My friend Mark Harrison is an intriguing sort: a globe-trotting alpha male who spends winters rubbing elbows with bikini models down in Mauretius and summers either indulging in sport in Berlin or piloting yachts around Cape Horn. He’s also got some fantastic stories about his run-ins with various eccentric business tycoons. One of those tycoons is Steve Jobs.
According to Mark, the year was 2000, and the company he worked for had set up a meeting with Jobs. Their pitch was simple: while Apple at that time owned the educational market up until the end of grade school, they completely lost all of their users by the time high school started, where computer labs became dominated by PCs. Their proposition was simple: team up with Apple and leverage their presence in thousands of schools to expand Apple’s educational market share.
From the very second he sat down with them, Jobs seemed agitated. The second his ass hit the chair, Jobs began rocking back and forth autistically. But as Mark’s colleagues made blunt and undeniable appraisals of Apple’s presence in high school computer labs, the rocking dramatically increased, then exploded… along with Jobs.
A purpling shade of apoplectic, Jobs launched to his feet, flecking the table with spittle. “You’re shit! Your company’s shit! It’s nothing compared to mine!” he screamed, an outstretched finger jutting accusingly up and down. Eventually, his fury was spent, and the situation was defused by some politically expedient cooing noises.
Still, it’s all just so Jobs, isn’t it? Ever since I heard the anecdote, I can’t help but think of Jobs that way. Turgid with rage and quivering in front of a PC or DAP or mobile phone, spraying its display with spittle: “You’re shit! SHIT! DO YOU HEAR ME? Your operating system’s nothing compared to mine.”