I’ve been reading Steve Jobs the past week, and am somewhere in the part where he had just closed down the parts of Apple that was working on the Apple II and Lisa in favor of the Macintosh department which he was heading. While he was co-founder of Apple he was not its President, but he was able to do so because of the great success he had with the Mac and the ensuing privileges it allowed. Anyway, he either fired off or retained staff from the other groups unceremoniously, branding them as losers to his Mac team’s winners in a very public way. When asked why he would do such a thing especially since they were all still Apple employees and some certainly didn’t deserve it, he explained that Type A people (his Macintosh team) liked being with other Type A people, and he had to get rid of the Type Bs and Cs ie., everyone else he felt not worthy of working with him.
It was reminiscent of something I read in Sun Tzu, where a General would behead his own soldiers deemed unworthy of belonging to an elite group he was trying to form. It was basically a take no prisoners approach to success where the needs of the many outweighed the few, in this case, his Macintosh team’s need for quality engineers was more important than the hurt feelings of other, probably just as hardworking, employees who happened to be working on separate projects.
That kind of summed up what I felt about Steve Jobs. Brilliant in one way, absolutely naked aggression, rudeness and abrasive behavior the next. One day he will amaze you with the design principles behind the latest i-product, the next he will hurl insults at Mac faithful (of all people) who were trying to talk to him at a convention.
The author Walter Isaacson has done his readers a great favor writing this biography in as honest and straightforward manner as possible. Jobs sought him out to write it for him and allowed him access to every detail. It is an absolute page turner, and while there are some comments on Amazon’s page re inconsistencies I agree with, the book still delivers for me because it’s about as much information I want about Jobs without getting into too much nitty gritty.
I want to finalize my opinion on Steve Jobs, whom I will never call a great man but recognize his achievements just the same. This book by being decidedly unbiased, serves him best just by relaying the facts. I look for opportunities within the day to continue reading it.