Friday, March 02, 2012

King Jobs

Some people get road rage when the traffic is too heavy, or when somebody cuts you off without a directional, or any of 100 other reasons.  I bet I'm the only guy who gets road rage in this situation:

I'm driving to work, listening to the Steve Jobs biography on audiobook.  I come to this passage:

"I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology - Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear."  His other favorites included Moby-Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas.  I asked him why he related to King Lear and Captain Ahab, two of the most willful and driven characters in literature, but he didn't respond to the connection I was making, so I let it drop.
You...let it drop?!  I will kill you.  Yeah, in the course of my book research the single most brilliant technologist of the last century who created an empire focused on integrating the humanities rather than ignoring them, just told you he loved Shakespeare and you let it drop. 

Man, way to make me sad.  I would read an entire book of Steve Jobs' thoughts on Shakespeare.

By the way, true story -- the original NeXT computer (by Steve Jobs) came with the complete works of Shakespeare.  How do you not love that?  Sure, at the time it was just one of those "Because we can" opportunities, but have you ever seen it since then?  Why doesn't your phone come with the complete works of Shakespeare built in?


JM said...

Somehow, I can't imagine that Jobs was so driven by the 'humanities' that he would have had enough to say about Shakespeare to fill a book. I really think the 'Savior of the World through technology' bit has been sold a bit too hard. He was first and foremost a successful businessman, CEO and promoter/marketeer. These seemed to be his main concerns.

Duane Morin said...

Hi JM,

I have to disagree. I've been a student of my business for decades at this point, I'm not just jumping on the Jobs bandwagon now that he's dead.

The man was a brutal businessman, no question. There are plenty of stories of him stabbing his closest friends in the back if he could make a profit on it.

But his *foremost* concern? He's always had a vision for his technology, and the money part was second. Consider how many years that the Mac floundered while the Windows/PC generation took over the planet. Apple had plenty of opportunities to go down that path. Where the PC architecture was open and clones were freely available, the Apple system was closed and there are plenty of cases on the books of them suing anybody who tried to build a knockoff machine. There could be 100x the number of Apple machines in the world today if it was only about the money.

Instead, consider why Macs come with software like iDVD and Garage Band. Jobs wants people to use his computers in pursuit of other things. Creative things. Humanities.