Photo: Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to Steve Jobs, there’s the “Good Steve,” and then, there’s the “Bad Steve,” says biographer Walter Isaacson.His mammoth personality could inspire those around him just as easily as it could tear them down.
Here are 16 examples of when he did the latter.
When Apple was about to reveal the 'Bondi Blue' iMac, he berated his good friend and ad partner Lee Clow over the phone. Jobs said Clow's team was getting the colour wrong for the print ads. He shouted, 'You guys don't know what you're doing. I'm going to get someone else to do the ads because this is fucked up.'
Eventually Clow sat Jobs down and made him look at the original photos versus print ads. Clow was right. Jobs backed down.
Jony Ive went to the trouble of finding a boutique, 5-star hotel room for Jobs to stay at in London. As soon as Jobs got to his room he called up Ive and said, 'I hate my room. It's a piece of shit, let's go.' Jobs grabbed his things to leave, stopping at the desk to tell the clerk what he thought of the hotel.
Jony Ive tells this story: 'Once we went to Whole Foods market to get a smoothie ... And this older woman was making it and he really got on her about how she was doing it.' Jobs later felt bad realising she's an older woman doing a job that she's not happy at.
The Xerox Star was supposed to be the hot new computer that came out in 1981 (it was ultimately a flop). Jobs and his team went to go check it out, but were absolutely unimpressed. A few weeks later he called Bob Belleville, one of the hardware designers on the Xerox Star team. 'Everything you've ever done in your life is shit,' Jobs said, 'so why don't you come work for me?'
Belleville joined the team.
Jobs denied paternity of his daughter Lisa for years. She and her mother ended up living on welfare. To Jobs' credit, however, he ultimately made the situation right -- he started paying child support and reimbursed the state of California for years of back child support. He ended up connecting with Lisa and she became a member of his family.
But it doesn't change the fact that it's a very sad story.
When Steve had to make cutbacks at Pixar, he fired people and didn't give any severance pay. Pamela Kerwin, an early Pixar employee, pleaded that employees at least be given two weeks notice.
'OK,' he said, 'but the notice is retroactive from two weeks ago.'
While working at Atari, Jobs recruited Wozniak's help to build a scaled down version of Pong. There was a big bonus involved in getting it done quickly and efficiently, and Jobs lied about how much money was involved, pocketing the majority of the money for himself.
Daniel Kottke was one of Apple's first employees and was even a personal friend of Jobs -- the two traveled around India together in 1974. But for some reason, Jobs never set him up with stock options.
Rod Holt, Apple's Vice President of Engineering, confronted Jobs with this, saying, 'Whatever you give him, I will match it.'
Steve said, 'OK. I will give him zero.'
When MobileMe launched in the summer of 2008, it was plagued with problems. People had trouble getting their data to sync to the cloud and across their devices.
The press, including the WSJ's Apple enthusiast Walt Mossberg, slammed MobileMe as an unfinished product.
To address the problem, Jobs gathered the MobileMe team in Apple's auditorium and asked: 'Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?' When the team gave their answers, Jobs replied, 'Then why the fuck doesn't it do that?'
Jobs then fired the MobileMe boss on the spot and replaced him with Eddie Cue.
Isaacson asked Jobs' best friend Jony Ive what he thought. Here's his response:
I once asked him why he gets so mad about stuff. He said, 'But I don't stay mad.' He has this very childish ability to get really worked up about something, and it doesn't stay with him at all. But, there are other times, I think honestly, when he's very frustrated, and his way to achieve catharsis is to hurt somebody. And I think he feels he has a liberty and licence to do that. The normal rules of social engagement, he feels, don't apply to him. Because of how very sensitive he is, he knows exactly how to efficiently and effectively hurt someone. And he does do that.