A private moment with Steve Jobs

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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.”

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32 Responses to A private moment with Steve Jobs

  1. arthole says:

    how about, instead of disparaging someone you don’t know, you verify the story of your source. Your friend must remember other people in the room at the time. So call him, then call them, and REPORT if it’s really true. Since when does boingboing do character assassination?

  2. dculberson says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Apple right now, and .. oh, wait. shit.

  3. mappo says:

    That would be a dollar more than I’m getting paid for this. :)

  4. Daniel Rutter says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with, well, nobody really, right now, and became a huge fan of the Motorola F3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_FONE_F3). I especially like the fact that it costs almost nothing and has an e-paper display, but my very most favourite features of all are its hilariously counterintuitive interface and Chinese Water Torture SMS support. It’s awesome!

  5. Not a Doktor says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Moot right now, and became a huge fan of the 4chons (4chan.org/b/). I especially like THE FURY and GENTLEMEN. It’s jawesome!

  6. coop says:

    I’d love to have a few minnutes with The Steve and explain to him why the iPhone sucks as a business tool.

    I’ve tried to do that on the ‘Apple Community’ discussion board (very politely and in a positive manner), but every time I try it, my comment gets deleted and the thread removed.

    The best part is it dissapears from the history and the public log files as well.

    Probably just like blog entries do in China and Burma.

  7. pewma says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Lehman Brot….
    Aww crap! I wonder how I’ll pay for my Krave phone.

  8. dogstar7 says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m a door greeter Wal*Mart right now, and became a huge fan of cheep toxic crap from China (walmart.com/cheep-toxic-crap-from-china). I especially like the poison baby formula and the blister producing flip-flops. It’s awesome!

  9. ackpht says:

    Name one successful company that’s run by a nice guy.

  10. OM says:

    …I’m so glad I *did* have a boss like that. At least he wasn’t despicable enough to hire some sexless geek as a viral marketer to pollute blogs with propaganda for a piece of shit product.

  11. OM says:

    “Om: I think we finally know who Mr. Cranky is. I will jump up and down for joy on the day you don’t post something seething with hatred and crammed with incorrect assumptions about useless stereotypes.”

    …How’s this, then: I got my new fake leg yesterday. “Stumpy” hurts like hell getting used to it, but at least I can now stand up to pee.

    Watch that low ceiling, eh? :-)

  12. OM says:

    “how about, instead of disparaging someone you don’t know, you verify the story of your source. “

    …How about, instead of defending Jobs like a sycophant, you acknowledge that his mercurial temper-tantrums are a known matter of record, as is his “experimentation” with mind-altering drugs? There’s no telling what the bozo was on when this incident occurred.

  13. Phikus says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that. I’ve been working with Satan, and became a huge fan of the Slave (motorola.com/slave). I especially like the full taint display and viral marketing spammer. It’s awesome!

  14. Phikus says:

    Om: We all have our handicaps. They do not excuse or enable our behavior or espoused views. That said, sorry to hear about your leg. Thanks for the non-vitriolic response.

  15. OM says:

    “Om: We all have our handicaps. They do not excuse or enable our behavior or espoused views. That said, sorry to hear about your leg. Thanks for the non-vitriolic response.”

    …Lessee, in order:

    1) It’s OM, not “Om”.

    2) I’m a cripple, not a handicap. There’s a difference.

    3) Nowhere have I used this as an excuse for what I post.

    4) I see a lot more “vitriol” around here than just my own flavor of it. I don’t see you jumping other people’s asses over their posts. When you start demanding *everyone* post according to your sense of self-worth, then we’ll talk. Otherwise, deal with it.

    …Sorry he had to hijack the thread, kids. We now return you to your regularly scheduled BB thread, already in a total state of lovable disarray…:-)

  16. Phikus says:

    Om: 1) Surely you can do better than to rebuke someone for improperly assuming capitalization.

    2-3) If you did not mean to cite your handicap as an excuse for your attitude, why bring it up? In this context it could only be considered as such. Trying to draw a distinction between handicap and “cripple” shows how tit for tat you want to take it in your pity party, but I’m not playing. You have no idea what hardships others who post here, myself included, may have to go through on a daily basis to get through this life.

    4) You obviously haven’t looked through my comment history. I call people on their B.S. all of the time, especially when it gets to be a pattern that I find intolerable, imho.

