It’s no surprise that Steve Jobs worked until six weeks before he died. Nor is it shocking that he left behind a secret gift to Apple, its shareholders, and its employees: a four-year product pipeline, a reverse time capsule for future generations to open and see what will be — versus looking back to see what was. This is what creative geniuses do, and it is how Jobs defined tech-cool and masterminded the single greatest comeback in corporate history.
What is shocking, though, is the reaction of the anti-free market left. Liberals are celebrating the life of Steve Job — a multi-billionaire businessman — at the same time that they’re calling for the death of capitalism. With one hand the bloggers at The Daily Kos are calling for the figurative roasting and eating of the rich; with the other they’re celebrating the life of a CEO who did everything the Kos kids say is both evil, irresponsible, and hateful. Meanwhile, the Occupy Wall Street gang and their backers at MoveOn.org are doing the same thing.
Some of this is due to the brilliance of Apple’s marketing: Apple charged more than any other PC maker, but its products were so coated in cool — in color, culture, and the x-factor — that the company not only got away with it, it conquered the world.
Speaking of conquering the world, Jobs had a kick-ass business mind. For instance, when AT&T refused to share part of their per-minute revenues, Jobs forced the issue, not by sharing nicely with others, or explaining that it wasn’t fair, or that it hurt his feelings, but by threatening to go it alone, to take it offshore: no splits on the per-minute-revenue, no iPhone. AT&T’s only way out of that deal was to pay Apple a huge amount of money.
Oh, and remember how Steve Jobs dealt with the unions striking and refusing to write code? No one does, because Apple’s prized employees were never unionized. Nor are Facebook’s, Google’s, Microsoft’s, or Twitter’s.
What so many on the left don’t seem to understand is that Jobs wasn’t motivated by a desire to serve the collective. He designed these products, sold them at the highest possible price-point, with the cheapest cost-structure (including labor), to produce the highest margins for his greedy, capitalist backers: the moms, dads, and kids he never met, but who, through their 401(k)s, pensions, and savings accounts, owned a piece of the huge profits that Jobs worked until he died to earn.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for designing beauty and being a brilliant, happy capitalist.
Todd Herman is a dad, husband, and digital media pioneer. He has been a start-up founder and CEO, angel investor, Microsoft executive; and chief digital strategist at The Republican National Committee. He is currently at work on another start-up.