The Union Recorder

Columns

March 28, 2012

Apple Suckling Tree

MILLEDGEVILLE — Steve Jobs was a connoisseur of music and his favorites were Bob Dylan and The Beatles. The irony is that both Dylan and The Beatles were among several artists whom it was difficult to include in iTunes. In the recent Steve Jobs biography, knowing that he would die soon, Jobs even discussed how important it was for him to secure the rights to The Beatles catalog. These may be somewhat trivial things to the everyday person. It may also be of little consequence to those who aren't Apple fans. But there were many layers to Steve Jobs that have impacted our lives, our views on leadership, interaction with technology and how we watch movies.

I recently finished the massive tome that is “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. Even if you could care less about the man, Steve Jobs was a force of change. He (and Steve Wozniak) made the personal computer for the masses. And if it weren't for the Microsoft and Apple rivalry, computing would never have catapulted us into the computer age. What I found most interesting was Steve Jobs' management style. There was little attempt in the book to hide the quirks of his genius and it would be virtually impossible not to see similarities in genius behavior. From a very early age Steve was headstrong and acted at his own whim. He would show up unbathed and barefoot to meetings and was constantly berating his employees and others.

As a MEd graduate whose major was in Human Resource Development I was mesmerizingly drawn to his charisma and determination. As many say, Steve's Reality Distortion Field. According to a member of the original Apple Computers team, Andy Hertzfeld defines this Field as "Steve Jobs' ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything, using a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement, and persistence." According to Wikipedia, "although the subject of criticism, Jobs' so-called reality distortion field was also recognized as creating a sense that the impossible was possible."

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