Is that the question?? Before you guys attack me for such a blatantly ugly question, allow myself to explain ... myself. Steve Jobs was fond of calling people heroes or shitheads. Walter Isaacson points out numerous "hero" and/or "shithead" occasions in his biography, "Steve Jobs." Jobs rarely found a middle ground. As a matter-of-fact, it seems like people were black and white to Jobs. Most of us mere mortals see people in shades of grey. Jobs had a knack and perhaps even a gift of calling it exactly the way he saw it. His brutal honesty would often make people feel like kings or tear them down into shreds of flesh.
I grew up knowing about Steve Jobs because my dad introduced me to the Apple ][+ when he bought one for our family back in 1979. It was this very computer that got me interested in information technology and later led my life to where I am today as a chief information officer. Without that early and cool introduction, I may not be the man I am today. In other words, I owe my success to Dad and Steve Jobs.
Through the years, Dad told me about Jobs and his wonderful company Apple Inc. Strangely enough, Steve Jobs died within two months of my dad and under similar circumstances. They both withered away from the effects of cancer. Jobs died on October 5, 2011 and my father died on December 4, 2011.
Even though I knew many things about Jobs and Apple as I grew up, I had no idea about the levels of his candor and -sometimes- downright mean behavior. After reading Isaacson's book my eyes were opened. Some who read it might walk away thinking how callous and evil(ish) Jobs was, but I choose to see the other side. He was an amazing man with a gift that he discovered early on and used to create the greatest computer company anyone has ever seen (and may ever see again).
Back to the title of this article - I honestly wonder if Steve Jobs had worked with himself, would he have looked over his shoulder and said, "Wow ... That is amazing. You really get this. In my book you're a hero!" Or, would he have leaned in, grunted, and then spat out, "This work is shit and you're a complete idiot!" Hard to say for sure, but I like to believe that depending on the timing and events he may have said either one.
Despite how you feel about Jobs, the things he did and accomplished at Apple, Pixar, and later Disney are utterly amazing! His perfectionism was world renowned and contributed directly to picking Apple literally out of the ashes and turning it into one of the most powerful IT companies in the world. He often used his "reality distortion field" to turn things from impossible to possible. I respect and envy this trait.
While I do not condone nor believe in treating people as black and white as Jobs often did, I certainly can respect the success that he built in himself and others. By being so frank, he changed the lives of those around him. We can all take a lesson from Steve Jobs ... That lesson might be that honesty often can be empowering. Now I'm not recommending that you walk over to your neighbor and call her a "shithead." But, I am challenging you to bring some openness, honesty, and candor into conversations with those around you.
Do you think that Steve Jobs was man deserving of respect? I do.
Your faithful propeller head,