Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oh Steve Jobs!

Finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

First let me share my disappointment - no it is not the book - it is well written. My disappointment is that of Steve Jobs as a human being.

Wish he was less ruthless with the people around him. As I am typing this post on a Mac Laptop my heart goes out to the folks who got fired and the poor employees who had nervous breakdowns trying to match Steve Job's specifications.

There could be an argument for Steve Jobs - if he was not this ruthless with his employees and demanded perfection - we would not have seen Apple as it is now. I beg to differ - he was quite kind with Pixar employees and see what Pixar has accomplished.

Before I started the book I had a few questions - who is Steve Jobs and how did he pull off such amazing things? : well I got the answers.

1. Focus : Our man can focus on the issue at hand like a laser. Not only that - he can get people around him to focus. His mercurial and brash personality could have helped in this regard - but I am pretty much sure there could be more gentler ways to bring focus.

2. Attention to detail : We all knew he was a perfectionist and that he practiced his keynote speeches for hours. Well this ran throughout his life, every waking minute.

3. Money : He was never after money. When he cameback to Apple after being thrown out unceremoniously - he said he was not here for the money and paid himself a token salary of 1$ a year. He got paid 2.5$ in the first 2 and a half years before the board decided to give him shares. He wanted to build the best product ever - and money kept finding him.

4. Simple life : I thought Steve Jobs being Steve Jobs would live a life of lavishness. But this man had a very simple life. Did not have security guards and entourages. However he did get a personal jet after he turned around the company - as he found flying on commercial airliners tedious.

5. Spirituality : Steve Jobs was deeply spiritual and explored life and death even before death stared at him. The exposure to Eastern Religions and meditations instilled a sense of beauty, perfection and simplicity in him.

6. A Players : He surrounded himself with A players and fired ones who he thought were not A players. He liked to be challenged and proven wrong. He provoked people and incited people to do things beyond their own capabilities.

All said and done - this man's life was very interesting. He revolutionized entire industries - might not be an "original" inventor like Ford or Edison - but he perfected the existing ones - and the world is a better place because of him.

My only concern is the kids reading Steve Jobs book should not take the garish attitude of Steve Jobs ( somewhere in the book they mention a mental condition ) as the "feature" to replicate - and miss out the other important things we can get inspired from him - beauty, taste, simplicity, perfection..

Hate him or love him  - he has affected all of us in great way.