Saturday, August 15, 2009

Protecting Steve Jobs

Tomorrow in The Sunday Times I profile Steve Jobs. Apple tried to stop us running this piece, not because of anything in it - they had no idea what was in it - but because that's what they do. 'We're very protective of our boss, Bryan,' they explained. I suppose this remark is justified to the extent that he has just had a liver transplant, but it's still weird. 'Don't worry, boss, we'll protect you from this uppity Brit hack...'. In any case, The Yard is not a boss protective type, he expects irony from rich, powerful people. It is their only possible excuse.
Link tomorrow.


  1. When selecting the donor organ do you think he rejected those from Windows and Linux users ? or possibly the Californians used the latest procedure, the downloadable transplant.

  2. I'm not surprised, profile sounds sinister. will there be facts?

  3. Didn't he come up with the Apple idea while tripping on LSD?

  4. Fascinating article, no wonder they chucked a hissy fit, you've just described Willy Wonka prowling around his chocolate factory.
    We had one of those Macs shown in the article, the gods needed invoking to get it to print and the floppy drive to work. The screen flickered so much it caused hallucinogenic fits, basically it was a heap of shite, but, and it's a but the size of Saturn, it came with point and click, Apple introduced the GUI to the punter and that was the reason for their early success, up untill then it was all green screen boring text. Today they seem more toy manufacturer with the knack of selling weapons grade seriously overpriced stuff that people don't really need. Visually their products are in there with B&0, Eamsey and Bauhaus, and a cracking good advert for the teaching skills Northumbria Uni.
    Apple had the design world by the goolies for years, one well known car manufacturer's pride and joy, sited in the middle of its reception area and surrounded by seats was its Cray, up in the design offices the furniture was wall to wall Mac.

  5. Really worthwhile portrait of Jobs. Not sure about the Google merger after he goes - Sergey Brin's always held a candle for the Mac but the current secrecy ethics are rather different, let's just say. But that idea is definitely worth floating. And see how the place Jobs grew up in, Mountain View, now stands for Google in journalese, just as Redmond means Microsoft and Cupertino Apple itself. Big G's taken over the place in the common mind - Firefox producers Mozilla significantly included. I wonder how that makes Steve feel.

    As Schmidt departed the board a couple of weeks ago another member did something unprecedented: reply to a critical blogger about the iPhone App Store. Schiller followed this up with more of the same. Jobs must have sanctioned it. He has of course changed over the years and it's quite right to praise Tim Cook for his part in that.

    I'd never write a profile of Jobs that didn't mention Alan Kay, one of the few people he cited in his glitzy, global introduction of the iPhone. Not unrelated, I'd probably try to include Jobs' humility in admitting he didn't understand object-oriented programming when Apple created the Mac, with key help from Bill Atkinson who by Raskin's connivance had been alongside Jobs when they got the tour from Larry Tesler of Kay's old team at Xerox PARC in 1979. (Another team member, Peter Deutsch, once told me he'd warned managers 'not to let that guy anywhere near the place', because he would steal all their key ideas. He wasn't wrong. They started by poaching Tesler himself.)

    But that's the value of different perspectives. I learned something important here from how the wilderness years encompassed the Pixar commune. One sign of healthy media is that Apple PR didn't get its way on this key piece. Let's hope that the current transformation forced on Murdoch by Apple and their friends at Google keeps it that way, even more so.

  6. The most remarkable claim in the article was the revelation that there are things called 'yoghurt cafes'!

    Does one eat one's yoghurt al fresco at such locations?

  7. Hey Bryan, well done, you're top of Techmeme at 1.30pm EST - your first time I think, possibly a first for the Sunday Times itself?

  8. If getting a reaction from Fake Steve Jobs isn't your goal in life, then I don't know what is.