Steve Jobs Winter Break news

Hi all!

I hope you’re enjoying your Christmas holidays, if any.

Steve Jobs news have been kind of slow lately, but here’s a wrap-up of the most important/fun items I’ve read in the past… well, month. Some are a little old but still noteworthy if you haven’t come across them earlier.

1. Steve Jobs news :

Steve is praised so much it’s not fun anymore.

  • Dec. 8: MarketWatch names him CEO of the Decade 2000-2010
  • Dec. 20: Chief Executive magazine and Applied Finance Group rank him “#4 wealth creator of the year” (source)
  • Dec. 23: The Financial Times names him Person of the Year 2010 (source)
  • Dec. 23, again: President Obama mentions Steve Jobs in a news conference (gee) :

Something that’s always been the greatest strength of America is a thriving, booming middle class, where everybody has got a shot at the American Dream. And that should be our goal. That should be what we’re focused on. How are we creating opportunity for everybody? So that we celebrate wealth. We celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products. We expect that person to be rich, and that’s a good thing. We want that incentive. That’s part of the free market.

The whole “CEO of the decade” frenzy can only make me smile. Indeed, in 1989, Steve was named “Entrepreneur of the decade 1980-1989” by Inc. (cover above). The interview he gave at that occasion is a delight to read, if you haven’t already. But it’s funny that at the time, Steve was struggling with NeXT, although the journalist didn’t suspect it. I hope this MarketWatch ‘award’ will not bring him similar bad luck for the next decade.

2. Steve Jobs history

After the interview that John Sculley gave to Cult of Mac last month, 37signals published a story on Edwin Land, founder/inventor of Polaroid and one of Steve Jobs’ few alleged inspirers. I don’t think it’s *that* interesting — but the most interesting part is in the comments section. As you can see here Tom Hughes, who worked in the Mac team, tells the real story:

Interesting article, but all serendipity for Sculley who was just along for the ride. He just happened to luck out. And, there was no pilgrimage… no planned meeting with Dr. Land. I was working for Steve as Design Director for the Macintosh project and we were in Boston and I asked Steve if he’d like to meet Dr. Land, whom I had worked with before Apple. I called Dr. Land and he agreed to meet Steve. We arrived to find a BBC documentary film crew there. Dr. Land excused them and we began a 3 hour visit which included a glimpse into color experiments that were in his lab, to his personal office and an amazing review of some of his personal collection of photographs. The memorable part of this was that Steve was meeting someone who legitimately could be, almost uniquely, a mentor for him. And, clearly, they shared an awareness of the importance of good design as it contributed not only to their products, but to their corporate culture as well.

Kinda makes you wonder about the validity of the rest of the Sculley interview. Not that big of a surprise, since Sculley’s book, Odyssey is said to be a ridiculous self-appraisal by the former Apple CEO, with a very liberal definition of history and facts.

3. Steve Jobs trivia

As usual, it’s the majority of stuff.

Steve, a star for today’s teenagers

Steve v. MarkTechCrunch reports the results of a survey by Junior Achievement about entrepreneurs.

Junior Achievement surveyed 1,000 teens in the United States by telephone to get an idea of which entrepreneurs they admire most. Nearly a quarter of respondents named Jobs as the most admired entrepreneur, albeit down from 35% in the 2009 survey.

Even with Facebook at more than half a billion users, and the movie The Social Network taking the world by storm, Mark Zuckerberg only received 9% of votes for most admired entrepreneur, tying with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

Although it’s obvious to almost everybody, I’m still stunned by how mainstream Apple and Steve have become. The same thought came to my mind a couple of days ago. I was sitting at Starbucks in Paris, enjoying my morning latte. Next to me was a group of 5 teenage boys (probably in high school) They were talking about a parody of Steve Jobs that was broadcast on the most famous French satirical TV show (it’s a puppet show) last week. The piece showed Steve selling common objects by just putting an i in front of their name.

One of the boys said: “They’r exaggerating. We don’t buy anything Apple makes. It’s just that they make great stuff…”. He was identifying himself as part of that crowd ready to buy anything Apple. When I was their age, I was the only one in junior high who even knew the name of more than one Apple product. The PC was the norm and Macs were seen as expensive, weird-looking computers that were too slow and had no software. As for Steve Jobs, no one knew who he was – they only knew Bill Gates. I’m talking about 2000-2002 here.

Wow. Things really change fast in this world. I wonder what people will say of Apple and Steve ten years from today.

Sycophantic article about Steve on the Telegraph website

The Telegraph posted an article today that sings the praises of Apple’s CEO. It is for a broad audience and therefore we, knowledgeable people, will learn nothing from it. However I am still posting about it to illustrate my point in the previous post regarding how common it is to praise Steve nowadays. I will try and find an article from 10-15 years ago to make the contrast more apparent.

For a change, there aren’t that many errors in the article, except for the description of Jony Ive, who is described as the designer behind Apple’s computer and iPod range” instead of the head designer behind every piece of hardware that has come out of Cupertino for the last 13 years.