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Your Steve Jobs Syllabus: The Cult of Personality

For The Apple Lovers and Critics: How We Remember Steve
By

If you're interested in reading about how Jobs' life intersected with the lives of other luminaries, we can give you a reading list. Start here, with our recent update of anecdotes people have started telling about Jobs. Then, check out our running list of famous leaders' condolences (including Gates and Obama).

One of the most interesting and touching portraits to emerge in the last 24 hours is the one created by Walt Mossberg, the longtime Wall Street Journal tech columnist who got to know Jobs pretty well over the years.

Scroll through Flickr to see the images people are posting of makeshift Steve Jobs memorials at Apple's HQ, and probably every Apple store around the world. There, you'll find a Red Delicious with ear buds inserted, glass storefronts filled with condolence notes written on "stickies," as well as the expected candles, flowers, and flags flying at half mast. In San Francisco, crowds gathered at parks and held their iPhones aloft--the modern-day equivalent of a lighter tribute at a rock concert, or a candlelit vigil.

For another side of Jobs, read the full text of an interview Jobs gave to Playboy in 1987. Gizmodo, which readily admits that Jobs probably hated that blog, has the text of the interview. And, for what its worth, former Gizmodo Editor Brian Lam just posted that he's really sorry for "being an asshole," as well as his personal/professional history with Jobs. We never thought he was one, for the record.

Then, read John Gruber's remarks over at Daring Fireball (an Apple-centric blog)--he speculates about just how Jobs got fresh green grass stains on his sneakers just before he gave his final keynote at WWDC in June 2011.

Next, take a look at the poem scrawled by Dan Lyons--a journalist with Newsweek and formerly with Forbes. Lyons, once upon a time, was the secret identity of Fake Steve Jobs, and wrote the blog "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs." I worked at Forbes during that time, and for a while I was one of the few people in on this exquisitely funny secret.

From the poem:

What you did, however,
now that
will be remembered forever.
I don’t mean the products.
The Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad.
Yes, you invented them
& yes, we have heard of them
but no, Steve Jobs,
your greatest accomplishment
was not some piece of hardware
not some lines of code
not the mouse and the graphical user interface
which let’s face it you really kind of just
borrowed from Xerox PARC
& “borrowed” might not be exactly the right word
for what you guys did
but on this day of all days let’s not quibble
about word choice.
No, Steve Jobs, your greatest accomplishment
is what you did to us.
You gave us joy.
You restored our sense of childlike wonder.
You enabled us to live in a world where
we always believed that something amazing & magical
was just around the corner
and that the future would be better than the past
because in fact,
as long as you were alive,
it was.

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  • 2 Hide
    may1 , October 6, 2011 9:33 PM
    The featured picture- he looks a bit like Tom Cruise.
  • 1 Hide
    giovanni86 , October 6, 2011 10:54 PM
    Great article. I enjoyed it very much, i was in need of some back tracking memories of the past. I only hope another visionary like Steve emerges from this some day to take the world by storm with his key notes and just brilliant ways to convince you of such great products. And by all means i am a total complete Microsoft fanboy and i can at least say he will be missed more then most might even realize because he pushed the industry forward like no other.
  • -4 Hide
    kayvonjoon , October 6, 2011 10:56 PM
    Quote:
    And when Jobs' acted like you didn't have the brains to know better, it pissed you off. But you were in the minority


    Agreed!!

    Great article. Steve Jobs will certainly be missed.
  • 4 Hide
    benikens , October 7, 2011 12:29 AM
    Page 6?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 5:10 AM
    I have been reading TH for a long time. This is probably one of the only comments I will ever write, even though I love the articles on this website.

    I remember using a Mac back in elementary school and I remember my best friend had always had a Mac. My first experience with Windows was Windows 95. Something about it made me not want to go back to Mac ever again, and I never have. I've owned PC's my entire life and grew to hate everything about the Apple culture and the people it's become associated with (at least from the PC camp's point of view).

    Something happens, though, when somebody of this magnitude passes on. Prejudice fades and stigmas are forgot. I don't think I will ever again associate Steve Jobs with my own prejudices about the Apple company or what I feel it represents. I think from now on I will only see the real root of what Steve was: an innovator to the core, somebody not afraid to go outside the status quo and usher in a new norm, a charismatic and persuasive leader who helped to shape technology the way we know and are privileged to use it today.

    Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. You will be missed, even by people who never had the privilege to meet you, like me.
  • 0 Hide
    acasel , October 7, 2011 8:23 AM
    Quote:
    Page 6?

    Its your JOB to think about the page 6
  • 1 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 7, 2011 9:00 AM
    ... ironically... the last presentation Steave did waz about iCloud...
  • 9 Hide
    HappyBB , October 7, 2011 9:00 AM
    Jobs was just a man who happened to be very good at selling tech products. There's no need to worship him or treat him like god, which so many iPeople are doing. So sick of that!
  • 0 Hide
    bobbyp86 , October 7, 2011 9:13 AM
    Very sad to see him go, especially at 56. Despite what some might say he definitely moved computing and technology forward as well as the way that we use it. He achieved a lot in his life, RIP Steve.
  • 7 Hide
    GozerHozer , October 7, 2011 10:31 AM
    Apple makes computers? I thought they made Cell phones; oh sorry thats Samsung.
    Too bad he didn't take Apple with him, NO lose to the real IT world.
  • 7 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 7, 2011 11:22 AM
    I never associated Steve Jobs with Apple's so-called "innovations", he was primarily a businessman. But I did associate him with Apple's iZombies stubbornness, ignorance and tech illiteracy. Because of this:

    Quote:
    Jobs believed: "It isn't the consumer's job to know what they want." In so many ways, he was right. Most people love technology but aren't equipped to articulate what they want it to be like. But many of you are. And when Jobs' acted like you didn't have the brains to know better, it pissed you off. But you were in the minority.


    I might be in the minority, but it is in my power to protect my less tech-savvy friends and family from the rip-off, useless products and I will keep doing so. Programmers, web designers and tech people in general are always a minority, but it's their work that keeps the world running.

    For years and years, Apple has been pushing underpowered, overpriced, unneeded hardware. So far the only impact that Apple made on my life is forcing its competition to create more and more BS devices: tablets, AIOs, show-off underpowered laptops (VAIO); while loading the market with their own disgusting products. All these devices did is create a lot of hype and I feel that we could easily do without them. The only good thing they delivered to the market was a touchscreen phone (though I've heard that some companies released theirs before the iPhone), but the iPhone was just a push for some REALLY good devices. By itself, it was a pathetic toy and nothing more; at the time of the iPhone 1 release, there were tons of T9 smartphones that possessed far superior feature loadout and multimedia capabilities (Nokia N95, for example); and the situation repeated itself with every new iPhone model.

    In other words, I refuse to believe in a widespread stereotype which holds Apple as a major innovator and the force that "overturned" the market. Some say that even Windows 7 wouldn't exist without Mac OS, because Microsoft wouldn't go any further after XP due to the lack of competition - this is nonsense; they would still want more money and hence a new OS. Again, all Apple did is create a lot of hype around its allegedly superior/safer OS and products that "just work". Thanks to them, nowadays everyone believes that Android/Windows are so incredibly complicated that it's only up to the geeks to use them, because Apple's products are "simple" and "easy to use".

    Quote:
    From the poem:


    Call THAT a POEM?!

    Quote:
    You gave us joy.
    You restored our sense of childlike wonder.
    You enabled us to live in a world where
    we always believed that something amazing & magical
    was just around the corner


    You are confusing childlike wonder with simple technical illiteracy and ignorance. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; however, anyone who believes that this magic is one of a kind is surely a fool. Especially when such "magic" comes from Apple.

    Quote:
    The first is the experience of being inside Jobs' "reality distortion field." People, it is a real thing.


    I believe it is. I've met a lot of charismatic people in my life and such influence is indeed possible. But that just gives me more right to blame Jobs for using his gift to delude and cheat weak-minded people. Most of the Apple users are poor, lost souls that will believe anything you tell them, they know nothing, NOTHING about hardware and software they're using and are convinced that overpaying for a MacBook is justified because "it comes with all the software". Open source and free closed source software which would allow you to have any other computer with more/better software for cheaper is brilliantly ignored, of course.

    I regret that I never met him personally; it'd be a wonderful exercise to see just how far he would be able to brainwash me before my inner fuse would blow and I'd understand that something is wrong... :) 

    Quote:
    That doesn't mean we all went back to the office and wrote glowing reports of every little feature Jobs' had mentioned.


