Steve Jobs is dead. It’s always sad when someone dies. When anyone dies.
I’ve just looked at pictures of flowers, apples, pictures placed outside Apple stores around the world and I don’t know what to say… I’m confused by this, by the reactions of Apple users. I mean, this guy was the CEO of one of the biggest companies. Period. He was not a god, not a savior, not a saint, he hasn’t saved lives or created art, defended freedom or civil rights. He created products. PRODUCTS.
I’ve read an interesting article called Defending Life’s Work With Words of a Tyrant that says “He chewed out subordinates and partners who failed to deliver, trashed competitors who did not measure up and told know-it-all pundits to take a hike“. He wasn’t a sweet guy to work with/for, had a bully-like attitude at times (I’m not the one who says that) and I just don’t understand why it’s ok to behave like this for the sake of excellence… It’s not ok if your boss treats you like that but it’s ok if the guy is the head of a big company that makes cool high tech products… doesn’t make sense to me.
Also Steve Jobs refused Bill Gate’s proposal to give a part of his fortune to philantropy and never disclosed plans to give large amounts to charity. It’s his choice. I totally respect that. But when you make that much money and leave 6.5 billion dollars to your family, you can do something for other people. Because making great products isn’t doing something for other people, not in my sense.
Apple is a company. I don’t think it actually carries any values. It’s customers who put something that isn’t there in the “Apple philosophy”. I find it a bit depressing to see that a company like Apple has an army of fanatic users. It’s a modern religion! How can people be so confused and blind to not clearly see the marketing strategy behind the brand, the fact that Steve Jobs was just one charismatic dude part of a bunch of people taking decisions that affect Apple’s customers. This holly “user experience” that the Apple people seemed to have understood so much and care about so much, what is it? What is it worth?
I know how appealing Apple products are. My sister bought an iPad yesterday. Pretty impressive stuff. Really. But people desperately need to open their eyes and be objective. Apple, like many huge companies have bad business ethics. They do, that’s a fact. The chinese company that builds iPhones (among other products) is called Foxconn. There have been many suicides there over the years. Don’t ask why. I’m sure it’s not fun to work there. Apple also had to admit that child labour has been used sometimes but they stopped.
I know this doesn’t really shock people now because we accept the fact that in order to make profits, companies who sell products have to have them build elsewhere where it’s cheaper. But the margin profit must be huge! I mean Apple products are expensive and we accept it because these products are beautifully designed and are cool and make people feel like they’re part of a community, that they take a stand when they say “I’m an Apple user”, that it adds an abstract value to who they are as if objects did define us… This is marketing people. It doesn’t mean it’s harmful. But it’s marketing.
I’m a marketer. I believe in ethical marketing. And it just makes me sick when people worship a BRAND, when I understand that we’re in a society that blurs the boundaries between capitalism and people, when we think big companies really care. Some of them do I’m sure but keeping an open critical eye won’t make you want to live in a cabin in the woods without technology, it’ll just make you a “better” customer, ok let’s say “wiser” customer.
More seriously, Apple has practices that I don’t agree with at all. Umberto Ecco said Apple is Catholic and PCs are Protestant. I understand what he means. With Apple, there’s one way to do things, you have to abide by it, and the freedom you have is limited comparing to PC users who can get into the core of their computer, change things, intall what they want (at their own risk of course but that’s a good way to learn!). Apple treats users as children by filtering what they can and cannot do, by imposing their rules and percentage to app developers, ect. The Mac blog ThinkSecret has been shut down after some pressure by the Apple guys. They can’t stand leaks. If their products are cool, they’re not.
Anyway, why should you care? You’ve taken a bite out of that apple, you’re doomed, we all know the story… :)
Love you still,
PS: I’m sure this Steve Jobs guy was a nice guy but the fact that he and the Apple company are blindly worshipped bothers me. A lot.