We “hardcore Apple guys”

Steven P. Jobs re-emerged into the public eye at the iPod Event on 09 September 09, where he talked first about gratitude, specifically, among other things, about the mid-20-year-old who died in a car crash who was gracious and conscientious enough to have been an organ donor.

You should watch the first 5 minutes at least. He did more than discuss it. He was a class act.

I’m not sure what your definition of a ‘hardcore apple guy’ is, but the hardcore perfectionist engineers, UI folks, VI folks, hardware folks, design folks and everyone else who has what it takes to live as an Apple technical/creative (there’s no real line between the two) both in terms of initiative and talent will keep doing beyond their best every day—or they’ll leave.

And this same thing will continue whether Steve is there or not, just as it did when Steve wasn’t there….and we now know that at least some people at Apple knew that Steve might NOT have been coming back at all.

It’s not Steve’s head cracks open and Apple’s entire product line springs forth like Athena from the head of Zeus. Magical ideas come from whoever they come from at Apple. Smart people shepherd them up and out; honest people give the right people the right credit as they present the ideas to the right people.

Speaking of legend, middle management at Apple is the stuff of it. Not all good. In fact, mostly not. It’s more Kingdom than Business at Apple and there’s no disappointment to be had when the expected sycophants appear and the gashes on the backs of those they crawled over to get where they want to get, reaches exceeding grasps are hidden by the sea of Apple-logo’d T-shirts and hoodies.

Obsequiousness always points up, but management ostensibly is aimed downward. Therein lies.

Was there more to that sentence? Perhaps. Sometimes. Sometimes not. This time I choose not.

Obviously grand ideas get There, where There is usually to Steve, eventually.

Eventually.

There are thousands of incredibly talented people at Apple applying their talents to real world things that interest them and that they believe will be of value to others. I don’t ever recall hearing any single person, in any context, ever mention that the purpose of a product family, product, product version, feature, sub-feature or pixel as being something there for the purpose of making Apple money.

And here’s the secret of Steve as I know it to be, which means it’s no secret at all, and it’s also total bullshit because I’m not Steve and so what the fuck do I know? But it doesn’t seem to stop the punditry, the haters, the pigeonholers, the outsiders, the ununderstanding, the ignorant, the bold, the cowardly, the jealous, the envious, the contrarian from telling the world exactly who Steve is and what he’s thinking.

Worse, they tell me what I am—a cultist or a Mac “fanatic” or “hardcore” or “fanboi”—whatever it takes to label me in hopes of pigeonholing me and reducing me to something they can neatly package up into something harmless and dismissible.

The argument comes down to this for them: if I’m just an irrational git, nothing I have to say is valuable or arguable and by the either-or fallacy logic they themselves are the cool, collected, rational ones who by fiat are superior.

The rest of the world is business and money and economics and Apple is wizardry.

And all along my point was that with Steve and Apple, there’s no magic wand. Go figure.

Then it comes to Apple Life After Steve: I’d never expect anyone on the exec bench at Apple to ever try to replace Steve. That would be stupid, and none of those people are stupid.

Small groups of people are not always committees. Committees rarely accomplish anything.

Small groups of committed people are the ones who change the world.

Steve knows when to get out of the way and when to block the way. That much is obvious to anyone with eyes good enough to see things in original terms and not just according to the patterns that exist in other companies. Apple isn’t just any company.

Tim Cook and Jony Ive and the rest kicked some serious ass when Steve wasn’t there. I’m guessing they each knew first hand when Steve got out of their way and when Steve blocked their way.

It doesn’t take a genius to see any of this nor does it take an Apple insider. It just takes someone who appreciates the tabula rasa.

I just wonder why more people out there don’t see it.

Probably because they’re too busy seeing “how it is”.

And why bother looking if you already know what you’re gonna see?

People Without Boundaries

There have been many instances of push-pull, emotions lately. Happy on the one hand, in times where people might say I’m being honorable or “saintly”, but just as much (if not more) push to negatives and what-ifs and bitterness for what I am lacking that other people have.

I am not so honorable that I can keep to the sunny side of things all the time, and the accident, the pain, the recuperation, the too-soon exit from my disability interval, the headache that I’ve had nearly 24/7 since August of 2006 (yes, that would be 22 months. 1 headache. sometimes light, but mostly intensely painful, from dull ugly pain thumping and wretched to exquisite sharpness, all pins and knives. Variations on a theme: Pain.

Today there are ugly posts all around the internet with people throwing nasty, impersonal, callous, cruel comments—seemingly in passing—with no disregard for the humanity involved. What was the subject? The health of Steve Jobs.

This brings back memories of my hateful ex sister-in-law who made fun of Allen’s appearance about 6 months before he died. I wrote about it almost exactly five years to today.

Now, I had my very first email account in 1982. August of 1982. I was a freshman at Carnegie Mellon, and everyone on campus got one. Along with the email address came a specific context: the only other people to send email to—with a few exceptions—were fellow students, people you’d see nearly every day. This had the effect of making email something personal, something of an additional avenue of communication and quite the opposite of a tool that set enough distance between you and another person that you could feel free to be as profoundly inhuman as people are today.

Steve Jobs is indeed the King of Apple. Apple is a kingdom perhaps even moreso that an business. That is beside the point: there are so many people out there speculating about his health, commenting on whether they should sell AAPL because of his health!

Steve Jobs has a wife. He has kids. He surely has any number of people he calls friend, people who love him and care about him.

And there you are out there treating it like grist for the mill, juicy topics for water cooler chats. What kind of fucking freaks are you? Just because you’re typing instead of talking doesn’t give you license to cross the boundaries of good taste, sympathy, empathy, honor just to be snarky or selfish about what effects someone else’s health may have on you?

Like there’s not a dearth of intimacy in the world, people trading depth for quantity, people dropping personal boundaries for their own wants. Friends disregarding respect for you in favor of literally-cheap thrills.

Steve Jobs deserves better. We all do. The answer is not to expect less, the answer is to respect more.