    Maybe not you (although that obituary proves otherwise), but 95% of all other journalists. Thus all the free iPhone/iPad advertisement on the news sites.

    Quote:
    I remember Jobs standing at the entrance to the staircase while at least two thousand people roared on the sidewalk. I remember several marriage proposals occurring in the crowd. I remember several women declaring their undying love to Jobs. I remember seeing little boys with Apple logos shaved into their haircuts. I saw celebrities. Here's one man's account of the scene to prove that I didn't hallucinate this event.


    Yes, indeed. Typical iZombie ecstatic state. I personally like many companies, Asus probably being on top of the list, but I would NEVER allow myself to degrade to such primal state of craziness. Jobs did not create the devices which allegedly made their life so much better. He was just the CEO of the company that invented them. Why doesn't Intel CEO get the same admiration? Intel >>>>>>>>>>>> Apple in terms of making lives easier, if you count how many PCs their hardware runs in.

    Quote:
    And so I wonder: what will the "in-line" experience feel like a week from today, for those of us who, for whatever reason, feel the need to purchase the iPhone 4S? Will people be sharing Steve Jobs memories and stories? Will the lines be shorter or longer for the 4S than they would otherwise have been, because of his death?


    Of course they won't be. Many iZombies will even feel they're compelled to purchase a 4S just because it's a "memory of Steve".

    Quote:
    In line at night for an Apple product, you strike up conversations with friendly neighbors, you pass the time, you make fun of yourself.


    In other words, you waste your time and make a fool of yourself. I prefer to walk in the store, get the device I chose, walk out and get to use it. I don't like to waste time.

    And Steve? His death won't change anything. Apple thrives on people's ignorance, illiteracy and stubbornness, as I've already said many times. Steve's death won't magically cure these problems. Rest easy... I hate your company and its fans with a burning passion, but a death of a human being is rarely an event to celebrate. Especially when it changes nothing.

    Quote:
    No matter how you feel about Jobs, we know that as a reader of this site you have a personal opinion. That's what we love about you.


    Well, that was my personal opinion. Like it or flame it, I know I'm not alone.

    P.S. What a curious coincidence: he died right after iPhone 4S has been revealed. Ashamed much? :lol: 
  • -5 Hide
    xjchcxx , October 7, 2011 12:40 PM
    I see a lot of ignorant claims bashing the reputation of the recently passed and the credibility and reliability of the hardware produced by said individual. You make bold claims yet you lack any real data, statistics or evidence to support your claims. Thus, with that in mind your arguments are simply formed by whatever or whomever you respect, which just happens to be non-Apple brand enthusiast, which makes you an iZombie just the same.

    Here are some facts, Apple would have died as a company without Microsoft in the 90's. I don't keep up with the stock market, but i believe they were, or still are, the most valuable traded company in the world? You don't get that status deceiving the world, look in to how often these tech companies sue one another. You can't look at Win7 or Mac OSX without seeing clearly borrowed or inspired innovations from the opposition. I could go in to detail, but you have claimed superior knowledge so i will not bore you.

    You boast about how lame Mac is, so I assume you're a Windows or Linux user. I value Linux for what it is, but I doubt Linux will ever be a relevant OS for the same reasons it is awesome.

    If you side on Windows, read that quote from Bill Gates, these men were friends first and competitors second. Show some respect for the loss of a human being. I noticed you didn't mention the iPod, which blew away CD players, disc/walk man, the Zune, it's because you know you lack relevancy, respect, and manners.

    I'm sure Gates often sat back in his home loathing the decisions consumers made with Apple products, i hear he does not allow his kids to own apple products (speculation from an article i read) but I seriously doubt Gates sits there typing in forums just to rant about how lame a competitor is. After all, he has a life.

    ... and i hope you do too.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 12:55 PM
    Apple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple. He made technology accessible even to the technologically averse and therefore universal.

    I'm a supporter of Apple because I believe the PC and other mainstream products should have a competing entity no matter what form it is, but ironically, the truth is, I never owned any Apple products.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 1:04 PM
    I believe my comment above is what Steve Jobs stands for.
  • 6 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 7, 2011 2:28 PM
    Quote:
    Here are some facts, Apple would have died as a company without Microsoft in the 90's.


