Notice I said “what”, not “who”.
Steve Jobs, the man, left this world too soon. We are better off because of his time on Earth.
With his physical presence gone, all that remains is his legacy. From the look of it, the most important thing to remember about Steve Jobs is that he was a dick.
Read the stories, hear the interviews with former employees. The media is full of articles proving that the guy was a bastard. His other accomplishments — you know, like starting and then later saving Apple Computer — almost seem secondary to his ability to make people cry.
I get it. We live in ugly times. Our business climate has been the epitome of ugliness for quite some time now.
Fear is driving the bus. Fear embraces dickishness.
Scared, managerial-wannabe types gravitate to Steve Jobs’ history of humiliating people over his other qualities because short-term, reactionary thinking is the dominant way to operate these days.
I understand. We have a mercy-is-for-the-weak business ethic in this post-Great Recession world. It’s like Sinsei Kreese and Gordon Gekko spliced their DNA and the resulting mutation is the new leadership archetype.
There is a logic to why people would embrace a hyper-abrasive guy — as long as said guy was also hyper-successful. And a guy.
This same energy drives Wall Street sociopathy. It is used by CEOs who hide money in offshore accounts, then complain about taxes with a straight face.
In this climate, a fella can admire a guy who wasn’t afraid to bring his employees to tears.
Job Creators do this.
Job Creators and the white guys who are gunning to become Job Creators worship Steve Jobs because he was uber-rich, but mean.
What a great way to keep the rest of the world at arm’s length.
People in the business world tend to adopt personas, and these days the humorless fearmongering, Steve Jobs-ish persona seems to be in vogue.
Steve Jobs died at an interesting time in history. In October of 2011, the economy was still in turmoil. People weren’t being laid off as much as before, but the average worker still walked on eggshells around the office.
The idea of “survival mode” — looking out for yourself and yourself only — was in overdrive when Steve Jobs left this plane of existence.
In the time since his death, it is easy to see how the legend of Steve Jobs the Dick appeals to insecurity.
If you believe in the life-is-a-pyramid/shit-rolls-downhill ethic, you look at Steve Jobs’ abrasiveness and see this energy as positive.
Say that the increasingly-diverse workforce feels threatening, because you wonder where you (being a white dude) fit in. Then the idea of an emotionless autocrat who barely interacts with women and minorities can sound appealing.
Keeping those people on the defensive so you maintain the upper hand, I can see where this would appeal to some men. (I also thank God I am not one of these men.)
If you choose, the life of Steve Jobs can provide proof for the statement that, sometimes, you just have to make everyone cry.
No. Sometimes this act makes you wildly successful.
Sociopathic, emotionless dicks may be sociopathic, emotionless dicks, but guess what?
They are rich sociopathic, emotionless dicks.
Forget remembering Steve Jobs because his companies’ technology enriched peoples’ lives.
Who cares about Apple, Next, and Pixar creating new ways to interface with the world using computers — that sounds like pussy talk.
Steve Jobs was a dick. Dicks rule the business world.
(Unless of course, the dick happens to be female. Or a male who isn’t white. Those “dicks” get labeled as troublemakers in the business world. Some people do prove me wrong here. But more should. Inequality needs to end.)
One thing about American business, in the last twenty years or so: it has undergone a colossal amount of changes. Not just technological changes, either. The cultural evolution in the business world reflects the larger fact that the world is becoming more diverse and less white-guy driven.
Beyond this diversity here in America, American companies are doing business with people all over the world — and many Americans are working for international companies here in the U.S.
Taking this whole sea-change idear a step further, beyond diversity and technology evolutions, we have been engaged in an entirely new type of war that began with a vicious attack on American soil. This affected us both economically and physically.
Our world is different.
As change happens and feelings of disorientation increase, one can be tempted to fall back on the familiar. If you’re a white guy trying to get ahead in the workforce, the familiar is the stories of your father’s and grandfathers’ eras.
The office was white, and the only females present were secretaries.
In modern times of stress, it’s easy to start thinking like this and sooner or later mutter to yourself, “it seemed so much simpler then.”
The runaway success of Apple can make it easy to fall into thinking that Steve Jobs’ mean nature was the sole reason.
Andrew Carnegie was a legendary asshole. So was John D. Rockefeller.
The stereotype of the gruff authoritarian white guy is part of the American fabric. Someone had to give the Indians those diseased blankets.
In the short term, having the ability to scream “Get back in line” to everybody can feel empowering. Even better when the people are afraid to answer back.
This vibe describes the state of the business world for the past six to seven years. And this vibe needs to go.
Steve Jobs wannabes: here’s the thing.
Steve Jobs was allowed to be a dick because he was one-in-a-billion.
The average white-guy Steve Jobs wannabe isn’t.
Within his realm of expertise, Steve Jobs could catch lightning in a bottle. Maybe ten or twelve other people on this Earth could do what he did.
Steve Jobs was a talented dick. Steve Jobs wannabes are just dicks.
Now that it is 2015, my wish is that the dicks leave their dick, no-talent, non-productive dick bullshit behind, in the year 2014.
Whiteboy tribalism is wearing thin. People are wising up about out-of-control income inequality.
Even better, the end of the year employment numbers are showing that the upcoming year is looking to be a positive one. It wouldn’t be very nice if the Job Creators pulled back the economic reins, like they’ve been known to do in recent years.
Negativity is old.
2015 is here.
Compassion and niceness, fellas, let’s give it a try.
Apple’s mantra — which Steve Jobs inspired — was “Think different.”
It wasn’t “Be a dick.”
— Chris Maley is the writer of Fearkiller (Volume 1) and Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2). He enjoys Apple products. And apples.