30: Boarding a Sinking Ship


00:00:00   (beep)

00:00:00   (upbeat music)

00:00:03   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode number 30.

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00:00:27   My name is Jason Snell.

00:00:28   I normally don't read this part of the show because Myke Hurley does, but Myke is on vacation.

00:00:33   And so he couldn't take it. Two episodes in a row where he and I spoke to each other in

00:00:38   person face to face across the table and he just couldn't take it. He cracked up and had

00:00:43   to be sent away for some rest and relaxation to get his head together. So instead I have

00:00:50   a guest star visiting me and I believe this is the first time that he and I have shared

00:00:56   a tech podcast together, although we've been on many episodes of The Incomparable and other

00:01:01   things together.

00:01:02   It's your favorite from ATP.

00:01:04   It's John Syracuse.

00:01:05   Hi, John.

00:01:06   I'm pretty sure we did a five-by-five special about an Apple event or something.

00:01:11   Oh, that could be.

00:01:12   We were both there.

00:01:13   That could be.

00:01:14   That's possible.

00:01:15   I just think it's funny.

00:01:16   We should just talk about Miyazaki just in case, though.

00:01:17   Oh, yeah.

00:01:18   We could do that.

00:01:19   I'll just make sure.

00:01:20   There are some people who are very angry when Myke and I talked about movies that he hasn't

00:01:24   seen that I've made him watch.

00:01:26   "I didn't sign up for this!" And it's like, well, we put it at the end, you could, like, tune...

00:01:30   Just stop it if... Did you put it after the song? Oh, wait.

00:01:33   Yeah, we do have a song. We have a little song. We could have done that.

00:01:37   We haven't done... We don't have a post-show kind of thing like you guys do.

00:01:42   I should ask Marco this and not you, but is there a philosophy behind the ATP

00:01:47   when the theme song goes? Because on the incomparable, I always consider, like,

00:01:51   anything I put after the the music is like literally not essential like like

00:01:57   this is all optional material after this point yeah we got an interesting email I

00:02:03   guess we'll probably talk about in the next ATP but someone emailed and said

00:02:07   they thought their podcast client wasn't working like it works with every show

00:02:11   but with ATP for some reason it's like it's jumping around or he thought he had

00:02:14   finished a little bit it sounded like it was starting again so a maybe this

00:02:18   person has some weird problem with the Apple podcast app or be there confused

00:02:21   by the fact that when they think they've finished an episode and they've heard the song, that

00:02:25   they go back to the episode and there's still more to play.

00:02:29   There is a philosophy.

00:02:30   It's basically a tech podcast.

00:02:32   We talk about tech stuff.

00:02:34   We do all the sponsors and all the tech stuff that we want to cover before the song.

00:02:39   Then the song comes, and afterward is kind of talking about the show that we just did,

00:02:45   but also any sort of non-tech stuff.

00:02:47   So if we just want to talk about Cars, it's going to be in that part.

00:02:49   If we want to talk about our feelings being heard on Twitter, it's going to be in that

00:02:52   part.

00:02:53   Sometimes it's carryover tech stuff because we're talking about the tech stuff we just

00:02:56   did in the main part of the program.

00:02:58   And so it's like, well, you just continued talking about tech.

00:03:00   Why was that even there?

00:03:01   Or if we didn't get to a tech topic, it'll be back there.

00:03:04   But it's all kind of like more casual, retrospective, and it's like a grab bag.

00:03:09   So there is a philosophy, but it's super loose.

00:03:11   Yeah, I get it.

00:03:12   And I get why people would be confused.

00:03:14   But what you don't want to do is create what something that Dan Benjamin started and that

00:03:18   I do and we occasionally do on relay as well, which is the after dark bonus track B-side

00:03:24   kind of thing. Because that's like, then you're really saying it's like this is for

00:03:27   super fans only. And what I like about ATP and how you guys handle it is like look, there's

00:03:31   the show and then there's some other stuff we're also going to talk about that you get

00:03:33   to listen to. But it's not in the show. It's not the sponsors. It can be off topic. That's

00:03:40   why I find it funny when people complain to you guys about what you do in the post show.

00:03:43   Because it's like literally this is bonus people. We could have just ended the show

00:03:47   when the music stopped. I think some people don't know that part of the show exists because

00:03:51   they just hit stop after the song, and I always wonder about those people. But there is extra,

00:03:54   extra stuff. For the live listeners, we have all sorts of BS that would probably go in,

00:03:59   you know, the bonus track type of thing in "Comporal Parlance," but that we just don't

00:04:03   even release. So that does still exist, but it's only for the live listeners, and there's

00:04:06   very few of them. Right, that's true. Relatively speaking, very few. And they have their own

00:04:11   bootlegs and things like that too, which is pretty serious. Pretty serious stuff. On this

00:04:16   show we usually do some follow-up. I have one item of follow-up. Would you like to hear

00:04:19   it?

00:04:20   Go for it.

00:04:21   Well, this is #MykeWasWrong because in previous episodes Myke has been talking about being

00:04:26   right and he's like a pusher, but what he's pushing is iPhone 6 pluses and I just wanted

00:04:35   to mention that I wrote a piece on six colors. It'll be in the show notes which I should

00:04:39   say you can find at relay.fm/upgrades/thirty or in the podcast client you're listening

00:04:44   to right now called "Two Weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus" where I wrote about the fact that

00:04:50   I've been using it for the last two weeks. When I was in Europe, I used it because I

00:04:53   had an unlocked 6 Plus that I had access to. And in the end, I decided that the only thing

00:04:58   I really liked about it was the fact that the battery was… battery life was better.

00:05:03   And otherwise, I found… when I came back and I switched… and literally, Jon, I'm

00:05:08   standing in the line at customs at the airport and I've got my iPhone 6 turned on and I'm

00:05:15   using it. And I found myself grasping it with two hands, almost like I'm huddling near

00:05:22   a fire to stay warm or something like that. And I realized over two weeks I'd built

00:05:26   up this gesture that was me kind of clutching the phone in order to not drop it because

00:05:31   it was so huge that I needed the extra hand in the other corner. So what I'm saying

00:05:36   is I learned something about myself which is I do a lot of one-handed phone checking

00:05:42   and stuff with my thumb and it totally doesn't work on the 6 Plus because I can't even reach

00:05:47   the bottom right corner with my thumb on the 6 Plus. And then even Myke said that he does

00:05:52   a lot of kind of like gymnastics to get the phone in the right position to press certain

00:05:57   things in certain places on the phone. It's like it's too much. It's too much. So I appreciated

00:06:02   my time with the 6 Plus. It was great having an unlocked phone in Europe because there

00:06:05   There is some great—you can buy—I bought for 20 pounds. I bought a SIM card that was

00:06:09   unlimited data for 30 days, and I was only there for 14 in the UK and Ireland, where

00:06:14   I went. And that was all great, but I have to say that I—for myself, I think I made

00:06:19   the right decision in getting the 6 Plus and not the—or getting the 6 and not the 6 Plus.

00:06:24   I read your thing already because I had a sneak preview of—

00:06:26   Look at that.

00:06:27   As soon as it was posted, it appeared in—what, it appeared on Twitter, in my Slack feed?

00:06:30   Yes, I already read it, and I've heard Marco on ATP talked about his experiences with the

00:06:35   6 Plus also in Ireland.

00:06:38   And I've never had the opportunity to try one.

00:06:40   I've held one in the store, but I've never lived with one for any period of time.

00:06:43   I would imagine that what would happen is, like, even with my 6, which is bigger than

00:06:48   my series of iPod touches that preceded it, I tend to use it like a little iPad sometimes,

00:06:54   mostly because my actual iPad is an iPad 3 and it's really slow.

00:06:56   So if I'm doing anything like playing a game where the framerate isn't quite so good on

00:07:00   my iPad 3 or doing a web page that's JavaScript heavy or something, sometimes I use it like

00:07:06   a little iPad.

00:07:07   You know, I'm laying down in my bed and I'll put it on my chest like a little iPad and

00:07:10   hold it with two hands.

00:07:11   It is a very small iPad.

00:07:12   I would imagine a 6 Plus would be a little bit closer to being like an iPad and maybe

00:07:18   make me use my iPad even less.

00:07:19   But if I had an iPad Air 2, I don't know if it would contend.

00:07:24   And like you said, I don't, you know, the biggest issue for me is how big the darn thing

00:07:28   is just portability-wise, wrapping my hands around it, sticking it in my pockets as Marco

00:07:33   was finding the difficulty of just sitting uncomfortably. It doesn't fit in your pockets

00:07:38   in the normal way and you have to change how you sit or like he said, I think putting it

00:07:41   on the table instead of keeping it in your pocket.

00:07:42   Yeah, I found myself putting it on the table too, which is weird because I don't do that

00:07:46   and I found myself putting it on the table because it's like, "Wow, I could put this

00:07:50   back in my pocket but that's... Nah, I'll just leave that."

00:07:53   You have to stand up to get it into your pocket and putting it in your table is dangerous

00:07:56   because it's more susceptible to spills. And you mentioned that Myke had dropped his

00:08:01   a bunch of times, although I don't know if he also dropped his 5 and 5S or whatever.

00:08:04   Yeah, I thought that was a weird thing where he actually admitted—I mean, to Myke's

00:08:08   credit, he admitted all the flaws and things that he had learned to live with with the

00:08:12   6 Plus, and dropping it is definitely one of them. I said to him that I was using the

00:08:18   Maps app to get to my friend's house in London where I was staying. I got off the

00:08:22   tube. I've got the data plan because I bought the card in a vending machine at the baggage

00:08:26   claim and it was five pounds. I knew what the cost, the regular cost was. It was five

00:08:31   pounds more and I was like, "Well, this way I'll have data and I can be sure of the right

00:08:35   way to go to get to my friend's house." So I'm out there and I'm looking at the map set

00:08:39   and I realize that I can't reach my thumb across it and I'm trying to like move it into a different

00:08:43   position and I'm holding my suitcase with one hand. So I'm trying to do this one handed

00:08:48   and I realized I just couldn't do it. I had to stop and put the suitcase down and do all

00:08:53   of that. And I told this story to Myke, and he said, "Oh yeah, you'll get more confident

00:08:58   in holding it in those weird positions where it feels like it's about to drop, but also

00:09:01   sometimes you drop it."

00:09:03   That's not a good thing at all. You'll get more confident, and then you'll drop it more.

00:09:09   That, yeah, yeah. I didn't think—it was a very strange statement for him to make.

00:09:14   Like, "Well, you drop it, but you got it in a case, and it's fine."

00:09:17   My six has taken the tumble many times, but not out of my hand. It's always like, "I'll

00:09:21   it on my nightstand and then somehow it will get knocked off my nightstand by myself or

00:09:25   a pillow or a child or it'll be... it's always being knocked off of things into cracks between

00:09:30   furniture. I guess I'm always sort of balancing it precariously on the edges of the side of

00:09:35   sofas and ends of tables. None of them have done any damage other than to put a tiny little

00:09:39   nick in my leather case in the corner and it's really annoying me. But I'm resisting

00:09:43   buying a new whatever the heck it is $80 leather case just because I have a nick in the corner.

00:09:47   I should say there's also a funny thing that Doug Beale in the chat room just mentioned

00:09:50   which is Georgia Dow from iMore pointed out that she has a case that she stuck this little

00:09:57   like elastic hand strap on the back and everybody who's an iPhone 6 Plus user was like checking

00:10:03   it out. You can like pass your fingers through it and hold it like...

00:10:07   Yeah, yeah, I was thinking having it like any kind of handle or a knob or a strap or

00:10:12   a loop or a, you know, a thing to put one or two fingers through. Those are all good

00:10:17   things.

