The movie about Steve Jobs’ Life, Jobs, has opened in the US, and will soon open in the UK. I don’t plan to see this movie, as much as my life revolves around Apple, and Steve Jobs’ legacy.
I think Steve Jobs was a visionary, one who certainly helped make great changes in the world of technology. But as his biography by Walter Isaacson shows, he was a schmuck. I read about half of the biography when it was released, and found it too painful to continue. It was story after story about how Jobs was hostile and demeaning to people he worked with, all in an attempt to achieve a certain level of perfection. Jobs was a man without a heart, who, it seems, tried to fill the hole in his chest with status.
I had long known this about Jobs. I know several people who have worked at Apple, or who worked for other companies and interacted with Jobs, most before Apple “came back” after the release of the first iMac, and later the iPod, which set the company on a blinding trajectory. The general consensus was that the man was not someone you’d like to share a meal with.
I was interested to read Steve Wozniak’s review of Jobs in Gizmodo. Woz didn’t like the movie, but seems a bit restrained; I felt reading his words that he’d like to say more, but that he self-censored. I have a great deal of respect for Woz, and have had several email exchanges with him over the years. He seems to be a much more caring person than Jobs, and it seems that he got out at the right time (even if he could have made a lot more money had he stayed in the company; but I have no idea how much Apple stock he retained).
The Jobs movie is shows the early days, before Jobs become so domineering. He was like that in the beginning, but I’ve heard his attitude increased greatly following Apple’s renewed success, after he came back to the company. Why see a movie that shows a story that we all know: that of Jobs and Woz creating a personal computing revolution? I can’t see what this sort of bio-pic would bring that would make it compelling. Reviews seem to agree: Jobs has garnered a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the first weekend box office figures are below expectations.
I have a feeling that this movie will be quickly forgotten. And there’s another one in the pipes, with Aaron Sorkin adapting the Isaacson biography. As much as I’m an inveterate fan of Sorkin’s work, I don’t know if I’ll see that one either. (I found his movie about Facebook, The Social Network, to be largely forgettable.)
Apple under Steve Jobs did some wonderful things at the expense of treating people very badly. Why see a movie about a man who was such a curmudgeon? I would rather see a movie about Woz, and about what he’s done since he left Apple.