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Home » Technology

Steve Jobs: The Dark Legacy Beyond the Cool Devices

Last updated by on 44 Comments

After seeing article after article on Steve Jobs’s passing and the ensuing sadness around this event with the proclamations of Mr. Jobs being a visionary, hero, revolutionary, great leader, etc. – or as Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, says, “It felt a lot like you just heard that, you know, John Lennon got shot, or JFK, or Martin Luther King” – I started to feel a little weird. Something didn’t smell right. Some substance was missing…

I knew that Mr. Jobs was a charismatic speaker, a tech god, and a unique CEO, but I felt like maybe we weren’t getting the full picture. So I did a little digging. And the more I found, I started to worry that maybe he was getting too much praise, without a balanced look at some of the darker paths that Mr. Jobs chose to go down.

For all of Mr. Job’s business successes, it’s been well documented that Mr. Jobs, a self-proclaimed Buddhist:

1. Did Not Practice Philanthropy with his Billions or Support it at Apple

Despite being worth $8.3 billion, has had zero public charitable donations. This may still happen with his passing and there is always the possibility that he gave anonymously. Jobs went as far as closing his charitable foundation 15 months after opening it in 1986 and never re-opened it.

And when he returned to Apple to lead the company in 1997, he “canceled Apple’s philanthropic programs and they have remained dormant ever since.”

2. Belittled and Verbally Abused Co-Workers

He was feared by those who worked for him. Stanford professor and author, Robert Sutton, once said, “As soon as people heard I was writing a book on assholes, they would come up to me and start telling a Steve Jobs story,” says Sutton. “The degree to which people in Silicon Valley are afraid of Jobs is unbelievable. He made people feel terrible; he made people cry.”

He also “parked his Mercedes in handicapped spaces, periodically reduces subordinates to tears, and fires employees in angry tantrums.”

He also reportedly criticized his underlings ideas and then praised them as his own.

By all accounts, Mr. Jobs was not a very nice human being.

steve jobs death

3. Profited with Complete Disregard for the Environment

All those great Apple products that everyone loved to buy all eventually ended up in a landfill after they became obsolete in a year or two. According to Apple, they also produced 14.8 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

Dell and HP reported buying much more clean energy than Apple; Dell 58 times more, and Hewlett-Packard five time more, according to the latest disclosures the companies made to the EPA database.

A Chinese environmental group (yes, they do have them, surprisingly) ranked Apple dead last out of 29 multinational corporations based on how each company dealt with inquiries about pollution and occupational health hazard incidents at factories in their supply chain.

4. Cared More About Profit than Humanity

Jobs outsourced manufacturing jobs to China and provided workers with unsatisfactory working conditions. Apple admitted that a number of its workers in China were poisoned and work regularly in unsafe conditions. After that admission, an explosion in one of its factories killed two and injured 16. This, on top of an admission that one of its outsourced factories employed 42 underage workers.

5. Lied Under Oath to Prevent Child Payments

Jobs, an adopted child himself, had an illegitimate child and for two years, though already wealthy, he denied paternity while the mother went on welfare. At one point, Jobs even swore in a signed court document that he couldn’t be Lisa’s father because he was “sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.” A blood test later proved he was the father and he did begin making payments. Job’s fertility miraculously returned as he fathered 3 more children.

…I won’t go into the stock option backdating scandal, sexist remarks to female co-workers, or countless other claims.

Why Bring this Up?

Mr. Jobs had friends, a family, and colleagues that I’m sure cared very much about him. I send my condolences to them as I would to anyone who lost a loved one. I do not revel in his death or in others mourning of him. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings in lieu of another human’s passing.

Mr. Jobs is lauded for making a ton of money, having a rare combination of technological genius and marketing savvy, and being very charismatic. Those traits are not disputed by me. However, I do believe that a man’s legacy should be based on more than money, ego, and creating cool electronic “stuff”. Life is more than business. And the facts do speak for themselves.

Full disclosure: I use a MacBook Pro at work, and love it. I’m not anti-Apple or anti Mr. Jobs. Just a guy questioning how our society is choosing its idols.

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I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


44 Comments »
  • Mark Kenyon says:

    Very interesting take!

  • Trevor says:

    Sounds like Henry Ford. He wasn’t a nice guy either but he was an innovative businessman.