00:10:18   And I thought it was funny that everybody was cheering that hand strap thing because

00:10:24   it was a combination of being a very clever hack to hold the phone better and to be complete

00:10:29   failure because you have to stick a thing on the back of your case.

00:10:33   If you got an even bigger strap, perhaps it could fit all the way around your wrist and

00:10:37   then you'd have a little screen on your wrist.

00:10:39   I don't know.

00:10:40   I'm just thinking out loud here.

00:10:41   That's a crazy idea.

00:10:42   Well, at that point, I think you just get an iPad and you get that and you go full on

00:10:44   with that Velcro ball thing that Myke and I were talking about.

00:10:46   Did you read that?

00:10:47   article about the, you know, one of the things where Apple was opening up to the

00:10:52   press and they mentioned how one of the early Apple Watch prototype things was

00:10:57   literally taking an iPhone and putting a velcro strap on it and strapping it to

00:11:01   your wrist. Yeah, with a, with a, like an emulator of a watch on it. A little

00:11:05   picture of a watch in your eye. Yeah, pretend that, I wonder if they like skin tone around it.

00:11:10   It's gonna be the Apple Watch 6 Plus, just watch. Myke will be telling

00:11:12   everybody he's got here, they've got to get that. They're like gauntlets really, you

00:11:15   You just put them on these huge glass things on the top of your forearm.

00:11:19   Then you don't drop it because it's tied to your body.

00:11:23   And you can defend against attacks with swords by just putting up your forearm.

00:11:27   That's true.

00:11:28   That's true.

00:11:29   It's like you're becoming Iron Man at that point, really.

00:11:31   I should mention Stephen Hackett also wrote a thing, and Marco Arment is in the process,

00:11:36   I believe, of writing something too about the six-plus thing.

00:11:39   So I think it's great that not everybody has the chance to test drive a different phone

00:11:43   model for a couple of weeks. And so I think that's one of the reasons we write this stuff

00:11:47   is to say, "Well, look, here's what we noticed when we did this." I think since not everybody

00:11:53   can do that, that if it informs people a little bit about what their choices are, they're

00:11:57   definitely going to be able to hear both sides of the argument because it didn't work for

00:12:01   me, but I know it works for Myke and Steven Hackett. I'm yet to hear exactly. I think

00:12:05   Marco is sort of -- he sees a little bit more of the pros and cons of both of them. So I'm

00:12:10   looking forward to his.

00:12:11   hear that ATP episode where you talked about the OOL trip and everything?

00:12:14   I have heard the—I've heard like half of it.

00:12:18   Yeah, because he talks about the 6-plus extensively in there. This is going to be—sometimes

00:12:23   there is a blog post that he comes on ATP and talks about, and sometimes you talk about

00:12:26   it in something ATP and it becomes a blog post. And this is one of those.

00:12:28   I like that. I like it when the—you've talked about that before. It's like the

00:12:31   podcast that's sort of your thought process. It's like before there's a draft, there's

00:12:35   you talking about it on the podcast. And I do that a lot. Yeah, I actually listened

00:12:39   first like half hour of ATP and then I skipped to the Twitter stuff in the post show because

00:12:45   I knew we were going to be talking and I had that as one of my things I might want to talk

00:12:48   about so I have to skip back and again maybe I'm that guy who wrote to you. So I don't

00:12:53   understand ATP it skips all over.

00:12:55   He thought it was something wrong with his podcast app like the V. I don't know. He

00:13:00   may be right. Maybe he does have a problem with his podcast. I don't know. I want to

00:13:03   do tech support over email.

00:13:04   I think you guys have just confused him. I hope he should use Overcast. That's what

00:13:08   Mark, I should say, yeah, I can solve that for you.

00:13:12   So anyway, that's the follow-up.

00:13:13   We'll leave the rest for when Myke comes back.

00:13:15   Let me take a break for our first sponsor.

00:13:17   You know how this works, right?

00:13:19   You do this every week with Marco.

00:13:21   I'm there when it happens, if that's what you mean.

00:13:23   And he has to read the-- he has to read the sponsor.

00:13:24   Well, I'm going to do that now.

00:13:26   So--

00:13:26   Good luck.

00:13:27   Thank you.

00:13:27   Thank you.

00:13:28   Here I go.

00:13:28   This episode of Upgrade brought to you by 1Password

00:13:31   from Agile Bits.

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00:13:47   and they figure out the passwords that were on that site,

00:13:50   they now have your password on every site in the world.

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00:13:56   If you use Windows or Android, you can find it there too.

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00:14:47   This is time-based one-time passwords, another layer of two-step security. They're always

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00:15:24   So thank you so much to AgileBits and 1Password for keeping all of my passwords and logins

00:15:29   secure and for supporting upgrade.

00:15:32   Put passwords in their place with 1Password.

00:15:36   Myke's going to have some comments about that.

00:15:38   I'm sure like Jason, the ad read you did there, I would have done it much better than that

00:15:42   and he's probably right.

00:15:43   But I do love 1Password so that made that a lot easier to read.

00:15:49   So have you been reading the Steve Jobs, the new Steve Jobs book, the Becoming Steve Jobs?

00:15:54   I just started it. I'm about 10% through.

00:15:57   Well, you know, so that's a couple chapters, maybe?

00:16:01   Yeah, I don't know. All I know is Kindle percentages now. I have no recollection of pages.

00:16:06   I know. Well, you can see the chapters as you go through the chapters. I just finished it.

00:16:09   I finished it on the flight back from Ireland.

00:16:13   And I think it's pretty good, actually.

00:16:18   And I say that as a preface because I have lots of criticisms of it.

00:16:21   And I'm looking forward to your book report when you're done with it.

00:16:28   I don't know if you formed any initial thoughts about it going in, or if you are--

00:16:33   are you expecting much?

00:16:35   Or have you accepted the hype that this is going to be the cure to the Isaacson book?

00:16:39   Well, I'm only 10% through.

00:16:44   But I do have an opinion immediately of the book.

00:16:47   And now it has to, like, if it changes as the book goes on, I will change my opinion,

00:16:53   but already I feel like I have this book's number.

00:16:57   And it's not, I like it better than the Isaacson book so far, but there's, you know, having

00:17:02   just read 10% of it, what I'm reading now is the early parts about Apple's childhood,

00:17:10   starting the company with Woz, doing the Mac project, getting Scully.

00:17:15   Like, you know how many times I've read that story?

00:17:16   I've read about a million magazine articles on it.

00:17:20   I've read tons of books about it.

00:17:22   From every conceivable angle, I've watched documentaries about it.

00:17:26   Just like, I've seen that story a lot, right?

00:17:29   So the odds of there being something new in there are slim.

00:17:33   The Isaacson book, one of the few things that it had going for it, is that it had a lot

00:17:36   of, you know, it was the authorized one, and it had a lot of inside access to people who

00:17:41   previously didn't have access to it.

00:17:42   But not much is new in there.

00:17:44   So all I've got to go on so far in the book is sort of like tone and purpose.

00:17:49   And the tone and purpose bother me a little bit because the book is kind of being presented

00:17:54   as a reaction to other books or popular narratives, which I guess is one way you can go with it.

00:18:03   It's not really what I'm looking for.

00:18:04   What I was looking for out of the Isaacson son is like, Isaacson book is sort of a definitive

00:18:10   biography where you just get all the facts and lay them out documentary style.

00:18:16   If you do have an agenda, I want you to hide it better, like really well, you know?

00:18:22   Again, my favorite biography ever is The Power Broker, which definitely has an agenda, but

00:18:28   it's just so massively supported by just fact after fact, interview after interview.

00:18:33   Like, it's not just asserted.

00:18:37   And this book, a lot of it is like, "Here's what happened," which of course I know all

00:18:41   the stuff already, and then a line from the authors saying, "People always say this,

00:18:48   but really, Jobs is like that.

00:18:50   Just asserted."

00:18:51   And then more events took place.

00:18:53   And it's like, "Well, wait a second.

00:18:54   Those events don't support that at all.

00:18:56   They could?

00:18:57   That is a plausible interpretation of events, but you can't just say it.

00:19:00   People always say that Steve Jobs is really mean.

00:19:02   But actually, he's kind of like, it doesn't fit.

00:19:05   So it reads like, that's why people are on it as like a defense of Apple, that it is,

00:19:12   you know, some people say mean things about Steve Jobs, but actually he wasn't that bad.

00:19:16   And then more events.

00:19:17   It's like, it just, it's not apologetic so much as like a book with an agenda not particularly

00:19:25   well supported by the facts.

00:19:27   Because the facts are the same as the facts in everything else.

00:19:30   Especially in this early part of the story, it's just, it's a different interpretation,

00:19:35   really delved into, just used as like a, like a premise. They'll just lay that out in a

00:19:40   one sentence thing, or at the end, the one sentence thing that says, "Even though these

00:19:43   are the same events that everyone else has recorded, they're really not that bad," and

00:19:46   it shows that he's not really that bad a guy. "Well, wait a second, you just came to a different

00:19:49   conclusion with the same facts, but then you didn't explain how you came to your conclusion."

00:19:53   So...

00:19:54   I think, um, I think one of the problems here, and again, you've only read the beginning

00:19:57   of it so far, is that this is a book that's got its strong areas. And then it's got the

00:20:04   obligatory parts. So like you can't tell the Steve Jobs story, right? Except, well

00:20:10   you can, but it's harder to make that case if you don't tell that early part. But these

00:20:17   guys didn't know Steve Jobs then. So they stepped through it and I think what they do

00:20:21   is they throw in some things that they feel like they're going to prove later.

00:20:25   Yeah, we'll see. But so far, they go through the facts, and then they boldly assert that what they have just retold demonstrates something about Steve Jobs that it does not demonstrate at all.

00:20:40   And they frame it in a way of, like, when other people have told the same story, they have concluded this. But really, Steve Jobs is like X.

00:20:48   Why? You just told the exact same story as everyone else. What is leading you to believe that he's really like that?

00:20:53   that. And if they explain it later in the book, then obviously, you know, well, my opinion

00:20:56   might change, but they're not, they don't allude to future events. They just sort of

00:21:00   say, you know, they'll go back and tell an old story and they'll say, "Well, you know,

00:21:04   what about the time when he was crying in the parking lot? That shows something." No,

00:21:08   that perfectly fits with the narrative. Like, it's like they're reframing the exact same

00:21:13   things in a more sympathetic light merely by saying that, merely by saying that we,

00:21:17   the authors, are more sympathetic to, to this scenario. Like, we are not going to, in the

00:21:22   In the same way that something that's going to be sensational would demonize him for the

00:21:25   same events, they'll say, "And this shows that he's an egomaniac and a jerk and every

00:21:30   misery in his life he deserves."

00:21:34   That's going in one extreme.

00:21:35   This is going the other extreme and saying, "Despite all these terrible things that he's

00:21:38   done, he was a human person with feelings too, and we shouldn't be so mean to him.

00:21:44   And he really wasn't as bad as everyone says because he really loved his kids or whatever."

00:21:47   It's like, I'm not impressed so far, but so far it hasn't set its foot wrong in the ways

00:21:53   that the Eisling book has, particularly because this book didn't have the kind of access the

00:21:56   Eisling book has.

00:21:57   So automatically I'm inclined to say, "Well, you're writing another Steve Jobs book so

00:22:01   far.

00:22:02   That's fine.

00:22:03   The Second Coming of Steve Jobs is another Steve Jobs book.

00:22:05   That's fine."

00:22:06   I don't fault them for saying, "You had this one chance to write the definitive biography

00:22:11   of Steve Jobs and you blew it," because they didn't and they don't.

00:22:13   So if Justin's up and we get another Steve Jobs book, that's fine too.

