting peoples' feelings.


There's one thing about Jobs I didn't see mentioned here or in the target web site. Jobs did things out of love: love for his customer, love for his products.

As a result, Apple was one of the few companies that self-improved with each flaw in its products. Self-improvement is hard, and it takes a lot of discipline. Jobs' screaming and shouting may have not been the best way to achieve the goal, but it worked. And until we have proof by counter-example, it may be the most efficient way to achieve the greater good.

Think about your own teachers or coaches. For me, the ones I remember most are not the one who always told me "good job". It's the teachers who fought my flaws, pushed my limits. In many cases, that involved tedious exercises, boring discipline, "coldness" or shouting. I have yet to see a good sports coach who is always smiling on the field and drives the team with "good job" during the match.

To me, Jobs is the best illustration of "There's a difference between knowing the way and walking the way." Jobs knew the way, and made others walk it.


The book just didn't have the Mona Simpson speech moments, or the Pineapple Pizza moments in Steve's life:

http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&s...


>> But what worries me is the amount of stupid businessmen who’ll be copying Jobs’s behaviour. (I say “businessmen” on purpose, since I’ve yet to encounter a businesswoman, on any level, who treats people in an unpleasant way).

Recognizing that I say this from a white, cis-gendered, born to highly intelligent (if not at all successful) parents perspective, I don't think that comments like that are appropriate. First, it continues to perpetuate the mindset that women and men should be approached due to their gender, not their being. Second, to counter the anecdote, I have met such people.

Using only male-gendered pronouns and nouns would (as regrettable as this is) probably have gone unnoticed by me. That sentence put my conception of the author squarely into the most nefarious category of misogynists: those who try to better their own image while still perpetuating the problem.


This is completely irrational and irrelevant. A misogynist is someone who hates women and/or girls. He's saying he's never encountered a bad business woman, which is not hatred at all under any circumstance. He's a man writing about a man, so the gender of pronouns shouldn't mystify or bother you. And "those seeking to better their own image while perpetuating a problem" isn't any form or category of misogynist. See the definition at the beginning of this comment for reference.

And he did not say "negative businesswomen do not exist". He said he's never personally encountered any.


While in normal discourse "misogynist" means "someone who hates women and/or girls", in formal academic feminism a misogynist is someone who disagrees with the feminist dogma. It's not difficult to spot third-wave feminists: usually by the time someone uses jargon like "cis-gendered" (which is Women's Studies for "doesn't suffer from gender identity disorder") you're well above 90% odds that you're dealing with some type of left-wing identity politics wonk. Interestingly, "misogynist" itself is a high-probability marker as well. It would be interesting to run a Bayesian classifier and find out what the observed probabilities actually are....


He complimented businesswomen -- therefore he hates women?

Huh?


the biography has actually made me think twice about buying anything Apple-branded again.

This seems as asinine as refusing to buy a Volkswagen because VW was founded by Nazis.


Nope, it's not asinine at all.

The problems this guy has with Apple are things still going on now.

Your comparison is equivalent with "one time long ago cotton was picked by slaves so I won't wear cotton".

That is irrational as its not happening right now. But the horrible apple conditions are alive and well.


The problems this guy has with Apple are things still going on now.

Every problem the author notes in this article is specifically with Steve Jobs' behavior, not Apple's. I'm commenting on what was in the submitted article.

However, you reiterated my point beautifully with your cotton anecdote. I'm not sure why you needed to repeat the sentiment but, yes, it's similarly irrational.


Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, they're all sausage factories. You really don't want to look too close at how all this stuff is made.


How is Google a sausage factory? Just curious..


The internal politics are pretty bad, from what Google employees have reported. For an organization originally without politics, in the mid-2000s there was a whole mess of PMs and managers.


I doubt many will try to emulate his sociopathic behavior unless they themselves are sociopaths.

Hopefully all entreprenuers will try to emulate his focus on product and his refusal to accept anything other than the best work that the company can do.


You either hold yourself and others accountable to a high standard, or you rationalize their failings to avoid the sin of judgment. I'm with the former camp.


The question is, how harshly do you judge Steve Jobs for not being nice, and how harshly do you judge mediocre but nice people for not reshaping a half dozen different industries in a single lifetime?


I think the real take away should be that we are all flawed as human beings. No matter what we do, how much we achieve, how great we become, we are still human and very imperfect.

There are certainly some detestable people on this earth, I wouldn't put Steve Jobs in that category even if I didn't agree with his treatment of others. There are much worse people out there, he simply had many faults.

I think its good you don't want to be like Steve Jobs, be yourself. If you hold yourself to a high standard of morality, even better. But don't judge someone completely based off this book, its hard to know what someone felt or thought unless you walked in there shoes.

Also, never buying another Apple product is a little short sighted. Jobs, while a great visionary, is hardly everything Apple. There are many many talented, hard working, brilliantly creative people that helped Apple become what it is today. I think it is human nature to want to point to a leader, a genius, "the man". The reality is that these products were created from the collective genius of many, not one person.

