Thoughts on Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...
Image via Wikipedia

Yeah, I know there are countless posts on him today.  Indulge me.

1. Condolences to his family and friends.  He appeared to be a genuinely sincere family guy (once he finally acknowledged the out-of-wedlock daughter).

2. He was adopted.  His father wanted to keep him but his biological mother’s father was against the relationship.  He was very, very lucky not to have been aborted.  Fortunately for him he was conceived well before Roe v Wade.

The abortion would have been just as tragic if he hadn’t become famous, of course.

Here is the story as Steve Jobs told it in a commencement address at Stanford University in June 2005. His birth mother, he said, “felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.”

3. I can’t help but think of how many people eulogizing him are part of the anti-capitalism crowd.  How ironic.  He is the poster-boy for capitalism and will be a legend for decades, if not centuries.  His energy, ideas and competitive nature created products that benefit nearly all of us.  The government could never invent the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

4. He is now where he’ll spend the rest of eternity.  I don’t know where he is, I just know that at least until recently he claimed to be Buddhist.  If he didn’t change his beliefs then this spectacularly powerful, rich and famous man will spend eternity in Hell paying for his sins.  If he did repent and believe, then he’ll be with his creator and Savior in Heaven for eternity.  The same goes for the other ~150,000 people who died yesterday.

One site had typical God-related comments such as “RIP — A help to God in heaven.”  I realize that there is a lot of sloppy religious talk when people die, but it is interesting to see how people seem so confident in their universalism (i.e., everyone except Hitler goes to Heaven).  One commenter (not me) merely asked if Jobs was right with God, without noting a specific religion, and it was quickly deleted.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Steve Jobs”

  1. I was fascinated by the statement from Apple: “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.” What does that mean? What does “immeasurably better” require? Does it mean that the “better” the world is now is so big (or so complex) that you can’t measure it, or does it mean that the effect was so infinitesimal that it can’t be measured? And what is it that is better? The economy? Computers? Our ability to carry around a screen? I am, of course, saddened by his loss. He seemed a nice fellow. I’m just not getting the furor … or the value system.

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  2. I agree that it’s “sloppy” to assume that everyone goes to heaven, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “RIP”; in fact, I might go further and say that I think it’s a good thing to say. May Jobs rest in peace. We don’t know whether he will, but we hope that he will, and we ask God to let it be so.

    In literature (I don’t know whether it was so in historical fact), a few centuries ago, it seems to have been common for officials to wish God’s mercy even for heinous criminals, even as they were being executed: “. . . and may God have mercy on your soul.” I think that’s probably a good practice, as far as it goes.

    I know that National Review still ends its obituaries with “R.I.P.” I don’t know whether it is in common use in any other modern context.

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    1. Good points, and I have no objection to saying R.I.P. I just noticed lots of assumptions that Jobs is in Heaven, which, ironically, is a rather judgmental thing to say, because it is most often said (in my experience) by the “don’t judge!” crowd. They don’t see how claiming someone is in Heaven requires as much judgment as claiming they are not. I try to be careful and always point back to God’s criteria.

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  3. At the age of 23 Steve Jobs had become a millionaire. By age 24 he was worth 10 million dollars. By age 25, he was worth 100 million dollars. And by age 30 he had been fired from the company he founded. He then founded Next computer which was used to create the first world wide web browser. In fact a Next computer was the very first web server. He was later brought back into Apple and built it into the most influential and profitable companies on the planet. He redefined the music industry and led computer animation revival through Pixar.

    He also is the same person who before founding Apple, accepted a contract to reduce the number of chips in an Atari game called breakout. He asked Steve Wozniak to help and they would split the 750 dollar fee Atari would pay. Steve Wozniak’s design saved so many chips Atari paid Steve jobs 5000 dollars instead of the 750 dollars. Steve Jobs only paid Steve Wozniak the 375 dollars he originally expected as half of the 750 dollar original fee.

    He not only denied his oldest daughter Lisa was his child but initially claimed in court papers he could not produce children. Later he acknowledged and supported her.

    While he still attended college, he sold telephone phreaking boxes to other students which produced tones allowing them to make free long distance calls. Yet, he supported digital rights management preventing copying and was obsessive about protecting his own company’s intellectual property.

    He was a visionary, a marketing genius, and a perfection driven man who succeeded in many different areas and transformed every industry he touched including computing, phone, music, film, and printing industries. Along the way, he made many friends and enemies. But even his enemies respected his ability to not only dream the future but make it happen.

    I mourn his loss. I pray peace and comfort for his family. I pray he he found salvation.

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  4. “He also is the same person who before founding Apple, accepted a contract to reduce the number of chips in an Atari game called breakout. He asked Steve Wozniak to help and they would split the 750 dollar fee Atari would pay. Steve Wozniak’s design saved so many chips Atari paid Steve jobs 5000 dollars instead of the 750 dollars. Steve Jobs only paid Steve Wozniak the 375 dollars he originally expected as half of the 750 dollar original fee.”

    That has always colored my perception of him. Of course both Jobs and Woz went on to make enough money to dwarf that $5,000, but still…

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  5. I would say it is such a shame, but so is every death. I would say that he was too young to die, but on a Christian worldview we all are too young to die, and it is a shame that we do so.

    He was a brilliant personality, driven, relentless and passionate about what he did and who he loved. The world will miss these qualities – and they are darn fine qualities. I am saddened by his death, but through the technology products he orchestrated, I am gladdened for his life.

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