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Who was Steve Jobs the man?

Asher Moses, SMH | Oct. 11, 2011
We know he was driven, ambitious, demanding and a technical genius. But what was Steve Jobs like as a man?

Perfecting 'the look'

One of Jobs's trademarks is his look - he almost always appeared in public wearing a black mock turtleneck, Levi 501 jeans and New Balance 992 sneakers. In his earlier years at Apple he often wore suits and bow ties but, according to long-time Apple journalist Matthew Powell, switched to his new more casual outfit "so that he didn't waste time thinking about what to wear when he should be thinking about Apple."

Jobs drove Apple's Beatlemania

Jobs's favourite musical artists included Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Powell said Paul McCartney gave him a recipe for a vegan chocolate cake.

Beatles tracks regularly featured in Apple product launches and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has recounted how the pair would drive huge distances to meet people who had "pictures or interviews with Bob Dylan".

When the death of George Harrison was announced in November 2001, former director of product marketing for applications at Apple, Mike Evangelist sent Jobs an email suggesting that the company put up a tribute to Harrison on the home page.

Evangelist didn't hear back for hours and thought Jobs wasn't interested but later that evening, back at his desk, Apple product manager Tom McDonald told him the entire web design group was working overtime because of his idea. Late that night, the Apple homepage led with a photo tribute to Harrison.

"It was one of my proudest moments at Apple: to be part of a company that let its heart guide its actions. And the company is built that way because of Steve," said Evangelist.

'Dumbest f---ing idea I have ever heard'

Jobs has often been described as an abrasive, arrogant man who doesn't suffer fools lightly. Part of the reason for this is that he was never afraid to tell people what he really thought.

ESPN president George Bodenheimer, at a Disney board meeting just after the company bought Jobs's other company, Pixar, introduced himself to Jobs. At the time, in 2006, ESPN was launching a mobile phone in partnership with Samsung.

According to the book, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, Jobs just looked at Bodenheimer and said nothing other than "your phone is the dumbest f---ing idea I have ever heard", then turned and walked away. Jobs was right - the phone flopped spectacularly.

After Apple collaborated with Nike on the Nike+ project, Mark Parker, Nike's president and CEO, asked Jobs if he had any advice for him.


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