Anyways, my two cents.


The main thing I learned from the book (having read a lot about Jobs in the past), is that he actually seems like a good father, especially to his son Reed, toward the end; after being horrible to Lisa early on.


I've read only parts of the books, but I get the impression I only get part of the story. It describes his unpleasantness, but at the same time it describes how lots of people were enchanted by him. The book doesn't explain how that is possible. So I take it with a huge grain of salt.


The 'hero/asshole roller coaster' is a widely accepted description of what it could be like working for Jobs.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who worked for him for decades, and people who worked for him, left, and then returned.

I suspect part of it was learning how to deal with Jobs and his tantrums, part of it was being talented enough to spend more time as a 'hero' than an 'asshole', part of it was feeling that Jobs was trying to achieve something significant and thus the expected effort was worthwhile, and part of it was finding ways to stay out of Jobs' sight when necessary.


Napoleon and Alexander the Great killed a lot of people.

Colombus wanted to profit owning a big part of what he "discovered"(including the people).

Most of the founding fathers of America had slaves on their properties and also killed people.

America's pioneers killed native Indians, stole everything they owned and eradicated Buffaloes, dried rivers, cut ancient forest, contaminated the water for profit.

The best generals on the WWs killed people, cheated on their wifes, drank a lot, let their people to beat and rape their enemies...

And here we are discussing that some guy was not perfect. Of course not, learn and focus what you can about the positive and try to incorporate in in your life, if you can.


I said "think twice", not "refuse"...


Isaacson's book is a hatchet job, with many errors, and some downright dishonest statements. It is a shame that Jobs cooperated with that hack.

In numerous passages, Isaacson will quote Jobs saying something perfectly truthful[1], and then follow it up with a claim that Jobs is lying. Most of the time, he doesn't provide any evidence that Jobs is lying, just the assertion, because, as Isaacson is careful to tell us many times in the book, Jobs is famous for his "reality distortion field". I guess this means that Isaacson doesn't have to back up his assertions, and of course Steve Jobs isn't around to defend himself.

One example of this is Jobs talking about how NeXT's software gave the Mac new life. Isaacson says this is a lie, and then goes on to quote Bill Gates who says none of the NeXT code made it into OS X. Now, this is an obvious and bald faced lie on Gates' part, but Isaacson doesn't know any better. He's decided that Jobs is a liar, and therefore , whenever someone says anything that disagrees, it must be evidence that Jobs was lying.

Reality is, OS X is NeXTSTEP with the Mac UI put on top of it, and at this point another 10 years of evolution. Gates was lying for whatever reasons Gates lies (and gates really is pathological in this regard).

Another example is how he treats the statements of Alvy Ray Smith. One of the really nice things about the PBS show on Jobs a few weeks ago was getting to see Alvy. He's clearly disgruntled. And this makes sense, given the extreme difficulties Pixar had in the early years before they were able to start doing features. As a result, as the company kept needing money, and since they couldn't' get outside Capital, they kept using Jobs' capital, and other founders would get diluted as Jobs would buy more and more shares by putting more and more money into it to keep it afloat. In Isaacson's book, however, this isn't really explained, and it comes off as if Jobs was ripping off the others. Isaacson takes Alvy at face value.... but doesn't seem to ask Catmull or others about it.

This makes Isaacson a sucker for anyone who has any "dirt" on Jobs, and he clearly didn't ask Steve about many of these claims (or if he did, he didn't put Steve's response in the book.)

The book is an excellent piece of propaganda. It pretends to glorify someone who it is obvious the public recognizes as a major positive impact on society, while subtly and at every turn, engaging in character assassination.

For the past 30 years, I've seen constant repetition of lies about Apple. I'm not really surprised to see Isaacson do a hatchet job-- as every other book about Jobs has been one as well. His is a little more classy, but a hatchet job none the less.

If you think you've got nothing to learn form Steve Jobs, or that he was a bad guy, well, that reflects a lot more on you than on him.

It's sad that, now that he's died, it seems the haters-- all of whom seem to be completely ignorant about the history of Apple and constantly repeating the same mindless party line-- feel that they are free to keep posting these bullshit stories and voting them up.

Its time to stop. I know you kids think its cool to bash Steve Jobs because "android android derp derp derp!" but this is Hacker News. This is the site for technology enthusiasts who want to do Startups. If you don't respect Steve Jobs for taking a garage startup all the way to being larger than Exxon Mobile in 30 years, by doing a small number of products exceedingly well, I don't think you should be hanging out here.

[1] I've had Apple products for 25+ years. I've been following the company for that long and have met a fair number of their executives over the years and a lot of Apple employees. I'm extremely well versed in all things Apple, to the point that I caught many innocent errors in the book. There are things I don't know about, of course, such as current plans, and things Jobs said that were private. But when I say "something perfectly truthful", I mean, the statement is something I know to be a fact from an independant source (not Steve Jobs) and it is at least a fair statement of the facts (leaving room for some of the statements being opinions. On at least one occasion, Isaacson calls an opinion a lie.)


