Steve Jobs, Enemy of Nostalgia

Discuss

115 Responses to “Steve Jobs, Enemy of Nostalgia”

  1. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    At the same time, marketing through images of Gandhi, Lennon, and Einstein? The “think different” campaign itself moved on pure, unadulterated nostalgia.

  2. cwiley says:

    It’s amazing how many observers are willing to make the (now hackneyed) observation that Apple is actually, in a grand piece of irony,  the current incarnation of Big Brother. Really? Where is the real evidence of this? Can anyone find the real motivation for Apple to behave in that way? Golly-gee-hoss-efat-ned, think of something new and write that.

    • SAMO1415 says:

      I think the iTunes EULA is proof enough.

    • CG says:

      Evidence?  Two words: “Walled Garden”

    • J says:

      “Can anyone find the real motivation for Apple to behave in that way?”

      Is this sarcasm? The answer’s “to make more money”, yes?

    • Chip says:

      Well, there’s the absurd and innovation-stifling patent claims, the overwhelming control the exert over every aspect of user experience (whether the user wants it or not), the sealed cases and proprietary connectors that prevent you from modifying, repairing or upgrading the things you own, the exorbitant prices, the abusive labor conditions in their factories, the planned obsolescence of both hardware and software, and the fact that they do everything possible to lock you in to their ecosystem and think you should go to jail if you try to get out.

      Apple is MASSIVELY user-unfriendly.  Their products violate every one of the maker’s bill of rights.  If the computer industry was as locked down in the late 70s as Apple is today, the Apple I could never have been built.  You don’t see the irony in that?  And as for motivation, it’s the same as every other large and abusive company:  your money.

      • Vincent Reynolds says:

        That’s a lot of wrong to pack into two little paragraphs. Apple products as a whole are actually MASSIVELY user-friendly. My mom, like many people in this world, does not particularly care to know how to operate a general-purpose computer, but loves her iPhone and wants an iPad. They may be maker-unfriendly, but people who enjoy building and repairing computers are not their market. Even whether or not they are “locked down” all depends on which direction you’re looking, since, as has been mentioned in this thread, you can install a metric buttload of non-Apple tools, and even some non-Apple operating systems on their hardware. Hardware lockdown? Like a microwave oven, or a flat-panel TV, maybe. Also, I think you might be mistaking advancing technology for planned obsolescence; old Macs typically don’t break, at least not like cheap PCs.

    • John Staton says:

      Really?  You’ve honestly never heard of the “Apple Gestapo”?

    • Jason Jiang says:

      The current day Apple is pretty much the polar opposite to the ideals of open software that it was founded on.

    • 8088y12 says:

      Closed systems:
      nobody but Apple can make hardware for their OS – compare with Windows and Linux
      iPhone app store notorious for refusing to allow apps on political/conservative values grounds with little transparency for the devs
      Apple products tend to force you to ‘do it the Apple way or not at all’
      iBooks promoting (and basically leading to acceptance of) the agency model of selling ebooks (which basically means that book stores are no longer retailers but selling on behalf of the publisher and thus getting less of the money)

      The irony is that Apple have always promoted themselves as ‘different’ from the others, and that Apple users were in some way rebelling against IBM, etc. But Apple products tend to be the most homogenous and restricted (I believe that technology should be about doing what you want to do regardless of what that is, and I believe that technology is a great way to express or indulge your individuality). Many Apple users come across as clones of each other with identical laptops, iPods, iPhones, etc…all the while thinking they are in some way ‘different’ even though Jobs has been dictating how they act and think for years. Yes, that’s a gross generalisation, but it’s certainly more true of Apple users than any other group.

      Steve Jobs was clearly into controlling his products as well as how they are used.

      No, Apple isn’t the only tech company guilty of such things, but they are at the forefront of that kind of behaviour, and that is in stark, ironic contrast to the mainstream perception of them.

  3. origilla says:

    I’m just tired of all the fawning over him now that he’s dead.  It seems there’s this unwritten rule that as soon as someone dies you have to recall how great they were.  Often times, it’s complete bullshit.  Jobs ran a company and while that company created some pretty cool things we may or may not really need, it was to make money, not change the world.

    • Richard says:

      There is a more critical obit of his working behavior here at the Telegraph,

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/technology-obituaries/8810037/Steve-Jobs-obituary.html

      • atimoshenko says:

        The piece immediately positions Jobs as a marketer, which is, without argument, the most basic mistake that can be made in the analysis of what Jobs did and why he was successful. Daisey, on the other hand, comes much closer to the truth.

    • headcode says:

      ” it was to make money, not change the world.”

      I would mostly disagree with with that statement.  I have ambivalent feelings about Jobs myself (but I love my Macs), but one of the things I think he got a kick out of was changing paradigms and making interesting things happen.  It’s hard to refute that he wanted to change the world when recounting that story of him convincing John Sculley to come work at Apple.  I mean, really.  His words were, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

  4. Aaron Geiger says:

    Tangentially, a colleague of mine worked near and for Jobs, and stated on numerous occasions of Jobs’ propensity to be an overt jerk to his own employees, which included firing people for inconsequential details, verbal harassment, and punishment for events out of their control. He used to describe Jobs (between seven and ten years ago) as an incorrigible man that had two positive attributes: being an innovative design thinker and technological profiteer. My friend’s complaint about the Jobs work environment seemed legitimate, since he never complained about anything else, and he genuinely seemed emotionally ill many times after coming home from work.

