Where Steve Jobs was wrong; often great, but stubbornly wrong

Mourning the loss of Steve Jobs' potential for greatness more than the man himself

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They also put such tight restrictions software that could run on those creations, content that could be distributed to or through them and what customers could do with iPhones, iPads, iTunes and other triumphs that customers complained their right to speak was being taken away by the same technology that was giving them a voice to speak and an outlet for their thoughts.

I never felt empowered using a Mac. I felt restricted and patronized. If something went wrong, there was no way for me to fix it.

If I didn't like, or found it awkward to do things the Mac OS or Mac app wanted me to, that was just too bad.

I had to do it the way Steve Jobs wanted me to. In return I got to pay a premium price for the hardware itself and was saddled with a dozen major and minor headaches, from the additional effort of making Macs work with the computers everyone else was using, to the shape of the proprietary plugs Apple continues to use, rather than standardizing on something that makes life easier for customers.

For all the greatness Apple and Steve Jobs brought into the world, for all the beige-box mundanity he fought against and the design aesthetic he eventually convinced the rest of the business was worthwhile, for all the personal empowerment Jobs brought to so many people, it was the need for control, the perfectionism, the refusal to give customers the same freedom he demanded that became, to me, the dominant characteristic of both the company and the man.

There is no question about Steve Jobs' greatness. In an industry that not only made itself a lever long enough to move the Earth, but made a business out of selling other people their own levers, Jobs stood out as a radical among revolutionaries.

The outpouring of grief at his passing is testament that many of his obsessions were more liberating to others than they felt confining to me.

Ignoring his flaws makes his accomplishments seem smaller

I don't want to criticize the dead, or criticize Jobs at all.

I do want to point out that the greatness that came out of Apple, NeXT and all the other quirky, avante garde things Jobs brought into the mainstream all became great not because of his tendency to abuse underlings, his arrogance, his obsession with control, but despite them.

Steve Jobs was a flawed genius, and his flaws robbed both his creations and his customers of some of the flower of that genius.

To me that makes the man more interesting, his creations more impressive and his potential even more amazing than if he'd been the saint he seems in a Twittered flurry of emotional eulogy.

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