I know we aren’t quite to 2008, but I wanted to get a jump on the FT’s nominating committee with "Options, the secret life of Steve Jobs." Written by Fake Steve Jobs, who produces the wonderful Fake Steve blog and by day uses the name of Daniel Lyons and is allegedly a senior editor at Forbes. But you can’t be sure.
He’s hilarious with his depiction of the Steve Jobs ego, and his accounts of Steve sitting around gettting stoned with Oracle’s Larry Ellison, and his accounts of venture capitalists ring true as well. At least they do to someone who has read about them.
A conversation with Virgin’s Richard Branson:
"We’re going to create a new section on Virgin Atlantic, right behind Upper Class, and call it iPod Class. The walls, the seat backs the seat cushions, the carpet, the bathrooms, everything in bloody shiny white, like you’re sitting smack inside an iPod. We throw in some fake Champagne and cheap sushi and bang up the fare prices by thirty percent…”
“Richard, I don’t get it. What’s the iPod connection?”
“Hrm, well, uh, yah, whatever, who knows, but it’s marketing, innit?”
“He’s the only person I know who’s more self-absorbed than I am….But give Bono credit. He figured out something that I didn’t. One word: Africa. The place is like a miracle worker shrine, a whole continent filled with absolution. Touch it, and you’re healed.”
On Hollywood — film and music.
“These aren’t engineers or inventors. They don’t create anything. They don’t build anything. All they do is make deal. They’re criminals, basically…These guys are like a cross between Tony Soprano, Bill Gates and the monster from Alien. Even when you catch them cheating they don’t apologize, they just move onto the next swindle. And they’re really good at it because they’ve bee doing it for so long. They’ve spent decades practicing on recording artists and actors and screenwriters…They’re like guys who steal purses from old ladies. It’s not that hard to do, but kind of person does it?”
It’s a fun read, a pretty good plot, but it’s the sections on a crusading prosecutor who wants to become governor, on Hilllary doing a fund-raising visit, on Al Gore trying to squirm his way off the board, that make the book so provocative and weirdly informative. Well, maybe just provocative.