That’s a bold heading isn’t it: “Steve Jobs and Me.” Who do I think I am? Well I considered “Bill Gates and me,” but Steve, bless his departed soul, is more topical and, although I’ve met both men on several occasions, Steve does win in the department of personal magnetism. I’ve described Bill as the most average guy you’ll ever meet. That is not a dig in any way. He’s the kind of guy you want as your doctor or your lawyer (no mystery in the latter since both his parents were attorneys). He’s solid and dependable. Steve is the guy you want as your rock star.
In the late eighties and early nineties, the golden age of personal computers, I was touring the world hawking a software product I invented (that’s a story for another post, another day). I attended conferences with the Software Publishers Association, of which I was a member, and a nominee for special achievement (again, another day’s post). Steve was at our conference in Montreal, hawking the Next computer. If you follow the life and times of Steve Jobs, this was the time after he was fired from Apple and when he started a new computer company, Next.
I’d already read all about Steve. He was supposedly egotistic and tended toward odd regimens such as ‘not eating anything with eyes.’ But the thing that I felt unforgivable was his paternity denial. Here I was, a responsible father, married, raising two kids, and Steve denied being the father of his daughter Lisa, forcing the mother of his child to depend on welfare while he raked in millions. Grrr. So, here I was, walking into a small room, ready to meet this cad, this scoundrel, this man of ill repute, with my head held high and my view of him squarely down my nose. After a few minutes with this bad boy of Silicon Valley, what was my reaction? I was totally captivated.
Steve talked with passion, totally focused on what he was selling. What was it? I cannot remember. But what I’ll never forget was how he said it. There was a fire in the belly that bubbled up through those dark eyes of his. My impression: “I want to do whatever this guy is doing.”
My next encounter with Steve was some time after that, in Cannes, at another software conference, in another hotel suite. The charm was still burning bright. If he said, ‘Let’s take this hill,’ you wanted to follow, even if you didn’t know exactly what that meant.
Now we have a number of Steve Jobs portrayals out there in film. I watched each wondering if they would be like the Steve Jobs I met. Fassbender did a reasonable performance, but it would be hard to nail the man himself. You just had to be there.
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This blog entry won an award for writing by the Delaware Press Association