The Book of Jobs, version 3.0

Most of you have probably heard the news already, but it’s too important for me not to leave any trace of it on the blog.
The rumors surrounding Steve Jobs’ authorized biography have been confirmed. The book exists indeed, written by Walter Isaacson, and will be published by Simon & Schuster early next year. I will be called (hold your breath): iSteve: The Book of Jobs. The news broke out thanks to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, who writes the Apple column of PED makes an interesting portrait of the writer in his column. Apparently the idea was his, and he had enough nerve and talent to seduce Steve into writing his biography.

I am, as I imagine you are, incredibly excited by the coming of this book.

The biggest news is of course that the book is ‘authorized’, meaning Steve, as opposed to previous biographies, helped its making instead of blocking it. What usually happens is that whenever a journalist or writer tries to interview someone from Steve’s entourage, he faces a wall of silence, akin to an omerta. Indeed, they should be wary of what they say, because historically Steve has shown some pretty harsh un-forgiveness with indiscreet friends and relatives.

The most famous example of this trait is Michael Moritz’s 1982 piece, The Updated Book Of Jobs, which he wrote as Time Magazine’s Silicon Valley correspondent (Moritz later wrote the first good book on Apple, and arguably the first Steve Jobs biography, The Little Kingdom). Moritz had been given carte blanche at Apple to write the portrait of Steve Jobs who was a serious candidate to become Man of the Year 1983. Instead, he turned out this much more critical piece, including a testimonial from Steve’s college friend Dan Kottke: “something is happening to Steve that’s sad and not pretty, something related to money and power and loneliness. He’s less sensitive to people’s feelings. He runs over them, snowballs them”. Steve apparently broke all ties with Dan after that article was published.

But this time, Steve is said to give biographist Isaacson acces to his closest friends and relatives. I imagine among the friends there will be Larry Ellison, Bill Campbell, Bob Metcalfe, perhaps Al Gore. I am curious about Steve’s relatives. Will Laurene speak up on her husband? I’ve never found any trace of her speaking of Steve in public. Or perhaps his biological sister Mona? That’s more likely.

The active collaboration of Steve will have of course positive as well as negative effects. So far, previous biographies (such as my personal favorite, Alan Deutschman’s The Second Coming of Steve Jobs) only could be based on interviews of ghosts from Steve’s past life (I’m referring to you, Dan Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld), or of pissed off former employees who had regained their ‘freedom of speech’. This is nicely put by Chris Smith in an article I will refer to below:

In recent years, several biographers have gamely tried to chart the depths of Jobsʼ psyche, with little help from the man himself. He rarely speaks to the press, save for tightly scripted sound bites, so all these accounts are based on talks with old colleagues and Apple Deep Throats, supplemented by occasional in-depth interviews heʼs granted to a few lucky reporters over the years.

Any journalist who’s tried to go a little deeper had to endure Steve’s legendary wrath, as described by Rich Karlgaard in his 2006 WSJ article Vladimir llyich Jobs? (for the heck of me I can’t find a link to it, but I have a scanned version on my Mac): Continue reading

Update on Pixar Phase II

If like me, in addition to being a Steve Jobs fan, you are an architecture buff, you will be delighted by this piece of news. The architectural firm behind the extension of Pixar’s Emeryville campus has published an extensive gallery of pictures/sketches of the project, called “Pixar Phase II”. They range from the early site analyses to the construction in progress. Check it out:




Batch of 11 new vintage Steve Jobs pictures

With the thousands of pictures of Steve Jobs that are already present on the website, you might think that it’s impossible for me to find new ones apart from new Apple events and iAppearances of iSteve.

But no (and frankly it continues to amaze me) — I sometimes stumble across never-seen-(by-me)-before pictures of Steve’s past, and it’s always refreshing.

Today is one of those occasions:

  • the first two pics are from the very early days of Apple, 1976. They’re of very fine quality, for once.
  • the following two from 1980 and 1981
  • the following pic with John Sculley and Woz, is from the Apple IIc introduction event in February 1984. It is not new but of better quality than the previous version, and it’s corrected, as I had (like many) misattributed it to the Mac introduction of January 24
  • the following two are from the April 24 1984 Apple event (anyone knows what that one was?)
  • the following is from Apple’s Annual Shareholders Meeting of 1985
  • the following from 1988
  • the second to last is very interesting. I only had a cropped version of it. This is the only pic I’ve found of Steve with Peter Van Cuylenburg, who was brought in as COO of NeXT by investor Canon in 1992. He only stayed one year, as he betrayed Steve (even worse than Sculley) by calling up Sun’s Scott McNealy to have him buy NeXT and install him as CEO. It was a professionally fatal blow to Steve.
  • the last pic is from Steve’s ‘wildest wilderness year’, 1994. He is posing with Morgan Stanley execs for a NYT article about NeXTSTEP. I have found the article in the NYT archive, have a look at it, it’s pretty telling that Steve is barely mentioned in there…

Serious and trivial Steve Jobs news roundup

Hi folks!

It’s been quite a while, as usual, since the last time I wrote on Steve Jobs news. But then the aforementioned news have been kinda slow lately, so I don’t feel that guilty after all.

