Photo: Stephane de Luca
The driving theme behind Walter Isaacon’s biography of Steve Jobs is Jobs’ “Reality Distortion Field.”It’s a perception Jobs had throughout his life: While something may seem impossible to others, Jobs believed anything could be accomplished, no matter how outlandish or insane it may have been.
And it usually worked.
But how did he develop that philosophy?
From the early days of his childhood to his final days of Apple, a cast of “Characters” (as Isaacson put it) helped guide him on his way to success.
After reading through Isaacson’s account, we decided to round up the most influential people in Jobs’ life how they affected him.
Paul Jobs was Steve's adoptive father. He was a great mechanic and overall handyman, and taught Steve how to perfect projects from the inside out, even at a young age.
Paul also recognised Steve's intellect from early on, demanding that his son's teachers to make sure Steve was properly challenged in school.
When Steve Jobs first met Woz, they quickly discovered they both had a lot in common. They both loved electronics and technology, and they both loved to play pranks.
The two quickly bonded over their mutual interests, pulling off pranks and selling the infamous 'blue boxes' that allowed people to make free long distance phone calls. (At one point they even called the Vatican asking for the Pope.)
When Jobs stopped handing out stock options shortly after Apple's IPO, Wozniak frequently gave employees some of his own.
Wozniak left Apple in 1978.
Ann Bowers left her job at Intel after she married co-founder Robert Noyce. She began working at Apple in 1980, and became one of the few employees who would stand up to Steve Jobs.
Eventually, Jobs developed a close friendship with Bowers and Noyce. Bowers says Noyce became like a 'father figure' to Jobs during the earliest days of Apple. Jobs would often stop by the couple's house unannounced for visits.
Laurene Powell married Steve Jobs in 1991. The two met while she was a student in Stanford Business School. Steve came by to teach class for a day and saw her sitting in the front row -- she was so fetching to him that he took her out to dinner that very night, blowing off a work meeting.
Powell really shone as Jobs's medical condition got worse. She maintained constant watch on lists for liver donations in several states with the hopes that Jobs could get one.
She also monitored Jobs's treatment after the transplant by taking notes from his monitors and asking his doctors a ton of questions.
No need to rehash too much history here. We all know about the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
What we did find interesting was this: The last meeting between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, according to Isaacson, took place at Jobs's home a few months before he died.
The two had a poignant conversation where they said they still shared a mutual respect for each other. Gates even complimented Jobs for resurrecting Apple from near collapse.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Campbell served as a board member. (He was also the head of marketing in the early days of Apple.)
When Jobs fell ill, Campbell worked to make sure Apple's public statements about Jobs's condition fell in line with SEC regulations. (Companies have to disclose information that affected the company's bottom line.) Since Campbell was so close to Jobs on a personal level, he offered to step down from Apple's board so he wouldn't feel conflicted in protecting Jobs's privacy.
Eventually, it was decided that Campbell could stay on the board, but step down as co-director.
Woolard was the person who talked Jobs into becoming CEO of Apple. Jobs tossed everyone off Apple's board except for Ed Woolard when he became CEO. He thought Woolard was a sharp guy, and ended up admiring him greatly.
'Most people in Steve's life are replaceable. But not Jony,' says Jobs' wife Laurene.
The two were best friends and the men responsible for designing Apple's iconic products starting with the 'Bondi Blue' iMac.
Jobs said of Ive, 'The difference that Jony has made, not only at Apple but in the world, is huge ... If I had to pick a spiritual partner at Apple, it's Jony.'
He was the chief engineer at Atari who designed Pong and hired Steve Jobs. When he came up with the concept for the game Breakout, he assigned Jobs to work on it and offered a huge bonus upon completion.
Jobs got Wozniak's help on it and they made the deadline, but he lied about how much money was involved and pocketed the majority for himself.
Robert Friedland met Steve while they were at Reed College at became fast friends. He got Steve a job working on his apple farm commune, which is where the name for Apple Computers came from. Friedland went on to make a fortune in the mining industry.
John Lasseter was in charge of Pixar's animation division when Steve Jobs took over the company. Although they had different personalities, the pair worked well together.
Jobs admired Lasseter's artistry and vision and took several big financial bets that the animator could revolutionise animated films with computers. Eventually, Lasseter became the link between Disney and Pixar, leading to the success of Toy Story and the other Pixar blockbusters.
As a teenager, Steve Jobs became obsessed with Bob Dylan. He would go to extreme lengths to obtain bootleg recordings of the rock legend's live concerts. Jobs and Steve Wozniak would stay up late at night trying to interpret Dylan's lyrics.
Throughout his career, Jobs would often quote Dylan lyrics in speeches and presentations. His iPod was also loaded with Bob Dylan tracks.
Bob Dylan even affected Jobs's personal life. His college friend Elizabeth Holmes speculated that Jobs dated Joan Baez because she once dated Bob Dylan too.
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