Steve Jobs

By: Lauren Bair

Life Brief

Steve jobs was born in San Francisco, on February 24, 1955 to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanna Schieble although he was immediately adopted by a young Paul Jobs and Clara Hagopian. Jandali was a Syrian professor who had graduated from Wisconsin and Joanne Schieble was a speech therapist who had also graduated from Wisconsin; Jobs found out no information on his biological parents until he was 27 years old. Jobs spent the first part of his life in Mountain View, a small town south of Palo Alto which would later be known as Silicon Valley. Jobs spent a large portion of his childhood tinkering with electronics with his father, a mechanic, although Jobs was always less interested in working on cars. At the age of 2, his parents adopted a young girl named Patty, making Jobs an older brother. At the end of fourth grade, Jobs tested as a high school sophomore; his parents finally understood his intellectual capabilities and decided to let him skip the fifth grade. His years in school had always been difficult because of his small stature and the age difference between him and his classmates, but in high school, he met electronics whiz Steve Wozniak, who would change his life. Jobs finished high school with ease and reluctantly agreed to go to Reed College, a private liberal arts school in Portland which his parents almost certainly could not afford. While at the college, he practiced meditation frequently and dabbled in Marijuana and LSD; after about a year, he dropped out of his classes and stayed with friends in the dorms before returning to his parents and looking for a job. He eventually found a job with Atari before starting Apple in 1976 with his business partner, Steve Wozniak. Apple was extremely successful after the first computer was released and just four years after it had been created, Apple was valued at $1.2 billion. In 1984, Apple had experienced struggles with released products which was blamed partly on Jobs, who was put into a different position in the company which led him to leave it. After his departure from Apple, Jobs began a computer company called NeXT, Inc.; this company also experienced success after Jobs purchased an animation studio that would later be known as Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas. NeXT was eventually bought by Apple and Jobs was reinstated in his original position in the company. After years of product failure, Jobs brought the forgotten Apple back into the public's eye. At the same time, Jobs met and married Lauren Powell, a business student at Stanford; they later had 3 children. He continued his work at Apple, leading the team with a brilliant but somewhat rude approach. In 2003, he was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer which could be operated on with a relatively high success rate; after putting off the surgery for a year, he relented and his tumor was successfully removed. For almost a decade, he battled Pancreatic cancer while creating new products such as the iPod and iTunes. On October 5, 2011, Jobs passed away in Palo Alto, at the age of 56. He was one of, if not the most influential innovator in the technological industry; he changed everyday life across the globe with his inventions.
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Background Symbolism

The background that I chose for this project is someone typing on a portable computer, Jobs had an enormous amount of influence on the technological industry and changed computers forever. His work changed computers from large, ugly, and complicated devices to small, portable, and aesthetically appealing pieces of technology that are now more common in households and places of business. The laptop represents the effect he has had on the world since he began Apple and came back to the company in 1997, how he changed technology completely, and how his ideas inspired others to think differently. As Isaacson wrote about the reviews surrounding the iMac after it's debut," '...it is not only the coolest-looking computer introduced in years, but a chest-thumping statement that Silicon Valley's original dream company is no longer sombulant.' Forbes called it 'an industry-altering success" (Isaacson online).

Pick 3

The first detail about his life that stood out to me was that he had a child with his college girlfriend, yet denied her existence for many of the following years until eventually agreeing to meet her and develop their relationship until his death in 2011. It was extremely difficult for him to accept how he treated her and he tried to turn the situation back around before he passed away and the girl would be left fatherless. Another interesting fact about Jobs that is overlooked because of his extreme success was his style of leading his team; he was often rude and tactless when speaking to anyone in disagreement of his ideas, or if a product simply did not function as he wished. An example of him acting in an inappropriately rude way during an interview, as written by Isaacson is, "How old were you when you lost your virginity?' he asked. The candidate looked baffled, "What did you say?" "Are you a virgin?" Jobs asked. The candidate sat there flustered, so Jobs changed the subject. "How many times have you taken LSD?" Hertzfeld recalled, "The poor guy was turning various shades of red, so I tried to change the subject and asked a straightforward technical question." But when the candidate droned on, Jobs broke in. "Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble," he said, cracking up Smith and Hertzfeld. "I guess I'm not the right guy," the poor man said as he got up to leave." (Isaacson online). The last fact about Jobs that interested me were his extreme diets; during college, he would regularly fast for weeks and would only break his fasts for fruit, vegetables, or hot vegetarian plates from the school cafeteria. For a brief period, he dabbled in Fruitarianism, a sector of veganism in which the only foods permitted are nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables; Jobs believed that these different diets freed him from body odor, which led him to shower fewer times a week and go free of deodorant to the dismay of his coworkers.

