What Steve Jobs taught me about “old” people and product development

September 12, 2011

By David Weigelt

With the formal resignation of Steve Jobs, quite a few stories are coming out of the woodwork about Apple’s iconic CEO. One of my favorite stories takes place early in Steve’s rise to stardom when he attended the birthday of a 9-year old celebrity. Steve’s gift to the young man was, what else, a Macintosh computer. As the story goes, Steve pulled the boy aside during the party to personally watch him open the gift. As he was showing the boy how to use his new computer, two “older” gentlemen came up behind them and starting oohing and ahhing. The two gentlemen, clearly impressed with what they saw as a work of art, started asking Steve questions for which he quickly dismissed them and returned his attention to the young boy. As it turns out, the two “older” gentlemen were Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. At the end of the night, Steve continued working with the young man long after the other guests had left. Later, when asked by a reporter why he was so much happier with the boy than the two famous artists, Steve’s response was, “Older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?”

Steve’s reply could easily lead you to believe that the billionaire boomer is ageist – and you may be right. But as we’re about to learn in Steve’s first authorized biography, Mr. Jobs is a complex man.

My personal Steve story takes place about two years ago Read the rest of this entry »


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