Both of the Steve Jobs biographies I read, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, were written by people who knew Steve Jobs personally. But there are a couple of small points that I think they overlooked.
My own observations from Steve Jobs and Becoming Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs and Adobe – what Steve Jobs biographies missed
After my Computer Programming I class in high school, I became a dedicated PC user. My computer in college was PC. The computers I worked on in graduate school were PCs. My husband, in graduate school as a software engineer, only used PCs. In the battle of Mac vs. PC, we were clearly on the PC side.
My next encounter with an Apple computer was as a chemistry editor with a textbook company. I had to figure out how to move icons around on the screen with the mouse. And I had to eject my floppy disk by putting it in the trashcan. Aack! I never did get used to that.
The entire company had Apple computers, and Tim, my in-house software engineer, knew why. It was because all of the best artistic programs, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, had there best versions available on Apple computers. Adobe held off for years before they developed software for Windows. Jobs never forgave them for shifting to also support Windows, but I think he, and the authors, failed to recognize the loyalty that built for Apple among creative and artistic computer users by the years that they held off. What’s more, these artistic creators would be the very customers willing to pay more for outward design of their computer, a computer that wasn’t just an ugly beige box, which was a big part of Apple’s turn around.
Steve Jobs and NeXT – was NeXT a failure?
Both books also always referred to NeXT as a failure, the company that failed to produce the next, great, computer.
This is true. As a computer company, NeXT was a flop.
But what other company would be considered a flop if it were bought out by someone like Apple?
Plus, prior to the release of the ipod, Apple was completely dependent on it’s new OS X operating system, which had it’s beginning at NeXT. It was why Apple bought the company. It was why Jobs ended up back at Apple.
OS X is based on Unix. Unix is an operating system, a kind of master program, that allows you to run all the other programs on a computer. And Unix, as Becoming Steve so aptly said, is an operating system that “…geeks love to tweak.” In my personal experience, this, more than anything, is what won back the admiration of engineers.
And just recently, with Tim’s new job in software development for chip design, he got a new computer. The computer? A Macbook Pro.