Honestly, I don't really care about how good Apple products are or how innovative are. I don't use them, I don't hate them either. It's just not for me. My beef with apple is how they felt entitled to control the devices that apple made but consumers own, making them unhackable.

When I buy something, I own it, period. I should be able to reverse engineer anything on the market, because I obtained the copy.

I don't give a damn about how much Apple have in its bank. Google is fucking rich too. But, if Apple win the mobile war, we are screwed as far as freedom and ownership is concerned.

I very much respect Steve Job for his ability to build a company and innovate, but it doesn't mean that he get to choose the models that damage our freedom in the long run.

I don't really care about how inferior Android is to the Iphone. I use it, and if necessary, I can extend it without permission from Google.

We are hackers. What is it that we do? We hack things and make it better. Apple doesn't want us to modify the phone that we own and make it better. Excuse me?

Does it not concern you that Apple exhibit control freak behaviors regarding iphone? What if it dominate the market and crush all competitors? This is the kind of level that you don't even see in microsoft regarding window operating system.

If android dominate and crush iphone and apple tomorrow, that is fine with me. Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

Steve Job was not a hacker.


It's interesting how people attack Apple by championing the freedom to make things, and then continue to attack Apple for the way they make things.

Speaking very broadly, Apple aren't hackers, they're artists. Michaelangelo's intention wasn't to let the Pope knock himself out altering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

And if you really do want to alter an iPhone--well, you can. It's not designed to be easy, but there's no real legal or physical barrier to you doing so. To most cell phone users, Android's openness doesn't mean they have freedom to change the software on their phones--their carriers lock it down for them. It only means that they get a shittier phone, thanks to those very same carriers and their ability to bundle crapware.


Heres to hoping someday we will see mobile phones that are as open as PCs. I await the day when I can legally run emacs and python on my cell phone.


Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

I hate the 'apple makes most of the profits' line that gets talked about all the time (even though true), but if what you say is really so easy then why hasn't someone or some company done it?

Things is, it's not easy. This is where techies (myself included) often miss there is something beyond a feature list. How those features are combined into a package becomes more like art than another math problem to solve. And like art, it is very hard to create, but easy to notice when it is done right. From what I have seen to date, Apple gets the art part right much more often than the Android phones.


Art? You mean to compare iPhones and other manufactured consumer gadgets with art masterpieces like Mona Lisa or Mahler's 5th?


Put words in my mouth? Nowhere did I say an iPhone was a masterpiece nor did I say it was comparable to the Mona Lisa (well maybe, its mystique is better than the actual piece) or Mahlers 5th.

But yes, manufactured consumer gadgets can have artistic qualities.


He didn't make that comparison, but even if he did that would be totally irrelevant because the value of what is art changes with person to person, and you've already lost if you try to debate against what someone values as art.


> irrelevant because the value of what is art changes with person to person

Well, this means there is no discussion possible about art.

This is a kind of relativism. Other kind of relativism include moral relativism ("What is good or bad changes with person to person"), and cognitive relativism ("Truth changes with person to person").

Sorry to tell you this, but relativism is sometime dangerous (eg. one could say that, for some people, it is considered "good" to rape old ladies), and often just wrong (you'd have hard time to find someone who would honestly declare that Bach's music or Chinese landscape paintings is really not art).

Apple's products have many impressing qualities, they are beautifully designed, engage their owners a lot, etc. Art do not need to come into the picture.


Actually, absolute truth is just as dangerous (and perhaps even more dangerous) as (non-extreme) relativism. Someone with a relativistic view isn't necessarily passive either, they just try to be more observant, understanding, and compassionate. I never liked how some philosophers force upon people a specific way of thinking if they claim to be have a general belief system.

Someone might consider it good to rape old ladies, and that is their honest belief, doesn't mean I can't call them out on it and try to make them 'believe' otherwise.

I never said that Bach's music isn't art, I just said that Apple's products can be viewed to be art just as much as a painting can be. You can argue if it is as pure, and what value it has in the artistic world but you can't argue if it is or isn't art. Art's way too vague for that kind of stuff.

In my mind, technology is a very powerful side-effect of art, and therefore it can be viewed as art just as much as a painting it.

My other point I was making is that if someone doesn't wish to discuss their values of art, than you've already lost the discussion because anything you say will be taken with a grain of salt. 99% of the discussions that go on in the world aren't of this case, but sometimes they are and I was just saying that we have to be mindful of those cases.


Be careful about generalizing "Android".

The latest open source version of Android was released in December 2010.

Many Android phones cannot be rooted without exploits.


Off topic but too tempting: It is safe to generalize that Android (why the quotes?) is open.

There is continual activity on the Android source tree with updates for most versions of the platform well after December last year. The well publicised exclusion is Honeycomb and we can only speculate why Google kept that one to themselves (incomplete/Kindle Fire depending on your Android hate level).

Even if you insist that Android is not open in the most complete sense, you have to agree it is MORE open than iOS which makes it more appealing to some people.


