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On Deadline: When Steve Jobs showed he had some social skills

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on Oct 27, 2011

This blog is not primarily about Steve Jobs. He is mentioned in passing.

This story contains 968 words.

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Comments (17)

Like this comment
Posted by HawkeyePierce
a resident of Woodside
on Oct 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

How sad that Jobs treating someone well is news.


Like this comment
Posted by Garen
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Leo Duroscher said, "Nice guys finsih last" . Steve Jobs was not a nice guy, but he finished first. Just leave it at that. There is no need to make him a teddy bear. He was what he was...and he could probably care less about being loved by the sensitive crowds.


Like this comment
Posted by HawkeyePierce
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Finished is right - since he is now deceased.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I was always taught if you can't say something nice about someone, then don't say anything at all.

This is a nice story, thanks.


Like this comment
Posted by HawkeyePierce
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Well, Resident, you wouldn't have lasted under Steve, that's for sure.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm



Bill Gates spent $ 1.75 Billion of his own money and took a hands on leadership to develop a vaccine for malaria.

He has succeeded in developing a vaccine for malaria that works and will save millions of child and adult lives and increase productivity in Africa, Asia and S America.

Jobs bought a photograph--very nice

Jobs ran a cult that produced very expensive pretty toys that have built in obsolescence -- 18 to 24 months max.

These expensive pretty Apple toys were built by sweat shop cruel labor in China.

Jobs made a lot of money for himself--well done

He was a legend in his own mind


Like this comment
Posted by HawkeyePierce
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Sharon would be wise to research her tech giant favorites to see where they do their manufacturing and what the conditions are for the workers. Jobs wasn't the only one who had products made in China.

This editorial is merely a fluff piece. It's a lot more fun to read about Steve's snarky, nasty behavior, but there were plenty of times that he was nice to people. It's just sad that it makes the news when the niceness was banal, not important.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm


When Nikes horrendous China manufacturing conditions were made public they imposed new standards.

When Jobs was told about the suicides and crippling conditions in his Apple China factories--

He said " Love cannot buy you money"

His moto and epitaph


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 28, 2011 at 1:13 am

Why is it that so very often successful people are real SOBs?
Maybe because they are so focused on one thing they have no
time to really understand the world, and yet they have the money
and the power to transform it - and mostly in ways that make no
sense and just cause problems.

Steve Jobs was brilliant, lucky, aggressive. I am pretty happy that
I never worked with or for him the more I read about him. There
is so much science now that says stress and belittling people can
really affect their health and happiness, and 60 Minutes interview
about Jobs shows that he was not much different in terms of style
than any one of thousands of terrible bosses - but he got very rich
and famous, and lots of people who worked with him did as well,
so there is some magic about that that allows us in public mode to
just forget or forgive.

Beauty is not truth. Beautiful engineering is just that, something
wonderful to behold and use ... it is inspiring and fun, and Steve
Jobs added his share of that to the world - he showed us how it
is done - with style. So did Werner Von Braun. So did Alfred
Nobel.

Giving these people more power than they deserve is a clear
logical error in human society. The one major decision that Jobs
made that I am very sad about, for his sake, was not to get
operated on in time years ago. I am sorry for him and for his family
that he made that decision, but it is a very telling incident about
such people that we idolize and idealize, they are just images
in our own minds, our own fantasies, and can be very very
wrong. We see it so often, over and over, and yet we human
beings just keep making the same mistakes. In their delusion,
the same delusions we all have, they can take themselves and
many other down if we are all not careful.

The more we could remove this ability of people to abuse,
bully, be rude to, the better all of us would be - all of us.
Being a genius, being rich, being the head of corporation,
being older, being better looking, does not entitle anyone
to dehumanize another person, and yes we all do it, assuming
we can, at some point.

If we could stop or lower that characteristic in people I think
we would find that we could produce a lot of Steve Jobs'es,
maybe even enough to push technology forward sufficiently
to solve our problems and sustain the human race in the
face of our many mistakes.


Like this comment
Posted by J Austin
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I imagine life among the titans of Silicon Valley is something liek this:

MS WHITMAN The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made, and a happy merger to you both.

MS FIORINA Oh, thank you Meg. Your campaigning grows more accomplished every day.

MS WHITMAN You are very kind, but it would be all the better if I had practiced my curtsies more, as you urged me.

MR ELLISON I should never take sides against you, Ms Whitman, but your friend is right. It is indeed a job well done.

MS WHITMAN The job well done, Mr Ellison was yours in performing the ceremony.

MR HURD Must the church be so drafty, Mr Ellison? It is very difficult to surrender the soul when one is worried about one's throat.

MR ELLISON Perhaps some tea and cake would revive you, Mr Hurd.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thank you, Anon., Crescent Park - wonderful, thoughtful post.

Mr./Ms. Austin - thanks for the evil chuckle :-)

The new bio of Jobs has nearly 200 holds on 40 copies at Palo Alto library. I guess people have read about it not being a very good read, so they don't want to pay $17 for the paper or electronic version, even in an area where people have $$ to burn.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Sharon: Can you provide an AUTHORITATIVE source for that Steve Jobs quote? Googling only shows it appearing in other blog comments.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Posted by pat, a resident of the Midtown


If you mean Steve Jobs many times statement that his believe that


Love Cannot Buy You Money


He said it many times--Kottke his old friend from Reed recorded it as did many others from Apple--

It is in the book-and in many of his talks going back many years which are on video

He was very proud of it--he thought it was both true and funny--he even told it to Bono-

That is what he believed and it worked for him.


Like this comment
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Well ..., by the summer of '97, Steve had not only regained leadership at Apple after 12 years in exile, but had also launched the "Think Different" campaign.

Interesting, personal story, Jay. Do you know if PAHA taped the June 2009 presentation? If so, I hope the Media Center airs it.

Your article reminds me of something I have been thinking about since 10/5/11. It should be fairly obvious, but as yet has not made it into public discourse: Palo Alto should find a way to commemorate the man, who was arguably its most famous and influential resident.

Cupertino will have the space ship; Los Altos, the house and garage; and Stanford, probably an academic building dedicated to business leadership, personal empowerment through technology, industrial design, or any other of a myriad of Jobsian signatures.

But what about Palo Alto, that small town that prides itself on being special, yet a place where its most special person lived during the most successful years of his life, unobtrusively weaving around town almost like any other busy resident.

Let the conversation begin.

I'll open with an idea that I think is realistic from a current city-budget perspective.

To help capture the man among us who enjoyed the ambiance, pace, but also opportunity for privacy-in-public within our community, how about a series of Greg Brown murals of Steve blending into the streetscape just as he did.

Your turn.


Like this comment
Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
editor emeritus
on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

Interesting idea, Fred. I wonder if Apple would like to provide a grant for Greg. -jay


Like this comment
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Well, they've got all the money in the world, but I'd rather see us a community develop and finance a concept that we come to together on, that is OK with the Jobs family, and that is paid for by a mix of city and private contributions.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon LA
a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Thanks also Anon for taking the time to write your post.


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