7 Lessons from Random Steve Jobs Encounters
It's been just a little over a year since Steve Jobs passed away. And while his legacy lives on through Apple products, stories about the man himself also continue to be shared.
In fact, 2012's most popular question on the ask-and-answer site Quora was, "What are the best stories about people randomly meeting Steve Jobs ?" Answers to this question offer up a few life lessons from the man in the black turtleneck.
1. Help strangers, to the extent you can
The top answer came from Tim Smith, a principal at Applied Design Group. Smith owned an old British Sunbeam sports car that broke down and rolled to a stop in front of the Jobs' house one evening. With the car hood up, Smith was about to walk to his girlfriend's house to call AAA, when Jobs and his wife came out. They offered to call a friend who was a Sunbeam aficionado. Arriving dressed in black tie, the friend began tinkering under the hood, with Jobs behind the wheel to start the engine on cue. Nothing. "Electrical," the friend said. "Piece of shit," Jobs said. Smith was invited in to call AAA.
2. Admit your mistakes
Michel Smith wrote that he sent an "impassioned" email to Steve Jobs when Jobs was considering returning to Apple to help the struggling company. "Please," I implored him, "don't come back to Apple . You'll ruin it." Jobs wrote back, saying he wanted to save the company, and then made one request of Smith: "You may be right. But if I succeed, remember to look in the mirror and call yourself an asshole for me."
"Consider it done, Steve," Smith wrote. "I could not have been more mistaken."
3. Remember names
Ryan McGeehan, head of security at Facebook, ran into Jobs at a local Whole Foods. Jobs tapped McGeehan on the shoulder and asked about the lemonade in his cart. After chatting for about 5 minutes, they ran out of conversation. McGeehan told Jobs it was nice to meet him. "He remembered my name and said 'bye,'" McGeehan wrote. "Then I told EVERYONE."
4. Geeks are sexy
In June of 2010, Chaitanya Pandit, an app developer in India, was working late at a cafe testing his app on an iPad . A nearby girl was impressed that Pandit not only had the device (not yet launched in India), but could also write an app for it.
Pandit wrote an email to Jobs telling him about the encounter. It appeared on the screen at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference a few days later, where Jobs said, “It [the iPad] is magical. I know it because I got this email: 'I was sitting in a café with my iPad, and it got a girl interested in me!' So there’s proof.”
5. Be a gentleman
Maryam Qudus was hired as an intern for Apple in 2010. On her first day of training, she was told that if she ran into Steve Jobs at Caffe Mac's, the staff restaurant, to "not freak out and just leave him alone."
She got her food and headed toward the door, which was being held open by Steve Jobs.
"I tried holding on to the door to let him and the people behind me pass," Qudus wrote. "But he continued to hold on to the door and, like a kind gentleman, said, 'No, after you,' and then smiled at me. Best first day of work ever."
6. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty
Steve Bell met Jobs at an unusual location in Palo Alto, the city dump. Bell and his wife were there to get some free compost for their garden and saw they weren't the only gardeners shoveling manure that day. After he and his wife had loaded the back of their Honda SUV with manure, they noticed Steve Jobs shoveling his own free load of manure into his vehicle as well.
7. We're all human
Mark Hull, creator of the Paranoid Android app, noticed a funny thing about Steve Jobs' car when it was parked at the local Whole Foods. Jobs left his gas cap dangling on several occasions.
"Loved it. Not because it had some profound effect on me," Hull wrote. "But just because it showed me we're all human, even the brightest of us all."