In my novel When a Tree Falls, I wrote that that after Steve Jobs dies in a tragic polo neck shrinking accident, Apple will be taken over by a religious cult based on making shiny products.
In the book, Steve’s death was spun and made sensible for fanboys by his evil PR team who claimed that he had died to make users happy. I wrote that about five years ago, but the sickness of Jobs is starting to make it a reality.
The Tame Apple Press ® has been overwhelmed with grief as the man they have made into more than human had to take time off because he is seriously ill.
Coverage of Jobs’ illness shows how sycophantic and unintelligent the TaP has been over the last few years. “how do you replace the irreplaceable?” wailed the Sydney Morning Herald. The answer is with the same bloke who was sick last time and made the company a fortune during that period.
But what TaPs failed to spot was that Jobs was getting sick again and they failed to notice that he has only been showing up at work for a couple of days a week for a while. This is important because the Securities Watchdog was very concerned the last time that Jobs got sick that Apple failed to disclose his illness early enough.
There is the assumption amongst TaPs that Jobs is somehow perfect and can never be replaced. After all he turned Apple around and made it one of the world’s biggest companies.
The press assumes that Steve Jobs did it all on his own, when he obviously didn’t. Jobs was the hype man, the messiah of the Apple Cargo cult but he has a team of people behind him producing the stuff. In some cases they might have made a more effective job of things without him.
Jobs is known for his flexibility and ability to change his mind in the same way that Steve Ballmer is legendary for his shyness. So far TaP has not examined the legacy of Steve Jobs from the perspective of “what if?”
Having watched Apple this long, it is possible to see that while Steve got it right in so many things, he also made some real mistakes which probably would not have been made by a CEO who was less ego driven. The obsession with control, which has manifested as Jobs’ Mob’s walled garden, has cost Apple a lot to maintain, particularly in terms of lost opportunities.
Jobs keeps getting Apple into situations where he refuses to allow its innovation to be passed on to the industry. Early in Apple’s history he refused to allow Apple’ to be cloned and the result was the glorious WinTel domination which is still with us.
How many talented developers have refused to work for Apple simply because it is an autocratic nightmare obsessed with secrecy? All part of Jobs’ legacy.
All this sounds like I don’t think Jobs will be back. Last time he got sick, I said that he was crazy to come back. He had made all the money he could possibly spend, he should enjoy life and fight any illness he had. Of course even if he had read what I wrote he would have ignored it. But again I say, “Steve. Apple really is not worth it. Have a good life before the job kills you.”
But his death is exactly where the TaP is taking him. It is slowly moving him into the role of crucified Messiah. It is standing with him in this Garden of Gethsemane of illness and screaming “die in office and let us make you immortal”.
It is fast getting to that point with the TaP press, but moves to make him into a Messiah are unlikely to succeed.
At no point is anyone staring at the reality. Apple is life at the shallow end. Jobs made expensive toys for kids with no sense of technology or perspective. If he did good for humanity, it was to make rich people feel smug and happy. In ten years time none of the gadgets made will work and his name will be forgotten along with the inventor of the hula hoop and other fads.
Jobs you are replaceable. The industry does not need you, your fanboys will find other gadgets to queue for. Hell, Apple might be even better for your absence. Either way no shiny toy is ever worth dying for.