But if two biopics, anecdotes, and a cornucopia of memes tell us anything, it’s that success pardons antisocial behavior.
Depending on who you ask, the vulgar qualities expressed by Steve Jobs were carefully designed trials meant to assess the mettle of his colleagues.
Whether intentional or not the effect produced consistent results, namely fidelity, and respect on behalf of his collaborators and adversaries alike.
On this Bill Gates referred to Jobs as a wizard; more directly commenting on his ability to captivate those who he on occasion mistreated. Ultimately he believed Steve Jobs ‘toughness’ either commandeered respect from others or their counter attacks buffaloed his pride.
“It’s really easy to imitate the bad parts of Steve. He brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness …Steve is a very singular case,” Gates said to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “Where the company really was on a path to die and it goes and becomes the most valuable company in the world with products that are really amazing. There won’t be many stories like that.”
Recently, Doug Menuez, renowned photojournalist, documentarian, commercial, and commissioned photographer, relayed a demonstrating encounter he had with Jobs back in 1989 to Cult of Mac.
Menuez was hired to conduct a photo shoot with the young magnate for NeXT.
After informing Jobs of the planned shots, Jobs looked around the set and said, ‘This is just stupid. We are not doing this.”
“I was absolutely terrified,” Menuez told Luke Dormehl of Cult of Mac, “Despite having been shot at, kidnapped and threatened at knifepoint during my news career, I felt as if I was 10 years old.”
The thing is after, Menuez returned his snark with a bit of its own, the photo session reset.
Menuez took some disparaging stabs at the tech industry, Jobs laughed, Menuez snapped a shot before the Apple Founder could scowl again.
I’m pretty proud of this moment, as I won an argument with the mighty Steve Jobs,” Menuez told Cult of Mac. “If I could do this, anyone could who was willing to fight to the death for their idea. That’s what I learned watching him with his engineers. It really was all about trust with Steve, and he wanted people who were willing to stand up to him. That was his acid test for deciding who to trust in order to make big decisions that would be based on their advice.”
Not too long ago Ladders explored the barbed exchange that took place between a young Jobs and a reported dissatisfied with Apple’s projections and output. This interaction showcases the Jobs’ sour-sweet method in realtime.
When the critic finished speaking, Jobs took twenty seconds to retort.
After beginning and then allowing ANOTHER eight-second pause, Jobs responded with: “One of the hardest things, when you’re trying to effect change, is that–people like this gentleman–are right! …In some areas.”
By employing awkward silences, a speaker can properly meditate on their thoughts to craft a perfect response, while the recipient their preceding rhetoric.
Jobs’ propensity “snap at people or say shocking things … was his instinctive way to see what you were made of when he did not like what he’d heard or seen that you were presenting,” Menuez concluded. “And if you understood this, had done your homework and had matured as a human being, you could probably win an argument with him.”