00:22:16   assets are Brent Schlander's relationship with jobs, which begins later, right? So he

00:22:24   doesn't, he can't bring those assets to bear here. And then there are other assets

00:22:27   are that they got people from Apple to talk who haven't really talked about personal

00:22:33   stuff about Steve. And that's all at the very end. So they, they're really limited

00:22:38   in what they want to do. They want to tell this whole story, but they've got these

00:22:41   very narrow kind of angles into it based on one reporter's kind of weird relationship

00:22:50   with Steve Jobs and through their Apple access at the end. And so there are lots of kind

00:22:56   of weird holes and I think as it goes, it tells, you know, they do have this take and

00:23:04   when there's a little bit more to back it up, I feel like they're at least making

00:23:09   argument that, I mean, the thesis of the book is very clearly like a lot of the people who

00:23:14   think that Steve Jobs is a monster are thinking about back when he was in his early days when

00:23:19   he was truly monstrous, but that later he was not quite so monstrous and you should,

00:23:24   you know, and he mellowed out a lot and was not the same guy and learned a lot. And so

00:23:29   there's a story arc to his professional life as well as his personal life that he learned

00:23:33   and he grew and he changed and he did some terrible things when he was in his 20s, but

00:23:39   he wasn't that same guy the last 10 years of his life. And there is some evidence there.

00:23:44   They seem to even assert that when he was young, at his very youngest, like the crying

00:23:47   in the parking lot story, they're saying, "Even the people who say he was a monster

00:23:50   when he was young, see, he actually went after the parking lot and cried." And that totally

00:23:54   fits with the narrative of people calling him a monster. It is not an aberration, it

00:23:58   is not a counterexample, that's part of the whole thing.

00:24:00   Keep reading it, because I think that they are a little more even-handed with that in

00:24:06   presenting that he was totally messed up. And actually they have a really interesting

00:24:09   thesis which is that he never had a mentor. He was basically, he was a spoiled child.

00:24:14   He was always allowed to do anything. And then the people he surrounded himself first,

00:24:20   what is it, Myke Scott and then John Scully. They're like, his argument is these guys were

00:24:24   terrible mentors. They were not capable of mentoring Steve in any way. And then it extends

00:24:30   to sort of saying that the person who really gave that connection to him was Ed Catmull

00:24:37   and also John Lasseter to a certain extent. And they were people where there was actually

00:24:40   a better relationship and fit and they helped him improve and become a better manager. You

00:24:46   know, again, I think they do an okay job of making that case. I don't know whether I entirely

00:24:50   buy it, but I think it's an interesting take on jobs. But again, they can't tell that part

00:24:55   until they get to that part of the story. And so for me, I mean, that's, I think that's

00:24:59   That's why there's that first little prologue where it's like, "Hey, this is when I knew

00:25:05   Steve Jobs," because then they can't do that for a long time, so they have a little flash

00:25:10   forward.

00:25:11   Yeah, there's a little bit of the Gonzo journalism thing where the story is a little bit about

00:25:14   the author.

00:25:15   Yeah.

00:25:16   It's in first person.

00:25:17   They're two authors, but one of them is in first person.

00:25:18   The weird collective singular first person dual author.

00:25:22   But it's like, "Let me tell you about my meeting with Jobs and what it was like in our

00:25:26   relationship."

00:25:27   Well, I don't really care about one half of that relationship, right? I don't really care.

00:25:31   Except maybe to the extent that it's illuminating about his character, but I don't know.

00:25:37   So far, not a lot of insights in the book. And even the part that you're talking about,

00:25:43   like with the mentor, like, "Oh, he needed to have a mentor and he didn't have one," or whatever.

00:25:46   As an explanation of what happened, that's fine. But because the book is framed as a comeback

00:25:54   against the popular narrative, that explanation reads more like an excuse.

00:25:59   Like, "See, he wasn't a bad guy, he just didn't have a good mentor."

00:26:04   And it's because the book is framed as a sort of defense or a balancing off of everything

00:26:10   else that it comes off more apologetic.

00:26:14   Because that's not like, "Boo-hoo, he didn't have a good mentor."

00:26:18   That doesn't...

00:26:19   His behavior is what his behavior is, and there's nothing...

00:26:21   You can explain the circumstances surrounding it, but you can't use that to fight back against

00:26:27   what you consider unflattering narratives, because everyone agrees on the facts, it's

00:26:32   just the interpretations, and it's not as if, you know, you didn't have this extra piece

00:26:36   of information.

00:26:37   Let me tell you this piece, and that will change things.

00:26:39   Every new piece of information that gets added just fits into the exact same puzzle piece

00:26:42   that ever—the same picture that has been drawn by every book.

00:26:45   It's just piling on some more information.

00:26:47   It's remarkably consistent, and it's all just how you interpret it.

00:26:50   How do you balance the good against the bad?

00:26:53   Because he was a complicated person.

00:26:54   He wasn't all good, and he wasn't all bad.

00:26:56   He did good things.

00:26:56   He did terrible things.

00:26:57   How do you balance it out?

00:26:59   And yeah, I don't know.

00:27:00   I'll finish the book.

00:27:01   I will talk about it in ATP.

00:27:02   But I am the type of person who feels

00:27:05   like he can give a book report on a book

00:27:07   after reading the first chapter, which is obviously

00:27:09   what you should not do.

00:27:11   Well, so I also think it's worth mentioning.

00:27:15   I do wonder sometimes if Apple endorsing this book

00:27:18   does this book any favors.

00:27:19   Because--

00:27:19   Oh, no.

00:27:20   Well, that's the worst.

00:27:21   Right?

00:27:22   Because it's setting it up as being an apologetic hagiography of business, which I don't think

00:27:26   it is.

00:27:27   But again, they got the Apple access and they got people, in fact, even in the book, I think

00:27:32   Eddy Cue condemns the Isaacson book in this book, which is kind of funny.

00:27:36   And they should.

00:27:37   That's fine.

00:27:38   I condemn that book too, but it's kind of like what I said about a regulatory agency

00:27:41   who's an ADP a while back.

00:27:42   If you are a regulatory agency and the companies you regulate are applauding something you

00:27:47   do, chances are you're not doing your job well.

00:27:49   So I'm not saying that biography is supposed to be a regulatory agency, but if you're writing

00:27:54   a biography about the famous leader of the world's biggest technology company, the world's

00:27:59   biggest company, period, and that company heartily endorses your book, you should be

00:28:04   thinking to yourself, "Wait a second, what did I miss?"

00:28:06   Because there should be something in there that they shouldn't be wholeheartedly endorsing

00:28:12   your book.

00:28:13   They should be endorsing maybe some parts of it because other books have been worse.

00:28:17   can condemn the Isaacson book, but once they're sort of, like, in the press endorsing your

00:28:23   biography, it really undercuts, like, your credibility, whether it's fair or not. Like,

00:28:27   it could be a perfectly balanced book. It just seems like, yeah, that—if I was the

00:28:31   author of the book, I'd be like, maybe just, you know, not so much on how much you love

00:28:35   the book because it makes me seem like a shill.

00:28:37   Yeah, yeah. The other thing—so the other thing that's bothering me, and I've got

00:28:40   a little list here which I'll go through really quickly, is—and, you know, this is

00:28:44   anything that you see that's reported that's something you know a lot about, you see the

00:28:49   mistakes and you think, "Oh, that's really oversimplified," or "They got that wrong

00:28:53   a little bit." I don't think these mistakes necessarily make the book's overarching

00:29:00   value less or more and the point they're trying to make stronger or weaker, other than

00:29:06   to say that it gives me pause, that there are so many little problems I have with it

00:29:11   that I feel like, were they afraid somebody was going to leak it if they hired a fact

00:29:15   checker or something? Because there are a lot. Not only, yeah, I mean, a capitalized

00:29:20   Mac roll with a capital W, which really bugs me. And they say that St. Quentin prison is

00:29:24   in San Rafael and it's really not. And they say that there was a black iBook and it was

00:29:28   a black MacBook, you know, Mac nerd stuff. But they say, at one point they assert that

00:29:35   the clone strategy failed because clones were cheap and tarnished Apple's mystique as

00:29:41   as a maker of premium hardware, which I think is an interesting argument because my recollection

00:29:45   of the clone era is that Apple's hardware wasn't very good. And so when you let other

00:29:52   people make clones, then people had no reason to buy Apple hardware. There were cheap clones.

00:29:59   There were nice clones too.

00:30:01   That sentence was probably off by itself in the book though. You know, is this quote right

00:30:04   from the book "The strategy failed too?" "The availability of cheap clones tarnished

00:30:08   Apple's mystique is to make your premium hardware, period." I bet the next sentence moves on

00:30:11   to the next topic. Like, they just flat out say, "Strategy failed, and the availability

00:30:17   of cheap clones tarnished Apple's mystique." Moving on. Like, is that it? That's the story

00:30:22   of the clones? If you had to summarize the story of the clones, that's not how I would

00:30:26   summarize it in a single sentence, right?

00:30:27   No, but I think it feeds the narrative they want to tell in a very simple way, but I think

00:30:32   it's not true. And it's also a snowball. As these mistakes and things that I dispute

00:30:37   some of them are factual errors and some of them are assertions that I think are wrong,

00:30:40   but you know, the more of them I see, the more like momentum I get of like, okay, that's

00:30:45   not right and that's not right. And that happened to me when I read this. They talk about how

00:30:49   the BOS is designed to, it says to also be able to use the existing Macintosh OS and

00:30:55   then thus operate like a Mac clone. BOS is a separate operating system. It could run

00:30:59   on Mac hardware. It did not use the Mac OS.

00:31:02   **Matt Stauffer:** Right. So that's, that's where you have to sort of decode from like

00:31:05   non-tech person speaking, like, "I think what they're getting at is that both ran on PowerPC.

00:31:10   I'm pretty sure that's what they're getting at, but it is so mangled that it's just totally

00:31:13   false." It comes out backward from what they're doing.

00:31:16   You can kind of decipher it. The great one in the Isaacson book is the idea that they

00:31:20   bought NeXT and then never used the NeXT operating system. As such a pivotal, not just a techy

00:31:25   detail like, "Oh, who cares about the tech?" These guys get this way.

00:31:26   That's just a pivotal part of the entire acquisition of NeXT. It's like, if you got that wrong,

00:31:34   That's not a little thing.

00:31:35   That is the most important acquisition Apple has ever done

00:31:38   to find the entire future of all their products,

00:31:39   including the phone, including the watch,

00:31:41   including the iPad, and you're like, man, never use that.

00:31:43   - These guys did get that part right.

00:31:45   Because it fits, also it fits their thesis to say,

00:31:47   this was the key acquisition, not just for Steve Jobs,

00:31:50   but because that technology was the bedrock

00:31:52   of all of the future Apple products.

00:31:53   Yes, that's right.

00:31:54   - It's not asking for them to be tech geniuses

00:31:57   to figure that out.

00:31:57   Like that, if you know any, like, it's the basics, right?

00:32:00   And so the BOS thing, you can kinda tell

00:32:02   someone somewhere, like the right idea was in there and it just came out wrong

00:32:06   in the thing and assertions about the clones they don't understand they

00:32:10   weren't there they weren't in the thing whatever like yeah yeah they said they

00:32:14   said John Rubenstein's company powerhouse systems big Mac clones which

00:32:18   I think I think they're thinking power computing I don't think powerhouse

00:32:21   systems ever made a Mac clone I think they were PCs that ran next step but

00:32:25   that that's in there oh they talk about fitting your narrative they suggest that

00:32:32   Steve Jobs was waiting in the wings for that appearance at Macworld Expo and the

00:32:36   Gil Emilio gave a long droning speech and everybody was just impatiently

00:32:41   waiting to get to Jobs and Jobs had to wait which is I don't know if that's

00:32:44   true or not the story I always heard is that Jobs made them wait as a power move

00:32:48   he got there late and Emilio had to stretch and look bad and really be

00:32:53   boring because he couldn't speak extemporaneously to save his life but

00:32:58   they don't tell it that way they tell it this opposite way that it's like you

00:33:01   know, "Come on, get out of the way, old man. Steve Jobs coming through." And that's not

00:33:05   my understanding, because my understanding with Steve Jobs was kind of being a jerk and

00:33:09   didn't show up.