  • Cécile says:

    I guess that if you own a mc book pro, you are not a very philanthropic person either. This might be news to you, but in this consumerist world, you vote every day with your credit card.
    You buy an Apple product, you support the Apple system, the overseas job, the unsafe work environment and even the tyrannic boss.

    That being said, nice article.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      To clarify: it’s a work computer. I didn’t buy it. So, I guess I don’t own it, but I do use it everyday out of necessity and like it better than PC’s I’ve used previously.

    • Aaron says:

      “You buy an Apple product, you support the Apple system, the overseas job, the unsafe work environment and even the tyrannic boss.”

      I’m pretty sure that is a stretch. It’s a spectrum based on product necessity. At one end there is oil – I’m no supporter of Exxon-Mobil, even though I buy their products. At the other end would be something like fur – I have no fur products. A computer is somewhere in the middle. Buying an iPad and supporting their practices (all while calling out their practices to a global audience) are not the same thing.

  • Jeff Walden says:

    I do think that people should give of their blessings to help others. (But: emphasis on should, not shall be made to. Forced gifts are no gifts at all.)

    But if you’re looking to beat the drum for philanthropy in general, Steve Jobs is a poor choice to demonstrate what could be done. Do you think his wealth, spent entirely on charity, could possibly improve the world as much as all the blood, sweat, and tears Steve Jobs invested in Apple and Pixar (and let’s not forget NeXT, a formative component of Apple today) improved the world? I read an estimate that put the economic wealth, production, jobs, and so on that he spawned at $200+ billion. His entire wealth — $8 billion or so, and even “idle” being put to productive use through the magic of lending in the financial and investment systems — doesn’t really hold a candle to that. Or what if he’d given it all away a dozen years ago, and never done any of the things he’s done in those dozen years? The world would be overall worse off.

    This analysis is arguably only specific to highly productive people like Steve Jobs. But given your argument is limited to him alone, its potential lack of applicability to others isn’t relevant to my point.

    (On a further note: some people believe, beyond mere “should”, that charity and donations are a moral obligation, even a religious commandment. If Steve Jobs had been such a person, would a decision to donate have meant the world would be worse off for following a moral compass tuned that way? That’s a much more interesting philosophical question, I think, than the question of the morality of not donating.)

    • Allison says:

      Why does it have to be either/or? I’m sure there’s room in 8.3 billion dollars for innovation and philanthropy. Concentrating on his business doesn’t excuse him from being miserly with his fortune. I absolutely agree that he shouldn’t be forced to give, but it says something about him that he didn’t.

      • Jeff Walden says:

        That’s a fair point. I was mostly trying to say that complaining about lack of philanthropy rather misses much of the point of philanthropy: making the world a better place. If Jobs could better use his talents and resources making the world a better place in another way, we should applaud that. Complaining about lack of a marginal betterment to the world through philanthropy, while ignoring the great bulk of Jobs’s contributions to bettering the world through his work, demonstrates a certain amount of tunnel vision. We should primarily be grateful for what Jobs did for the world, not embittered because we think he didn’t do enough.

        And of course, as the original post notes, we don’t know how much philanthropy Jobs did or did not perform — only how much he made public, or allowed to make public. I am unwilling to smear him without knowing the actual facts. The world would be a better place if we were more willing to assume the best of others when there exist no reasons to think otherwise.

  • Jeff Walden says:

    One more thing (sorry — or recognize it as a nod of respect): “By all accounts, Mr. Jobs was not a very nice human being.” You certainly have not been reading the outpouring of stories about him published in the last couple days. Those stories often acknowledge that he could be not a very nice human being. But they also often highlight their memories of him that exemplify the times when he was a very nice human being. “By all accounts” is a flatly false modifier.

    I could go on and address your faintly jingoist outsourcing complaints or your disdain for the jobs he enabled in China (on the conditions in the latter, I suggest reading Nick Kristof on sweatshops), but I’ve said enough already here. And I don’t want to be seen as contesting the overall point that Jobs was a sinner as well as a saint. He did a lot of good. At the same time, he had many flaws.