    I know that Apple was saved by MS.

    Quote:
    I noticed you didn't mention the iPod, which blew away CD players, disc/walk man, the Zune, it's because you know you lack relevancy, respect, and manners.


    I didn't mention iPod because I'm sick of writing the same thing: there were mp3 players (not CD) long BEFORE the iPod, and all iPod introduced was bigger capacity and Apple hype. I don't see what that has to do with my "manners" or the luck of such :lol: 

    Quote:
    You boast about how lame Mac is, so I assume you're a Windows or Linux user.


    I'm both Windows and Linux user. I don't see how it's relevant to hardware.

    Quote:
    Show some respect for the loss of a human being.


    So I have no respect for the loss?

    Quote:
    Rest easy... I hate your company and its fans with a burning passion, but a death of a human being is rarely an event to celebrate.


    Next time read better.

    Quote:
    After all, he has a life. ... and i hope you do too.


    Have a life? Sure. But I don't mind spending 15-30 minutes on the forums. It's a good writing exercise. And maybe if Gates spent some time on the forums, he'd know better what his customers need.

    Quote:
    You make bold claims yet you lack any real data, statistics or evidence to support your claims.


    What "facts" do you want me to list? Should I pull up Apple's website Mac configurator again and show its ridiculous prices? Should I compare the iPhone to its competitors again? I'm sick of this. If you don't see the difference yourself, you're blind.

    Quote:
    I don't keep up with the stock market, but i believe they were, or still are, the most valuable traded company in the world? You don't get that status deceiving the world, look in to how often these tech companies sue one another.


    If you believe that you don't get to the top with deceiving the world, grow up.

    Quote:
    I see a lot of ignorant claims bashing the reputation of the recently passed and the credibility and reliability of the hardware produced by said individual.


    And I thought I stressed the fact that Jobs did NOT produce that hardware... He was a businessman. Even back in the old Apple days (before he was kicked out) he preferred to manage business and not tech. Check your facts.

    Already done with your BS? Well, that was... boring. Pathetic attempt. Next time, troll better :kaola: 
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 7, 2011 2:30 PM
    Quote:
    I don't see what that has to do with my "manners" or the luck of such


    lack. Tom's, why can I edit the comments on tomshardware.com but not on tomsguide.com? It's annoying!
  • 3 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 7, 2011 2:35 PM
    June DomingoApple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple. He made technology accessible even to the technologically averse and therefore universal.


    These "technologically averse" people are just afraid little children scared to press the wrong button. I'd rather they NOT have any access to technology :lol:  They don't deserve it.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 3:17 PM
    he was not a genius
  • -2 Hide
    Tomsguiderachel , October 7, 2011 6:43 PM
    The discussion here is exactly what I'm talking about. I'll admit I used to get upset when readers were so adamantly ANTI-APPLE--it seemed to me a very unsympathetic viewpoint. After all, why be angry that other people are deriving pleasure from technology "in some form"--even if that form is not the form you would choose for yourself?

    BUT...I now realize that the world requires your extreme viewpoint so that progress can be made. Speaking subtly about your opinions means they won't be read by as many people. I might not disagree with you--after all, I don't "hate" anything about the tech industry (except perhaps the environmental wastefulness), and I like it when people are excited about gadgets--no matter which ones strike their fancy--but I'm glad you're here contributing to the conversation.

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Managing Editor, Tom's Guide
  • 0 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , October 7, 2011 7:20 PM
    Great article Rachel.

    I've grown up in a world of both Apple and Microsoft products, and I've learned to appreciate both. I'll admit some of the comments left on Apple articles on Tom's are posted without thought, and I'm sure many were posted for the simple reason of getting as many green up-thumbs as possible.

    Even today, I work as a broadcast engineer at an University. Broadcasting is one of those strange industries that rely on both Apple and Microsoft products. We have just as many Mac Pros in our offices as we do Windows 7 machines. Our server room actually has more Xserves than Windows-based servers.

    So I see the strength and weaknesses of both Microsoft and Apple products on a daily basis. I, for one, am glad Mr. Jobs came back to save Apple, because if he didn't I am not sure what the broadcasting industry would look like today.

    As a side note, all of my desktop machines are self-built Windows machines. All of my laptops are iBooks/PowerBooks/Macbooks/Macbook Pros.
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