Re: The One Thing...

From: Chris Russo (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 08:09:01 MST

At 13:14 +0000 1/25/01, Charlie Stross wrote:
>Excuse me, but you missed out that nice Mr Jobs, with his Kool-Aid
>stand ("now in six different exclusive flavours!").
>And while we're on the subject of the little list (of people who won't be

I worked a couple of contracts at Apple. One was in 1993, and the
other was last year, so I got a taste of Apple without and then with
Jobs. It's really amazing how one man can drive a company if he has
a few ideas, passion for those ideas, and will yell and scream at his
employees - or if that fails, fire them - in order to see those ideas
implemented to his satisfaction.

The change in the atmosphere at Apple between the two contracts was
positively palpable. My first term there, I just knew that disaster
was looming. Apple was doing well financially, but they didn't
really have strong leadership. The lack of enthusiasm or even basic
motivation in the rank and file was obvious.

That all changed by the time that I returned. By then, Jobs had
remolded the whole attitude of the company. The groups that I worked
with knew a hell of a lot more about what they were trying to
accomplish, and received some measure of feedback from Jobs
personally if they were off track.

I never really met the guy, although I did follow him one time at the
salad bar - he likes a big pile of shredded carrots for lunch. I
seriously contemplated giving him an enormous wedgie... sure, I would
have been fired, but I would have been "that guy who gave Steve Jobs
a wedgie". Ah well, spilt milk.

To say that Steve Jobs wouldn't be missed is ridiculous. You'd be
missing him alright, if he and Wozniak had never made personal
computers viable back in the late 70's. How many years would it have
taken IBM or someone else to put it all together and market it
successfully? Two? Five? Ten?

Think of all of the ideas that Jobs helped to drive forward, like
desktop publishing, affordable laser printing, and GUIs. USB was a
technology that Intel had been pitching for *years* to PC
manufacturers, but that had never caught on. In one sweep, Jobs put
USB as the main interface on all new Macs, and the entire computer
industry quickly followed. USB is a good thing.

An alternative world that had never had Steve Jobs would have
contained a PC industry 10 or 20 years behind the one that we live in
now. No thanks.


Chris Russo

"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

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