  • Mark Ferrall says:

    Wow, i didn’t realize that you knew mr. jobs. Clearly you knew quite well, having such a impressive understanding of his dark side. Out of inspiration, I’m going to write a bunch of negative posts about celebrities i don’t know on my blog about urban planning (perfect forum for it).

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Mark, every statement I made here was backed by reported facts – I don’t claim to have known him personally. This isn’t baseless bashing. How is it related to personal finance? This is more than a blog about money, it’s a blog about lifestyle. Mr. Jobs was perhaps the poster boy for the 20something consumerist culture and all of the praise for creating cool gadgets ignores a number of realities that are more important to me – philanthropy, environmental stewardship, being kind to others, and caring about more than profit.

      • Mark Ferrall says:

        While you raise some points, you simply can’t discuss this with any authority without knowing a person. I don’t own any apple products, so I don’t come at this from a steve jobs built my ipad perspective. Frankly, I just find it disrespectful. The new york times article on his charitible donations was underinformed. I’d venture a guess that the rest of your sources were as well. It seems like you are just affirming your bias against someone you consider an enabler of consumerism. I respect that this is your blog, but as a reader of your blog I submit that it is in bad taste and provides weak alternative perspectives.

        • Money says:

          Haha, it takes a brave man to post negatively about Apple or Steve jobs; I expected more hate in the comments. But maybe you deleted them. Personally, I always enjoy reading the darker side to every story. Thanks for bringing that article up.

  • Ken C. says:

    I hope you’re very proud of yourself for proving a fact that everyone already knows: nobody is perfect. Yes you may argue that all of your statements are fact based, but the truth is Steve Jobs has done far more good than bad. Far more. And the fact that you point out the small amount of bad so soon in wake of his untimely death tells me that you are either a sick human being or that you simply didn’t like the guy and his products, or both.

    Tell me the last time you remember this much outpouring of grief and affection at the passing of a corporate chief executive and I’ll show you someone who improved the world beyond what philanthropy and sustainability could ever do.

    Sent from my iPhone.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      I don’t understand the nobody is perfect argument. Why is Mr. Jobs beyond reproach? Bernie Madoff wasn’t perfect. All he did was take money from rich people, yet he is not beyond reproach. What is the far more good that outweighed the bad that you speak of that would make Mr. Jobs immune to criticism?

      • JC says:

        I have got to respond to this. I completely agree with Mr. Miller.
        “I do believe that a man’s legacy should be based on more than money, ego, and creating cool electronic “stuff”. Life is more than business.”

        Something didn’t set right with me when I saw people give Steve Jobs all the laud and honor for his “contribution” to the world that most people in the world can’t even afford and are the furthest things from their minds. Since when did electronics become such a gift? It amazes me that folks like that get more praise then someone like Mother Teresa who gave her life to live with and comfort the dying poor. She did more for HUMANITY in one day than Jobs did in his life time.

  • Bea says:

    I am actually lucky enough to know Mr. Jobs’ siblings-in-law and their children, all of whom are wonderful people. After seeing one of the older children yesterday and asking him why he isn’t in CA, his reply was bascially: My uncle was a jerk. He made no effort to make us feel like family after my parents helped take care of him for years. He’ll have enough people at his funeral, but most of those people will only be there because they don’t know him.

    Very few businessmen rise to becoming household names by being generally nice guys. Mr. Jobs was largely an a-hole, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he literally changed the world. He was a brilliant visionary and his technological accomplishments may make him the greatest innovator since Ben Franklin. Personally, I am not an Apple person, but all those tech products I love (Having a mouse on my computer, MP3 player, Smart Phone, Tablet, ect) were poineered and made popular largely by him. While he may not have been a great human, he truly was a great man.

    • BG says:

      “Personally, I am not an Apple person, but all those tech products I love (Having a mouse on my computer, MP3 player, Smart Phone, Tablet, ect) were poineered and made popular largely by him.”

      He may have made them popular, but none of the things you listed were ‘pioneered’ by Apple/Steve Jobs. The mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart and Bill English back in the early 60s. Portable MP3 players were first created by Nathan Schulhof (ceo of Audio Highway) in 1996 (Apples first portable mp3 product wasn’t until five years later). The first smartphone was the IBM Simon in 1992 (was a touchscreen and could send email, etc). And Apple didn’t get into tablets until way after everyone else.

