Monday, May 23, 2016

Sure He's A Jerk, But He's A Genius, So It's Okay

I just finished Insanely Simple: The Obsession that Drive's Apple's Success by Ken Segall who was in advertising for Apple and came up with the idea of "i" for their products.  It was a good book, although for a book on simplicity, it could have been a lot simpler, without the same stories being told over and over again. Rather ironic.

The one thing that I found most interesting was his description of Steve Jobs. Much has been made of Job's tendency to "unload" on people, and Segall certainly recounts several of those stories. What he called it was Job's turning his "turret" on you, just like a tank, and letting everything he had shoot out at the unfortunate victim. It was a clearly unpleasant thing to watch, and even worse to experience.

But he is then quick to point it that it wasn't "personal", that everything would be just fine the next day and Jobs would be buddy-buddy again, and it was just Jobs being "brutally honest." When did honesty become "brutal"? And when did someone being a jerk become okay as long as they didn't hold a grudge against you? What about the person who was "brutally" attacked? Don't they have some say in it? And not once does he ever say that Jobs ever apologized for his behavior.

I suspect, and Segall certainly says it, that everyone tolerated this behavior, and even made excuses for it, as Segall also does, because Jobs was a genius at what he did (or at least portions of it). But I don't think that being a genius, or even being really good at your job, absolves you if you are a jerk. If you are a jerk and treat other people badly, then you are simply a jerk, and should be dealt with accordingly.

The sooner we learn to call bad behavior for what it is, and address it as such, especially in the church, the sooner it will end and go away. We create the culture in which we live and we receive the treatment we allow as a result.

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