00:33:10   This is a great example. So I've read that version of events as well, and then here's

00:33:16   this other version. I don't know which one of those is true. Find the people who are

00:33:19   there and ask them for crying out loud. You know what I mean?

00:33:24   Because those are completely opposite stories of the same events.

00:33:27   Right. If only there was some way we could determine which one of those stories is more

00:33:30   But you're rather than reading because I've read I've read very variations on what happened in that particular keynote and

00:33:35   Usually there is one source who says yeah, he totally made Emilio wait and the other ones like yeah, Emilio just went on to like and

00:33:44   This surely there was more than two people there surely you can get one more than one and then zero sources here

00:33:49   This is just like again

00:33:51   I never want to get the impression when I'm reading one of these books that the person writing the book

00:33:55   Simply read one of the other seven books

00:33:57   I've read on this topic and like summarize it like a book report. Like there's no sourcing,

00:34:01   there's no footnotes, there's no person they talk to. They just say this is what happened

00:34:05   and it's like yeah I read that in a magazine article once too.

00:34:08   Well I've got one better for you. This is another statement of fact which is they essentially

00:34:13   say the iPhone proved to be original iPhone proved to be a tougher sell than many would

00:34:17   have imagined. People had expected something that would support video games and reference

00:34:20   books and fancy calculators and word processors and financial spreadsheets right out of the

00:34:23   box. The phone they got couldn't yet do that. Now this is the narrative of the iPhone wasn't

00:34:28   any good until the App Store because the App Store was really great and that was a lesson

00:34:32   Steve had to learn that he had to turn it around and bring the apps. That's the story

00:34:35   they want to tell. But I have no recollection at all of people being cool on the iPhone

00:34:41   when it came out because it didn't run third-party apps. We wanted it to run third-party apps

00:34:45   but my memory of that first nine months of the iPhone or whatever it was, we were pretty

00:34:50   happy with the iPhone.

00:34:51   Yeah, the best part is, like, so, video games, maybe, uh, reference books, borderline fancy

00:34:57   calculators, maybe, but word processors?

00:34:59   Are you kidding me?

00:35:00   People played games on their phone.

00:35:01   They played Snake, right?

00:35:02   You played the little, like, you know what I mean?

00:35:05   No one expected a word processor on your phone before the iPhone, and the iPhone was released

00:35:10   like, "Well, it's great, but it's not a word processor."

00:35:12   Were people doing word processing on their Motorola Razr?

00:35:14   No, that's crazy talk.

00:35:16   It reveals their, they now believe,

00:35:20   that they've rewound history and said,

00:35:22   I always knew that phones would always be like this,

00:35:24   and it doesn't make any sense.

00:35:27   People were going crazy for the iPhone,

00:35:28   the fact that it could do any of the things it did,

00:35:31   and I think only the tech nerds were like,

00:35:34   boy, it would be great to write applications to the stone.

00:35:36   But the world at large didn't even think of it.

00:35:38   I remember in the Mac world,

00:35:41   the Mac world, the keynote when it was announced,

00:35:45   Cable Sasser and John Gruber did a podcast.

00:35:47   And at one point, Cable said, can we write apps for this phone?

00:35:50   Because that would be awesome.

00:35:51   The only people who were thinking

00:35:53   about writing apps for this were Mac software developers

00:35:56   and stuff like that.

00:35:57   The general plus, USA Today wasn't like, well,

00:35:59   this phone is great.

00:36:00   But if you can't word process on it, forget it.

00:36:02   If it only had apps like no other phone, then--

00:36:06   Well, if the phones did have apps, you could download it again.

00:36:08   You could download the Snake game or whatever.

00:36:10   But financial spreadsheets and word processors?

00:36:13   Come on.

00:36:14   No, they're trying to fit it to a narrative.

00:36:16   And honestly, those things bothered me more

00:36:18   as I read this book, the idea that they are really

00:36:21   kind of rewriting parts of history to fit their thesis

00:36:24   and to fit their narrative, than the factual stuff.

00:36:26   Like I said, later in the book, they

00:36:28   say that the iPhone 3G had a faster processor,

00:36:32   and that's not true.

00:36:32   They say the iPad 2 had a flash.

00:36:35   iPads never had a flash.

00:36:38   You think that's-- do they mean like flash memory?

00:36:40   Then you try again, you're trying to decode it.

00:36:42   They can't possibly mean like a light that blinks, because--

00:36:44   That's what they do. They also suggest that the reason that the iOS didn't support Flash is because Adobe angered Steve earlier by either not supporting Next or by building some software for Windows or something.

00:37:00   I don't think that was really the motivator.

00:37:02   Well, that might be true, but if it is, get a quote from somebody who says, "Yeah, we were in a meeting with Steve and he said we're not going to put Flash on iOS."

00:37:08   We had it ready to go.

00:37:09   You have to source it.

00:37:10   You can't just say Steve Jobs was added--

00:37:12   because Steve Jobs has been mad at Adobe many times,

00:37:15   reportedly, over many things.

00:37:16   But is that why he decided to do this feature of this product?

00:37:18   You have to source that.

00:37:20   You can't just say it.

00:37:21   And the last one, which just made me laugh

00:37:23   that I put it in the notes here, is

00:37:24   that it is one of the most baldly, factually incorrect

00:37:27   things.

00:37:28   And I just wonder, again, did anybody--

00:37:30   it would have been so easy for them to hire a Mac nerd,

00:37:32   essentially, to just fact check this and clear this stuff out.

00:37:35   Or look stuff up in Wikipedia.

00:37:37   - Exactly, 'cause they say, "On October 17th,

00:37:39   "several hundred people attended a memorial service

00:37:41   "at the Memorial Church on Stanford University's campus.

00:37:43   "The iPhone 4S had been introduced two days earlier

00:37:45   "in the company's first public event after Steve's death.

00:37:48   "The event took place the day," now this is me talking,

00:37:50   "the event took place the day before Steve Jobs died."

00:37:53   It did not take place after Steve's death.

00:37:54   It was not the first event after Steve's death.

00:37:56   They introduced it with an empty chair in the front row

00:37:59   for Steve, and he died the next day.

00:38:02   That was, it's just, it's so basic,

00:38:04   and that is not a far off historical event.

00:38:06   that's a couple years ago and they just got it wrong. And, you know, I don't know,

00:38:12   it doesn't speak well to the rest of the book. Again, I think that this book is fine,

00:38:16   but making all these mistakes, I'm just a little baffled by it. And I wonder whether

00:38:20   they were just terrified that it was all going to leak and they didn't want to share it

00:38:23   with anyone, but it's like simple stuff that doesn't really matter to your overall

00:38:26   thesis in a lot of cases, but you could have done a little extra work and made these mistakes

00:38:32   all go away and have people query you on like what's your reasoning for saying that the

00:38:37   clones were like this or what's your source about Gil Amelio spending a lot of time on

00:38:43   stage because he loved the spotlight, which is not true.

00:38:46   Yeah, or saying like do you have different sources than this? Did you just read this

00:38:51   in another book or magazine article or did you talk to somebody about this? Because like

00:38:54   you said, his relationship started around the next year, so everything before the next

00:38:58   year he has to be getting from somewhere. Is he just getting it from other books and

00:39:01   magazine articles? That's fine, but if he's going to have different conclusions or certain

00:39:06   different facts about it, I keep thinking maybe just take the part that is relevant

00:39:10   to you and release it as a really long magazine article or a couple magazine articles. Why

00:39:14   do you need to make a book out of it and pad it out with the stuff that you weren't around

00:39:16   for by just summarizing other people's work? And to some degree, if you go back and read

00:39:20   all these books, you read Infinite Loop and Second Coming Steve Jobs and Revolution of

00:39:24   the Valley and what is the other one, East of Eden, and just like there's a million of

00:39:28   books around that time, Accidental Empires, they all talk about the same series of events

00:39:34   from different angles and they're contradictory. Like, they're dancing around the truth. And

00:39:41   I tend to value more the ones that have direct quotes from people who were there, not because

00:39:47   their version of events is necessarily correct, but because at least I'm getting one actual

00:39:54   So if I I feel like if I can get all of the first-hand perspectives of an event

00:39:59   No, one of those accounts of the event will be completely accurate

00:40:02   But if I know all of them I can kind of get a picture of what they're circling

00:40:05   You know what? I mean? Like that's the only way to know what really happened

00:40:08   No one person is going to tell you but if you take together everybody's event and keep in mind what their motivations were

00:40:13   how that how that event affected their lives and how you know, like

00:40:17   That's the only way to know the truth of history

00:40:19   history. You can't—and that's why you maybe need a thousand pages to do a biography

00:40:23   of Robert Moses—you have to just get every possible angle and build the truth by sort

00:40:28   of coloring in the area that's not the truth and coloring in all the people's biases

00:40:32   and all the people's reports, and what's left is the truth in the middle.

00:40:35   Yeah, I feel like—I said this after the Isaacson book, and I feel like I have to say

00:40:40   it again after this book, which is it is gonna be source material for hopefully another Steve

00:40:49   Jobs book that may not be a popular book. It might even be scholarly. I don't know.

00:40:52   But I feel like there's like a true story of Steve Jobs book yet to be written. It's

00:40:56   definitive. And it's going to have to end up taking the material from these books that

00:41:01   was actually reported. So in this case, it's going to be the first-hand accounts from the

00:41:05   Apple people and the first-hand accounts from the first person one of the two writers and

00:41:10   use that as raw material. Use the raw material from Isaacson where he's reporting what people

00:41:15   are saying, and from these other books and other contemporary reports and putting it

00:41:19   together into something that puts it in a hole. Because for now, what we end up with

00:41:26   is these books where we can pick and choose some things that seem like they're facts

00:41:31   or at least they're a particular person's take on it. But I don't feel like there's

00:41:36   a book that I can point to and say, "Ah, that's the one. That's definitive," because

00:41:39   they're not definitive. They've got little bits that might hint at the truth, but then

00:41:45   And there are a lot of other little bits where I feel like, "This is a fun story, but I've

00:41:49   literally read this story a dozen times before."

00:41:51   Yeah, they need to get to these people before they die, too.

00:41:54   So that's one angle.

00:41:55   And the second angle is, after these people die, you'll probably be able to maybe get

00:42:00   access to all their emails and correspondence.

00:42:03   That's where, in the case of the Robert Moses book, a lot of the times you're going through

00:42:08   public records, public speeches, letters written to people that are only revealed after everyone

00:42:13   everyone involved is dead because you're not going to see someone's personal letters

00:42:16   until the family releases them or whatever. The same thing with personal emails. So you

00:42:20   need to get the people—interviews with the people while they're alive, and then after

00:42:24   everybody dies, you need to get all the correspondence, and then you can build a true history around

00:42:28   this type of thing.

00:42:29   Yeah, like a Stanford University oral history project that goes and interviews—and for

00:42:35   all we know, they did this—but goes and interviews all the people who were involved

00:42:38   in Apple in the first decade of the 21st century and says, "We're going to put this under

00:42:43   lock and key until 50 years from now or until after you die. Or whatever circumstances you

00:42:49   want.

00:42:50   And you've got to get their business correspondence, all the paper before there was email. Can

00:42:54   you imagine how much stuff is in emails, even just in the short amount of time that email

00:42:58   existed for Apple's life? That is going to be way more illuminating than interviewing

00:43:02   the same three people who are willing to talk for the umpteenth time.