Forgive me if this is an unfair line of argument, but I've read a number of articles this month about how quickly Android phones become ineligible for an OS upgrade, because so many Android phones mean carriers can push the latest OS only to their most recent phones. Compare that to the closed system of iOS, where only one brand of phone uses the system, yet the 2.5-year-old 3Gs just got the upgrade to iOS 5.

Android is certainly more open than iOS in many aspects, yet that openness does not always lead to freedom for its users.


I will hazard a guess that anyone who cares about the freedoms we are discussing is capable of rooting and installing a custom ROM or researching a purchase to ensure they get a device that is free to do what they want.

Of course, these same users would also be able to jailbreak an iPhone, but does that lock you out of the Apple loop (i.e. App store, Siri, iCloud)? I honestly don't know so that is not a rhetorical question.

Bringing this in a full circle and back to topic, I'm sure Steve Jobs pushy attitude is one of the reasons (perhaps the only reason) iPhone's aren't tainted with carrier garbage and upgrade(less) shenanigans. Just because it worked for him doesn't mean it will work for you.


Jailbreaking doesn't disable other aspects of the iPhone, it strictly enhances, as far as I've been able to tell.


You can jailbreak iphones... Apple won't sue you. Sure their updates might break that jailbreak, but they aren't forcing you to update. They won't sue you for jailbreaking, but they don't have to help you do it either.


In any case, Apple is more hostile to hackers and developers than any other platform I seen in the mobile world.


You haven't been in mobile long then.


Spot on.

There was barely an indie developer scene for mobile before the iphone.


I had worked for a company that spent 1 million dollars to make a J2ME game. It never even came out.


Ooh. Is this a story you can tell? I'd like to hear more about this.


Not much to tell. The cost was because of testing, but by the time the app actually ran, the band wasn't interested anymore and people's interest in handset games was waning.


How did testing end up costing a million dollars? Forgive my naiveté.


Testing and development cost so much because it had to work on 60 phone models and in most cases required rewrites and compiles from device to device.

This is also the reason most efforts on "artist apps" are for iOS. Fragmentation hurts!


What about Sony? Didn't Apple at least hire that iPhone hacker? http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/26/apple-hires-iphone-hacker-n...


> But, if Apple win the mobile war, we are screwed as far as freedom and ownership is concerned.

Sentences like this are why the phrase "mobile war" should be taken away from all of us and placed on the high shelf next to the cookie jar. "Mobile war" is an exciting idea – much more exciting than "competitive mobile marketplace" – and so we like to think in these terms despite how misleading they are.

There is no mobile war. Apple is not out to extinguish Android. Google's not out to extinguish the iPhone. We're talking about a market of how many people, half a billion?, a billion?, billions?, and that many people means that everybody's going to want something different.

Me? I love my iPhone 4. I'm not a code hacker, see. My iPhone is the tool I use to hack the world around me. It gives me a camera (photo/HD video) that I can whip out at any moment. It lets me access my bank on the fly. It's got all the cutting-edge casual games I'm researching as part of my study on games. It lets me write on the fly (poetry, thoughts, essays) and have my writing waiting on my computer when I get back. It's an ambient music generator and a PDF reader that plays public radio and Pandora and, with the new GarageBand, is also my ideal recording device, since I prefer convenience of location to anything else. Now I can put a microphone in a backpack and walk to a park with some friends and record tracks with incredible ease. That, to me, is a hack.

I'm pretty much a huge Apple fan, but I understand people who aren't. Which is why I find lines like

> If android dominate and crush iphone and apple tomorrow, that is fine with me. Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

disquieting. You have your Android phone! Why must you wish misfortune on my choice? I know far more Android fans who wish for Apple's demise than I know Apple fans who want Google to go under. Choice is good! And part of that choice is choosing what the focus of your "hacks" are. For me it's not computers, so I can benefit from a closed computer. For you it is computers, and we have open source.

The other disquieting thing about your comment, to me, is that you think Apple's "magic" is simply a matter of polish. As if you just wipe it with a rag for a few months and suddenly it gleams. This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of UI/UX design. Achieving the level of elegance that Apple products frequently (not always) possess requires tremendous focus and talent. What's more, Apple's product polish doesn't just extend to their own software: they have a great history of encouraging top-notch developers to design for them. My favorite applications aren't Apple's apps; things like Notational Velocity, Coda, Sparrow, and Reeder have all made my life significantly simpler, and it's no coincidence that they were all designed by Mac-users for a Mac environment. Which is why even though Microsoft's new mobile OS is itself elegant and beautiful, I still much prefer the iPhone to Windows. It's where all the apps are. Not because Apple was the first to launch an App Store (though that helps), but because Apple encourages the perfectionism and user focus that makes its top applications great.

We can argue the semantics of what counts as hacker within your personal taxonomy all day, but that's useless. Jobs did great things that benefitted a lot of people, myself included.


If you believe the history of mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then of course, it's a war. It does not matter if there's a half a billion, a billion. At some point, it become a zero sum game.