    • monopole says:

      The flipside of this is Jobs’ narcissism and  incredibly thin skin. A classic example is Jobs banning all publications from publisher John Wiley & Sons from Apple retail stores due to the publication of “iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in American Business”

      This is coupled with the most focused image management effort since Andrew Carnegie. The constant “Think Different” and the deliberate cult of personality cultivated around Jobs up to and including notice of his passing has led to the ongoing belief that Jobs and Apple was an unmitigated good, the arbiter of esthetics and infallible.  The hagiography was entirely planned.

      The vicious lack of reciprocity in both both the conduct of Jobs and Apple is their most damning flaw. Had XEROX PARC or IBM had practiced the level of secrecy and patent warfare Apple is engaging in presently, Apple would have been been reduced to a skidmark in the 80′s. Had Microsoft not lent a helping hand on the late 90′s Apple would have been a footnote. 

      • Mister44 says:

        There was speculation at the time, and this may or may not have been the case, that Microsoft aided Apple so there would be a competing OS, preventing them from having a complete monopoly.

  5. sum.zero says:

    long live the woz!

  6. cwiley says:

    “We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Apple’s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to.”
    Oh for god’s sake, man. “He chose not to?” No. That sentence is the work of ass hat. True, an ass hat who was published in the New York Times, but an ass hat nonetheless. 

    • 8088y12 says:

      Can you explain your issue with that comment?

      I have always felt that Apple’s products with an open attitude could be amazing. Jobs’s arrogance held their products back. As it stands I don’t see any Apple product that isn’t crippled in some way or simply worse than the competition.

      • Cowicide says:

        As it stands I don’t see any Apple product that isn’t crippled in some way or simply worse than the competition.

        Please explain to me how my MacBook Pro i7 with a 17in screen at 1920×1200 resolution and able to push much more with multiple external displays and 4 processors capable of running 2 threads each (basically like having 8 processors) at top speeds of 3.33 GHz with two on-the-fly switchable high-end graphics cards running MAC OS X 10.6.7 is crippled and worse than all the competition?

        Oh, and when I bought it in early 2011, it was considered by PC magazine (and everyone else) to be the fastest laptop on the planet.

        I will warn you in advance, I’m sitting here next to 2 top-of-the-line Windows machines running Windows 7 and I also have and utilize Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows 8 Developer preview on said Macbook Pro as we speak.

        [note: I don't use iPhones]

        Or do you not know what you’re talking about?

  7. JimEJim says:

    Yeah, this is really the thing.  I respect Jobs as a businessman, but the excessive hero worship over the last few days makes it seem like he was without some major flaws.  I’ve been biting my tongue for the most part when I see it on facebook or anywhere else (this being an exception).

    The man wasn’t a god (some accounts paint him quite the opposite), and the tech world will move on without him.  I do admit he was interesting to watch even when I didn’t always agree with what he was doing though.

    • atimoshenko says:

      I dunno, I always viewed Jobs a little like I viewed the Moon Shot – flawed and with less immediately quantifiable impact than typically ascribed to it, but filled with an incredibly rare quality to capture the imagination. The mouse, and the GUI, and the portable touchscreen would all have eventually made it out into the world without Jobs. A certain exhilaration about technology would not have.

      As an aside, the point being made by various posters on openness is a good one. Apple is not Big Brother in that, at least under Jobs, it never seemed to care much about market share (“Like our products – Great! Don’t like them – go buy something else!” attitude). It dominated some industries, but it never cared about whether or not it was dominating, a distinction that is an important one. However, despite all of this, Apple, especially with iOS/iTunes is not all it would have made itself to be in the ’80s, if it had the chance. Some of it might be due to Eddy Cue (who I always found to be somewhat at odds with Apple’s essence), but there are also two other dynamics in which the circle is difficult to square.

      First, how can iconoclastic vision scale?

      Second, and much more important, is how to reconcile “open” with “fast-moving” and “elegant”? Apple attempted to do it to some extent by initially promoting web apps for the original iPhone (the App Store only came with iOS 2), but it did not work well as a compromise. I imagine Jobs then had a choice to make – make the iPhone more open at the expense of elegance and speed of innovation, or make it more closed but more useful and more delightful. Considering that speed and elegance were always bigger parts of his ethos than openness, and that while many computing projects at the time were pursuing openness pretty much none were pursuing speed and elegance, I feel he made the best choice possible.

  8. johngoad says:

    TO me … No matter how he ran HIS company … He made it happen. He changed our lives … not with just products, but with an ideology that shepherded this whole technological revolution. Can you imagine the crap we would be working with if Steve Jobs did not set this bar so high? 

    • Cowicide says:

      Oh, stop it.  Let the haters vent.  They’ve been dying for a thread like this.  Let them get it out of their jealous system.

      language nsfw
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du83OGIIyUQ

      • The Chemist says:

        You seem to be under the impression brilliant people can’t also be complete assholes. Which I think is weird.

        • Cowicide says:

          You seem to be under the impression brilliant people can’t also be complete assholes. Which I think is weird.

