In which I unwittingly befoul an otherwise fitting tribute to the late, great Mr Jobs

“SHARE YOUR MEMORIES of Steve Jobs” read the email from Faith Korpi, producer of the 5by5 network to which I contribute a podcast. I thought she meant memories of actually interacting with the guy. I had one such experience: Steve fired me from a freelance project. That being my only “memory” of Steve Jobs, I responded to the assignment by telling that story.

5by5 created a beautiful audio tribute to Steve Jobs. The other contributors, who understood the assignment correctly, carefully crafted personal tributes to Steve Jobs and his legacy. Listening to this series of heartfelt recollections, you get a sense of the contribution Steve Jobs made to all our lives. The testimonials of my colleagues make me feel awe, wonder, hope, and terrible sadness.

A little over twenty minutes into this love fest for a giant of our time, my little story comes along and quickly sinks like a stone. I didn’t write it out in advance (no time, I was chaperoning my daughter’s second grade field trip) and I didn’t record it in my pristine podcasting studio (same excuse). The gist of it is, Steve Jobs fired me and another guy from a project before we did a lick of work, paid us anyway, and afterwards, for nearly ten years, Apple hardware and software that worked perfectly well for everyone in the world misbehaved for me — as if the aborted project had left me cursed.

Pathetic.

I admire and marvel at Steve Jobs every bit as much as my better spoken, better prepared colleagues. Not only did he understand that computing is about people, not technology; he also had the will to unapologetically demand perfection from the human beings who worked for him. If I live to be one thousandth the creative director he was, I will tell myself, “Well done.”

18 thoughts on “In which I unwittingly befoul an otherwise fitting tribute to the late, great Mr Jobs”

  1. If I live to be one thousandth the creative director he was, I will tell myself, “Well done.”

    If I live to be one thousandth the web standards advocate you are sir, I shall tell myself the same.

  2. I personally enjoyed the story. The road to perfection rarely follows a smooth path. Your path, his path; an interesting intersection, and something we all didn’t know. A common theme of passion in product and experience.

    Methinks you might worry more today about hailing a tooth ferry…

  3. Funny… you downer, you!

    I never processed that the Apple Zeldman curse could have come from that incident. I think it’s a solid theory… the only one that could explain the situation.

  4. I’m with the mikes and tim. I don’t think you have anything to regret. Thanks for the real, honest story.

  5. If you’ve ever been to a funeral where people recount their memories of the deceased, you always appreciate the funny, quirky memories that people have. It lightens the mood. Stops people from getting too deep and too depressed. That was you Mr. Zeldman. Thank you.

  6. It’s funny how sometimes the greatest people don’t actually tend to be the nicest. A bit of a depressing thought but I suppose the old adage of ‘nice guys finish last’ is probably quite true.

  7. Your story was my favorite. I felt it was an honest prespective, and it showed his fairness and strictness.

    and then he “forgave you” and even if that part happend only in your mind, I think it reflects on a compassionate soul.

    I loved your story.

  8. Your story was my favorite. I felt it was an honest prespective, and it showed his fairness and strictness.

    and then he “forgave you” and even if that part happend only in your mind, I think it reflects on a compassionate soul.

    I loved your story.

  9. I agree with previous commentors and would add you’re being too hard on yourself. Loved your story Dude.

  10. The Apple curse, lol, conspiracy against you Zeldman?

    What amazes me is how one man can have such an impact on a company and it’s products. I hope Apple can continue to keep bringing us innovative products.

  11. You always appreciate the funny, quirky memories that people have. It lightens the mood. Stops people from getting too deep and too depressed.Thanks and wish all the best.

  12. A little late listening, but I wanted to add I also appreciated your story. It was a nice, personal touch and I didn’t think it brought down the tribute in any way, it only made it more real.

Comments are closed.