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armyboy
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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

--This is a repost -- last night's version didn't appear on friends (or at least some) pages for some odd reason. ---
I just finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (just in time since it I had to return it to the library today and can't be renewed).

It is a really fascinating book about this amazing person who was one of the most obnoxious people I've ever read about but yet an absolute genius as a business person and technical designer. Isaacson has done a nice job of writing about his whole life both as a person and as an inventor/business leader. Isaacson also wrote biographies of Kissinger, Ben Franklin, Einstein - so he's picked some other extreme personalities.

Jobs was overly obsessed with detail at every level from the big picture down to the shape of a screw on a case. When he was contemplating opening the first Apple Store he had a life-size mockup built in a warehouse so that it could be tested and changed - and there are lots of changes. He has patents on the glass used in the staircases in the stores. He really wanted to build a great company that made great products and pushed his people over the edge to do what he wanted. Some people got used to the fact that when he said "this is shit" he really meant that it wasn't nearly good enough, but that creative, intelligent discussions about the design and how to overcome various technical and non-technical issues would eventually lead to his saying it was great.

I liked this quote in a conversation Jobs had in 2008 with the Fortune managing editor. "So you've uncovered the fact that I am an asshole. Why is that news?"

I've been an Apple product user for a long time. My first one was a MacPlus I got in 1986. I'm writing this on Gesualdo da Venosa, my year and half old iMac. Robert's iMac is Clemons non Papa; my MacBookPro is Ludovicus Episcopius; I have an older dead iMac: Machaut (I need to extract the disk before getting rid of it); Obrecht (10 yrs old) and Ockeghem (15 yrs old)</em> (running 9.1) are two old sort-of working macs and de la Rue is an old PowerBook that still works running 10.2. I have had Dufay, Lassus, and Palestrina. Josquin was my only Windows machine which I disposed although I still have the Windows XP image runnable on my iMac. (Yes, I like Renaissance composers). My iPod that I use at the gym is at least 8 years old. I don't yet have an iPad or an iPhone.

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being a rude asshole regularly trashing employees (you know, fellow human beings) is very rarely excusable in my book. being boss of a company that makes pretty electronic toys doesn't even come close to excusing it.

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