          Well, if you continue to make obtuse assumptions about people like me, you’ll think lots of things are weird.  I agree Steve Jobs was an asshole to many people who worked for him.   Do you feel better now?

          What I think is weird is all the extremely over the top angst against the man and anything he accomplished and the huge pile-on of trolls now that he’s dead.  Actually, it’s not weird… let’s face it, jealousy explains a lot of it and always has.  If that makes people think I’m suddenly a brainwashed zealot for Steve Jobs, then so be it.  I have zero respect for people like that any way.

          As I’ve said many times before on Boing Boing and elsewhere, I disagree with a lot of what Jobs/Apple did, but it certainly didn’t justify the uneducated, over-the-top criticisms (and massive trolling) launched against him and his company on a daily basis.

          It’s complicated.  If you want simple; talk to someone else.

          • chenille says:

            Well, if you continue to make obtuse assumptions about people like me, you’ll think lots of things are weird.

            I think it was opening with “let the haters vent” on a post about an article that simply provided a more critical view, before any real haters showed up, that is throwing people. As you say, it’s complicated; Jobs deserves both adulation and criticism, and lots of people have gone overboard on both sides.

          • Cowicide says:

            I think it was opening with “let the haters vent” on a post about an article that simply provided a more critical view, before any real haters showed up, that is throwing people.

            Alas, it’s complicated.  The haters posts beforehand were deleted by the moderators.  I was responding to a post that was responding to a (now orphaned) hater when I said that.

            I didn’t start the fire.  It was always burning since the thread’s been turning.

            As you say, it’s complicated; Jobs deserves both adulation and criticism, and lots of people have gone overboard on both sides.

            Agreed, but I think many of the haters go far more overboard than the so-called brainwashed zealots that respect some of what Jobs did and/or dared to be so stupid and brainwashed as to use any of his products.  But, such is life.

          • travtastic says:

            Every other comment I’ve seen of yours is about corporatism and corporatists and control; and this one talks about how ‘hating’ and ‘trolling’ Apple Inc. is easily explained by jealousy?

          • Cowicide says:

            Every other comment I’ve seen of yours is about corporatism and corporatists and control; and this one talks about how ‘hating’ and ‘trolling’ Apple Inc. is easily explained by jealousy?

            Well, when you practice obtuse over-simplification of someone else’s points… it’s easy for you to get confused.

            Instead of being so presumptuous as to speak for me, why don’t you try quoting me instead and respond to that?  Here, I’ll quote myself since (crazy) me thinks I’m the best person to speak for myself:

            [emphasis mine]

            … What I think is weird is all the extremely over the top angst against the man and anything he accomplished and the huge pile-on of trolls now that he’s dead.  Actually, it’s not weird… let’s face it, jealousy explains a lot of it and always has. …

            So there we have it.  I do not point out that ANY criticism of Jobs or Apple is an example of jealously.  For instance, I have pointed out flaws with Jobs and Apple in the past and I’m pretty sure my complaints weren’t spawned out of jealousy.

            On the other hand, I DO point out that extremely over the top angst, hatred and trolling lends itself to a vice called jealously.  There are other vices including stupidity, but I digress.

            I hope I explained this in a way you can understand.  Have a nice day.

          • travtastic says:

            This has got to be one of the most hyper-defensive series of comments I’ve ever seen. Has it occurred to you to not speak to people you disagree with like they’re children?

      • headcode says:

        I find it interesting that Apple engenders such strong emotions from those who don’t use their products.  They are fond of saying that Apple only has 3% of the market (which isn’t quite true).  If that is so why do they expend so much energy venting about Apple?  It’s a mystery to me.  Apparently Bill Gates IS a saint to them?

        • Cowicide says:

          I find it interesting that Apple engenders such strong emotions from those who don’t use their products. … why do they expend so much energy venting about Apple?

          It really is a strange phenomenon.  Often, I’ll see more Apple haters at a MacFixit thread than actual Mac users there.  The same old trite, uninformed garbage spewed daily.  I think there must be some sort of hole in their hearts and maybe their heads too.

          If you don’t like Macs, don’t use them and certainly don’t spend your time in threads about them.  Get a life.  If you don’t like Steve Jobs, then why spend so much time in threads about him?  It’s a sickness I’ll never understand.  Maybe even some sort of obsession they can’t control.

          I’ve heard it all before, if you DARE  mention Apple products with facts about why you personally choose them, etc. – you’ll get slammed all over the place, called names, etc.  It’s amazingly stupid.

          Apparently Bill Gates IS a saint to them?

          I think they are too busy worshipping themselves to be bothered with anyone else.

  9. Oceanconcepts says:

    All of Apple’s iDevices — the iPod, iPhone and iPad — use operating systems that deny the user access to their workings.

    Yet the iMac I write this on is as open a computing platform as I can imagine. I need to use a variety of OS’s, and have currently installed Mac OSX, Windows7, A couple of Linux variants, and I also run UNIX programs in the native X Windows.  The command line is there, if one prefers or requires it.  All with the support of the host hardware, seamlessly, and quite easily. I can install whatever software I want.  

    The iThings are a different story- Apple clearly sees them as appliances. As a developer of embedded devices and instrumentation, I understand the risks of opening up systems- you get the blame when things don’t work, yet cede control.  This is a much more complex issue than those arguing from either end acknowledge.  Agree or disagree with the approach of valuing stability over openness in those devices, but it’s clear Apple as a company sees the iThings and the Mac systems very differently, appliances and tools, respectively.  