      Having said that, Jobs/Apple can absolutely be credited with creating a cult-like following and bringing devices to the masses (popularizing the devices and making it cool to have devices that were normally owned by geeks).

  • James says:

    I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, certainly on their own blog. I did admire his creativity and am a long time consumer. I’m certainly impressed with the hundreds of personal stories that I’ve heard about his drive for perfection, and even though current and former employees have discussed how brutal he could be when inspecting their work, many of them went on to say how much better they were for it. That said, apple is no model company, but I certainly can’t say that because he was hard ass to work with that he wasn’t a nice person. It’s just impossible for us to know that because we didn’t know him personally and so soon after his death, it’s hard to stomach such harsh and absolute criticism.

  • R S says:

    I agree, his innovation drove our consumerist culture and that may not be in sync with what the author finds important.

    However, if you look at his Stanford commencement speech, I see him as someone who lived his life and stayed true to who he was. He gave himself thoroughly to each of his ventures. The fact that he worked till a month and a half before he passed is impressive. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to keep up with such a large, fast paced company, given that his health conditions were bad enough that he passed only a month and a half after he stepped down!

    There may not have been a philanthropic entity that fully aligned with his beliefs. Given the way he fully invested himself in his projects, it would not follow his character to invest in something he did not believe in. I know this is what keeps me from donating to most charities. It’s taken me 3 yrs to find a charitable cause that I fully believe in. At the end of day, I don’t think I’m better for it. The hours I spent researching charities could’ve been better spent had I donated my time. Steve Jobs chose to do something else with his time – and certainly he has a lot more to show for it than I do.

    He had the ability to work without being influenced by the opinions of the masses.

    I welcome the author’s different point of view. But despite the circumstances you mention, I think Jobs deserves the commemoration he’s been receiving. Those aspects of Jobs lifestyle may be less glamorous, but as an engineer, he pushed design and manufacturing limits. As awful as he may have been to his engineers, they would never have had the resources to carry out his vision without a leader like him. Pressure on the business side would have choked off R&D before a product like the iPhone could be realized. While he may have been volatile – I don’t see it unreasonable given his position & responsibility level, there’s no way he didn’t have his engineers backs – I see this in my job every day. There are manufacturers who only know how to aggressively fabricate boards & parts with decent reliability because they contracted for Apple at some point in time.

    I don’t believe it’s possible to be good at everything. In life, you have to pick and choose your battles.

    If you haven’t already, check out Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement speech.

  • R S says:

    Mostly speculative, but here’s something on the state of his financial affairs:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/steve-jobs-death-billions-remain-private-topic/story?id=14682218

    I found this interesting “His wife is a board member of Teach for America, The Global Fund for Women, among a handful of other non-profits.” Being un-attached, one of the biggest positives I’ve heard about relationships is the ability for one partner to pick up where the other lacks.
    Perhaps this was Steve’s approach to charity ;)

  • Eric says:

    Even though your assessment is likely correct, maybe you should spend your time doing something more beneficial to society than pissing on someone’s grave that you did not know. There are a whole lot of people in the world that I do not respect, but life is too short to waste time researching and then blogging about everything flaw that others may have.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Do you believe that public figures and leaders should be held accountable for their actions? Does it matter if it’s in life or death?

      Obviously, nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. We aren’t talking about little flaws here or a snap judgment goof-up. We are talking about decisions that led to people dying under your watch due to unsafe work conditions that you knew about, environmental atrocities while passing yourself off as green, repeated employee verbal abuse, and zero philanthropic action despite billions in wealth. These aren’t snap judgments, these are years of intentional decision making at work.

      Amongst the endless praise, I felt a responsibility to piece together another viewpoint. It really comes down to how society values leadership qualities – and I think we’re a bit off-base at the moment. I suppose I could have wrote the obligatory “Steve Jobs was a genius and visionary” post (he was), but I would be dishonest to myself and to my readers. Those are not traits I place in high esteem. His great qualities can be celebrated – everyone has that right, but at the same time his atrocities should not be ignored. Others will follow in his footsteps.

      • R S says:

        “zero philanthropic action despite billions in wealth” is a snap judgement. He chose to lead his private life, which included his finances, privately.
        No one can definitively say whether or not he contributed.

