Gene Marks agrees that Steve Jobs was a nasty piece of work in many ways. Marks praises this. Excerpt:
I’m not going to fault Jobs for outsourcing work to other countries where production is cheaper. Some may call him a jerk for doing that. Some, like those “occupiers” would demand that he use Americans to make his products. But Job didn’t care. Like I mentioned before, his allegiance was to his customers, his employees, and his shareholders. As a businessman he would do whatever he needed to do to keep costs at a minimum. Long live the jerk.
As the late Al Davis liked to say, “Just win, baby.” More from Marks:
In his personal life, Jobs was no angel. According to Tate he “regularly belittled people, swore at them, and pressured them until they reached their breaking point. In the pursuit of greatness he cast aside politeness and empathy. He verbal abuse never stopped.” Sounds like a real jerk, doesn’t he? I wish I could be more like that.
Because I don’t have that kind of self confidence, that kind of leadership. I’m not so convinced that my way is the right way that I’m prepared to go to the mat like Jobs did so frequently. Clearly, he didn’t suffer fools very well. And the world is full of many, many fools and too few real geniuses. If Jobs didn’t behave that way would he have achieved so much? Would we all have benefited from his creations? Too many business owners, like me, coddle our people too much and avoid confrontations. We’re not being leaders. We want people to like us. Those that have the confidence to be jerks, like Jobs, are the ones that give themselves more opportunities to succeed. Of course there’s a limit to this behavior. But in the end, the markets appreciate results. And nice guys often do finish last.
Had enough? Here’s the kicker:
For all I know, Steve Jobs left his entire fortune to charity. But I admire that during his life he was a jerk about charitable giving. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t philanthropic. He was. Dan Pallotta explainsexplains why: “What’s important is how we use our time on this earth, not how conspicuously we give our money away. What’s important is the energy and courage we are willing to expend reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race.” I agree with that.
Seen in this light, Steve Jobs is a Randian hero, the kind of fearless, ruthless creative genius that doesn’t let humanity get in the way of “challenging mediocre minds” and “advancing the potential of the human race.” Too bad that so many human beings, including the ones one is most responsible for (e.g., one’s employees) get in the way of such abstractions. Anyway, I’m very glad indeed that I don’t work for Gene Marks, or for an employer that believes no human consideration should get in the way of exercising his genius.
Steve Jobs really was a creative genius. Nobody can take that away from him. He made better and more beautiful products than any of his competitors. But in the end, I bet Bill Gates will have proved the better man.