  10. yeah, nothing looks more like that old 1984 commercial than an apple keynote.

  11. Adam Coles says:

    I have no reason to think that Steve Jobs was or wasn’t a good man in himself – his desire for privacy precludes that. He has made a great contribution to design in electronics, and no doubt changed the mobile phone market.

    However I would agree that the (not unexpected) plethora of tributes ignore the real man and simply praise fans’ projected image of what he means to them.  Personally I think it needs to be noted that he did not cure cancer or create Middle East peace. He made some gadgets nicer. He helped to fill the hole in the souls of western middle-class consumers.

    Under his leadership Apple gave virtually no money to charity (nor, I believe, despite his tremedous wealth did he). He was not interested in democratisation of his wares. He was committed to his personal sense of design and what felt right to him. 

    All of which is fine…but he should never have been treated as the son of God. Not while alive, and not now.

    • flowergardenslayer says:

      I have no reason to think that Steve Jobs was or wasn’t a good man in himself – his desire for privacy precludes that.

      I think that the fact that he forced his illegitimate daughter to live in welfare for a number of years says a lot about the man as a person.  I also think that his companies policies towards it’s suppliers says something as well.  I believe this is the point that Mike is attempting to make: he’s a great, but flawed human being.

  12. cheem says:

    I’d just like to take this opportunity to say that I kind of admired Steve Jobs… he was what he was and it’s impressive how consistent he as a person managed to stay even as circumstances around him changed. I’m not saying he didn’t roll with the punches or that he was inflexible, he was… true to himself. Whether he was working out of his garage or being CEO of the biggest tech company in the world, he always believed he knew what was best and did his best to convert as many people to that belief.  It was a kind of sharing, quite different from other CEOs.

    I’d really like to mention also that I appreciate what Mike Daisey has written.  actually, I wish Mike Daisey had a higher profile… he tells some awesome stories and has never been less than astute.

  13. franko says:

    haters gonna hate. they’ve been waiting for this day. for example, within a couple hours of his death, there was a guy on one forum i read comparing him to the nazis — how is THAT appropriate?

    to be honest, i haven’t read many pieces that DIDN’T acknowledge his flaws, in fact, they do it specifically to balance out all the amazing successes. what **i** grow tired of is all the people constantly whining about the praise! for one, this is TOTALLY the time for it, and secondly, can’t the haters even put aside the hate long enough to admit he fundamentally changed the way we all live? this just in, haters: the world seems to be disagreeing with you on this one. get over it.

    • William Bagilliam says:

      I’m pretty sure he didn’t fundamentally change the way we all live.  He acted as the CEO of a company that makes some decent personal electronics, and that’s cool.  But “fundamentally changed the way we live”?  No, not even close.

      • franko says:

        i’m guessing you are using a computer with a graphical user interface. or have set type on that computer that came out kerned properly — or hell, had a choice of fonts! — or used a mouse. all things that came from him, and woz, and apple. so yeah — pretty fundamental, i’d say.

        • brillow says:

          You do realize that neither Jobs nor Woz invented those things?  Nor were they the first people to see them?

          • Cowicide says:

            You do realize you’re the ten-millionth person to point this out?  You win the prize!

          • brillow says:

            Can’t there be a prize for the ten-millionth person to say Jobs invented the computer?

          • Brainspore says:

            Yeah, but he totally stole the idea for ones and zeroes.

          • Mark Dow says:

            He stole the zero, but is the one.

          • franko says:

            yes, of course, but that’s what apple does, and has always done: they take things that people have made, look at them, and figure out ways to do them more intuitively, and better. the mouse came from xerox PARC, yes yes yes, we all know that. but they were going to pass on it. jobs saw it and knew its potential. same for the desktop computer. same for MP3 players, and phones, and tablets…

          • brillow says:

            Actually the mouse was invented at Stanford, and first sold by a German company with their computers in the early 70′s, about 9 years before Apple ever sold a Mac.  

            The thing Apple did different is that they realized a computer could be marketed as a consumer device.  Xerox didn’t see a future in personal computers because they did not market them correctly.

          • Bob says:

            If Xerox designed a consumer device the marketing of a consumer device would be trivial. The device would market itself. They didn’t design it correctly.

          • brillow says:

            The Xerox mouse and the Apple mouse were substantially identical, except the Xerox mouse had 3 buttons whereas the Apple mouse had 1.  An argument about good mouse design as it relates it Apple is not interesting, they have never had good mice.

            Xerox did not sell personal computers.  They made computers for businesses. 

            Marketing things is absolutely not trivial.  Think about this:  The Zune.  The Zune is a nice device.  Compared to the iPod the audio quality is better, the headphones were better, the screen was better, the Zune desktop software is much better than iTunes, and the subscription model is cool.  If you want to know why the Zune device failed, the first place you should look is the marketing.  How often do you see an Apple commercial on TV?  How often did you see a Zune commercial?

            The iPod was not the first MP3 player, it wasn’t even the first GOOD mp3 player.  It was slightly easier to use initially since it had iTunes, but if you weren’t into paying for music, it didn’t offer you anything compelling.  The reason it worked is because it was MARKETED.  Most people didn’t know mp3 players EXISTED, Apple solved this with complete market saturation.  