        People die for everything us consumers take for granted. Coal mines have never had a good track record, our clothes likely come from factories with less than stellar human rights. Unless you are willing to forgo everything that a non-third world country has to offer, you are probably taking advantage of the environment, and people who don’t live and work here.

        Every consumerist contributes to these same problems on a scale that they are capable of changing. But they don’t. How many electronics do you own? How many do you support through services like cable TV, internet, cell or traditional phones etc?

        Sure, Jobs could have tried to make a difference in changing the already broken manufacturing process. You could’ve pushed your employer to not purchase a product you felt so strongly about. By using such a product, you are no better than he was. Your support (or lack of initiative to push your employer to choose another product) drives up the demand on these manufacturing sites, which only makes these problems worse.
        That is completely within your ability to control and an intentional decision to accept such a device into your life.

        Like I said earlier, he would not have been successful, if it weren’t for our consumerist nature. Personally, I don’t believe that anyone should have to live up to standards that I cannot myself follow.

        • G.E. Miller says:

          Turning a blind eye to things that he could have directly impacted in a positive way b/c he was successful from consumerism just doesn’t cut it for me, sorry. You’re painting him to be a victim of the success of the products he made, invented, and sold. That’s like saying murder is excusable b/c we live in a society full of weapons that kill people.

          When mine or factory workers die, as in the example you give, does that mean we should move forward without trying to fix things, find out why they died, and prevent future deaths? There are companies that do act responsibly and humanely – why paint every company with a broad brush like that just b/c your beloved Mr. Jobs and Apple did not act responsibly?

          Please read “Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The Interface Model” if you’d like to see an example of a CEO that helped make positive change and realized he was directly responsible for doing so.

          As far as using an Apple product, I just wrote the this post yesterday after finding out more about Mr. Jobs background. If I can influence my employer in that area I will. I guess I could throw my employer’s laptop out the window, but that wouldn’t be a stroke of genius on my part.

          • David says:

            I have to agree with you Miller. Thank you for this article. He was a great business person and maybe a terrible person. We are complex human beings and we all make great accomplishments but we also make mistakes. I personally do not like Apple products and much prefer PCs, but I acknowledge that he was a great business person.

  • Myke Rosenthal-English says:

    Thanks for taking the time to show us the other side of the secular Media “St Steve”.Maybe the media would like to tell everyone about this side of the man as well?But I doubt it.He has gone to join “St Diana Princess of Wales”!May he rest in peace.

  • David says:

    I found the post interested, though highly opinionated.

    It is fascinating how close we can feel to public figures that we do not know personally. The wide variety of reactions, from reverent grief to revelations of the “dark side” like in this post, are proof of the international influence this man had.

    I was surprised by how much the news of his death affected me. I have no personal opinion of him other than he was a hugely successful businessman. But, despite his financial success and worldwide fame, he couldn’t cheat a young death.

    I am 23 and, like many people who read this blog, am deeply concerned about my financial future. But no amount of wealth can prevent a terrible illness like his or any other uncontrollable event that takes a life unexpectedly.

    His death has made me reflect on the importance of working hard to accomplish as much as possible while I still can. Tomorrow might be too late.

  • Michelle says:

    “Amongst the endless praise, I felt a responsibility to piece together another viewpoint.”

    And thank you for doing so. I think it is important to do this, among other reasons, because it provides a more balanced view. For those of us alive to read the obituaries, it is good to be reminded that one can behave like an @sshole (here I’m referring to denying paternity) and still have a positive impact.

    There is a tradition of making charitable contributions anonymously, in order for them to be truly charitable, and not done for recognition. My reflex is to presume he took this approach. I understand that from the standpoint of setting an example of generosity, this presents some limitations.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    G.E. Thanks for the article. I admire what he did for Apple and their marvelous products. I only own the iPod Touch 4th gen, and I love apps. Even though he was an innovator and a great businessman, it’s nice to know that even he had his flaws. Everyone seems to make him sound like he is a god.

  • Sara says:

    Thanks for the article.

    I think it’s important articles like this are being written. People have been writing about Jobs like he was a saint. One professor even suggested that he was enlightened! Even though he did good for the world, we can’t ignore these gigantic ethical issues brought into play by his business practices.

