The Secret Behind Steve Jobs

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By Jacob Maslow

STEVE JOBS displays on Apple productsThe funny thing about the American culture is that we tend to lionize people when they are dead. We tend to smooth over their warts, wrinkles, and bad sides in an homage to the greatness that they achieved. A lot of this, of course, is in our minds. A lot of this is really just a reflection of how American culture looks at a person’s life. A lot of the dirty everyday struggles and gray areas that inevitably poison and challenge one’s daily dealings are just sidelined. In fact, a lot of it is just whitewashed. Instead, we are left with this super-sanitized, sparkling, and standardized narrative. This happens with political leaders a lot, and this definitely happened with Steve Jobs.

The secret behind Steve Jobs is actually no secret at all. You only need to interview people who worked with him. He was, above everything else, an asshole. And that is the real secret with Steve Jobs. He didn’t care whatever people thought. He didn’t care about people’s feelings. He was gunning after a vision.

This is the same kind of mono-maniacal drive that got Steve Jobs kicked out of Apple in the first place. This was the same kind of focus that led him to lead a company that was not going anywhere and then to stumble into a company that was. I am, of course, talking about Next Computing and Pixar, respectively. Like him or hate him, worship him or get disgusted by him, Steve Jobs is a force to be reckoned with. That is the secret of Steve Jobs’ success. There is no gray area. It is black or white. There is a lot of power behind that, and also, there is a lot of peril as well.

You have to understand that people are not robots. People are not these sheep that you just need to bark at for them to do something. They have feelings. They have agendas. They have ideologies. And lost in all these recent whitewashing of Steve Jobs’ importance, substance, and legacy is the problematic nature of being an asshole.

This is what gives all of us hope. None of us is a saint. Each of us has a bad side. It is high time for us to realize that in some cases and, depending on whom you look at, in many cases, it is our flaws that really take us to the next level. If Steve Jobs tried to run Apple just like how a middle manager at some fast food restaurant or other corporate bureaucracy would try to run things, he probably wouldn’t be as big of a household name. In fact, he might not even get out of the gate at all.

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