            Can you think of any tech company which markets things anywhere close to as much as Apple does?  I see a MS commercial every once in a while, usually around when they are having a new product release, but Apple’s marketing is persistent, and quite good.

            Perception is very important, Jobs understood that.  It’s proven by the fact that people think Jobs and Apple invented the computer, or the mouse, or the GUI, because that’s what Apple has trained you to perceive.

    • Cowicide says:

      Apple and Jobs have always had crazy, incessant haters.  Go to MacFixit and read the comments after any security threat (no matter how insignificant) is reported on.  It fills with jealous haters faster than a port-o-potty fills with turds at a Juggalo concert.

      A lot of it is people that argued against Apple for many years and have been proven wrong and they simply can’t deal with being wrong for so long.  It really messes with their heads.  They wanted Apple to die because they wrongly predicted it would.  They wanted Apple machines to become as infested with malware as their Windows machines because they wrongly predicted it would.

      As a long time Apple user (and off-and-on IT person who has fixed many Windows machines), I’ve learned over the years to simply enjoy the haters and prod and poke their jealous souls until they explode.

      If you don’t have any haters, you’re probably not giving people enough reasons to be jealous of you.  So, I dedicate this video to all the haters in here [language nsfw]:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7z_ztMxBgk

  14. Andrew Singleton says:

    And the screaming and hate come back out from being bottled up so long. To be perfectly fair I feel many of the critisizms of Jobs are more than justified. I’ve just never been into the Ford V Chevy arguments.

  15. cwiley says:

    ‘”Can anyone find the real motivation for Apple to behave in that way?”Is this sarcasm? The answer’s “to make more money”, yes?’ 
    J, a man selling apples on the street corner wants to make money. That doesn’t mean he’s trying to control you.

    “Mike Daisey is an author and performer. His latest monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” is scheduled to open at the Public Theater on Tuesday.”

    You see — it’s just as though Mike Daisey wants to make money, too.

    • Bob says:

      Mike Daisey does what he loves. And he does it so well that he makes money at it. 
      See the show, it comes with the greatest money back guarantee in the history of theator.

  16. Mister44 says:

    Valid criticisms in both this and the Telegraph piece. It is a bit ironic we have people all over the country marching in part against the upper 1%, yet Jobs, no different than the others, is idolized rather than condemned.

    I guess that is basic human nature. We tend to defend or make excuses for people we like for one reason or another – over looking their faults, from Michael Jackson, to a less than stellar parent.

    • Cowicide says:

      Some will just never understand why Apple connected (on some levels) with the counter-culture (or whatever you’d like to label it).   It’s been talked about over and over, but if you don’t get it by now, you probably never will and that’s fine.

      • William Bagilliam says:

        …Or most likely those who mislabeled themselves as ‘the counter-culture.’  Affiliating yourself with noble things via marketing is not ‘connecting with’ those things.  It’s just marketing.  And at his core, that was in fact Jobs’ greatest skill.

        The fact that people don’t recognize it is testament to just how good a marketer he was.

        • Cowicide says:

          …Or most likely those who mislabeled themselves as ‘the counter-culture.’

          Right, the most likely real counter-culture is those other people out there who didn’t use Macs in the 90′s for desktop publishing, etc. – I get it.
          http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/the_residents_pay_tribute_to_steve_jobs_plus_new_live_3-d_video/

          Affiliating yourself with noble things via marketing is not ‘connecting with’ those things.

          Agreed.  But, whether you want to believe it or not, Steve Jobs didn’t only accomplish “marketing” in his life.

          The fact that people don’t recognize it is testament to just how good a marketer he was.

          Who are these people who don’t recognize it?  Ah, that’s right.. the sheeple.. the sheeple who respected Jobs and/or bought his products… I get it.  Silly us.  We’ve been so blind as to not see just how good he was at marketing.  God.  Talk about arrogance.

      • Mister44 says:

        I have to laugh about them connecting to the “counter culture” or what have you. Yeah, they connected because they marketed it to them. They created an image and brand, and people liked it/connected. Just like how Mt Dew sells it’s “extreme” image (for marathon RPG sessions!)

        After Amiga went away :o(, I used macs for about 6 years. It just got to the point  the difference and performance between Macs and PCs were such that I stopped buying Macs. They do make nice products, I just don’t buy into the ‘cult’.

      • onereader says:

        Oh, for fuck’s sake, read your posts! “The haters,” “if you don’t get it you never will,” “I stopped reading”… you’re looking like a brainwashed cultist, you talk of “Steve” and “Apple” like they talk of Jesus and Xenu.

  17. Brainspore says:

    From Jobs’ now-famous 2005 commencement address:

    And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

    Spoken like a man who knew his place in the universe.

    • Aaron Geiger says:

      It’s easy to control people’s perceptions of you when you give a speech. It’s also easy to find your place in the universe when you have a cancerous disease that is usually fatal within two to five years. 

      • Brainspore says:

        It’s also easy to find your place in the universe when you have a cancerous disease that is usually fatal within two to five years.

        Yeah, some lucky bastards catch all the breaks.

