Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jobs vs Soprano: flipsides of same coin?

Remember Option$? Turns out that it's become kinda big hit, in the meantime. A recent review by a lawyer is pretty intresting; here's an excerpt:

"... I finally read oPtion$. Though I'm a couple of weeks late to the book club, thought I’d add a few thoughts that I didn’t see over at Prawfs. Spoilers alert. At one point in this hilarious satire, Steve Jobs’ lawyer Bobby DiMarco says that Jobs, like all CEOs, is a sociopath. By this time in the book this is not news to the reader. The question we have to face is, so what? It’s the Tony Soprano gambit: Soprano was a metaphor for American society. He was bad, but the so-called good guys (lawyers, politicians, FBI agents) weren’t much, if any, better. At least Soprano had a sort of integrity. Jobs is a lot like Tony. They both run businesses, they both have shrinks, and they’re both being hounded by the cops, their business associates, and just about everybody else. Jobs may be no gem, but consider his world: supine directors, crazy investors, the US attorney who’s using Jobs’ scalp to run for governor, his assistant who later cashes in to do white collar defense, Jobs’ only friend, Larry Ellison, complete with kimono and bong, Bono [“the only person I know who’s more self-absorbed than I am”]; Steven Spielberg [the hilarious game of phone-tag between Spielberg and Jobs is worth the price of the book], etc. Like Soprano, Jobs has a saving grace that sets him above this crowd: he’s a genius at selling stuff. And that’s no small thing, since a big part of modern capitalism is getting people to buy stuff they didn’t know they needed. The instruments of mass production would have been useless without advertising to create demand. So Jobs takes a shiny bit of plastic, puts some mundane electronics inside, and turns a commodity into something everybody has to have. What makes Apple different, as the Jobs character says, is how far it’s taken the art of selling, with his help: [W]e don’t start with the product itself. We start with the ads. We’ll spend months on advertisements alone. This is the reverse of how most companies do it. Everybody else starts with the product, and only when it’s done do they go, “Oh, wait, we need some ads, don’t we?” Which is why most advertising sucks, because it’s an afterthought. Not here. At Apple, advertising is a prethought. If we can’t come up with a good ad, we probably won’t do the product.”

... Cont'd

PS. The red type on the quote about capitalism above comes from me. How true! I got 15 iPods, for crying out loud! Almost too shameless to admit... and about 5 or 6 DSLRs with dozens of lenses. You only need one of each...

No comments: