Jobs (2013) - Movie Review
This movie, apparently released in 2013, two years after the demise of the legend Steve Jobs, the maverick CEO and Founder of Apple Inc. Jobs had a troubled childhood. He was orphaned as a baby by his biological parents Joanne Schieble, a speech therapist and Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian Political Science Professor. His parents Clara and Paul Jobs who adopted him not just gave him their name & identity but also the most part of their lives. He would “hang around” with his Dad in the garage and the duo would make a number of experiments using physics and common sense. As he grew up (mostly alone), Jobs grew restless and had little or no interest with pretty much anything in life including studies or building a family. Living a life of a hippie, he dropped off Reed College and wandered across the world and had his moment of truth when he was in India inspired by Zen Buddhism. He went back to the US and along with his friend Steve Wozniak started Apple Inc. as a small time project, a hobby, supplying “a few Chips and a motherboard” to a peripherals dealer with which users could assemble a “Personal Computer” the way they wanted, including connecting it to their TV. Afterall, he was taking the mighty IBM head on and was revolutionising the life of PC users worldwide. With an initial investment from Paul Terrell followed by investments from Venture Capitalist Mike Markkula, Jobs and Wozniak built the company they cherished and went public in 1980 with a valuation of USD 1.2 Billion. In 2021, Apple is valued at USD 2 Trillion, the most valuable company on Earth.
Meanwhile, in 1984, the company built and launched the first ever Macintosh after a lot of struggle, with millions of dollars burnt. Jobs believed that building a great product is just half of it. The other half was marketing it. He convinced none other than John Sculley from PepsiCo to join him at Apple and formed a great team. But the project was no less than an utter failure due to the disproportionate costs of the Mac and the Board had to fire the guy who dreamt of building the most unique and the simplest PC in the world. The loss of money and the project was not the only thing; it was Jobs’ temperament over his fellow colleagues. He believed that those who didn’t carry as much passion for Apple as him didn’t deserve a place in the project team and in the company. He was known to be extremely rude – mostly in public, in team meetings and when among many other co-workers, all the way to being critical, argumentative and abusive no less. So much so, that he would fire employees during internal meetings and would expect them to simply walk out then and there and colleagues would dread travelling with him in the Office Elevator! He was a tough guy to work with, live with or adore a tinge.
One fine day, Steve Wozniak, who Co-Founded Apple simply walked away from Jobs and Apple, weeping, that he couldn’t tolerate Jobs’ histrionics and was tired of his self-obsession towards perfectionism. During his graduate school days, Jobs had an affair with Chrisann Brennan and when she announced her pregnancy, he refused to own up, citing that he may not have been the real, biological father of the baby and that he was sterile. For many years, the child, Lisa Brennan, stayed off Jobs until they finally reunited when she was in high school. Still, Jobs never believed Lisa was his biological daughter till his last. After being thrown away from Apple in 1985, Jobs fiddled with various ideas and founded NeXT Computers which eventually got acquired by Apple a decade later and paved a way for him to take over the company in 1997. This time around, Jobs took all his traitors to task and became indominable and invincible, all the way to becoming the single decision making authority of the company which he founded, got thrown away in-between and fought his way back to the top. And all this for an annual salary of USD 1. Along with Jonathan Ive, the Head of Design at Apple, Jobs built iconic products such as the iPod and the iPhone while reenergising the Mac OS (far earlier to what it is today) and laid plans for a device that could do all the work of a PC but much smaller, thinner and looks like a diary, easy to carry anywhere, which was eventually launched in 2010 as the iPad. For many years, his ill health remained a secrecy until he got his trusted lieutenant Tim Cook to take charge as interim CEO and went on a long break for recovering from his ailment. The world didn’t know for a long time until finally he owned up having Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer. Even then, he refused to get medicated for a long time, assuming that the cancer cells would die naturally by refusing to feed them.
The tech-maverick was so wrong about biology and science and he finally succumbed to the dreaded disease leaving behind a legacy which the world will reminisce for a century to come. Tim Cook, since 2012 has not just led the company to becoming the most valued brand in the world but has made the “Apple” brand a household name across 180 countries. In a Pareto’s world, it is, but impossible not to agree that the 10% users of the iOS decide how the rest of the world would buy, consume and use technology in any form. Apple has built an ecosystem around it over the past 25 years, from being a company selling personal computers, to having its own cloud, music, entertainment, hardware, software and everything in between.
The movie “Jobs” feat. Ashton Kutcher recalls the life and struggles of the hero of millions who has carved a special place in their hearts. For all the right reasons, of course. There shall not be another company like Apple in future, after all, nor was such a company in the past. Director Joshua Michael Stern has captured the nuances of Jobs’ real life so dramatically that if you have followed the story of brand Apple and the legend himself, you could relate to every scene and dialogue in the film, some of which touches raw nerves quite often. Many moments bring a sense of excitement, happiness, admonishment and hatred over the persona that was Jobs, making us think if someone could be as revolutionary and ruthless as him, at the same time.
Jobs – the movie, is breezy but will leave an indelible impact on the viewer, depending on which side of the man the viewer’s heart wants to support. Available on Netflix.
Apple and Me
Though I have been using an iPod since 2005 which was a gift from my classmate from college, I upgraded to the iPod Touch in 2011 and got myself my first ever iPhone 4S in 2012. In a freak theft on Bangalore roads, I lost the coveted mobile phone followed by which I bought an iPhone 5S waiting for over 90 mins in Chennai’s hot sun on the first day of its release at a Mall in 2013, the new iPod Touch in 2013, collected the city’s first iPhone 6S (Gold) at 12 midnight on its release day in 2015, an iPhone 7 Product RED in 2017 and an iPhone XR in 2020. The fact that I have never used an Android phone for my personal use ever all these years is another thing though I have experimented a few for secondary use, time and again. I bought an iPad Mini in 2012 (which is still in good use till date) followed by an iPad 6th Gen. in 2018 and an iPad Pro in 2020. Two iWatch units, one as a gift from my better half in 2016 and the Series 6 in 2021; bought a MacBook Air (on which I am typing this article) in 2015 using my “loyalty points” accumulated from my bank credit card. A good friend gifted me an Apple Tv series 1 sometime in 2017 which is put to good use till date. Well, this has been one love affair which I shall cherish all my life. Sadly, I knew very little about Apple and Steve Jobs until he died. What an Irony! But ever after, I read, saw, heard stories and anecdotes and a lot more about the man over the past 10 years. I hope to meet him sometime somewhere outside this mortal world, and shall thank him how I typed this movie review which was loosely based on his life.
One of the greatest moments for me as an eternal Apple fanboy was when I stepped for the first time in to an Apple Store – at Singapore in 2019. My kids were shocked to see me, even as I went crazy for the next 90 mins, jumping from section to section like how a kiddo would go bonkers at a Lego store or a Barbie Fantasy Land. Such is the magic that Steve has woven in our minds about the entire experience that revolves around brand Apple.