00:43:05   Right. I actually did a story in my college newspaper. We did a story about the guy who

00:43:11   was one of the founders of the university and when he died his oral history interview

00:43:15   was released and he said many unkind things about lots of people. It's kind of fascinating

00:43:22   and that's the kind of thing that you don't ever want to say when you have to deal with

00:43:25   the consequences. You wait until everybody's dead and then at least the historians can

00:43:29   make some sense of it all. I don't know. Well, I think I'm happy that I read it. I wish it

00:43:36   was better. I get, I appreciated their argument, which is basically like people who feel like

00:43:43   Steve Jobs was always that one guy and didn't grow as a person in his time away from Apple

00:43:52   and came back and then was successful. You know, their argument is, yeah, he did grow.

00:43:59   I suppose you could look at his first tenure at Apple and his tenure at Next and then his

00:44:03   his second tenure at Apple and say, hey, this guy obviously

00:44:05   figured some things out.

00:44:07   They try to explain what those things are.

00:44:09   I think everybody can judge for themselves

00:44:11   whether they're successful or not.

00:44:13   Yeah.

00:44:13   I think I might come to a different conclusion.

00:44:16   It's clear that the results were different,

00:44:17   but I'm not entirely convinced that the results were

00:44:20   different because the guy changed that much.

00:44:22   He did change.

00:44:23   He made different decisions and acted in different ways

00:44:25   and surrounded himself by different people,

00:44:27   but a lot of it has to do with circumstances.

00:44:29   Yeah.

00:44:29   You know what I mean?

00:44:30   I think their thesis-- and I'm not entirely sure.

00:44:33   buy this. They really want you to believe that not just failing at Next, but being around

00:44:40   Pixar but not being deep down in it because he couldn't be, because he wasn't a filmmaker,

00:44:46   that that experience gave him that secret sauce that he didn't have before. And I'm

00:44:52   not sure I buy it, but I mean, and Pixar is magical, so that's what they're kind of going

00:44:56   for, but I'm not sure I really buy it.

00:44:58   Well, see, like, even if you had an interview with Steve Jobs himself and where he said,

00:45:01   know what really changed me was going to Pixar and now you know if he just

00:45:04   repeated that word for it even that doesn't mean that's the case that

00:45:06   exactly that's what he believes right so you really have to get all angles of it

00:45:09   and like the stories from both you know the jobs one and two errors of Apple are

00:45:15   so similar in so many ways they're just framed differently because now it's like

00:45:19   you know he was a CEO and picked the whole board himself right so I'm fired

00:45:24   again if if the original Steve Jobs was in the same position that the second

00:45:30   around Steve Jobs was in, maybe he would have been just as successful.

00:45:34   Maybe he was just set up for failure because he brought in the adult supervision because

00:45:38   he didn't trust himself to do all this stuff.

00:45:41   He was always going to be—Bose was in charge of him, to use his language.

00:45:47   And he was never going to succeed in that thing.

00:45:49   And that, I think, is one of the most fascinating things, where how many people have this—how

00:45:55   How many potential Steve Jobses are crushed by the fact that they never get into the position

00:46:01   where their assets are allowed to result in good outcomes?

00:46:07   They're only ever put in, and it's the same guy in both positions, you know what I mean?

00:46:10   And this one person happened to have, you know, there's no second act in American life,

00:46:14   so whatever, he had a second and third act, and we got to see, it's kind of like running

00:46:18   the trial, you know, that, right, we get to run the trial three different times.

00:46:23   I'm gonna put the same guy in three different situations and let's see what what happens and what's different right now

00:46:27   He's not obviously the same guy but like the entire like the transformation premise that his time in the wilderness changed himself

00:46:34   Fundamentally that it was that that made it when he was when he came back. He was able to do things better

00:46:39   I think there's some of that but I think there's an equal amount of

00:46:42   same impulses same guy in

00:46:46   Maybe now wise enough to know that for him to succeed. He needs to put himself in a different situation

00:46:52   situation. Yeah, and it's also untestable. Yeah. Well, you know, the Steve Jobs clones

00:47:00   that they have underneath the giant circular ring, those will sprout in a couple decades.

00:47:05   Once we break through to the parallel universes, we'll be able to see all the different outcomes

00:47:09   and find the perfect universe. Let's take a break. I've got another sponsor to tell

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00:49:05   a good friend.

00:49:07   One thing, Jon, that I thought about, and I thought that I do all these, you know, podcasts

00:49:11   like Upgrade with youngins who don't remember back in the olden times. One of the things

00:49:17   that when I read a book about Steve Jobs that I realized is the narrative takes us away

00:49:21   from Apple. And I think in the public consciousness, there's this thought that Steve Jobs left

00:49:26   Apple and it all went to hell and then he came back. And it's almost like they can

00:49:29   compress it, like it took a year or something and then he turned around, but it was like

00:49:32   a decade. It was more than a decade that he was gone. And although they ended that period

00:49:39   of time, Apple did, on the brink of complete oblivion. And there's a fun section in the

00:49:44   book about Fred Anderson taking over a CFO and walking in the door and thinking, "Oh,

00:49:49   my God, what have I done?" But, you know, that missing decade when Steve Jobs wasn't

00:49:55   there, you know, that's when I became a Mac user. That's when I became somebody who devoured

00:50:00   all the Mac magazines and that's when I decided that I wanted to write about

00:50:03   Apple for my profession. So it couldn't have been all that terrible and I feel

00:50:09   like that decade has now just been kind of like thrown into the into the trash

00:50:12   as a failure. You know, I assume you became a Mac user during the same

00:50:16   period unless you're right at the very beginning, you know, because Jobs was out of there in '85.

00:50:20   How could you not know this about me? I had the original Mac in '84.

00:50:24   Did you have it in '84? Did you get it right then?

00:50:27   - Oh, okay, all right.

00:50:28   I assume that a lot of original Mac owners

00:50:31   were actually like, well, it was 85,

00:50:33   or well, it was the 512, but you're right,

00:50:34   you had the 128, so it was 84.

00:50:36   Okay, so you came in there,

00:50:38   and then Steve Jobs abandoned you, or was sent away.

00:50:41   - Here's the, I mean, so at that,

00:50:43   what was I, nine or 10 that year?

00:50:45   So my recollection of that period was,

00:50:48   I got the first Mac, and then I got issue number one

00:50:50   of Macworld that told the story of the first Mac.

00:50:53   They gave me a backstory for this.

00:50:54   - With that picture of the team.

00:50:56   Yep, they gave me the backstory on this amazing machine that I had.

00:51:01   And at that point, from my kid's perspective, there was this amazing team of people.

00:51:07   And Steve Jobs was not elevated to the degree that he is now in that story.

00:51:11   It was all about the Mac team.

00:51:12   And yes, he was the leader of the Mac team, and he was the figurehead, but it was like

00:51:17   a team effort.

00:51:18   And they made this amazing thing, and this amazing thing went out into the world.

00:51:22   from my perspective as a kid, then this company kept making new versions of this amazing thing.

00:51:27   I don't know if I even noticed that Steve Jobs had been kicked out of the company because

00:51:30   corporate politics are not interesting to a 10 or 11-year-old.

00:51:35   All I knew was that I was reading Macworld and eventually reading MacUser, and every

00:51:40   issue they would have some new technological development related to the Mac that I would

00:51:45   be excited about.

00:51:46   And they added color with the Mac, too, and they kept making new machines.

00:51:51   That's what interested me.

00:51:52   And I was too young to think, "What comes after the Mac?"

00:51:58   I didn't spare a thought about it by the time I was old enough to care enough about Steve

00:52:02   Jobs having been gone.

00:52:03   I read all those stories and it's like, "Well, you know, he was a loose cannon and it could

00:52:08   never last."

00:52:09   And Jean-Louis Gasset is my guy because he wanted to add slots and I think that's cool,

00:52:15   right?

00:52:16   You know what I mean?

00:52:17   It seemed fine to me.

00:52:18   Only later, as the company starts to go down the tubes, you realize, "Wait a second.

00:52:21   This is a company that is iterating on a great idea, but is losing the plot.

00:52:28   It doesn't understand what it is that made the Mac great."

00:52:33   And when faced with any kind of challenge, like, say, Windows, it had no idea what to

00:52:37   do.

00:52:38   It just flailed wildly.

00:52:39   Eventually, it almost became bankrupt.

00:52:41   Then I'm just begging for them to buy BOS or something, anything to rejuvenate this

00:52:45   company.

00:52:46   there when I was a kid it was all about the Mac the next Mac that was gonna come

00:52:51   out and every new Mac was amazing like the the SE was amazing the Mac - oh my

00:52:56   god color like hot power books the power books right for Billy exactly that was

00:53:00   that was not Steve Jobs saying the keyboard pushed back with a trackball in

00:53:03   the middle it's like what like that to find the laptop and just all the crazy

00:53:07   frog design things Merrick was the whole issue of macworld where they had frog

00:53:11   design do like this is what the Mac the future could look like I was I was

00:53:13   eaten that stuff up. It was like, "Yes, that's cool."

00:53:16   I hated that issue so much. But yeah.

00:53:18   I know, well...

00:53:19   Because the way it was framed was like, "Hey, Apple's designs stink now, so we hired Frog

00:53:23   Design. Macworld is here to fix Apple for you."

00:53:26   Right. If Apple made computers out of latex foam, they could look like this.

00:53:31   They could look like this. MacUser, we did a story that was the things from the Apple

00:53:36   archive that were the products that were like the concept products that never existed, but

00:53:39   At least they were like, from Apple.

00:53:41   And similarly, they were like, wow, that's weird.

00:53:44   Probably a good call.

00:53:44   Knowledge Navigator was one of the first things

00:53:46   I remember seeing go, Apple has no idea what it's doing.

00:53:48   No.

00:53:49   When it came out, it's like, seriously, guys?

00:53:51   But the guys who were up becoming Steve Jobs,

00:53:53   they're business reporters.

00:53:54   So they say basically, the IBM PC came out,

00:53:57   and then Apple was irrelevant.

00:53:59   And Apple remained irrelevant for a decade.

00:54:00   And I think, well, wait, that was the entire period where

00:54:03   I fell in love with the Mac, decided

00:54:05   I want to read about it voraciously,

00:54:07   and then write about it.

00:54:08   And they're just like, yeah, it's irrelevant.

00:54:09   from a business reporters perspective it was kind of irrelevant but from a user's perspective

00:54:14   it was the we were then you know the 10% of people who chose to be different and and we

00:54:19   love those new Macs that came out in the power book was super influential it goes against

00:54:23   their narrative to say oh Apple did some interesting things when Steve Jobs wasn't there but you

00:54:27   know I it makes me mad now somebody recommended infinite loop which I haven't read which says

00:54:32   that they they do well somebody else on Twitter you also recommended infinite loop yes yes

00:54:36   That's always my go-to for like, you want to read early Apple history, the best book

00:54:40   I found that encompasses all of the early, I think it ends with the iMac.

00:54:43   Yeah, so it gets--

00:54:44   Infinite Loop is the best one.

00:54:45   It gets the lost decade, it gets the decade where a lot of books that are about Steve

00:54:50   leave Apple.

00:54:51   It's about Apple.

00:54:54   So I'm going to read that one because I think that might be the thing that hits the spot

00:54:58   for me.

00:54:59   But I just think it's really funny that it gets cast off with a hand wave and it like

00:55:02   encompasses for me the entirety and for you almost the entirety of that time when you

00:55:08   become like really obsessed with the Mac and care about it.

00:55:12   But there were so few of us though. That's why it gets brushed aside because it is not

00:55:15   a pop like the popular story is Apple comes from nowhere and as the Apple says ignites

00:55:21   the personal computer revolution blah blah blah and makes a bunch of rich people. That's

00:55:24   a popular story just because hey you know like one of the first big tech millionaire

00:55:28   type stories, right? And the second story is, "Research into Apple becomes the biggest

00:55:32   company in the world." In between there, it's only an interesting story for people who are

00:55:36   interested in technology, because there were just so few of us, and we were looked upon

00:55:40   as crazy people, because only we could see the things that were better about this computer.

