Nobody’s perfect. But some people are very interesting. I’d have said both of those things to you about Steve Jobs a long time ago but I’d also have added that I wasn’t that fussed. I’m not sure that I am now but if nothing else, that man got stuff done. You can well argue that it was all the people around him, but he got many or most of them and he got them doing the things they got done. He managed them, at the very least, and reportedly inspired them too.
Actual inspiration. It does happen. I have been inspired by people. I had a natter this afternoon that has set me off writing something I Do Not Have Time For So There but I will do.
But I’ve also had just the smallest, tiniest taste of what it is like managing people and I don’t want to go there again. I think I’ll have to, but I also think this time I’ll get to pick the people. Wish me luck.
Becoming Steve Jobs is a biography with a purpose: while it charts the Apple guy’s life, it does so to examine very specifically how he began as this wild child and ended as this venerated industry genius. Not how he got his ideas, so to speak, not what he did with his talents or his time, but how he worked with others and became great at it.
Or at least mostly great. Usually great.
The book is not the hymn of praise to Jobs that you might expect after Apple staff keep talking about it: instead it is very clear about his reprehensible traits.
Some of those you know, especially if you made it through the boring official biog, but there is plenty that is new in this book and I want to cautiously recommend it. If you’re an Apple fan, go get it, you were going to anyway. If you’re not, then go to Amazon and have a look at the Peek Inside stuff, see what you think. There is much to enjoy here and much to learn from, too.
The Financial Times has an interesting interview and profile of Jony Ive, chief designer at Apple, the company that today announced details of its Watch. Ive is credited with the Watch and, says the FT, with getting Apple to its current incredible financial worth:
In great part, that valuation rests on the shoulders of a 48-year-old Englishman. Yet as he lopes towards me down the corridor, in his comfortable suede shoes, bright-blue trousers and baggy, long-sleeved yellow top, his kindly features creased up in a welcoming grin, those broad shoulders seem remarkably unbowed.
Ive is arguably the most influential designer in the world, and yet he does that slightly disingenuous self-effacement thing characteristic of confident people who say they are just part of a team. There is a gentleness about him. He talks quietly and articulately in an accent unaffected by two decades in America. Even when he describes those who copy Apple as little better than thieves, it is with a smile and softness of tone that suggests he would far rather the unpleasant subject had never been brought up.
Could be. First the feature, then why it’s useless:
[Jony Ive says] Just yesterday, somebody was saying, ‘Wow, do you know what I just did? I set the alarm in the morning, and it woke just me by tapping my wrist. It didn’t wake my wife or my baby,’” he recounted. “Isn’t that fantastic?”
It is fantastic and it would make my getting up hours before Angela that much easier. So far, so Apple.
It’s beyond likely that the Apple Watch will need charging up every night. Maybe I’m jaded because I’ve had problems with the ordinary alarm on my iPhone, but I think this is going to be a feature that has to wait for better battery technology than currently exists.