“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs recounted in a Stanford address in 2005. “Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I was reading this article about Steve Jobs this morning, and thought I’d pass it along. It’s very nice and all, but it glosses over the the fact that Steve Jobs – like his nemesis Bill Gates –  has an “evil” side to his personality.

Justin Long and John Hodgman

This is not an indictment in any way of either Jobs or Gates. I don’t believe you can reach the level of achievement that these guys have reached if you are always “a nice guy”. While I don’t believe that nice guys always finish last, I certainly do believe that nice guys hardly ever finish first.

Truth be told, I’m a fan of both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. 10 years ago when Gates was the richest man on Earth and Microsoft was the undisputed champ of everything related to personal computing and everybody was calling him “Satan”, I defended him. My argument was simply this; the “American Dream”, as I understand it, is to start a company and build it as big as possible with the goal of crushing all your competition and becoming the wealthiest person who ever lived.

That’s precisely what Bill Gates did. So why did everybody hate him so much? Envy is the only logical answer. Nobody seems to hate Linus Torvalds that much. I’d guess that’s because he didn’t become a squillionaire like Gates and Jobs did.

  • <sidebar> Windows has never had a monopoly. People always had the option of buying an Apple computer or installing Linux on their PC. There was – and is – all kinds of third party software you can run on a Windows PC that replaces the stock MS software. For example Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client, the Open Office word processor/spreadsheet/presentation suite, and more recently Google’s Chrome browser and Google Docs are all available for Windows as well as Mac and Linux. If you hate Internet Explorer, don’t use it. I don’t think you can rightly call something a monopoly if there are alternatives available but you’re just too stupid or lazy to use them.</sidebar>

If you read books like “Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the creation of Apple, and how it changed the world” by Michael Moritz or “Infinite Loop: how the world’s most insanely great computer company went insane” by Michael Malone you’ll be presented with stories and anecdotes that paint a much more three-dimensional picture of Jobs than is available in the above article from successmagazine.com. Often, it is not a pretty picture.

Woz and Jobs in 1976

There is no doubt that Steve Jobs is a visionary and an absolutely brilliant marketing man, but the fact of the matter is that if he’d never met Steve Wozniak he’d very likely be just another marketing wonk telling everybody they’ll “love his nuts” on late night TV. Woz was the genius that conceived, designed and built the original Apple computers including the legendary Apple II. He did it all by himself, with no technical help at all from Jobs.

I’m not discounting Steve Job’s contribution. Without him, it’s probable that Woz’s genius would have gone unrecognized and largely unrewarded. He’d be slaving away in some basement lab at HP waiting for the day he could retire and have his pension kick in.

My point is this; Steve Jobs is all the good things that people say he is. However, he’s also a ruthless and sometimes dishonest man who will do whatever is necessary to realize his vision. I don’t see that as being bad in any way, shape or form. In fact I wish I could be more like him because I’m honestly sick and tired of not being wealthy.

If you don’t have the time or energy or literacy skills necessary to read the entire successmagazine.com article, I’ll leave you with the following three quotes. In my opinion, they’ll give you a reasonably good idea of how Steve Jobs is thought of by his peers, and how he’ll be remembered.

Steve gave a speech once, which is one of my favorites, where he talked about, in a certain sense, ‘We [Apple] build the products that we want to use ourselves,’ ” Microsoft’s Gates said in 2007. “He’s really pursued that with incredible taste and elegance that has had a huge impact on the industry. And his ability to always come around and figure out where that next bet should be has been phenomenal. Apple literally was failing when Steve went back and re-infused the innovation and risk-taking that have been phenomenal.

Steve Jobs is a singular persona in our culture,” says NewDealDesign’s Amit, who writes an industrial design-focused blog. “He, more than anyone else, made utilitarian digital technology merge into a rich cultural experience. Without him, most of the tech world would have relegated culture to a decorative role, rather than a substantive element of product and service innovation. His impact is so profound on our culture, our way of thinking and our approach to smart technology, that I would consider him one of the most influential cultural creators of the past century.

Over and over again he has turned his eye and his energy—and at times, it has seemed, his entire being—to what might be gained by creating a new offering or taking an unorthodox strategic path,” Harvard Business School professor and author Nancy F. Koehn wrote in Fortune in 2009. “That puts him in the company of other great entrepreneurs of the past two centuries, men and women such as Josiah Wedgwood, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Estée Lauder.