So Steve Jobs has croaked, and instantly became transformed from a vile individual to an uncanonised saint. Here’s what Bono, on a direct flight from Bishop Tutu’s birthday, had to say: “when I hurt my spine tons of stuff arrived at my house from Steve. I found him a wonderful thoughtful friend”. Now this is Bono-speak for ‘look how an industrial titan is so impressed by me that he’d send me all those things. I’m really important’. And of course, total bullshit.
There are some truly horrible CEOs around: Think Larry Ellison, Steve Ballmer, Jack Welch. I've worked or consulted for over 200 companies to date and I can safely say in terms of fear and hatred from his employees none of them came close to Jobs. He made a speciality of humiliating his staff, really rubbing it in, and always in front of an audience. He literally broke many people, and seemed to take pleasure in it. I’ve got emails from people who rejoiced at his progressive decline towards ultimate death. And that’s not usual.
And despite the New Age polo shirt image he ran an almost Stalinist organisation. No dissent was permitted – he even had these ‘Loyalty Czars’ (I can’t remember the exact term, but ‘loyalty’ was in there) who went around the world snooping on employees’ emails and even hard drives to identify evidence of ‘disloyalty’. Offenders were despatched with Stalinist ruthlessness.
Back to Bono, the Baron Of Bullshit. Endlessly referring to his ‘friend’ (see, what powerful friends I have!) he assures us that Jobs was also ‘a wonderfully detailed and interested parent of his kids’. Well, even Jobs himself doesn’t seem to think so. He told his biographer that one of his objectives in co-operating on the book was to explain to his kids why this ‘wonderfully detailed and interested parent’ was never there for them. That’s right, he gets a stranger to write a book to explain why.
And of course he refused to acknowledge his first child, denied paternity until a blood test proved him wrong, upon which he grudgingly caved in. Class.
Jobs was indeed an industrial titan, a genius (not for technology but for vision and marketing – and stealing others’ ideas, like the GUI). But he was a deeply, deeply flawed human being who should not be transformed into a saint now that he’s turned toes up.
And a concluding thought, isn’t Bono some twat?