The choices we have will at some point stop being choices. They will stop to exists and whatever platform wins, get to dictate what rules are we going to play by.

The other disquieting thing about your comment, to me, is that you think Apple's "magic" is simply a matter of polish. As if you just wipe it with a rag for a few months and suddenly it gleams. This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of UI/UX design. Achieving the level of elegance that Apple products frequently (not always) possess requires tremendous focus and talent.

It doesn't mean that you have to dictate, control, censor what apps are allowed in your store, make developers sell their soul to you, and so on. You do not have to be a control freak.


> If you believe the history of mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then of course, it's a war.

If you believe the history of the mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then you're a poor student of history. At the very least, saying that the two are the same is far enough from a given that evidence of that situation should be provided.

Also, tip for arguing - the hyperbole of phrases like "make developers sell your soul to you" makes your argument hard to take seriously.


> You have your Android phone! Why must you wish misfortune on my choice?

Because people like this are hypocrites… they want to take your choice away, and scream and fight and claw madly if they don't get their choice.

Mentally, these people are still children. They look at everything (e.g. alll of business) as it if it is a zero-sum game. They take everything personally.

It's hard not to be offended when you think a phone OS is tied intimately to who you are. Sad, but true.


Your are saying grand parent is mentally a children, I don't how this is perceived in your culture, in mine it is not acceptable.


Its childish to label other people as children unless they happen to be children.


In that case it's bad to call someone childish because some of the best features of humans are only apparent for most people when they are children and not adults, but that isn't the point of what was said.

The point was that it is short-sighted of someone to say it would be evil if (say) Apple won the mobile war, but would be good if Google won the mobile war. Competition is a win-win situation for consumers, and a lack of competition only encourages stagnancy, which is one of the greatest evils of the creative world.


Most people in this world are not hackers. Apple is not going to make a product just to cater to a tiny % of the people. Also there are Apps.

No one is forcing anyone to buy any phone. If you want to invent your own smart phone then you are free to do so.


10-15 years ago, a true monopoly was in control of PCs: Microsoft. I couldn't use Linux or Mac at work. I had to use Windows to share documents because I couldn't get onto the network shares to access them. I couldn't access the internet because my ISP required Windows only software to get online.

Microsoft had 'won' and we all lost our freedom to use software that doesn't suck.

Luckily, this was a temporary state. I promise you, if Apple 'wins' the mobile war, their victory will not affect you for long.

Further more, if Android 'wins', we're much more screwed. I've already lived in a world of feature phones controlled by the carriers. I did not like it one bit and I had far less freedom than I do now with my iPhone.


Well, my Android phone and most of the ones I see around are not feature phones, and are not controlled by carriers. Maybe we live in different worlds?


Really? Why should you be able to reverse engineer Apple products? What makes you think you're entitled to the source of this company's products?

None of us should feel entitled to be able to hack and reverse engineer anything! If a cdeveloper or company is nice enough to open source something then that's awesome! If you don't like proprietary software then don't buy it. If you want to hack something, make it from scratch or find an open source base for it.

If I run a software company and I'm making something folks really enjoy and get a lot of use from then I'm entitled to charge for it! They're paying me because I did the hard work to develop a tool they find useful and don't have the time, energy, and often times skill to make themselves. If I let anyone reverse engineer it and see the source then someone like you will go ahead and clone it and now my product is worthless. If I lock my customers into a particular toolset and software environment, the reason is twofold. I want to make some money! And that lock in provides a better experience for my customers. I'm not hiding it and no one is forced to buy my products. But they do because it's the best option for their needs.

Open source is great, free software is almost like a cult. What's so bad about making a profit? Why should programmers give away source free but CocaCola is free to keep their secret recipe?do programmers lack the need for food, shelter, and the money to acquire those things?

And the only war in mobile is between companies. There's also this silly war of ideas between the "open" Android platform and iOS. But the real winner is the consumer. There will always be competition. iOS cannot get 100% market share. So consumers have a choice. If the current choices don't suit certain people who want more "freedom" then you're free to start your own mobile platform and build a business around it. And when that happens I wonder if your current attitude toward wanting everything free will still hold. The only freedom afforded by the FOSS movement is the freedom to work your ass off on a piece of software and subsequently starve for lack of income. The FOSS belief that ALL software should free and open source makes it an extremist view. There is a place for both free and proprietary technology in our world. Most of us have to eat and we don't own a farm to grow our own.

I'm reminded of the naive thinking of a teenager whenever I hear rhetoric like this. This ain't no hippie commune.


> None of us should feel entitled to be able to hack and reverse engineer anything!

Yes we should be.

> I'm reminded of the naive thinking of a teenager whenever I hear rhetoric like this. This ain't no hippie commune.

This isn't a get rich quick commune either.

Alternative viewpoints can and do exist on a community this large, neither you nor the OP speak for all of us.


This isn't a get rich quick commune either. Alternative viewpoints can and do exist on a community this large, neither you nor the OP speak for all of us.

That's the thing. I wasn't against profit at all. We all know that Google is doing android to protecting its bottom line. That doesn't bother me in the slightest.