00:55:45   For us, it's like, how can you not see how different this is than Windows 3.1? Like,

00:55:50   are you serious now? Like, you think these are equivalent? Yeah, they both seem to have

00:55:53   mouse basically the same right what like and and it was like this this nuanced

00:55:58   distinction that made us kind of snooty and weird and it's clear that's not what

00:56:02   the world wants and we sort of hung out in obscurity really interested in this

00:56:10   one little company making a small number of computers that were increasingly

00:56:14   irrelevant and yet that company continued to make very interesting

00:56:19   exciting good products right up to the point where it stopped really doing that

00:56:22   had and then kind of, you know, crumbled into dust. Like business-wise, the company didn't

00:56:27   have its act together, but product-wise, it was doing amazing things.

00:56:29   It did. I mean, in the chat room, we have a quote from the New York Times from 1993

00:56:34   pointing out that during Scully's reign, company sales went from 800 million a year

00:56:37   to 8 billion a year. I mean, they did grow, but they also became increasingly irrelevant.

00:56:43   But I feel like there was a really good period in there where they were doing interesting

00:56:46   things. But, you know, this is what you said. What's the -- think about it this way. What's

00:56:51   the market for becoming Steve Jobs. I feel like there's really two markets there. There's

00:56:55   the market of people who just love Apple and want to read about Apple and they're the tech

00:56:58   nerds. And then there's the market that's the business media market, which I think these

00:57:04   guys, given their background, that is really what they're targeting here. This is a book

00:57:08   that's going to be read by people who want to learn lessons about how Steve Jobs dealt

00:57:13   with adversity and how he built such a creative team and all of that. And for us Apple nerds,

00:57:19   look at this book and say, one, we say things like, "I can't believe that they said that

00:57:25   the iBook was black because it was the MacBook," which, again, the business people, they don't

00:57:29   care. They don't care at all. But we're just trying to glean the stuff that we think is

00:57:32   interesting out of it because we think the technology story is interesting there. That's

00:57:37   probably not what that book is meant for. That book is by business journalists and it's

00:57:42   trying to make a lot of money from people who want to get inspiration from the life

00:57:46   of Steve Jobs because they believe that they can be the next Steve Jobs, or they can learn

00:57:51   how to be a good CEO by reading a lot of business books. And I think that's some of the conflict

00:57:57   here. And I realized that as I read that statement, but I still kind of got offended because it's

00:58:01   like, "Hey, you were just casting off this whole period where I got really excited about

00:58:06   this stuff and then wanted to read about it and wanted to write about it." And you're

00:58:09   like, "Yeah, it was irrelevant. Forget about it." But from their perspective, it totally

00:58:12   was. I get it.

00:58:13   Yeah, a more tech-focused angle would focus on what are the similarities between the Apple

00:58:21   of that era, the Sculley Apple, like the things that Apple did well.

00:58:26   The PowerBook is a great example.

00:58:27   It is like the iPhone in that it sort of redefined the form factor of an existing product.

00:58:32   And it was hot.

00:58:33   I mean, it was like--

00:58:34   --of a laptop.

00:58:35   I remember reading stories about famous people spotted with PowerBooks.

00:58:40   It was like the cool thing to be seen with in 1992.

00:58:44   Right.

00:58:45   And after that, every laptop eventually

00:58:47   looked like a power book.

00:58:49   It was in the same way that eventually every phone looked

00:58:51   like an iPhone, roughly speaking.

00:58:54   And so the thing to compare would be like,

00:58:56   what is different?

00:58:57   How did things-- how did they snatch defeat

00:59:00   from the Jaws victory and the Scully error and the reverse?

00:59:03   Because it was like the company that Jobs had founded

00:59:05   had these good qualities.

00:59:06   I mean, again, Jobs came and took over.

00:59:08   He didn't fire all the employees and start a new company.

00:59:10   The people who did all this stuff,

00:59:12   like Johnny Ive was there, right?

00:59:13   They had him slapping ugly plastic cases

00:59:16   around performers, right?

00:59:17   Like, you know.

00:59:18   - Yeah, well, he did the E-Mate and that was interesting.

00:59:20   And he put that little green triangle on the G3.

00:59:24   - Yeah, he did the beautiful Newton MessagePad 110, right?

00:59:27   Like, they were in, he did the 20th anniversary Mac.

00:59:31   Like, those people were all in the company.

00:59:33   All these people that did these amazing things,

00:59:35   they just were not being utilized.

00:59:36   And that's the story.

00:59:38   It's not so much-- when Steve Jobs was gone,

00:59:41   the company couldn't do any good.

00:59:43   And when he came back, they did better.

00:59:44   How?

00:59:44   He didn't do the work himself.

00:59:45   Those people are already there.

00:59:47   And so it's, again, in the same way

00:59:49   that Steve Jobs was set up for failure,

00:59:51   you had all these amazing, smart people who

00:59:53   were ready to do great things.

00:59:55   And then management, they did great things

00:59:58   in spite of management towards the end there, not because of.

01:00:01   Like, they were not--

01:00:02   the priorities were lost.

01:00:03   And again, you have Scully as the CEO didn't quite know.

01:00:06   The board then also gets a lot, I think, needs to take a lot of the blame. To use that jobs

01:00:12   term again, I think the board were a bunch of bozos because when they got rid of Scully,

01:00:17   not to bring sports into this for a minute, so forgive me, but there are stories about

01:00:23   teams that fire their coach and they fire their coach because they know who they're

01:00:27   going to hire. And then there are those teams, usually bad teams, that fire the coach and

01:00:31   then think, "Okay, now let's start looking for a coach." And I feel like that's what

01:00:36   the Apple board was like here, which was, "Okay, we got to get rid of Scully." And

01:00:40   then they were like, "Now what? Hey, Michael Spindler sold a lot of computers in Germany.

01:00:45   Let's try him out."

01:00:46   **Matt Stauffer** Do you guys know anybody who knows anything

01:00:48   about computers?

01:00:49   **Brett Harned** Gil Emilio, he's got a PhD and knows about

01:00:53   semiconductors.

01:00:54   **Matt Stauffer** We could hire an artist. We got to turn around

01:00:57   here. We need to get a turnaround specialist to come in. That's all it takes. You don't

01:01:00   You don't need to know anything about Apple.

01:01:01   You just know how to turn companies around.

01:01:02   It's just a ship that's leaking from that.

01:01:05   That is, they do tell that story well.

01:01:07   The Apple's a ship and it's got a leak and it's my job to get it to save harbor and then

01:01:11   he walks away and everybody looks at each other and says, "What about the leak?"

01:01:15   Like, "Kill.

01:01:17   Oh, kill, Emilio.

01:01:18   Fascinating, fascinating."

01:01:19   But so I think the board takes some of the blame because they made that moment where

01:01:22   I was like, "Okay, Scully, it's not working.

01:01:23   We need to do something else."

01:01:24   Like, could they have made Apple—could Apple have not maybe gone so far down in flames

01:01:31   if they had brought somebody in who had a clue?

01:01:34   Maybe, maybe not.

01:01:35   But they didn't bring in somebody who had a clue.

01:01:36   They brought in Spindler and Emilia.

01:01:40   To be fair to Scully, Apple was in essentially a losing position by the time they kicked

01:01:46   Steve Jobs out.

01:01:47   Like, there was not—even if they had just merely maintained, like tried to—and they

01:01:52   And it did to try to maintain the course or whatever.

01:01:55   The IBM PC was a real problem for them.

01:01:58   Because you and I both know, once the momentum started to go, once the conventional wisdom

01:02:02   became that the Mac and Apple are oddball, and the rest of the world and serious business

01:02:08   people are always going to use PCs with Windows and Dot, that narrative is a big problem for

01:02:15   the Mac.

01:02:16   And Apple, even if Steve Jobs had been there, Apple would have needed to do something dramatic

01:02:19   to turn that around.

01:02:20   So Scully did nothing to turn it around.

01:02:23   Scully was like, "Let's go with it, fine.

01:02:24   We will be the boutique high end.

01:02:26   We're going to go after the artists.

01:02:27   We're going to go after desktop publishing."

01:02:29   Like, just, you know, they went in the direction they could go in, and they milked that.

01:02:32   But they didn't have, you know, as Steve Jobs would say, "Milk the Mac for all it's worth

01:02:36   and get started on the next big thing."

01:02:38   They milked the Mac by fleeing from the fight that they just didn't want to engage in at

01:02:41   all, and they had no next plan.

01:02:43   They had no next thing to replace it.

01:02:44   So they were just like, "Gettin' all the gettin's good," or whatever the expression is, right?

01:02:50   They did do-- I mean, they took a--

01:02:52   Well, the Newton was their attempt at that.

01:02:54   Well, so I mean, this is--

01:02:55   and I don't necessarily believe this,

01:02:57   but let me say it just to try it on.

01:02:59   As a defense of John Sculley, it's like, OK,

01:03:01   what was John Sculley's approach here?

01:03:03   They created premium-priced products in specific markets

01:03:06   where they did well and that they could charge that extra

01:03:08   money.

01:03:09   And they did well with that.

01:03:11   And they were profitable for a long time with that.

01:03:13   Well, they did well, but not in big picture.

01:03:15   Like, they found their niche, their corner of the market,

01:03:18   and they said, we can wring a lot of money out of this.

01:03:19   because it's a lucrative corner of the market, but they had no sort of endgame.

01:03:23   They had no... it was like a sustainable business.

01:03:25   If you're Scully, the battle's already lost, you're never gonna be the IBM PC.

01:03:29   So instead you're like, "Look, we can build a business off here in the corner," and all that.

01:03:33   And then, to Scully's credit, he's like, "Let's do a handheld computer."

01:03:37   That's a really good idea, right?

01:03:38   That was his vision, and that's the amazing thing.

01:03:41   All right, so two things there.

01:03:42   One, all the battles are already lost, we're never gonna be the IBM PC.

01:03:45   He was in there early enough that that wasn't true.

01:03:47   He didn't have to be that fatalistic like in hindsight. We can say oh well like the thing they were set up

01:03:52   They needed to do something big, but in the beginning

01:03:54   You know in 85 when Steve Jobs is just out the battles not entirely lost at that point

01:03:59   It is still winnable with without Steve Jobs if you if you took it, but he's like no

01:04:03   We're not even going to try for that battle right and then the Newton that just goes to show like

01:04:08   He wanted to be a technical visionary like he wanted to show off his tech chops

01:04:12   and he had a reasonably good idea about the whole personal digital assistant thing and

01:04:16   And the people at Apple were so amazing that they actually did make, they came really close

01:04:21   to everything that we know would eventually define the future of mobile computing with

01:04:25   the Newton.

01:04:26   Like they were so ahead of their time.

01:04:27   They were just a little bit too early and made a couple of few mistakes and the company

01:04:34   wasn't really behind them and they really shouldn't have launched when they launched.

01:04:37   Like just, you know, the Newton was close.

01:04:41   And the fact that Newton was that close, with such a vague, not incompetent leadership,

01:04:47   but with sort of fumbling leadership, it just shows how much talent there was sitting there

01:04:51   on Apple.

01:04:52   How many talented, passionate people who were just waiting to be asked to do something great,

01:04:55   that they just misfired by a little bit, and then it went off the side and it ricocheted

01:04:59   and just kind of fizzled out into an egg-crackle's poof of dust, just like the drawings on a

01:05:05   Newton.

01:05:06   Eat up Martha.