    I’m not the only one who’s called you on this pattern of late, so perhaps you would do well to listen to this well-intentioned advice.

  17. Gary61 says:

    I’m so glad your mother isn’t like that! I’m working with her right now, and became a huge fan of her entry portal (yomomma.com/entry_portal). I especially like the full touch she gives me (mucous membranes, etc.) It’s awesome!

  18. Halloween Jack says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’ve been working with the Astroturf organization, and became a huge fan of artificial grass! I especially like how it looks slightly-grasslike if I get really drunk and take off my glasses. It’s awesome!

  19. mgoode08 says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Motorola right now, and became a huge fan of the Krave (motorola.com/krave). I especially like the full touch screen display and html web browser. It’s awesome!

  20. nerdler says:

    I call shenanigans. Any evidence?

  21. muteboy says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working for Burger King right now, and became a huge fan of the Mushroom and Swiss Steakhouse Burger. I especially like the cheese and mushrooms. It’s awesome!

  22. dimmer says:

    Not to cast aspirations on your friend John, but in my dealings with Mr. Jobs his reaction to things he wasn’t happy with was always very low key, dry, and all the more effective for it. He never gave any visual cues about his anger/upset/dislike — but boy did he get his point across!

    One case:
    The hard drive on Steve’s home computer had flaked out. His support guy (Adam, a nice dude) was instructed to go fix it. His boss (Dunc, not such a nice dude) told him to use an early version of DiskWarrior to fix the problem. DiskWarrior managed to corrupt the file system so badly that it required the head of IT security to reclaim any of the data. Conversation as follows:

    A: The hard drive is dead.
    S: So where are my photos?
    A: The hard drive is dead.
    S: So where are my music files?
    A: The hard drive is, like, dead?
    S: So where are my movies?
    A: The hard drive is … well, they’re gone.
    (Rinse and repeat.)

    Sadly, Adam got canned and Dunc got to keep his position. Life rather sucks at times.

  23. nabru says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working for a pimp on the corner of wellwood and barrington and became a huge fan of Allie and her turrid backstroke technique. I especially like the pop and rock. It’s awesome!

  24. spatulalilacs says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with silly putty right now, and became a huge fan of the Newspaper Comics (you know, the actual ones. in the paper). I especially like copying them with the putty, and stretching them out of shape. It’s awesome!

  25. John Brownlee says:

    @2: What evidence do you want? He’s one of my best friend and I trust him, but it’s ultimately an anecdote.

  26. GeekMan says:

    @Nerdler:

    It’s not very hard to imagine. Steve Jobs has a well-worn reputation for being a demanding boss, ferociously temperamental, and generous with profanity. I wouldn’t want to work for him in a million years.

    But he’s still a Goddamn genius. And I’ll be a loyal Apple fan at least as long as he’s at the helm of the company.

  27. Phikus says:

    Om: I think we finally know who Mr. Cranky is. I will jump up and down for joy on the day you don’t post something seething with hatred and crammed with incorrect assumptions about useless stereotypes.

  28. Phikus says:

    …speaking of mercurial temper-tantrums that are a known matter of record.

  29. jmullan says:

    I’m so glad my former boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Scribbls right now, and became a huge fan of the Trepanosaurus ( http://www.scribbls.com/outcomes/Trepanasaurus ). I especially like how Secret Life of Plants’ comment was turned into a ridiculously awesome drawing and html web browser. It’s awesome!

  30. Rob Beschizza says:

    Dan Rutter, I am also a proud owner of the Moto f3. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned. I do wish they’d used smaller characters to have more on a line, though.

  31. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with Cryptozoologia right now, and became a huge fan of the Trepanasaurus (Cryptozoologia.com/ Trepanasaurus). I especially like the way that, after the dinosaur-anteater hybrid rips off the top of a person’s head with its sharp teeth, it can suck out its victim’s brain with its nose. It’s awesome!

  32. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Apparently @1 MGOODE08 has been a huge fan of the Krave for 11 days now…

    Google releasing speak-to-search iPhone app
    November 14, 2008 1:33pm

    Oh man this looks awesome! I hope they release a version for the Krave by Motorola. Ever since I started working with Motorola I have became a huge fan of the phone (motorola.com/krave). With a full list of features, like a full touch screen, I can’t stop obsessing over it.

    How do people like this get paid? Do they print out all the comments they have made in the course of a day and submit them for a dollar a comment? Strange…

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