  18. oldtaku says:

    I’m not going to hate on Jobs (look at all he accomplished), but I am vaguely squicked by all the people still wallowing in his death. That was fine on Wednesday unless you went to ludicrous Gizmodo levels.  Unless you personally knew the man, or he rises again tomorrow, that should be the end of the wailing and gnashing.

    BoingBoing’s theming was tasteful and fitting – and now you’re back to normal. Seems reasonable.

  19. Tango Charlie says:

    I find it frustrating to hear Jobs compared to The Wall Street Bankers. At least Jobs gave us some quality products and both championed and practised the ideals of good design and user-friendly products.

    I’m happy to acknowledge the shortcomings of Jobs and Apple (I liked this article), but at least he had *some* noble values and (as far as I know) copped to his mistakes.

  20. Antlan says:

    Those who think he was a good man in his personal life should take a look at how hard he fought to deny paternity of his first daughter.

  21. spiderking says:

    Or how shabbily he treated Steve Wozniak.

  22. I don’t know shit from shinola in this debate, but I find the idea of corporate CEOs as culture heroes almost impossible to get my head around.

  23. sagodjur says:

    Ultimately, people are ego-centric. They only care about Steve Jobs in as much as Steve Jobs affected their life. It’s natural. People who were pleased with him will get offended at all the “haters” (even if it’s not hate or jealously, but legitimate dissatisfaction with the man or his decisions) and they won’t understand why people would have a problem with him. Then there are people who are dissatisfied with Jobs and his decisions and don’t understand all the praise.

    I’m one of the latter. I can understand liking Jobs and lamenting his passing if you didn’t have a problem with him, but you can’t begrudge people who likewise did have issues with him and how he ran his company. I would gladly have given up the shininess and somewhat decent, but not spectacular functionality of my iPod if the man had not been hypocritical in his commencement speech when he said not to be trapped by dogma when his own unilateral, user-choice-unfriendly decisions trapped others in his dogma.

    • Brainspore says:

      I would gladly have given up the shininess and somewhat decent, but not spectacular functionality of my iPod if the man had not been hypocritical in his commencement speech when he said not to be trapped by dogma when his own unilateral, user-choice-unfriendly decisions trapped others in his dogma.

      Speaking of hypocrisy, may I ask why you chose to purchase an iPod rather than one of the many other fine digital music players that were widely available both before and after the device’s debut?

      • sagodjur says:

        It was a birthday present. I didn’t choose to purchase it. I actually purchased a Samsung mp3 player before receiving the iPod.

        • Brainspore says:

          Fair enough. But which one did you end up using more? Be honest.

          • sagodjur says:

            The iPod, because I didn’t want to disappoint my girlfriend who had purchased it for me. I gave the Samsung to a friend who couldn’t afford an iPod.

            In using the iPod, I immediately started searching for an iTunes alternative (because Steve apparently thought everyone wanted QuickTime installed and to have Bonjour running in the background).

      • Marc Mielke says:

        I love my Sansa fuze. I have FM tuning, which I don’t think any of the iThings have up to the iPhone, and I trade off a tiny display screen (for movies I rarely watch) and somewhat difficult movie conversion (ditto) for working like a hard drive (which I love) and no DRM bullshit.

        It cost 75 bucks. 

  24. Apple makes money selling you pretty things. Google makes money selling you and everything about you.

    Yet Apple is the one people think is sinister.

  25. chenille says:

    I see. I thought it wasn’t quite typical of your posts, from what I remember of them; it’s my mistake.

    It seems like it’s a lot easier to express rabid hate than love, though a lot less reasonable after a death.  I thought this article was good place to start a fair view of someone who has been, for both good and bad ends, one of the great figures in computer history.

  26. Donald Petersen says:

    I have no issue with those who love and appreciate the nifty things that Steve Jobs and his companies (Pixar included) brought to them.  I just feel like it’s an overstatement to claim that he profoundly changed the way we all lived, and that we’ll never again see a genius of his stature in our lifetimes.

    Smart guy; certainly a whole lot smarter than I.  Swell products, not without flaws, but certainly influential and beloved by many influential people.  But the industry I’ve worked in for the last twenty years (motion pictures/television) was essentially invented by Edison, Farnsworth, et al.  Without their technology, I’d be working for a traveling minstrel show or maybe in a lube shop.  I happily acknowledge that many of the ideas that have forwarded and streamlined my particular corner of the industry can be traced back to Jobs.  He didn’t invent nonlinear film editing, but the preferred platform for nonlinear editing software is the Mac.  His influence is inarguably widespread, but to paraphrase Bon Scott, he’s “only a man, don’t you understand, and a man can sometimes lose.”  And it’s one thing to state that Steve Jobs and Apple have fundamentally and profoundly changed your life.  Who’s going to argue with you about that?

    But the ways my own life have changed or been profoundly affected in the last quarter century or so owe relatively little to Steve Jobs.  His presence was felt, but his absence… well, who can say?  I have no doubt that he had plenty more groovy ideas to unleash upon our eager world had he enjoyed a few more decades of life.  But my point is that he had yet to fundamentally change my own life (YMMV), and unless he had some embryonic plans for matter transporters or cold fusion tucked away in his iPad’s “To Do” file, I can’t imagine how he might have done it.

    But that’s because I’m not the genius here.