01:05:07   Right, and so like, you know, it just, it's, it's, that's why I think it wouldn't have

01:05:12   taken, you didn't need Steve Jobs to turn things around against the PC. You just needed

01:05:17   somebody who had a little bit more of a clue about what this, the situation would be like.

01:05:21   Yeah. Yeah. It's a, it's, it's an interesting, it's, this is why I'm fascinated by that period.

01:05:27   Cause there's like, it's not like it was a total void and there were tumbleweeds blowing

01:05:30   through. There was interesting things that happened there and they weren't successful

01:05:33   really, but they were interesting. And I literally, my first month on the job at MacUser as an

01:05:42   intern was when they introduced the Newton. So I was boarding a sinking ship, let me tell

01:05:50   you. Let me tell you. And it was fascinating, but that was, by the time I got to MacUser,

01:05:57   I remember my first briefing at Apple was for the, was it Quadra 630? I want to say

01:06:03   it was not a four digit number, so it was not a Power Mac.

01:06:06   And I was there for the Power PC transition,

01:06:08   but it was like a Quadra 630, I wanna say,

01:06:10   which is weird, it had the TV tuner,

01:06:12   and it had like a motherboard

01:06:13   that you could slide out the back, which was weird.

01:06:16   And I think of that era, and I think that was when things

01:06:20   really started to get strange at Apple.

01:06:22   That was when they did the Mac TV.

01:06:24   They launched all the Performas,

01:06:27   80 billion different Performas.

01:06:29   - They were selling them through Sears,

01:06:31   it was a confusing time.

01:06:32   And the one at JCPenney had a different number than the one at Sears because maybe the bundle

01:06:35   was different of like software that they put on them. It was a very confusing time and

01:06:40   that's actually when I entered. And so I think about that period now and I didn't get to

01:06:45   see as a professional, I didn't get to see even the heyday of the Mac. It was really

01:06:49   all starting to spin apart in what was that, the summer of '93.

01:06:55   Yeah. And thinking about the Newton, like again, how close it was, the fact that so

01:07:00   The Newton didn't quite hit its mark, and then more or less hot on its heels came the

01:07:06   Palm to show that you were just off by a little bit, Apple.

01:07:11   The Palm was just so much more primitive and so much smaller and so much cheaper.

01:07:17   The business narrative then was, "See, Apple?

01:07:19   You tried to make this big, fancy, expensive thing that can do a lot of stuff, when really

01:07:22   you should have just gone cheaper, because the most important thing was small, cheap,

01:07:26   lightweight."

01:07:27   That was totally the narrative that Apple had decided to go sort of like everything in the kitchen sink.

01:07:35   We're just going to make everything a revolution and this is a platform that can replace the Mac and it's this amazingly powerful thing.

01:07:40   And there's data soup instead of files and it's just like, why don't you just do some handwriting recognition?

01:07:44   Why don't you just do graffiti on this little dedicated area?

01:07:47   We're not even like you right on the screen.

01:07:48   It's like, why didn't you just do the stupidest thing?

01:07:51   Like you dummy Apple, you're always trying to do these sort of highfalutin, like amazing.

01:07:56   Everything's got to be a revolution like the Mac.

01:07:58   What dummies you are.

01:07:59   When Steve Jobs came back and his first big breakout product, maybe not the iPod, but

01:08:04   certainly the iPhone, they did exactly what the Newton was trying to do.

01:08:07   We're revolutionizing everything.

01:08:09   We are going to make the most amazing thing you've ever seen.

01:08:11   No, we're not going to make you write in a little area.

01:08:12   No, we're not going to make you use a pen.

01:08:14   The iPhone was the Newton strategy, not the Palm strategy.

01:08:18   It was the Newton strategy where they actually did it.

01:08:22   The business narratives love to just find out

01:08:25   who the winner is in the market and then retroactively make

01:08:27   a narrative that says, this is the way you should do things.

01:08:30   If you're going to do something, you

01:08:31   should always make the simplest, most primitive things possible.

01:08:33   Don't reach for the stars, because you'll never hit them,

01:08:35   and it's pointless.

01:08:36   And it's like, they hit it with the Mac.

01:08:38   They hit it with the iPhone.

01:08:39   Maybe they'll hit it with the watch.

01:08:41   Maybe not.

01:08:41   But the iPhone was just totally the Newton strategy and not

01:08:44   the Palm strategy.

01:08:45   And now, what is the business narrative around--

01:08:47   I guess the business narrative around the iPhone

01:08:49   is Steve Jobs' magic.

01:08:50   I don't know.

01:08:51   Well, I do think that one of the good things, and I think I said this when the Isaacson

01:08:54   book came out too, is one of the positive things about all these Steve Jobs biographies

01:08:57   and being pitched at business people and being taught in business schools and all of those

01:09:01   things is I feel like, yeah, if they take away Steve Jobs as magic, then what can you

01:09:06   do? You know, be magic. But I do think like for all those years where they said, "Look,

01:09:12   what Apple did, don't pay attention to it. The answer is not to do, you know, interesting

01:09:17   things. The answer is to go as cheaply as possible." And like the antithesis of what

01:09:20   Apple was always about. And Apple's success has made it hard to go down that path and

01:09:27   ignore what Apple has done. And so even though I don't entirely agree with a lot of these

01:09:31   books or even some of the premises that they have, I think it's interesting that we may

01:09:36   end up with a generation of business people who have values that are maybe a little closer

01:09:42   to Apple in a way that would not have been the case with anybody coming up in the '80s

01:09:48   90s when Apple was like poisoned. Well the lesson should not be like I hope the

01:09:54   lesson at this point is that conventional wisdom is often wrong. Yeah.

01:09:57   So like don't do it like you need to license your operating system. Well no

01:10:00   you don't. You need to do what Steve Jobs does. Well no you don't. What you need to

01:10:03   do may be entirely different than what Bill Gates did, what Steve Jobs did the

01:10:07   first time, what Steve Jobs did the second time. Like that should be the lesson not

01:10:10   whatever the most recent successful thing is. Do that. That's what all leaders

01:10:14   should do. The lesson should be that a wide variety of strategies can and have worked,

01:10:20   and you should really just not look back and say, "I need to do whatever Facebook did,

01:10:27   because I want to be the next Facebook." Hopefully that is a lesson that anyone with

01:10:33   a long view would take. And you're right that having lots of these different stories kills

01:10:37   the previous narrative that you have to just make the software as high margin and you need

01:10:42   to license your operating system.

01:10:44   Because for the longest time, Windows was so dominant

01:10:46   that it was like, Bill Gates has defined the business

01:10:49   model for the future of technology.

01:10:50   Right.

01:10:50   Be Microsoft.

01:10:51   Right, exactly.

01:10:52   And that was the only possible-- either be Microsoft

01:10:54   or be bought by Microsoft.

01:10:56   And then Apple killed that one.

01:10:57   But now it shouldn't be like, oh, you

01:10:59   got to do the Apple strategy.

01:11:00   No, we need someone else to come along and kill the Apple

01:11:02   strategy by doing whatever the opposite of Apple is

01:11:05   and being fabulously successful when we're old grandparents,

01:11:08   right?

01:11:09   Although I would rather have today's up and coming

01:11:12   business people look at Apple and say, "Hey, Apple cares about design and is trying to

01:11:16   build products that people want to buy instead of just assembling technology together, and

01:11:21   that's what we should do when we build products." I feel like that would be a good lesson for

01:11:24   people who want to be tech people to learn. I think that some up-and-coming tech people

01:11:29   have learned that lesson, as opposed to the old lesson, because the old lesson was literally

01:11:32   like, "Just take a bunch of crap, make it compatible, sell it for as cheap as you can,

01:11:38   and then move on to the next thing."

01:11:39   That's our bitter Mac user perspective.

01:11:41   But I think it builds.

01:11:42   Because Bill Gates' lesson really was the old owning control mantra from Apple.

01:11:49   It's really important for you to understand what your power position is in the market.

01:11:58   You need to be the master of your own destiny.

01:12:01   You need to make sure IBM lets you license MS-DOS to other people.

01:12:05   Stick that clause in your contract, because that will make the future of your company.

01:12:08   need to be shrewd about your business and understand where the value is in the future,

01:12:14   right?

01:12:15   And that argument didn't go away.

01:12:17   Steve Jobs did all that in his second run at Apple.

01:12:20   He made sure that his business arrangements and everything were set up.

01:12:23   It didn't mean his exact same thing, but he made sure that he controlled the platform,

01:12:28   that his deals with the carriers were so lopsided so that he controlled the experience with

01:12:32   the whole app store so that Apple could control the applications, the security and viruses

01:12:37   and all this other stuff, right?

01:12:40   That was him playing up the Bill Gates lessons.

01:12:41   And then of course, the Apple lesson is, at this point, technology is ubiquitous enough

01:12:45   that it's like a consumer product and you have to incorporate design, right?

01:12:49   And then maybe the Apple Watch lesson is you have to incorporate fashion or whatever.

01:12:52   The next one is going to be, I learned the Bill Gates lesson, I learned the Steve Jobs

01:12:56   lesson, I learned the Apple Watch lesson, and then I'm going to build on that.

01:12:58   So they really do, it's not like one counteracts the other, it's you have to learn all the

01:13:02   lessons and incorporate them, possibly in a different way.

01:13:05   Like the lesson Steve Jobs learned from Microsoft of like seeing how their position at the top

01:13:12   of the market was only possible because of the smart moves they made early on about which

01:13:18   parts they controlled and which parts other people controlled.

01:13:21   Apple took that lesson to heart and used it for hardware, saying we don't have to own

01:13:26   all the factories, but we have to make sure all our dealings with the people who make

01:13:30   hardware for us are such that we are in the position of power always, that we control

01:13:35   again, you know, if they make our max will have this discussion all over again of like,

01:13:39   we don't even want Intel making the chips because that is too much of taking control

01:13:42   out of our hands. So they're sort of using the Microsoft strategy that they did with

01:13:44   software and controlling the market through software and doing it on the hardware side.

01:13:50   Yeah, and in reality, you know, the sad thing, not to be a little cynical, but the lesson

01:13:59   people are going to take most people are going to take from things like this is, oh, I'm

01:14:03   to just do that, which is not, you know, I'm going to do what Steve Jobs did, which is

01:14:06   not...

01:14:07   They're welcome to try, I mean, but like, I mean, you know, it's not like these are

01:14:11   all possible models that can work, but if you're looking, if you're just looking to

01:14:14   have a successful business, almost any of these strategies can work if you execute them

01:14:19   well.

01:14:20   If you're looking to become the next Apple, the next Facebook, the next Microsoft, you

01:14:23   will probably need to incorporate the lessons of all the past people and do something and

01:14:28   repurpose them for, you know, the modern age, which is going to be different than the situation

01:14:33   was for any of those past people.

01:14:35   Let me, let me take a break for our last sponsor. It's MailRoute. If you imagine a world without

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01:16:29   of Relay FM. Thank you, MailRoute. So John, at dinner at the UHL Conference,

01:16:38   at the big banquet, I was sitting with Myke and with Marco and Tiff and with Georgia and

01:16:44   Serenity was at a different table, I think. A bunch of people. A bunch of really good

01:16:49   people. And John Gruper appeared with one of those little telepresence robots, and he

01:16:56   actually fell off the stage as a robot. So he'd had too much to drink, I think. But we

01:17:01   were discussing a concept that you and I have talked about before, which is the argument

01:17:07   about what's a robot and what's not a robot. And so I wanted to ask you briefly, before

01:17:14   we wrap the show, are you willing to discuss a few posits in the robot or not genre?

01:17:23   Tim Cynova If you insist, but if we're ever going to

01:17:26   have our own podcast about this, we're just stealing our own thunder.

