1. “Bottom Feeding”
Many of my colleagues in the Mac/iPhone/iPad developer community had a deep, personal connection to Steve Jobs, which they expressed on Twitter and in blogs immediately after his death. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’m grateful for it.
Personally? The unwavering praise combined with a circling of the wagons made me uncomfortable, and awoke my contrarian nature.
Do you think the man who started phone calls with strangers by swearing at them would begrudge a realistic portrayal of himself after death? Articles on public figures, including obituaries, don’t omit flaws and failures. The page-long article from the October 8th issue of The Economist called “The Magician”, for example, has, amid the tribute, a single-sentence caveat in it.
We haven’t had our caveat yet.
2. “Mourning a Billionaire”
Here’s a tweet from Jana Olsen on October 6th: “Kind of weird how we all went from talking about a huge protest against big business to mourning a billionaire.”
The Occupy Wall Street movement started its encampment in New York City on September 17, over two weeks before Steve Jobs died. His death prompted criticism of the group from both the right and the left. The right made fun of the protesters for the contradiction of protesting the actions of the richest 1% while grieving the death of a very rich one. The left hectored the protestors for feeling any sympathy for Jobs at all.
I’m a lifelong Mac developer. I’m also as liberal as they come, and it’s becoming harder and harder to reconcile the two. On the one hand: the Apple vision of ever-sleeker, ever more useful devices connected to a burgeoning global network of information. On the other: the end of the Western way of life when the oil dries up with no realistic substitute. On the one hand: a thriving consumer market and developer ecosystem providing a good standard of living for many of my colleagues and friends. On the other: deepening unemployment and inequality, fostered by a corrupt media and political class.
3. “Steve Jobs Didn’t”
The always insightful Horace Dediu wrote a clever article using the deflation of some of the myths attributed to Steve Jobs to point out his true accomplishments.
I’m going to be less original, and point out the things that he really didn’t do:
1. He didn’t challenge the entrenched, monopolistic power of most of the industries Apple got involved with. While the big music labels are dying, that’s not Apple’s doing, and in some ways Apple helped prop them up temporarily by dragging them into the digital age. Apple has done nothing to disrupt the movie/television/cable industry that’s in the process of killing TiVo and Netflix. And the telephone carriers, while they can’t dictate phone models like they used to, still follow anti-consumer practices with impunity.
2. He didn’t break the glass ceiling or the tech industry boy’s club. The current Apple