Monday, October 02, 2006

iCon - the book about Steve Jobs

A blurb on the cover of this book says" once you start reading, you wont want to put it down". This happened with me. I bought this at the Bangalore airport on Sunday evening and finished it today morning.

It is an absorbing and inspiring story of Steve Jobs, the rock star of technology and digital age. It is about his conquest of three different worlds" computers, movies and music"
It is an amazing resurrection of the hero who was thrown out of the company he himself founded and was in wilderness for ten long years. He is the come-back kid who defied the pundits and reclaimed his throne and title as an Icon, even after making many mistakes.

Steve, born as an orphan, grew up as a strong-willed rebel in the family of his adopted family and in the school. He dropped out of the college and pursued his fascination with electronics and got his first job in HP.

India has played a role in the life of Steve. The first thing he did after getting his salary was to travel to Himalayas seeking truth and meaning. He did not get the enlightenment like the Buddha under the bodhi tree. But the experience in India including the exposure to poverty and problems had a strong impact. He became a vegetarian and a follower of Zen Buddhism. When Michael Eisner wanted to interact with him at the time of Pixar- Disney rivalry, he invited him for dinner at an Indian restaurant in Bay area. He even went to the extent of imposing his vegetarian dinners on the guests.

Steve created a new cult with his Apple and Mac computers. He made them distinct from the rest by unique design and marketing. He has done the same thing with iPod, which has become a statement and a status symbol. He inspired the designers and creators with his visionary spirit and drive. He wanted to make a "dent in the universe" and he has achieved this already.He was shrewd in his business negotiations and managed to buy Pixar for just 10 million dollars, one third of the price demanded by George Lucas. He made one million dollars when he was 23, got ten million when he was 24 and made 100 million dollars when he became 25.

here is the flip side. Steve was overcome by Hubris at the height of his success. He was cruel and unfair to his closest colleagues. He is not a paragon of virtue. He did all the dirty tricks to get ahead of others and used others as ladders, throwing them out mercilessly after his climb. He made many mistakes in business decisions and was a hardware guy without realising the growing power of software. The joke about him was, " How did Steve do market research? ... by looking at the mirror1 ". But luck came to his rescue and saved him from oblivion. It was Disney which took Pixar to the business of full feature films and the CEO of Apple who bought his sinking NEXT venture and rehablitated him in Apple Computers. He is a changed man now. He values family, friends and respects others.

The moral of his story is " never mind the mistakes and defects... you can fight back and win "

The authors of the book Jeffrey Young and William Simon have been objective in their comments and made it lively like a story book.

This book brought to my mind the biographies( the road ahead) of Bill Gates and the Google guys ( Larry page and Serge Bin), which i hv read earlier. Unlike Steve who is more of a business hustler, these three are real geeks and nerds who have changed our lives.

1 comment:

mohan balaji said...

Fantastic. It is a wonderful motivational story.