This week: more rumors of a souped-up Apple TV coming in June, and we examine the softer side of Steve Jobs, as described in a new unofficial, Apple-backed biography. Plus: Skynet is the stuff of movies, but Elon Musk, Steven Hawking, and now Steve Wozniak, all believe AI is a big threat. Should we worried? You’re gonna want to unplug your Segway after this discussion.
Our thanks for Freshbooks for supporting this episode. FreshBooks is the easy-to-use invoicing software designed to help small business owners get organized, save time invoicing and get paid faster. It also makes tax time a cinch. Get started now with a 30-day free trial.
Steve Jobs back when he had the same net worth as you or I. It didn’t last long. Photo: Austin Belisle/Homestead High
When I think of young Steve Jobs, I typically picture the long-haired hippie who worked at Atari or the brilliant-but-immature co-founder who started Apple with Steve Wozniak. But here’s something I’ve not seen before: a photo of Jobs as a cherubic-but-undeniably-recognizable high school freshman.
The photo comes from the Homestead High yearbook from 1969, when Jobs was 14, and is far less well-known than the high school senior picture with which I’m already familiar.
Steve Jobs was a total narcissist. And that’s a good thing. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC
The new Steve Jobs biography, Becoming Steve Jobs, rests on the premise that Jobs’ wilderness years outside Apple somehow helped turn a once-reckless co-founder into a seasoned leader.
Just how accurate the book’s kinder, gentler portrayal of Steve actually is, is something that will be discussed over the coming days and weeks — but a new study from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management backs up the idea that brash, narcissistic qualities can be a “net positive” for CEOs, so long as they are counterbalanced by an added dose of humility.
The study’s illustration of the perfect mixture of these qualities? None other than Jobs himself.
Becoming Steve Jobs explores Steve Jobs’ exile from Apple. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
New biography Becoming Steve Jobs attempts to answer an important question: What happened to Steve Jobs during his wilderness years outside Apple that turned him from a gifted-but-impossible-to-work-with youngster into the seasoned digital emperor he would be following his return to the company he founded?
It’s a question that’s crucial to understanding Apple’s rise back to prominence from the late 1990s onward — but one that was ignored by previous Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, whose 2011 book Steve Jobs sold a gajillion copies, but is now (perhaps unfairly) being recast as an unqualified failure.
In Isaacson’s book, these crucial years away from Apple take up just five chapters out of 42 — and that section also includes Jobs’ marriage to Laurene Powell and the birth of his children. In Becoming Steve Jobs, the lessons from that era permeate almost every page.
Woz and Jobs in their early days at Apple. Today, they’d have been looking at job rejection letters.
Steve Wozniak thinks he and co-founder Steve Jobs could never have found employment at the company they created together, had they been in their twenties in 2015.
“I look at the experience and education levels you need to get a job at Apple today and I think, ‘Well, Steve Jobs and I never could’ve gotten a job at Apple today,'” Woz told The Australian Financial Review in an interview.
The reason, he says, is that the rigorous Apple hiring process (like the ones at other tech giants like Google and Microsoft) would never have favored two college dropouts like himself and Jobs. This bias means the companies are potentially missing out on finding the next person to come along with a world-changing idea.
There’s a new gold rush for a remnant of the late CEO’s upbringing. Photo: eBay
Those lucky enough to have gone to high school with Steve Jobs are starting to cash in on their connection to the late Apple co-founder.
The world’s obsession with all things Jobs has extended to his days as a young, long-haired high schooler. A 1972 Homestead High School yearbook with Jobs’ senior picture sold today for over $12,000, and now more yearbooks are being auctioned off at hefty prices.
It’s been over three years since Steve Jobs died, however the hole he left at Apple and those closest to him still hasn’t been filled. Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli’s upcoming book Becoming Steve Jobs is full of anecdotes and events that showcase just how much Steve meant to his friends.
One such event happened in 2013, during Laurene Powell Jobs’ fiftieth birthday. Pixar CEO John Lasseter recounts in the book that he got there early and started talking to Tim Cook.
“Do you miss him? I really miss Steve,” Lasseter said, and then pulled out iPhone to show Tim that Jobs phone number and photo were still on the list.
Becoming Steve Jobs? More like Forgetting Walter Isaacson. Photo: Penguin Random House
You may have suspected that the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs had Apple’s official endorsement the moment it was revealed that Jony Ive, Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, offered their participation.
However, with just one day to go until the book’s release, the word is now officially out: This is Apple’s sanctioned version of the Steve Jobs story.
“After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. “We decided to participate in [the] book because of [author Brent Schlender’s] long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.”
According to authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli in their new book Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, Jobs flipped out after former Apple exec Jon Rubinstein decided to join Palm in 2007: never again speaking with a person he had been close to for years.