01:17:28   David Schanzer Or are we promoting? I'm just going to limit

01:17:32   it, but I'm excited about the possibility that we could do a podcast in which we determine

01:17:36   whether things are robots or not. But I wanted to… So this is where it started, is we had

01:17:44   the incomparable draft about… We had computers and we had robots. And the computer draft

01:17:49   was recorded first and somebody picked Kit from Knight Rider as a computer. And so then

01:17:53   in the robot draft, somebody tried to pick Car, the evil Knight Rider car, and I said

01:18:00   that wasn't a robot. And that led to an entire discussion that we had over dinner

01:18:06   in Ireland because we're really exciting people about what--

01:18:08   Are you leaving out the most important part

01:18:11   of your selection?

01:18:12   Oh, and then later, Steve, Let's drafted the '80s dance,

01:18:15   the robot.

01:18:15   Yes.

01:18:16   And I said that was a robot.

01:18:17   Yes.

01:18:18   Let's repeat this again for the audience.

01:18:20   Yes.

01:18:21   You said that the robot--

01:18:22   The dance, the robot was a robot.

01:18:23   --the dance from the '80s is a robot.

01:18:25   Yes.

01:18:26   I did say that.

01:18:27   That led to me yelling at you about not knowing what is a robot

01:18:31   and what is not a robot.

01:18:32   I admit that that was indefensible,

01:18:33   but I felt like Steve--

01:18:34   I had to give something to Steve at that point. I felt like he needed it.

01:18:37   No, that's true. That's a strong point on your part. So without getting too far down

01:18:43   here because I want this to be a promotion from our glorious new podcast that we will

01:18:47   do at some point, maybe possibly, about whether things are robots or not, leaving the fact

01:18:55   that the robot that's a dance is totally not a robot aside, what do you think of this question

01:19:00   that, and this was one of the most divisive things at dinner, was that Kit, okay, from

01:19:07   Knight Rider, is an intelligent car. So it's mobile on its own. It's got a voice. It can

01:19:14   think for itself. It can talk to others. But it doesn't have like arms or anything. It

01:19:18   just kind of is a self-driving car that's intelligent. So this is what I want you to

01:19:24   think about and tell me is, what makes something a robot versus not a robot?

01:19:29   Because I view KIT as a computer--

01:19:31   It's going to kill the whole podcast.

01:19:33   Oh, all right.

01:19:34   Well, I mean, I just think one of the questions

01:19:37   is about vehicles.

01:19:38   Because the argument that I made was, if you think KIT

01:19:41   is a robot, then do you think the USS Enterprise is a robot?

01:19:43   Because it, too, is a vehicle with an intelligent computer

01:19:46   that can even create its own sentient beings

01:19:48   and its holodeck if it wants to.

01:19:51   Yeah.

01:19:52   As I think we discussed when thinking about this podcast

01:19:57   robot or not. In the first episode, you would imagine that we would have to sit down and

01:20:03   hammer out the definition of a robot, and then all subsequent episodes would simply

01:20:06   be applying this definition to other things in a boring way, because once we've defined

01:20:10   it, there's no point in having any other episodes. If we can come to an agreement on what a robot

01:20:14   is, it's obvious what, you know, so... We also need to disagree about the definition

01:20:19   of what a robot is, or there's also the podcast that's not that interesting.

01:20:21   Yeah, but then that's like, that's intractable, like if we're going to convince each other

01:20:24   or whatever. Interesting.

01:20:25   So do you want me to make a ruling on Kit versus the Enterprise?

01:20:28   Well, I mean, I don't know.

01:20:30   I feel like I feel like that that is an interesting debate to have about it.

01:20:34   A an autonomous vehicle that is itself sentient.

01:20:38   Is that a robot? Because what makes a robot a robot?

01:20:41   Is it that it is mobile and intelligent or is it that it it sort of appears like a human being?

01:20:48   Well, let's let's do something easy just as a proof of concept here.

01:20:51   The telepresence robot that John Gruber was driving around the stage at UHL.

01:20:55   Robot or not?

01:20:56   Not a robot.

01:20:57   Not a robot!

01:20:58   Because, all it is is a piece of hardware, it's an iPad on a stick with John Gruber.

01:21:03   If you could put John Gruber inside there, and that's the only place John Gruber existed,

01:21:06   then we're talking about robots.

01:21:08   Interesting.

01:21:09   But John Gruber is not inside the thing.

01:21:11   No.

01:21:12   It is merely just an iPad on wheels, and he's sitting comfortably in his house.

01:21:16   Okay.

01:21:17   That's good.

01:21:18   But if John Gruber only existed inside that little stick on wheels?

01:21:21   Robot.

01:21:22   Inside, yeah, okay, so now let me follow this up just a little bit.

01:21:26   Again, just, we're workshopping here.

01:21:28   If John Gruber's brain was put in a computer, but it was like in a mainframe, like they

01:21:34   have on television whenever they have to hack something, it's a mainframe.

01:21:37   It was a big supercomputer somewhere that was just large enough to hold the entirety

01:21:41   of John Gruber.

01:21:44   But it was like in a big bunker in like underneath the Rocky Mountains.

01:21:49   But it was connected to the internet to that telepresence robot on stage in Ireland.

01:21:53   Is that a robot or is that just a computer that's controlling a thing?

01:21:58   Is that different?

01:21:59   Yeah, that's different because the big mainframe thing is not a robot.

01:22:04   Again, it would have to be the only place that John Gruber exists would have to be in

01:22:07   that thing that's moving around.

01:22:09   I think we're making progress.

01:22:10   I think we're making progress.

01:22:11   the Arumba robot or not? Sure. Okay, so it doesn't have to be sentient, but I mean...

01:22:18   No, I mean, yeah, otherwise we can only talk about science fiction.

01:22:23   Right, okay. Because we don't have any actual sentient machines, so... That's good. Is Siri a robot? No.

01:22:29   Good. I think this proves just how brilliant the robot or not is. What about love? Is love a robot, Jason?

01:22:36   That's an interesting question, Jon. Webster's dictionary defines love.

01:22:42   What is love, Jason? Baby, don't hurt me.

01:22:44   Love is a robot.

01:22:45   Don't hurt me. No more.

01:22:47   All right. Well, Jon, it has been a pleasure having you on Upgrade. This was actually a

01:22:52   lot of fun. And you'll be happy to know that in the great tradition of Upgrade, we have

01:22:56   lots and lots of things on the show notes that we didn't get to. But that's fine. That

01:23:01   always happens.

01:23:02   Robot or not is at the bottom. We got everything, didn't we?

01:23:03   I skipped some stuff in the middle, because we've been going on.

01:23:07   Oh yeah. We talked about the old times. We complained about books. We did a lot of good stuff.

01:23:13   So, thank you so much for coming on. I had that thought when Myke said, "I can't do this. I'm going to be on vacation. I have to go to Dracula's castle."

01:23:20   He's so lazy, isn't he?

01:23:21   Yeah, I mean, some of us take our microphones with us when we go on vacation.

01:23:25   Seriously, like, what's his problem? Like, he can't do a simple podcast? Like, what else does he have to do with his day?

01:23:30   He's on vacation with his girlfriend and I think that unlike us who are old married people,

01:23:36   he needs to not tell his girlfriend, "I'm going to go away for two hours and do a podcast."

01:23:43   He does one podcast a month, right?

01:23:44   He's not busy at all.

01:23:49   He does more podcasts than I do, which is shocking.

01:23:53   But it's good because when people say, "Oh my God, I can't believe you do four podcasts

01:23:56   a week," I go, "Yeah, you should meet Myke."

01:23:58   Myke does four podcasts a day.

01:23:59   Have you checked that he's not twins or triplets?

01:24:02   Well I can't prove that because I only ever saw one of him.

01:24:04   I have seen him in real life and in fact just did, but you can't prove that there isn't

01:24:11   another one.

01:24:12   Right, well if you saw him at Ool and you saw him for five minutes and then you saw

01:24:18   him five minutes later and you realized when you previously saw him he didn't have a beard

01:24:20   but now he does, you're like, "Wait a second.

01:24:23   You couldn't have grown that beard that fast."

01:24:24   You would really recognize if Myke didn't have a beard, because it is a prominent beard.

01:24:30   That's what I'm saying.

01:24:31   Maybe one of the Mykes has a beard.

01:24:34   Yeah, well, that would not be a sufficient – you couldn't take that Myke as his duplicate.

01:24:39   Next time you see him, just put your hand in there and pull really hard, because that

01:24:44   could be fake.

01:24:45   Interesting.

01:24:46   Interesting.

01:24:47   Well, so this is my point, is that if Myke does have doubles, he didn't bring them

01:24:50   with him, so far as we know.

01:24:52   they had the same beard that he had. They were not beardless. He must leave the beardless

01:24:57   mic duplicate at home just to record and sends the beardy one out in public.

01:25:01   Well, anytime he wants to briefly have a normal life, I'm happy to fill in.

01:25:06   Well, I appreciate that. And it was fun to talk about computer things with you, which

01:25:08   we've talked about before, just not when we were recording on a podcast.

01:25:11   Yes, that is definitely true.

01:25:13   That was a nice thing. So thank you. And of course, everybody should, I don't know why

01:25:18   they wouldn't have already done this but they should listen to the Accidental Tech Podcast

01:25:23   which you can find on iTunes or at ATP.fm.

01:25:25   Sing a song, go ahead.

01:25:29   And John is on Twitter, S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A, Siracusa.

01:25:34   You got it.

01:25:35   Ah, I know it well.

01:25:37   And as always, this episode, always and forever, will be at relay.fm/upgrades/30 or the show

01:25:46   Show Notes are in your podcast app of choice.

01:25:49   Myke will be back next week with me.

01:25:51   Thank you once again to our sponsors, 1Password, GoToMeeting, and MailRoute.

01:25:56   And thanks to everybody out there for listening.

01:25:58   We will see you soon.

01:26:01   Is Myke going to be re-energized when he comes back?

01:26:16   drained of all blood because he visited Dracula's castle.

01:26:18   Hmm. I didn't know that he was there. Yeah. Yeah, he was high in the Carpathian

01:26:22   Mountains. Dracula was my senior class play. I know every time he mentions that he's going

01:26:27   to Romania, I say, "Oh, it's a remote region in Romania," because that's what Transylvania

01:26:32   is. That was one of my lines. "Where's Transylvania? It's a remote region in Romania."

01:26:36   What do you think about that when you see your kids doing activities at school and you're

01:26:40   like, "You're going to remember some stupid part of this activity that you're doing for

01:26:43   rest of your life. So whatever line you have in the school play, be prepared to know that

01:26:48   when you're 40.

01:26:49   Forever. That's right.

01:26:50   I hope it's a good one.

01:26:52   Yeah. It's a remote region in Romania.

01:26:54   Yours, I don't know how you did on that.

01:26:56   No, actually, I think in that play I had the most dialogue, but I wasn't one of the stars.

01:27:00   I was like the guy who owned the house where the play takes place. So as the host, I kept

01:27:05   appearing and saying things that were sort of like either expository or just moving the

01:27:10   the story along. And so I had lots and lots of dialogue to say that I had to memorize.

01:27:15   I've never done anything like that before. But yet my character was not particularly

01:27:19   interesting in any way. I was not Dracula. I was not von Helsing.

01:27:23   It was setting you up for your career as a journalist.

01:27:26   Yeah, that's right. I was just the guy there saying, "Hey, this is my house." And, "Oh,

01:27:31   Transylvania? That's a remote region in Romania."

01:27:34   I meant in the way that it was not setting you up for your career as an actor.

01:27:38   Yeah, oh certainly. Well, that was the perfect part. Actually, you could argue that having

01:27:42   me have lots of dialogue was maybe not the best choice, but, you know, it was the part

01:27:48   I was born to play. Mr. Generic Exposition Guy. No acting required. Just read the lines.

01:27:55   And so I did.