Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Legacy of Steve Jobs from one who's never drunk the kool-aid.

Recently, I read the bio, "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson. For the record, I do not now own, nor have I ever owned anything made by Apple. There is this cult-like worship for anything Apple makes which leads me to believe that the typical Apple customer has drunk way too much of the Apple Kool-Aid (available only at Apple stores). These individuals may never darken the door of a church, but they'll stand in line for hours to be the first to own a new iPad or iPhone. For me, that's a bit creepy, but it's part of their identity. They hang with friends who have Mac computers and don't want to be ostracized for having a HP or Dell laptop. Having said this, I have great admiration for Steve Jobs. In fact, any business school that's worth anything should have a course or two on the Apple mindset.

Steve Jobs was a genius, but he was also a deeply flawed individual (more about this in my next post). He confided to close friends that he was driven by the pain he felt at being put up for adoption.

Jobs was a master at distorting reality. When confronted with pregnancy of his girlfriend, he simply denied that he was the father, even though he admitted to sleeping with her.

Some Apple (Mac Team) members said that Jobs could almost hypnotize them. "He reminded me of Rasputin," said Debi Coleman. "He laser-beamed in on you and didn't blink. It didn't matter if he was serving Kool-Aid. You drank it."

Now here is what set Steve Jobs apart from the rest of his peers. He had a passion for making a great product, not just a profitable one. The goal was never to make lots of money. It was to do the greatest thing possible, or even a little greater.

Throughout his career, Jobs liked to envision himself as an enlightened rebel pitted against the evil empires of IBM, Microsoft and Google. He was fighting the forces of darkness and his mindset was that this was the most important thing that anyone could ever do. Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi with the challenge: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?"

That was the slogan that we used in Campus Crusade for Christ when I was in college: "Come help change the world!" We got lots of students who committed to becoming missionaries in Campus Crusade because they wanted to make a difference in the world, and apparently, that's what Steve Jobs thought he was doing with Apple products.

Jobs was like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. He had a split personality. He could be charming one minute and then very cruel the next minute. He had a perverse eagerness to put people down. I'll give you some more insight into this aspect of Steve Jobs in my next post...stay tuned.

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