Steve Jobs bio: Scoring the surprises and score-settling
As the revelations pour forth from Jobs' upcoming biography, let's tally the score-settling--and see which ones are really surprising.
Some people simply won't read Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs because it has 656 pages, meaning it requires strong fingers--and nerves--in order to make it through the whole thing.
So with various media organizations obtaining copies by Wikileaky, Watergate-like subterfuge, I thought I'd create a little scorecard to tabulate all of the tiffs, digs, revelations, affronts and full-frontal stabbings that have dripped out so far.
Each of them I have given a score: The "What A Surprise" score. A score of 1 means that surely most sentient beings expected this. A 10 means that never in anyone's wildest imaginings--not even those of an engineer--could they have expected something as revelatory, vindictive or shocking as this.
STEVE JOBS DIDN'T LIKE ERIC SCHMIDT AT ALL. It seems thatdidn't necessarily signify that their pal-act was very alto.
Perhaps Jobs thought he could stop the Android madness. Perhaps Schmidt, in some fanciful parallel world believed Jobs loved him really, but didn't know how to show it. However, take any of the thus-far published quotes from the book and you won't feel the friendship from Jobs' end. : "Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off." What A Surprise Score: 2.
STEVE JOBS LIKED LARRY PAGE SLIGHTLY BETTER. When Google's CEO first asked Jobs for advice, he was told: "Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It's now all over the map." As time went on, he told Page that Google was turning out products "that are adequate but not great. They're turning you into Microsoft." Could "they" have meant Schmidt? It appears that Jobs at least made some accommodation for Page in later years. What A Surprise Score: 4.
STEVE JOBS MIGHT HAVE QUITE LIKED RUPERT MURDOCH Even though he wasn't too keen on Fox News (the sense of design there is sorely lacking), Jobs and Murdoch might have enjoyed a certain kindred spirithood. No, one can't imagine Murdoch hanging at an ashram. However, Jobs reportedly went out of his way to help Murdoch with his iPad news thingy, the Daily. Jobs even spoke at a News Corporation retreat-- a privilege normally accorded to more malleable types like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. What A Surprise Score: 4.
STEVE JOBS THOUGHT JOHN MAYER WAS BLOWING IT. You see, you thought that the Apple CEO had his cultural tastes stuck firmly in the era of Dylan. But he spared a thought for today's cultural icons. And for John Mayer. The book seems to offer that Jobs feared that Jessica Simpson's ex-boyfriend was "out of control" and "blowing it big time". It is unknown whether this is a reference to his dating preferences or some other personal predilections. What A Surprise Score: 8.
STEVE JOBS THOUGHT STEVE BALLMER WAS JUST A SALESMAN. Microsoft, Jobs thought, was "mostly irrelevant". In the book, he puts down Ballmer as being a salesman in the mode of former Apple CEO John Sculley. He believed that salesmen were not the sort of people who should be running companies. Some might find it odd that many commentators thought that one of Jobs' great strengths was his, um, salesmanship. What A Surprise Score: 1.
STEVE JOBS WAS NOT IMPRESSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA. This seems to be summed up by the notion that he felt the President was not a visionary and focused not on what was possible, but on what was not possible. What A Surprise Score: 5.
STEVE JOBS THOUGHT DAVID AXELROD SHOULD BOW DOWN MORE Despite suggesting to President Obama that was on track for a one-term stint in office, Jobs apparently offered to help with the President's advertising. (But when would he find the time?) However, the biography apparently offers that Obama's closest political adviser, David Axelrod--who always seems such a nice, calm man on TV--wasn't "totally deferential". Bowing is an art and Jobs knew art. What A Surprise Score: 5.
STEVE JOBS LET BILL CLINTON STAY AT HIS HOUSE. Well, now. Make of this what you will. Not only did the former President stay at Casa Jobs when visiting daughter Chelsea at Stanford, but he apparently removed an incriminating painting from the wall. It was of a dress on a hanger. For those below the age of alcoholic consent, the lady was called Monica Lewinsky. She had a dress that got stained and starred in a laundry detergent ad. What A Surprise Score: 3.
STEVE JOBS THOUGHT BILL GATES SOMETHING OF A CIPHER. Here's the quote: "Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas." When artists start accusing others of ripping them off, just reach for a large metal hat and lie down in a doorway. Surely no one can have imagined there would be too much respect here. What A Surprise Score: 3.
STEVE JOBS WAS A MERCURIAL, CONTRARY, AGGRESSIVE, UNFORGIVING, MADDENING, PASSIONATE, SUBJECTIVE, SELF-BELIEVING, REAL-LIFE HUMAN BEING. What A Surprise Score: 0.