"At the January 2000 Macworld in San Francisco, Jobs rolled out the new Macintosh operating system, OSX, which used some of the software that Apple had bought from NeXT three years earlier. It was fitting, and not entirely coincidental, that he was willing to incorporate himself back at Apple at the same moment as the NeXT OS was incorporated into Apple’s. Avie Tevanian had taken the UNIX-related Mach kernel of the NeXT operating system and turned it into the Mac OS kernel, known as Darwin. It offered protected memory, advanced networking, and preemptive multitasking. It was precisely what the Macintosh needed, and it would be the foundation of the Mac OS henceforth. Some critics, including Bill Gates, noted that Apple ended up not adopting the entire NeXT operating system. There’s some truth to that, because Apple decided not to leap into a completely new system but instead to evolve the existing one. Application software written for the old Macintosh system was generally compatible with or easy to port to the new one, and a Mac user who upgraded would notice a lot of new features but not a whole new interface."

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 365-367). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

---

lacking in technical knowledge, definitely; but your characterization of it is absurd.


Hopefully I can give you some perspective here. I didn't know Steve Jobs, know very few people who have worked at Apple, none were key people.

This isn't the first book, article or interview that openly discusses Steve Jobs darker side. I haven't read the book, I'm not a Steve Jobs fan.

The book could very well be a hack job, but I doubt it. Nobody is a perfect human being. A book which follows both the amazing successes and the temperament and attitude which created them in an honest way is likely an effort to humanize Steve Jobs. I can understand why you wouldn't want your idol to be humanized. Why you don't want to read about their flaws. But at the same time, Steve Jobs was human.

I believe you are correct about Next and OS X, and I can't imagine bill gates saying 'none of the NeXT code made it into OS X'. Aren't they both still today based on the same kernel? Maybe Issacson misunderstood something, or maybe you misread it.

Either way, my point is that Steve Jobs flaws are widely known, but some of these flaws may have been responsible for his business success, some may have been detrimental to his personl successes. This we'll never know.

What we do know is that the man wasn't a god or a saint. He was a man, with character flaws just like the rest of us.

You seem to have taken it very personally, but I seem to recall the 60 Minutes piece saying that Steve didn't want to see the book, but gave his wife the responsibility of making sure it was true and fair.


Yes, Jobs' flaws ARE well known. And so are the facts in many of the other situations that nirvana describes.

It is still a hatchet job if the biographer gleefully presents false information from sources without checking the facts.


As one that has read the book, thank you for giving some perspective on Isaacson's view.

Still, it nerves me a lot that you think you know when one should hang on Hacker news. This place is full of interesting technological reads; should I stop coming here because of how I think of Steve Jobs or startups or free market in general. I don't think so.


There are two different things you might mean by "coming here." Hacker News is a pretty good place to learn interesting things, and broadening your mind is always a good thing. In that sense, "coming here" is always fine.

But if we have nothing to contribute beyond ideological ax-grinding, we should just read, not comment or vote.


Do you really think Steve Jobs, a man obsessed with his legacy, would authorize a hatchet job?


If you actually read the book, you would have caught the part where Steve Jobs never got to see or approve the final copy, on purpose.

Steve Jobs was obsessed with his mainstream legacy, not the poorly informed opinions of a bunch of narrow-minded tech news enthusiasts. His mainstream legacy hasn't changed because of this book.


i'm only on chapter 34, but i'm not enough of an old timer to comment on historical accuracy.


It's not often that people get to pick who writes their biography, I think it's very possible that Jobs picked the wrong guy.


I'm looking forward to reading the Isaacson biography, but I will put on my skeptical spectacles. Thanks for the great comment, it's good to see both sides to things.


The shallowness and laziness of Isaacson's research is quite staggering. John Siracusa pointed out on Hypercritical this week that Isaacon had a lot of information when there were sources he could borrow them from, but there's no depth from his return to Apple onwards -- because there was nothing already out there for Isaacson to reuse.

For those who want a lot of clear examples of the issues nirvana is highlighting, do yourself a favor and listen to this week's episode ("The Wrong Guy", http://5by5.tv/hypercritical), as well as the upcoming bonus episode.


You can recognize that a great hacker may also be a detestable human being.


I suppose you'd have even fewer nice things to say about iCon, the unauthorized biography, which lacks the sugarcoating present in Isaacson.

Also, no, this isn't Startup News, this isn't Entrepreneur News, this is Hacker News, and I don't think you should discard what that implies about the community.


When I started out, a Hacker was an electronics or computer enthusiast. Steve Jobs was a hacker, though overshadowed by Woz, of course. I am as well. I watched as the media took that innocent word, with its origins in the MIT student railroad club (see Steven Levy's Hackers) and twisted it to mean "people who break into computers and cause chaos". From reading PG's writings, it appears to him the word means technology enthusiasts, and I'm fine with that expansion. I'm well aware that there's an ideological movement out there that has been around for about a century that sees the labor of muscles as the only thing to value and that devalues the labors of the mind. This movement is incompatible with hacking, which is intrinsically an effort of the mind.