Here’s my news rondup of the past 3 weeks:

Serious news

  • Steve’s authorized biography is still in the works
    Kara Swisher of the WSJ (you know, the gal that interviewed Steve at D5 and D8 with Walt Mossberg) reassures us all about the upcoming Steve Jobs authorized biography by Walter Isaacson. I imagine that just like me you cannot wait to get your hands on that book (metaphorically speaking of course, since to pay a proper homage to Steve we should buy all it on the iBooks Store ;). I have recently been contacted by a French journalist who will soon publish his own biography of Steve in France. I told him how I felt about printed books, such an old fashioned way to tell the story of Steve. this is actually one of the reasons I built alla bout Steve We are gifted with thousands of pictures and hundreds of videos of Steve Jobs and his work, why limit ourselves to text on paper? Moreover, the story will be outdated as soon as it’s published, since Steve keeps surprising us month after month…
  • Latest Steve Jobs glorification
    Last month, both Waren Buffet and Richard Branson had their say about Steve — and he is an inspiration even to them.
    Waren: “Admitting he didn’t know that much about the company, Buffett equated Jobs to Steven Spielberg, and his effect on his company. He said the talents of Jobs is a main reason for the company’s success over the past 15 years.”
    Richard: “He’s the entrepreneur in the world I most admire and I think [Apple] is the brand I most admire. He’s the greatest come-back artist as well. He’s twice been down and out and he’s fought his way out and created a brilliant global company.“
    You should watch the video of Branson (wait a minute… Virgin Apple.. that reminds me of something: ah yes, one of Fake Steve’s earliest posts 🙂 )
  • Nice website by the Computer History Museum
    The Mountain View museum has a new website with a very interesting and rich timeline on the history of computing, you should definitely check it out. It’s got some pretty interesting pictures of young Steve, including one I’d never seen before.

Steve Jobs trivia

  • Emails from Steve
    If one relates to the frequency of his emails, Steve is still actively running Apple. He wrote two emails in the past 4 weeks: in the first one, from March 23, he confirmed that “We have no plans to” discontinue the iPod classic. The following day, he wrote a much-discussed email to an iPhone app developer whose ‘radiation measurement app’ (sounds like BS to me) was rejected on the App Store: “No interest”, the email said simply. 

  • TUAW made a funny analysis of Steve’s apparent age based on photographs of him using the iPhone app PhotoAge. I think the job is biased because of the quality of the picstures they picked, especially for 2010
  • Minyanville did an interesting and pretty complete piece entitled Apple’s Steve Jobs: Myth Vs. Reality. I checked it out, and surprisingly it’s error free. The end paragraph (“Rumor: Steve Jobs is dead”…) is a little borderline IMHO… but it’s worth checking out anyway.

The crazy rumor of the month

This month it’s from Cult of Mac: Steve Jobs Is Rumored To Be Resigning From Apple. At first I thought it was a (bad) April Fool’s Day joke… but I don’t see any such disclaimer. I hope this is the usual BS we Steve Jobs fans have grown accustomed to these recent months.

Our website featured in the San Jose Mercury News

This happened… whew, two weeks ago already.

On March 11, I got an email from Mike Cassidy, columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He said he wanted to speak with me about the website. We talked using Skype (on iPhone, on my part) a couple of days later. The conversation itself lasted for almost an hour. I was surprised by Mike’s interest, especially since I thought he wanted the story to feature in a larger piece about Apple or Steve Jobs in general.

The following week, the article was published on the front page of the Sunday Business section of the San Jose Mercury News. For those of you that don’t know, the Mercury News is the local newspaper of San Jose, capital of Silicon Valley. It’s basically Steve Jobs’ local newspaper! Gasp. Pictured right is a scanned version of that first page.

The online version of the article is here: Cassidy: Romain Moisescot makes Steve Jobs a full-time job

For those of you wondering — Mike was very polite and courteous during the interview. All that is mentioned in the article we talked about, including the sentence ‘Yes, the site can feel a little creepy’ which he mentioned as an echo of Fake Steve’s 2006 post (which I am very proud of). My stance on the ‘creepiness’ of all bout Steve is that I want to cover really *all* about Steve Jobs. However I have the greatest respect for Steve Jobs, so I never cross certain lines on the website or the blog (if you see what I mean — especially after the recent health episodes…). But for example since anyone can find Steve’s home address simply by typing it into Google Maps, why not have it properly and neatly presented on my website? That’s why I decided to cover more of Steve’s private life on the website for the past two years. But I don’t think that there’s anything borderline on the website.

Anyway, to come back to the article, my fear of course was what would come out of it. My conversation with Mike was pretty long and I knew he would have to select what he would write about. He did choose some aspects of our conversation that were anecdotal, and distorted them a bit; I’m referring to the anecdote with the “Contact” button, the truth being that I put it back because I am more often than not amused by the emails I get from people who think I am/know Steve Jobs. But overall the article is very close to the truth and I am very happy with its portrayal of the website.

Ha, and the picture — no, it wasn’t a professional photographer who flew from San Jose to my home in Paris to take a picture of me. It’s actually by one of my best friends who is also a pretty good amateur photographer at his lost hours.

Anyway, an interesting remark to close this narcissistic piece. Here are two screenshots of my Analytics stats: Continue reading