  27. ackpht says:

    I interviewed at Apple a few years back and was impressed by their security measures and the fact that the guy interviewing me openly refused to tell me anything about what projects I might be working on.  Treated to lunch on a sunny patio, we made small talk until the sounds of conversation around us suddenly died away. Steve himself walked by our table, absorbed in some portable device, not speaking to anyone, no one speaking to him.  It was not until he was out of earshot that the conversation around us resumed.

    And I thought the GUI concept came out of Xerox PARC…

    • franko says:

      yes, it did. and what did THEY do with it?

    • Brainspore says:

      I thought the GUI concept came out of Xerox PARC…

      Yes, their R&D people developed the idea of a mouse-driven interface. And when the prototype was presented to Xerox executives the reaction was about as enthusiastic as if a dead rat had been plopped on the table.

      It’s not just about who invents the technology, it’s about who has the vision and ability to actually do something with it.

  28. monopole says:

    Admittedly haigography and nostalgia for Steve Jobs will most likely destroy Apple in short order.

    Given that Steve Jobs is dogmatically the singular genius of the age, any successor to the Throne of St. Jobs must do exactly what Steve would have done.  Any apostasy on the part of the next CEO will be a complete betrayal of the great man.  As a result the CEO must hew precisely to the doctrines of Steve. New directions are strictly out. And despite Steve’s regular “We have always been at war with Eastasia!” moments, his statements are now holy writ, thus no 7″ tablets EVER!

    Most importantly, every new product must be perfect, and a massive hit. Being perfect every single time requires a risk adverse strategy. As a result management will be boxed in once the immediate pipeline is empty. As Raymond Chandler said “A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.” 

    On the other hand, CEO’s like Jerry Yang from ASUS will be tossing everything they can think up into the market, and running with what works, and laughing off failures.

    Worse yet, once a product or two bombs, the dread words “Gil Amelio” will surface….

    Tim Cook had better pray that in his last days Steve spent his time recording holographic keynotes in the fashion of Hari Seldon and that Jeff Bezos is not the Mule.

    • penguinchris says:

      A bit hyperbolic perhaps, but a good comment. One must wonder what direction the company is going to take from now on. They knew this was going to happen so they very obviously must have a plan, approved (if not wholly created) by Jobs for at least the next few years.

      But after that, I don’t see them relying on “WWJD” (that’s “What Would Jobs Do”, get it straight) forever. That will be hanging over their heads, of course, and I think that’s a good thing – “what would ASUS do” is not a good motto for several reasons.

  29. BarBarSeven says:

    I think the iTunes EULA is proof enough.

    Is Apple really to blame for that or is it the RIAA and the MPAA? It has always seemed to me that Apple ultimately wants freedom and openness to the way users use their tools. But the DRM is a concession to a media world they are trying to push forward into the digital world. I mean iTunes still allows for CD ripping and doesn’t discriminate against non-iTunes store MP3s.  And while Apple TV has DRM for HDMI hookups, that again seems like a concession to the TV & movie industry.  Even the iPhone; it’s been pretty clear to me Apple went with AT&T in the U.S.A. not because of quality of service, but for market penetration.  Flash forward to today and the iPhone 4s officially can work with ANY cell provider… And the fact that Skype and such can work on an iPod Touch is something that wasn’t possible a few years ago; Apple has now proven the device in the market and is basically saying, “Okay cell providers, folks are sick of you… We’re allowing Skype on the iPod Touch…” I mean an iPod Touch is not a full replacement for a cell phone in places where wi-fi is scarce, but in major urban areas it’s a nice thing to have.

    My general point being is that if—let’s say—Apple & Google partnered on a nationwide wi-fi network, made the iPhone a no contract device that could work with wi-fi, that would be cool, correct?  But it would also raise the ire of the FCC and the the telephone service providers who would fight that tooth an nail.  Ditto with DRM on iTunes music and movie purchases… This stuff is all political.  Because I genuinely believe that while Apple would never open up it’s OS and hardware to third parties, they do want to create tools that will allow people to use new media in different ways.

  30. Bob says:

    Apple, located at One Infinite Loop, the intersection of Liberal Arts paved over by Technology, where History is stripped of Nostalga by a Buddhist without Compassion.

    I will miss most Steve’s last act when he, like Bill Gates, redirected his Fortunes, Energies and Vision from the Triumphs of Technology to the Sufferings of Humanity.

  31. Edward Pearse says:

     I think the comparisons of Jobs to Edison were quite apt. Edison invented less than people credit him for and did more with patent control than he did with real invention.

    At least Jobs didn’t electrocute elephants to prove Windows was dangerous.

  32. Daen de Leon says:

    As was all too predictable, the thread has descended into irrelevant “mine is better than yours” territory.  
    Anyway.  I was surprised by the unrelenting outpouring of mawkish encomia to Jobs.  And at the same time, it spoke volumes to me that nobody was talking about Fred Shuttlesworth, who died on the same day.  We have truly lost perspective when we venerate a business leader over a social reformer.
    I have no problem with Apple products (I bought a MacMini for a home server, because it has a low power consumption and a small footprint, and it works fine).  And let’s not forget, in the rush to point fingers at Apple’s offshoring of manufacturing (which I understand was Tim Cook’s decision as COO, not Jobs’s, but anyway) that virtually every piece of consumer electronics and electrical equipment you own is made under conditions not too dissimilar to Apple’s Chinese factories.  
    Steve Jobs was a consummate businessman and marketer.  He died a billionaire.  He didn’t change the world; actually, he reinforced the status quo.

