Jobs

We watched the Jobs biopic the other night. Gail’s mom was in town and had read the book, I was mildly interested, so what the heck. It follows Jobs’ life from his college years through his return to Apple after they bought Next Computer company (say 1997 maybe). Ashton Kutcher plays Jobs. It was okay.

I didn’t buy Kutcher’s version of Jobs. I thought “the walk” was kind of fake and a little overdone. I also didn’t like what the filmmakers decided to focus on. They seemed to want portray the mad part of the mad genius more than the genius part. If they wanted show what an asshole the guy was, they succeeded.

In my mind, the most remarkable thing about Jobs was that he delivered – I mean really delivered – multiple times in his life. Most people never deliver once. And those who do deliver once, rarely repeat. Buzz Bissinger talked about it in detail in his great book Father’s Day; he delivered with one of the greatest sports books ever, Friday Night Lights, and has been trying to match it, without success, ever since. As he said, it made “the rest of my life a vain search.”

Jobs just had hit after hit after hit, and he seemed to avoid the “vain search” through some combination of intelligence, foresight, and will. They were big hits, that revolutionized industries: The Mac, Mac OSX, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air… Are you kidding me? That’s a sustained level of innovation over a period of like 30 years that may never be equaled. Everything in the electronics industry today is just a copy of those things. Unbelievable.

I didn’t get that from the movie, but I’m glad I watched it. It makes me want to read the book, but I’m not ready to undertake it right now. I need a little more mindless stuff for the summer reading season.