The passage of an icon

The internet has more or less moved on from the theme of “Steve Jobs was the greatest person ever ever ever” and is now on “he wasn’t such a great guy after all, see he didn’t care for Chinese sweatshop workers and didn’t give to charity*”. Reams have been said about both. Here’s my two cents on something else.

Pretty much everything we know about Steve Jobs – his background aside – is professional. With the exception of his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, every quote of his has been to do with business, design or marketing strategy.  Even the anecdotes about him, positive or negative, are to do with his professional life – in the office or at the Mac Expo. Anything outside these spheres remains completely unknown, and for that Jobs must be congratulated. Given the media saturation of today’s world – something he contributed to – there are few celebrities who aren’t on some mediascape 24-7, discussing some aspect of their lives. This extends to business people as well, the most egregious example being Donald Trump. In this world, Jobs maintained an anonymity about himself and about Apple Inc. that people took as mystique. After all, who would want to hide everything about themselves, and not Facebook it, Tweet it, Youtube it or discuss it with the good people at the Today Show, Fox and Friends or Good Morning America?

Now that he has passed, we know no more about him than we did before. We know he was a charismatic presenter and design visionary. We know he reinvented himself twice over. We know he was a good administrator, and on occasion a bully and despot. And we now know it was pancreatic cancer that was killing him. That is all. Jobs took the professional limelight on occasion, and was invisible outside it.

And for that he must be respected.

PS *: What the fuck is up with that “he didn’t give to charity”? I’d like to see the people criticizing him for it raise a bajillion dollars, and then find out how much they gave away

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