The Book of Jobs: a non-hagiographic biography of Apple's biggest man
We don’t usually base our stories on opinions in other publications, but this one is an exception. Maureen Tkacik, formerly of the WSJ and Jezebel, has penned a deep look at Steve Jobs without venerating him and it’s the best tech writing we’ve seen in a while.
Tkacik focuses on working conditions in Apple factories, but avoids the cliches of solely looking at wages and long-hour shifts, and finds the reason for the suicide elsewhere - in the lack of communication, dehumanification of workers, overseers, guards, everyone in the system, praising of a gadget way above thousands of humans each day at factories.
Steve Jobs’ was not to blame for underpaid workers and the long hour shifts - and the recent Nightline report on Foxconn confirmed that actually conditions there are above the average in China - but it was this inhumane obsession with gadgets that devalues the human that Tkacik sees as most debilitating.
“So he jumped out of his 12th-story window to protest the perverse pathology that values inanimate objects over the humans that make them. Nowhere in his final text messages or chat transcripts did he mention long hours or low wages,” Tkacik ponders on the suicide of Sun Dunyang who started the suicide wave.
Eventually, this got media attention and Foxconn wages jumped by 30% for millions, but the corporation still missed the point.
The writing touches also on Jobs personal life - his love life also, painting a different picture of a self-centric man, often ignorant to downright arogant in relationships. It mentions the crazy influence of drugs, LSD in particular, on Jobs. That could have been one of the things that created Steve’s “distortion field.”
The article draws a cruel bottomline: “There once lived one of those really obstinate assholes who will constantly tell you he couldn’t change his assholic ways if it killed him. It killed him.”
It’s definitely one of the most fascinating tech reads we’ve seen, so hit the source link below without hesitation even if you happen not to agree with some of the points. Of course, we’re looking forward to your reaction to this take on Jobs - what are your thoughts, do you agree with it?
Image courtesy of John Andrew.