Monday, February 08, 2016
The Legend of Steven Jobs
We have two Jobs: One, the magical creator of iPhone, and even more, of the whole iGeneration, whose life story is one of a visionary, one that stayed steadfast through various failures and ultimately prevailed. The other is, of course, much more human, with all the failings, tempers and tantrums, who refused to accept parenthood of his own daughter and made life miserable for his colleagues at Apple so much that he managed to get fired from his own company. This latter story makes him no less visionary, but just a bit less perfect! The perfect millennium man, the first story eventually overshadowed the second story at the turn of the century, as the second coming of Jobs - his very successful return to Apple and making it the most valuable company in the world - played out, helped no less by his Cancer survival and finally, death.
One can say I was watching Steve Jobs, a very good movie with Michael Fassbender as the lead. I am slightly weary of hero worship, and therefore, would usually avoid such movies, particularly because, I believe, that we have not had sufficient time, belonging to a generation shaped by Mr Jobs' action, to be objective about him. The previous attempts at biopics, even with all the dramatic material, came up short, primarily because the legend of Steven Jobs was far too ubiquitous to leave any opportunity for any new story to be told.
The current attempt, in contrast, goes further. It revolves around the second Jobs, the human one, centering itself to very human failings of the hero. It brings in the hate figures of the Jobs legend, John Scully, who had become the dumb-witted villain in the tale of Jobs. It restores Steve Wozniak in all his affability: That the Creator of Apple computers gets restored from his usual place - a footnote - makes the movie remarkable.
For me, however, it is not the story it tells, but the one it hints. I am not sure anyone seeing the movie would agree with me, but it is worth blurting out: I thought the movie hints the transformation of Jobs from one who did not listen to one who finally did. And, this is not just about recognising his daughter or being truthful about Scully or Wozniak. Jobs, in his second coming, started listening to the customers. He did abandon some of his earlier positions - the Macbook that I am using to write this has Intel chips and runs Microsoft office - and became more flexible. And, by combining his ability to listen, alongside his great genius of fusing Form and Function, he eventually became what he is.
Regardless of what has been told, Steve Jobs may end up having a mixed legacy in the long term. He may have done, partly through his work and partly through his legend, more than most people to turn computers into a consumer device, but, with time, we may also discover that he, along with Bill Gates and a few others, also closed down the Open Computing, built walls around the Internet, created a money machine that would eventually kill the golden goose of ideas. But, we are too close to pass such judgement - right now, too blinded by the brightness of genius! However, figuring this out would need a revaluation of the Second Coming of Steve Jobs - less of the humiliation and more of the humility that eventually floated his boat!
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the...
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are ...
The title of this post is in quotes because someone told me this. This was some days ago, over lunch in London, something that I stayed wi...
My previous post, o n whether Hinduism is the only thing to unite India , to which my answer was negative, was based on the idea that Indi...
'Post-Truth' was the international word for the year 2016 for the OED. And, 2017 is firmly entrenching the idea, with 'alterna...
(Image Courtsey: The Economist) As we wait for the Trump Presidency, the transformation of the American Corporatist State into a Co...
EdTech was one of the fancy terms that took hold in the last decade. It succeeded 'e-Learning', which started the journey around t...
Should we compare Trump to Hitler? Hitler is a real historical figure, but he is also a symbol, something we invoke perhaps a bit too ...
There are other ways of describing them. An inexact 'millennial', approximating the year they were born in; a condescending 'y...
There are people who would proclaim 'End of Capitalism' as each new crisis breaks, only to be proved wrong. Just as Marx did in hi...
How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.