Opinion

John C. Abell

‘Steve Jobs,’ Steve Jobs, and me

Oct 26, 2011 22:17 UTC

I’m only through nine chapters of “Steve Jobs,” the Walter Isaacson biography on recently-deceased co-founder of Apple Computer. But I am already enthralled, way more excited than, say, the New York TimesJoe Nocera (more on that later).

I’m not going to critique the quality of the story-telling, except to say that I am finding it appropriately understated in the way a writer can get away with when the story itself is so compelling. Even though we knew quite a bit about the famously private Jobs, through Isaacson he reveals and confirms things we didn’t know, or only suspected.

This is to be expected in an authorized biography, especially when, as is the case here, the subject approached and then pursued the biographer. It is also to be expected that there would be some tension and mixed feelings on the part of the biographer, even one so studious a journalist as Isaacson. Unless the subject reveals something utterly horrible there is no way to disprove the negative, that you are helping to spin the story, rather than report it.

The Steve portrayed so far is meaner and nastier than I had imagined — and also infinitely more vulnerable.

Steve Jobs was supposed to be published a month from now, as iSteve. The release date was pushed up but it still didn’t reach print before Jobs died, three weeks ago. No matter. Jobs told Isaacson he wouldn’t read the book for six months, or even a year.

The Apple doesn’t fall far from the threes

Oct 19, 2011 18:34 UTC
What goes up must come down. Right?

Well, maybe. But for those of you who think Apple is going the way of Netflix, or even Google for that matter — the former got severely punished over cavalierly raising prices and for Qwikster, the latter lost its steroidal stock mojo a few years ago — I’d think twice before I follow the herd to the exits.

You want to get wallow in some really bad tech news? Check out Yahoo’s dismal quarter. There’s an Exedrin headache for ya.

Apple has dipped back into the three hundreds and off historical highs. But with a mundane price to earnings ratio of 16:07 the Cupertino company hardly seems a candidate for bursting bubble syndrome. Compare that to Amazon, whose P/E is is a whopping 105.3, and even Google, which also prints money but tips the scales at 20.72.

The feminine iStique

Oct 13, 2011 14:43 UTC

Katharine Herrup, friend and editor (depending on how this goes, not necessarily in that order, or either, for that matter) has challenged us with a simple question: Why aren’t there more über successful women in tech, and everywhere, for that matter?

Kat (I’ll get away with that for as long as I can) does so in a provocative and timely way by suggesting that the next Steve Jobs, the second coming of whom might be, ought to be, no reason shouldn’t be, a woman.

Long overdue. Glass ceilings are meant to be broken. Right on.

But … as I began reading her post something disturbed me straight away. It wasn’t the stirrings of latent male chauvinism, though it did occur to me that any contrarianism might be construed as such, and who’s to say what evil lurks in the hearts of men? And then there was this friend/editor thing. I questioned myself: I have a daughter, and very much wanted our only child to be a girl, and told people who asked why (even though it was none of their business), it’s because girls are better people.

More like a whisper than a bang

Oct 6, 2011 16:04 UTC

By John Abell
The opinions expressed are his own.

(This column was written hours before the tragic news of Steve Jobs’ passing. For my thoughts on him, please see ‘We All Called Him Steve …‘ and for my reaction to his stepping down as Apple CEO in August, ‘A World Without Steve Jobs‘.)

There was lots of digerati (and shareholder) angst over the release of the iPhone 4S — so much I won’t even bother linking to any of it. It’s all over every social network, Twitter and the talk of suddenly all-knowing TV anchors.

Look: The iPhone is an experience delivery system. Hardware is perfect when it disappears, doesn’t get in the way, expedites. In and of itself a computer is a brick. The operating system and the apps — that’s where it’s at. That’s why the iPhone has such resonance, not because it looks cooler than anything else out there. It’s the same with tablets, which is the primary reason the iPad rules.

We all called him Steve …

Oct 6, 2011 02:08 UTC

By John Abell
The opinions expressed are his own.

I was a very late comer to the Apple party. My first taste was a G4 laptop, $1,100 from Amazon.com. Prior to that, my close friend and colleague Samer Farha, the Apple evangelist in my life (we all had one) gently prodded me in the direction of Cupertino, with little success until I finally, and suddenly succumbed — just as one can’t ride a bicycle until one can, and then there is no turning back.

Samer would tell me, people aspire to own a Mac they way they aspire to own a BMW. I would say, but they don’t, not everyone does. I owned many a Win-Tel machine, even built a couple myself, and the thought that my mastery of Windows could possibly be challenged by the easy living that was the Apple way was both laughable and, in some strange way, unmanly.

But Samer is the smartest man in the room. So, I listened …

All this was before even Steve had revolutionized, well, everything. The iPod, your music collection in your pocket, was years off. “Smartphone” wasn’t a word yet. Tablets were stupid, phony non-computers Microsoft was saying would change the world blah blah blah …

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