I'm well aware that there's an ideological movement out there that has been around for about a century that sees the labor of muscles as the only thing to value and that devalues the labors of the mind. This movement is incompatible with hacking, which is intrinsically an effort of the mind.

I don't agree that the labor of muscles and the labor of the mind are distinct incompatible movements. It takes a strong mind to properly control muscles. Why use labor haphazardly when thinking allows the use more effectively?

Then there is research showing that exercise improves cognitive function. To tie it back to the article at hand, SJ seemed to love his long walks.


Thanks for taking the time to write all this up. I haven't delved into my copy yet, but it's great that now I can do so knowing that I shouldn't trust Isaacson's editorializing.

I joined Hacker News a long time ago. I think it's shameful that people here now don't know any better -- or don't have the brains -- than to say that it doesn't matter if the book is full of bald-faced lies, because Steve Jobs was not a nice man, or because the iPhone isn't "open."

What a load of brainless boloney.

In the old HN, this post of yours would have triggered an interesting discussion about other lies found in the book, and/or stories & facts (real ones) omitted, and/or the perils of biography in general.

So, just so you know, some of us old guard are still here, appreciating what you're doing.


Old guard? Don't flatter yourself. It always has been and always will be emotionally heated, name-calling comments like yours that detract from HN.


I've only been here for about a year but I agree. The iPhone openness arguments and "Jobs was a doodoo head" comments don't belong here. I thought we were all better than that. (I totally just fueled the flames of one of those bad comments though, which I'm embarrassed for).


Sorry but the openess of a widely used tool as the iPhone is of paramount importance to hackers, by definition.


The opinion of openness of an Apple product has nothing to do with whether Steve Jobs' biographer lied intentionally.


I'm impressed with this post for a few reasons. Usually we see people either wanting to tarnish Jobs' image because they're just not in his "camp" or because they're RMS lovers or some such nonsense. Then there are those who go out of their way to justify and excuse all of Jobs' shortcomings.

I'm a Jobs fanboy but I appreciated this so much. I'm not too far into the book but I do see the OP's point about Jobs acting like a spoiled brat at times and really being a misanthrope. That said, I see a lot of redeeming qualities in him as well.

The great thing a out this post was that I felt it approached the topic from a really fair and grounded perspective. I would agree that others shouldn't try to emulate Jobs because his behavior just isn't acceptable in a lot of cases. Jobs could get away with it because he was Jobs. He was just one of those people who were one of a kind. There can only be one Jobs and to emulate him would most likely doom your prospects for success. There are qualities and anecdotes that can inspire us, teach us, and that can be safely emulated in our own style but speaking to what the OP is talking about I'd agree that what he talks about are not the things to be emulating.

I'm just really impressed. It's rare to see such a grounded perspective when talking about someone like Steve Jobs. That name can really stir up a debate and cause some heated discussions and, to repeat myself, this post comes at it from a great, grounded perspective.


You kind of have to be an asshole to get things done. The best coaches and mentors in my life caused me displeasure in their relentless efforts to push me further than I thought I could go.


There's a difference between being an effective drill sergeant and being a jerk. Parking in handicapped spots has nothing to do with driving your employees to excellence.


Exactly right. Companies do not get ahead by having mellow pushovers at the top.

People having been talking a lot about how he stole all of the design credit from Ives. This might be the case, but I'm willing to bet you that Ives would be the first to admit that Jobs helped him unlock his true potential.


Taking credit for other people's creative work is a shit thing to do. Whatever benefits Ive may have drawn from the relationship aren't relevant. Daddy doesn't get to beat the kids just because daddy puts food on the table.


Taking credit for other people's creative work is a shit thing to do.

If SJ pushed Ives to iterate through 100s of designs, tweaked each one and then iterated again whose creative work would it be?

If SJ sat down and explained what he wanted in excruciating detail (given the stories of his attention to detail this is what I would expect), and through trial and error Ives arrived at what SJ wanted whose creative work would it be?

I think there is clearly no single creator in either case. Ives gets a lot of credit for being a great designer and being the one who helped SJ realize his computing vision. Given SJs OCD about details I don't think it was ever a case where he was playing golf, took an Ives design and just pushed it out as his own.


I'm inclined to take Ives' complaint with a grain of salt.

After all, as the face of Apple design, Ives might be getting some amount of credit for designs that his underlings have made. He might not be seeking it, but that's how it's working out.

Ives is pretty much the only designer at Apple who gets any credit at all, at least in the media. And that's been the case for years now. He hasn't exactly been laboring in obscurity while Jobs sucked up all the credit and adulation.


Apple has always been circumspect about identifying any of their employees below the Senior VP level because they don't want any of them poached. And even their senior VPs get poached.