    • Cowicide says:

      As was all too predictable, the thread has descended into irrelevant “mine is better than yours” territory.

      Of course.  It’s an Apple thread and I eventually got tired of the endless bullshit spewing.  I’m calling out truth when I see it because it often empowers others when you do.  But, anyway…

      Speaking of which…

      it spoke volumes to me that nobody was talking about Fred Shuttlesworth, who died on the same day.  We have truly lost perspective when we venerate a business leader over a social reformer.

      I agree with you completely.

      Steve Jobs was a consummate businessman and marketer.  He died a billionaire.  He didn’t change the world; actually, he reinforced the status quo.

      I disagree with you completely.  Like Fred, Steve empowered people.  It’s not in the same admirable way that Fred did by any stretch, but to say Steve didn’t change the world is not looking at what he did and what drove him beyond his insatiable, megalomaniacal desire for wealth and power.

      It’s complex and everyone else all over the place is explaining how Steve bettered the world, so I don’t find the need to continue in that vain anymore.

      But at the same time, I heartily agree it would appear Steve was no Fred as far as moral character goes.  But, it doesn’t have to be a black and white thing either, where Steve did nothing and Fred did everything.

      Life just doesn’t function like that.  Life is more complex than that.  I think Fred might agree… and so might Steve.

  33. alissa mower clough says:

    The Apple Store in New Haven opened to handshakes all around.  My Macintosh was greeted by the staff (I’d been told to give apples, not flowers), with the frigid noninterest of a tank rolling over a butterfly.

    The real Steve applauded my poetry.  Apple could care less.

  34. Mister44 says:

    Right, because every other corporation is just marketing their goods, but Apple thinks differently. Just like their ads say they do.

  35. atimoshenko says:

    So what’s so special about Apple’s marketing that made it impossible for anyone to replicate for it for the past 15 years?

  36. onereader says:

    There are people out there with Nike tattoos.

    Anyway, pre-iPod Apple wasn’t exactly the strongest brand, it survived for a few years on nostalgia and professionals who didn’t want to retrain on a different os…

  37. Mister44 says:

    Their marketing? Nothing is so special. Most of it is very, very good. Infectiously so. Their products are on the cutting edge. Jobs was great at seeing what products we would want in the future.

    My sarcastic statement was alluding that some may think Apple some how cares differently or is some how unique among the other multi-billion dollar corporations. No, they are in the business to market and sell their Chinese made gadgets just the same as Samsung or Dell or HP.

  38. Mister44 says:

    re: “If my opponent deserves my respect…”  (Emphasis mine)

    Opponent? Dude, it’s an internet forum, not ‘Nam. Lighten up. It is just chit-chat, the exchange of ideas and opinions, and asking “How the fuck do magnets work?”.

    One rarely gets their point across when they treat others as an adversary or opponent.

  39. travtastic says:

    Dueling pistols. 20 paces. Be there.

  40. atimoshenko says:

    No, they are in the business to market and sell their Chinese made gadgets just the same as Samsung or Dell or HP.

    I actually don’t think that’s completely correct. In my opinion, Apple is one of the few companies (The Economist is another that comes to mind) that focuses on producing on what its employees (and Jobs chief among them) want to consume. It’s almost the reverse of the ‘dogfooding’ concept – instead of making sure that you use what you sell, you make what you want to use and see if other people want to use it too. I’m sure most Apple employees (and again Jobs among them) use Apple tech because they genuinely believe that it is the best option for their present needs (i.e. not best abstractly, but best for *them*). I don’t think the same can be said of Samsung, Dell, HP or most other companies out there.

    Perhaps that’s another reason why openness never played a huge role in the iOS ecosystem – to Steve, iOS was completely open and he could customise its next generation any way he wanted to…

  41. Dewi Morgan says:

    What on earth are you talking about? Most Apple employees can’t *afford* an iPad. Did you even RTFA?

    “I have traveled to southern China and interviewed workers employed in
    the production of electronics. I spoke with a man whose right hand was
    permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at
    Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed
    him my iPad, and he gasped because he’d never seen one turned on. He
    stroked the screen and marveled at the icons sliding back and forth, the
    Apple attention to detail in every pixel. He told my translator, “It’s a
    kind of magic.””

    [Edit: yes, you could argue that they aren't, strictly speaking, employees, since they only produce the products under the auspices of a separate shell company. But I call that weasel words.]

    Jobs epitomized the 1%. Apple makes products their own 1% want? Well, bully for them, but don’t expect me to love them for it until they show at least some care for their own 99%, rather than letting them drop dead after working 34 hour shifts.

    When a company has less of a sense of corporate responsibility than Microsoft, it has a *lot* of introspection to do.

  42. atimoshenko says:

    Way to miss the point. Let me try to simplify.

    HP, Dell, etc. design stuff the way they think you would accept it.

    Apple designs stuff the way they want it to be themselves.

    Quite a separate issue is whether trade between low-income and high-income countries makes the world a better place or not (and, therefore, whether companies participating in this trade are inherently evil). And since you are talking globally here, let me bid greetings to you, my fellow 4%-er!

Leave a Reply