There is no disputing the fact Steve Jobs was a highly accomplished man. While he did not do it alone, he was instrumental in turning Apple around and making it the most valuable company in the world. He saw what nobody else could see at Apple and he knew what kind of people he needed to make it happen.
Even years after his death, Apple shows no signs of slowing down and continues to hold more money than most first-world government treasuries.
But lets get this straight, we need to stop trying to be like Steve Jobs. We need to stop telling people to be like Steve Jobs. As great as Steve Jobs was, he was his own unique person who had a personality the size of the solar system. He would stop at nothing, no matter the cost to ensure his ideas were realised (even if it meant stepping on others).
There is also the side of Steve Jobs that was buried and hidden away from the public. We saw many of his great accomplishments and ability to sell a worldwide audience of high margin electronics. We saw the occasional glimpses at the darker side of Jobs, but it was not until after his death that we got more insights into the many faces of Steve Jobs.
To be the kind of person that Steve Jobs was, it takes more than the ability to be able to sell something to a crowd of excited media onlookers. It takes arrogance, confidence and the willingness to sacrifice family and relationships no matter the cost.
It is a well established fact that Steve Jobs was a sociopath. If you got into his crosshairs, you can guarantee that you would feel the full extent of his authority. Steve Jobs got away with the kind of behaviour that would probably get you reprimanded by concerned executives in any other company because Apple wanted to keep him at all costs and everyone knew without him Apple would be worse off.
It does not matter what kind of person Steve Jobs was. He was a one-off and highly successful creative genius who changed the world, more specifically how we listen to music, how we take photos and how we communicate. He revolutionised music and then helped realise an entire new era of intelligent and beautiful mobile phones. Can you remember what phones were like before the iPhone? They were horrible.
Those who worked closely with Jobs accepted that getting the opportunity to work alongside Jobs would come at a cost of potentially being abused and being expected to work ridiculous hours that would rival any sweatshirt factory in Bangladesh. People wanted to be in his presence, regardless of the consequences.
I believe that Steve Jobs was not an intentionally bad person, but it is a well-known fact that he did not care. We are talking about a guy who for years denied the paternity of his own daughter Lisa, while she and her mother lived on welfare. In his defence, he did make it right years later. The point is however he got so caught up in his own success that he felt as though nothing else was deserving of his attention.
And I am definitely not trying to shadow the man’s achievements. Even though I am not much of an Apple fan, even I can acknowledge what he was able to achieve, even if he achieved much of what he did by stepping on a few toes and crushing hopes & dreams.
Could Steve have achieved what he did if he acted any differently? Probably not. If it weren’t for Job’s highly unrealistic expectations of perfection or not taking no for an answer, we might not have ever seen an iPod or iPhone.
Lets celebrate the achievements of Steve Jobs, not the type of person he was. We need to stop ourselves getting caught up in the hype. I think it is wrong to suggest that we should “be more like Steve Jobs” or “think like Steve Jobs” — there can and never should be another Steve Jobs.
We should be encouraging people to be more creative, thinking outside of the box and solving problems with innovative solutions. And we certainly shouldn’t be rewarding bully tactics and sociopathic behaviour.
Be creative, be compassionate and understanding.
Be yourself, Steve Jobs is dead.