Did u know the man personally? NO. But you're happy to denounce him, based on others comments. Do u honestly feel qualified to denounce a man you've never met? Never worked for? Who has contributed more than u ever will, to the world & to individuals quality of life? I'll point u to another quote from the book, where Steve asks a blog editor who is likewise trying to attack him: what have you ever made? I'll leave it at that, friend


Steve Jobs aside, that's a pretty weak argument. I never knew Idi Amin or Moa Tse Tung personally (I'm not comparing them to Steve Jobs), and while they made some contributions, it's no reason not to make criticisms of them.


I'm a fan of Steve Jobs for his vision and ability to see things we all blatantly are unaware of. He changed technology, but also advertising, movies, music, etc.

But I'm glad to see someone holding him accountable for his life and the consequences of his actions.

The iPhone rocks, but the Foxconn factory it was made in is so fucking hard to work in that they have suicide nets on the roof; almost a dozen have killed themselves to escape the 14+ hour days.

The MacBook is beautiful, the iMacs are amazing, the software (before Lion) had a simplicity and aesthetic that were unmatched.

But to ignore the fact that many people were screwed over by Steve, that many people were payed a few cents an hour to make his products, and that he was a cold, arrogant man is just ignorant.

Thomas Edison was a shrewd, competitive, harsh man. Does this mean we should ignore his contributions to science? Absolutely not. Nikola Tesla , Leonardo Da Vinci, Howard Hughes, etc. etc. all had negative qualities like every other human. They contributed a lot to the world, though.

So some of the comments that are accusing this post of being over-dramatic or don't want any criticisms of Lord Jobs are foolish. He did a lot of good and a hell of a lot of bad. Acknowledging and accepting both, and then learning from both, is fair and rational. Facts are facts.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

920,000+ employees, "almost a dozen" suicides

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_ra..., China 13.85 per 100,000.

Foxconn should have 127.42 suicides per year. "Almost a dozen" means they have one tenth the per-capita suicide rate of the rest of the country.


Different dataset - For starters: "all of china" includes a lot of unemployed people. "All of Foxconn" includes only employed people.


Unemployment rate in Chinese urban areas: 14% http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/members/albert.park/papers/une...

Study indicating double suicide risk in unemployed: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessio...

Even if you posit that 100% of China is unemployed and thus causes double the normal suicide rate, you'd still expect ~60 suicides at Foxconn in an average year.


I've said this on other comments, but comparing an uncontrolled environment like and entire society (China) to a semi-controlled environment like Foxconn is bad statistics and foolish.


And "Foxconn gets 1/10th the suicides of China as a whole, which I shall treat as if it were shockingly high" is good statistics and non-foolish?


Get rid of your television, shoes, computer, mobile phone and clothes then. They are all made in china (or indonesia/taiwan/etc) in probably worse conditions. What do you even know about their manufacturing?

"I'm glad to see someone holding him accountable for […] the consequences of his actions" is what I'd call over-dramatic.


I don't know much about their manufacturing, which is why I do what I can to buy from people I know and buy from within the United States.

As I replied to Nirvana, I'm recognizing the fact that Jobs, like everyone, was not perfect and had negative qualities. I'm also recognizing his involvement in a supply chain I don't feel 100% happy about. I still buy his products but I'm aware of the negative stuff, too. I'm just trying to be informed and fair about him. And by talking about a part, that does not mean I'm unaware of or ignoring the whole. If I talk about the evils Dr. Mengele that doesn't mean I've forgotten about the rest of the Nazi party. We're just talking about specifics in relation to this article (Steve Jobs and Apple).


Please stop resorting to reductio ad Hitlerum arguments. It cheapens the thread, is lazy and soporific and will never make your point, if anything it does the exact opposite.


> But I'm glad to see someone holding him accountable for his life and the consequences of his actions.

Have you been on the internet for the past month? There are at least 5 highly upvoted threads on Reddit per day calling him an asshole.


I think you should visit china sometime. You'll probably realize that the working conditions at Foxconn are like working conditions at Google after visting a few of the smaller crappier factories. My grandfather owned a toy company (they do anything plastic injection molding) and the workers there had 20hr shifts -- although that has probably changed for the better now.

Locals there are probably applying to Foxconn the same way we apply to plush companies like Google/Facebook. And if Foxconn turns them down, they're forced to work at factories with far worser conditions.


Spreading a bunch of lies and engaging in the politics of personal destruction is not "holding him accountable".

Also, I'm tired of seeing Apple haters say "I love me some iPods, so you must know I'm being objective when I say Steve Jobs murdered a man! Stabbed him in the back, even!"


I'm not an Apple hater nor spreading lies. Unless the Isaacson biography is made of lies.

If you were a Penn State football fan and recognized that Coach Sandusky was fucked up, you're not a) spreading lies or b) being a Penn State hater. You're recognizing a negative thing that is unfortunately a part of something you generally like.

I generally like Steve Jobs' message and his speeches and products. But I'm recognizing the fact he, like everyone, was not perfect and had negative qualities. I'm also recognizing his involvement in a supply chain I don't feel 100% happy about. I still buy his products but I'm aware of the negative stuff, too. I'm just trying to be informed and fair about him.




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