In many ways the world is a better place because Steve Jobs lived in it, but I wouldn't have wanted to work with him.
I listened to Walter Isaacson's authorized bio of Jobs and while it is flawed in some ways, including some fundamental technical errors, the author should at least get credit for not making it into a hagiography. Jobs was a deeply flawed and troubled human being that often mistreated those that worked and lived with him. He is definitely someone that I would have wanted to work with or attempt to call a friend.
At the same time, I'm glad that he brought together the teams of people that created products like the Mac, iPod and iPhone. Despite the flaws in those products, they helped drive technology and communications forward in some very important ways.
Unfortunately his disdain for most people and his need for control also shows through in the way these products were actually manufactured. By shifting all production to China, he got lower costs by taking advantage of the lack of regulation and labor protections. Isaacson reports that Jobs "described how easy it was to build a factory in China, and said that it was almost impossible to do so these days in America, largely because of regulations and unnecessary costs" during a meeting with President Obama. The only thing that is hard about building a factory in America is treating your workers well, something Jobs was loathe to do.
Jobs was also reluctant to take responsibility for his own actions including supporting his own daughter Lisa. He also gave almost nothing to charity or any philanthropic causes.
In Rolling Stone, the brilliant Matt Taibbi submits the Jobs case to his Supreme Court of Assholedom and raises a very interesting point. Because Jobs was a purveyor of consumer products, shouldn't we the consumers also take some of the responsibility for enabling Jobs buy actually spending money on all those Chinese made trinkets? I'd say we probably should but you should read Taibbi's post and make up your own mind.
Supreme Court of Assholedom: The People vs. Steve Jobs | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
NOTE TO READERS: I will have something on the developments at Zucotti Park soon, and will also be appearing on Countdown tonight to talk about it. In
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