John Carmack opens up about his ambivalent relationship with Steve Jobs

15 May 2018 | in Steve Jobs personality, Updates

John Carmack remembers his work relationship with Steve Jobs. His last sentence sums it up:

“I corroborate many of the negative character traits that he was infamous for, but elements of the path that led to where I am today were contingent on the dents he left in the universe. I showed up for him.”

One particular anecdote stood out to me:

“One time, my wife, then fiancée, and I were meeting with Steve at Apple, and he wanted me to do a keynote that happened to be scheduled on the same day as our wedding. With a big smile and full of charm, he suggested that we postpone it. We declined, but he kept pressing. Eventually my wife countered with a suggestion that if he really wanted “her” John so much, he should loan John Lasseter to her media company for a day of consulting. Steve went from full charm to ice cold really damn quick. I didn’t do that keynote.”

Here is his mention in the keynote on his wedding day that he is referring to. It’s from Macworld 2000:

Notice that Steve is saying:

“John got married today. And this guy is so great, he offered to postpone his wedding to be here. And we said: no way. We’ll make a video. And he said, I hadn’t thought of that”.

Let’s say Steve’s version of the argument is … interesting. I would probably trust Carmack’s version on this one.

In general, it’s nice to see people open up on their ambivalent relationships with Steve Jobs. John Carmack’s story rings true to me. Steve’s single-mindedness on getting things his way – here to get speakers at his keynotes – or his way to get people to argue with him and defend their point of view by arguing the opposite and see how prepared they are; these are all things we’ve heard over and over about him.

Steve Jobs My wife once asked me “Why do you drop what you are doing when Steve Jobs asks you to do something? You…

Posted by John Carmack on Monday, May 14, 2018