    I don’t know if the article needed to get into his personal life. Things like that are difficult to substantiate, although you claim to have your sources. I think the sweatshop labor, environmental neglect, and profiteering on items made by underpaid and overworked people is enough to problematize the media portrayal of Jobs.

    And yes it is true that other electronics are made in sweatshops, and other industries have major issues as well, but I certainly WONT be worshiping the CEOs of those companies when they die either.

    While Steve Jobs did arguably change the world, I wonder if we can honestly say it was for the better. Is it is really a good thing that everyone is constantly hooked up to the internet and playing Angry Birds all the fraking time? Things to meditate on.

  • Jay Rosenberg, CEO says:

    There is an important point raised, generically derived from your take: Human dark sides. Clearly we descend from Jane Goudals Chimps, psychologically as well as morphologically. Star-wars, the Bible has entranced us because of this quantum duality. The ensuing questions add value to us as a free society: What mix of personality traits are needed, in what leadership position, to do what? Can we honor accomplishment, regardless of method? Does leadership require dark sides, intrigue, to counter the dark sides, intrigue that is there, to succeed. There were no superpower nuclear wars after WWII because of a policy called MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction. What are we going to teach our children about success, and reaching noble, overarching, worldly transformative positive goals? Is it lucre or legend? Can there be legend with out lucre? (how many Ghandi’s lived). Even our metaphors of gold, and all its chaste purity, neatly overlooks its horrendous darkside: The social and environmental damage that its mining exacts, even today. I am too imperfect to pass judgment on any one. sannerwind@gmail.com

    • Terri Lynn Sullivan says:

      Jay Rosenberg, you are an excellent writer. Your metaphors are very keen sighted. As a writer myself, I think I just may adopt some of your amazing analogies….especially appreciate the “dark side” perspective with respect to Star Wars and the Bible….the Holy Bible, of which obviously is not the word of the Lord. It’s the word of sinful humans. (other than the 10 commandments and such) Could not help but reflect on that fact, as I sat in church this past Sunday listening to the Gospel reading. Guess that’s where good parents step in, to teach our kids the “dark side” which really can reflect both a Jedi and Darth Vader, the ladder more than former, and the “dark side” of the words in the Bible. Anyone who believes war can be justified in on the “dark side” or just plain in the dark about American Imperialism and what five founding fathers and two generals-turned presidents warned us against. Can you spell profit?

  • Salman Khan says:

    G.E.,

    I enjoyed reading this article. Some of the posts here clearly demonstrate that Mr. Jobs (or Apple) had a cult-like following (don’t know if that will continue now that Jobs passed away).

    I have never purchased an Apple product but I did receive a 3rd generation iPod Touch as a gift and must say that Apple’s interface is one of a kind and I respect Mr. Jobs vision and accomplishments.

    There is nothing wrong with an objective article. I was not aware of the facts mentioned here and applaud your efforts here.

  • Ryan DeLeon says:

    I love Apple products, and I was not aware of the type of person he was. It doesn’t change my mind about Apple obviously but it is very interesting. It’s always nice to see someone speak the whole truth, instead of acting like anyone who dies is a saint.

  • Kaloyan says:

    Wow, thanks for the great article. This goes to show how much society worships fame and fortune and all things consumer culture. While people are protesting wall street, they are sobbing at the death of Steve Jobs. I find that hard to reconcile.

    Yes, he made products that got money out people. So did wall street. They made products which made profit for their companies. Do oil engineers get credit for finding amazing ways to get oil from where it was impossible to get before? No. They are vilified because it’s “an oil company.”

    But they all profit greatly, they all hide their money from taxes, they all put their corporations ahead of society’s need. Ultimately, they are all the same to me. Yes, phones are cool. But the whole industry seems to get a pass on almost everything because we want their stuff so much.

    But while people protest wall street and oil company profits, it’s the financial system in place that allowed Steve Jobs to make his products and achieve such fame and wealth. And it’s the oil that people curse (and pretend to swear off of) that fuels the factories, the ships and trucks that deliver them etc. Get real people.