Accomplishments

One of the greatest accomplishments made by Steve Jobs was the iPhone; he not only revolutionized computers, but communication and portable devices. This device is described by Jobs during the launch and written by Isaacson, "Today we're introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first on is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a break-through Internet communications device." He repeated the list for emphasis, then asked, "Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone." This device was dubbed "the Jesus Phone" by bloggers and users, a device like this was unheard of at this point; at over $500, Apple sold ninety million iPhones in the first 2 years of it's release. His overall effect on the population was the greatest with the iPhone.

Struggle

A struggle faced by Jobs for just shy of a decade was his recurring pancreatic cancer. In 2004, the removal of his tumors was thought to have ended his battle with cancer; for a brief time between 2004 and 2008, his health had returned to normal. In 2008, the cancer had returned, and with it had come much more pain; when Jobs was diagnosed, he took a walk with a good friend and discussed the pain he felt, Isaacson wrote this as "He told me that when he feels really bad, he just concentrates on the pain, goes into the pain, and seems to dissipate it," she recalled. That wasn't exactly true, however. When Jobs was in pain, he let everyone around him know it." (Isaacson online). He attempted to treat both the pain and cancer with different eating habits, this led him to lose 40 pounds in a period just a few months long. He tried all kinds of therapy and treatments, but was still in excruciating pain and his health was declining rapidly; after flying through Europe to receive treatments, he returned to the U.S. to get on a wait list for a kidney transplant. Eventually, he received a kidney transplant which was thought to have went well, but the cancer was spreading too fast. In 2009, he finally acknowledged that his death was approaching.

Mentor/Friend

Steve Wozniak was a great mentor and friend to Jobs throughout his life; from the moment they met, they understood and respected each other's ideas and skills. Wozniak's gentle demeanor would counteract Jobs' harsh style of leading; although Jobs was incredibly talented with technology, Wozniak's undeniable brilliance would take the thoughts in Jobs' head and make them a reality. Throughout Jobs' life, Wozniak was there for him as a friend and as an equal in talent and creativity; some of their first interactions are written by Isaacson, "Wozniak recalled, "We had so much in common. Typically, it was really hard for me to explain to people what kind of design stuff I worked on, but Steve got it right away. And I liked him. He was kind of thin and wiry and full of energy." Jobs was also impressed." (Isaacson online). Part of the reason they got along so well was the mutual respect that was granted almost immediately; Wozniak was a large part of Jobs' life, not only as a business partner but also as one of his closest friends.

Awards

1985: National Medal of Technology and Innovation

1987: Jefferson Award for Public Service

1989: "Entrepreneur of the Decade"

2007: Inducted into California Hall of Fame

2012: Posthumously awarded the Grammy Trustees Award- awarded to people who influence the music industry in ways other than performance

2013: Posthumously inducted as a Disney Legend

Hobbies

When Jobs was young, he and Wozniak would play pranks on people using the technological devices they would invent in the Jobs' garage. An example of one of these pranks was when they used the Blue Box to call the Pope, as written by Isaacson, "The most daring one of these was when they called the Vatican and Wozniak pretended to be Henry Kissinger wanting to speak to the pope. "Ve are at de summit meeting in Moscow, and ve need to talk to de pope," Woz intoned." (Isaacson Online). After high school, he stopped doing pranks and began meditating with his classmates as well as attempting to adopt a Buddhist lifestyle. After he dropped out of college, he maintained this lifestyle for about a year before returning home to find a job.

