Jobs was adopted. While he does not admit that this factor had an impact on which he grew to be, the idea of abandonment and choosing who or what you love is apparent in many of his actions, as noted by Walter Isaacson in his biography, Steve Jobs. After Jobs began Apple Computers in his parent’s garage, and the company received funding and began to grow, Jobs very naturally separated himself from his co-founding members, including Steve Wozniak. Jobs did not have the emotional loyalty Wozniak possessed. When Apple went public and shares were being divided, Jobs denied shares to a couple of those early members, as it was portrayed in the movie, JOBS, Steve claimed:
“The Company outgrew them. They’re not management, they’re not project leads. It’s not my job to be nice to people. It’s my job to make them better. They don’t deserve it.”
Jobs admired and was dedicated to icons such as Einstein, Picasso and Bob Dylan. He saw their contributions as meaningful and important. Perhaps the feeling of abandonment as a child left Jobs with the resolve to be important and remembered? No matter who he had to walk over or by to achieve this, he did.
Around the time of his Atari days, Jobs took a significant trip to India in which he explored his spirituality. Jobs became a devout Buddhist, and admired his Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki. This devotion is symbolic of Jobs being much more connected with big ideas rather than the life in front of him. He felt empowered, perhaps even enlightened. He returned to Silicon Valley with determination in his eyes, and a heightened higher-than-thou mentality.
How do these factors impact who he was a people leader, a colleague or manager? In my next post I’ll dive further into who Jobs was as a manager, and the epic risk and failure of his managerial style.