    • Terri Lynn Sullivan says:

      Kaloyan, very good points! Your response is as well written as this article…The only thing I might point out (which I do think you also believe in) is that we don’t NEED oil to fuel factories, schools, etc. Big oil has caused more cancer of kids/all people in the higest socioeconomic areas to lowest(case in point Beverly Hills High School with the oil derricks running along athletic field) It’s part and parcel of the political and financial corruption of our society to use the marketing spin that we can’t “meet energy demand” with alterntive sources. Bullshit! We don’t NEED the level of “demand” percieved by profit hungry loosers that are not as “successful” as those of us that left the high paying high tech world to go into non-profits trying to SAVE LIVES by reducing greenhouse gases, creating awareness around the FACT that war does not ‘”Serve our nation”, ignorant people believing we are “fighting terrorism”, spending so much Money on extolling “virtue” of killing the proverbial “bad guys”, so that war mongering corporations like Halliburton can make record profits, while we cut budgets across our schools, healthcare, environmental services to reduce cancer causing pollution. Who is the alarmiist, the one beleiving terrorist are flying all over the place, to point we should spend TRILLIONS on “defense” at the expense of our freedoms, liberty and justice for all, or those realizing 80-90% of cancer and lung disease is caused by environmental hazards (including computer gadgets in landfills) Our MIC is turning the USA into a 3rd world nation. It is all more connected to this extolling of “virtue” of bringing so many electronic gadgets people don’t only not really NEED, they are hurting people more than we know (cell phones cause cancer if not used/disposed of correctly) These so called “smartphones” turn out to be really stupid phones. I am a technology evangelist, had a cell phone in 83….and proud to say I have a true “stupid phone” that does not burp and fart for me. It’s great to go on a hike, skiing, biking without perpetually being “connected” to the world. Freedom!

  • Belinda says:

    Nice piece. Well-written, provocative and informative. Thanks.

  • Terri Lynn Sullivan says:

    This is really a well written piece, and very thought provoking. I met Steve Jobs a couple times myself during my corporate computer internetworking years, at trade shows and during a social gathering after Networld-Interop in Las Vegas This was in the late 90’s, I think he may have just returned to then very struggling Apple (so perhaps he was humbled) But there was a certain air about him I could not place, which did not leave a positive vibe for me and several others there. But he did say one thing that resonates with me now with seeing all these articles extolling his “techno genious” and “marketing saavy” and overdoing the “hero of digital communications” thing a tad too much. He said something like “I was lucky from the start as the VC funding or technology craziness was flowing”. It was b4 the dotcom crash. There are many kids graduating from college today that are at least as good an “inventor” and smarter than him. In fact, I see 2nd graders with amazing inventions today at Science Fairs. Kids today are smart, REALLY smart. (he did not even graduate from college) and these kids are not getting jobs, due to NO fault of their own. It’s due to our society pushing profits/greed in wrong direction (dirty energy/war/weapons/”defense”)And too many really unecessary electronic gadgets, YES!cutting budgets in wrong places during “recession” (self made recession just as depression was) we should not be cutting in education, healthcare. It’s a completely corrupt political and financial model. This occupy Wall Street is filled with nurses, parents, smart college kids,even MBA’s, PH.d’s, middle+ class tired of budget cuts in wrong direction (we should close military bases not schools!). What’s this got to do with Steve Jobs’s? More than we think when we go overboard extolling virtue of merely making so much money while not giving back to humanity. Smells like our overgrown MIC (aginst Founding Fathers warnings)

  • Leah says:

    I appreciate that you took a stab at a controversial topic and shed some new light onto a largely one-sided opinion. But this guy recently DIED. Millions of people may not like him. Millions of people may be indifferent. But there are at least a few people who care about his passing who I’m sure don’t appreciate your character smearing.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Yes, I’m sure there are some people who felt some sort of connection to the man through the products or affection for his charisma. I knew I’d take some heat from them, but that is not why I wrote this. Character smearing is a little bit different than presenting the documented facts. As far as the timing goes, my commentary was around how we value a human being’s body of work, and it was only timely to write it right after his passing.

  • john says:

    I always thought Steve Jobs was an ass. I could see it in his eyes. I notice that with many of the Rich multinational owners of large companies. Employees are treated bad, and most work is outsourced to other countries. Steve was worth 8 billion, pretty close to a Walton Family member (Wal Mart), whom are in the same class. Steve was probably upset because he wasn’t as rich as one of them. Poor boy!

  • Charlene says:

    I really dont care what he did I just love Apple

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