Symbolism

Steve Jobs is a cave. He was unrelenting, harsh, cold, and seemingly unescapable if you bothered him in any way. There was not a single person that understood how to control him in the workplace because if he was agitated by anyone, the chances were that they were fired almost immediately. A cave is cold, dark, endless, and unknown to all people that come across it; as Isaacson wrote in the biography as an example of Jobs' complete disregardance of other's emotions, "[When his parents dropped him off] he refrained from even saying good-bye or thanks." (Isaacson online). He acted this way to the people in his life that were most important, and treated others with complete disrespect; this led me to compare him to a cave because he was seemingly emotionless and endless. I would also describe both Jobs and a cave as dangerous; they both had the capability to hurt a person immensely.

Friend or Foe

If I met Steve Jobs, I believe that we would not get along, which would make him a foe. I think that he is a brilliant talker and an extremely talented leader; I'll acknowledge his large effect on the technology industry and even say that he's one of the most influential people of the past century, but I don't respect how he got his reputation. He constantly treated his employees with disrespect when he disagreed with their opinions instead of constructively criticizing their work or considering their ideas. I also have a strong sense of opinion that would clash with his because I have a difficult time admitting that I am wrong and accepting someone else's idea as better than my own. Throughout the book, I grew to like him less and less because of how he treated his adoptive parents and Lisa, his biological child whose existence he didn't acknowledge for about 20 years. Another reason that I wouldn't get along with him is because of his weird habits; his coworkers from the past would complain about him because he refused to shower or wear deodorant. He strictly followed diets of just 1 or 2 foods and would occasionally fast for weeks on end.

Most Like

Jobs reminds me most of my father; throughout the book, I noticed more and more quirks and characteristics about Jobs that remind me of my dad. Similarly to Jobs, my dad began a company in the technical industry when he was in his twenties; they both had ideas that could change the work that would have been done by a human and program a machine to do the job. My dad also tends to get angry when disagreed with or when his ideas are rejected, especially when he knows that they will only improve the company; Jobs does the same thing, which is shown throughout the book. Both have occasionally been too caught up in their work to return home or spend time with family and they both search for ways to develop and improve their ideas. My dad is also a persuasive businessman, and despite his harsh exterior, he can make a deal or persuade audiences because of his obvious passion for his work.

Altruist or Egotist

Although Jobs positively effected so many lives and made so many technological advances for the world, at the end of the day, he was an egotist. He was relentlessly unkind, cold, abusive leader; although Jobs acted this way towards workers, little known was that he treated his business partner the same way. After working with Wozniak on a large project, they received a bonus for their work and Jobs denied Wozniak his proper share. As written by Isaacson, "Under Steve Jobs, there's zero tolerance for not performing," it's CEO said." (Isaacson online). Jobs had a reputation for being unrelenting and others knew not to get in his way, or they would be fired and shamed.

Other Choice: #1

For years in his life, Jobs experimented in all different sorts of drugs and spiritual practices. He began using Marijuana and LSD at the young age of 15, when he was just a junior in high school; Isaacson wrote, "But his father again bent to his will. "He wanted me to promise that I'd never use pot again, but I wouldn't promise." In fact by his senior year he was also dabbling in LSD and hash as well as exploring the mind-bending effects of sleep deprivation." (Isaacson online). As a child, Jobs had an attitude and no respect for authority; he would constantly play pranks and practice drug use with friends. This behavior continued throughout his semester in college and through his 18 month stay at Reed College after he dropped out. Later, he became more involved with his work and left the spiritual hippie Jobs behind; however, throughout his biography, there was writing about his meditation and the spiritual qualities he saw in others.

Other Choice: #2

At the age of 13, Steve Jobs questioned and rejected the existence of Jesus Christ and eventually decided that he wanted nothing to do with Christianity or a God who would let children starve. Despite his removal from the Christian faith, Jobs did not give up religion altogether; he spent years studying and attempting to practice Zen Buddhism. A quote by Isaacson about Jobs' opinion on religion is, "Reflecting years later on his spiritual feelings, he said that religion was at its best when it emphasized spiritual experiences rather than received dogma." (Isaacson Online). Jobs took his practices extremely seriously; he wasn't just dabbling in this religion, he was an avid practitioner. After his short time at Reed College, Jobs traveled to India in search of a guru to help him for spiritual insight and he went on many spiritual retreats. Another major fact is that he was married to his wife, Laurene Powell, in a traditional Zen Buddhist ceremony; this way of life was extremely prevalent in Jobs' life until his death in 2011.