Steve and Me
I’m deep into Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, and now Steve Jobs is deep into my brain.
All this stuff about design. About amazing things.
He was so demanding in his tastes that he had a hard time furnishing his home. I think about my home and the things I have, and I wonder what Steve would think. Do I own a single thing that he would have deemed worthy? And what about me? Am I just another “bozo”? Would he have judged everything I own and do to be “shit”?
Because the world is binary: everything is amazing, or shit.
Not that I’m seeking Steve’s posthumous approval. I’m not a member of the Apple cult, and I don’t own or use any Apple products. I’m quite satisfied with “lesser” goods. But he’s in my head now, you see. I can’t help wondering.
I’m fascinated by his story. I was familiar with the earlier part of the tale, having watched Triumph of the Nerds and read Fire in the Valley and Insanely Great and random web site revelations. Now I’m enjoying the “complete” tale.
And I am a devoted follower of Pixar. I didn’t learn until late how much Pixar is Jobs’ tale also, and this book has lots of good stuff about that.
I should read more biographies. I like learning about people that have done great things, and Jobs accomplished some insanely great, amazing things.
I can appreciate Steve’s greatness even if I disapprove of the way he treated people: Like that other thing. The thing that is the opposite of amazing. He could be a real jerk. I also object to the kinds of closed, proprietary systems that Apple builds, preferring instead free software and open systems.
Yet here I am, mesmerized by this man.
And I’ve learned that I’m a lot like Steve.
I have my own reality distortion field. It’s not so well-known, and it’s much more subtle, but I’m certain it exists. There’s no other way to make sense of my career thus far. (More about this another day. I don’t want to jinx anything.)
The rules don’t apply to me either. I don’t park in handicap spaces like Steve did, but I have exceeded the speed limit from time to time.
I withdraw from loved ones.
I hate PowerPoint presentations and other business humdrum, too. Unfortunately, unlike Steve, I have to suffer through it. Or rather, I’m willing to let myself be subjected to it, accepting my place of low influence and power in the corporate hierarchy.
Steve was George Bernard Shaw’s unreasonable man, while I’ve played the part of the reasonable man — adapting myself to the world, putting up with the crap.
I’ve learned to value a certain level of acceptance from my reading of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Marcus Aurelius, and Lao Tsu, but still: I could follow my passion more, like Steve. I should. I might. I might try stepping out of the shit. Wipe it off the bottom of my shoe and move on. I can do something amazing, or at least something that I care about. That would be amazing.