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Steve Jobs – The facts

Posted In iPad, iPhone, iPod touch - By Jack on Thursday, October 6th, 2011 With No Comments »

The facts

Full name: Steven Paul Jobs

Birthdate: 24 February 1955

Birth location: San Francisco, California

Social background: lower middle-class. Father was fixing cars for a living.

Education: high-school certificate. Dropped out of Reed College after one semester.

Occupations: chairman & CEO at Apple Inc. + Director at The Walt Disney Company

Net worth: $5.5 billion according to Forbes’ 2010 ranking — 136th richest man on Earth

Annual salary: $1

Family

Biological parents: Joanne Simpson and possibly Abdulfattah Jandali, political sciences professor from Syria

Adoptive parents: Paul and Clara Jobs, both deceased

Siblings: adoptive sister: Patti Jobs (born 1958), biological sister: Mona Simpson (born 1957)

Spouse: Laurene Powell (born 1964), married in 1991

Children: Lisa Brennan-Jobs (born 1978), with unmarried girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan. Reed (born 1991), Erin Siena (born 1995) and Eve (born 1998) with wife Laurene.

Personal tastes & opinion

Political orientation: Democrat. Steve funds the Democratic Party (using his wife’s name) for each Presidential election, and he entertained the Clintons several times at his home in Palo Alto. Steve himself thought of running for the office of governor of California after he left Apple in 1985 — but gave up in the end. He knew Gov. Jerry Brown from his days at the Los Altos Zen Center in the 1970s.

Spirituality: Steve studied Zen Buddhism in his youth. He often said that he thought of becoming a monk up in a monastery in Japan instead of starting Apple, but his guru Kobun Chino convinced him otherwise. That same Zen master was a spiritual adviser at NeXT and married Steve and Laurene in Yosemite in 1991.
A lot of critics of Steve’s tough management style point out: “Imagine what he’d be like if he hadn’t studied buddhism…” This is one of Steve’s many paradoxes: how could a real Buddhist make a living out of selling gadgets to the masses?

Favorite places: We know from Steve himself and the story of his life that he loves Yosemite, in which he demanded to be married, as well as Europe in general and Paris in particular. He said to French journalists that one of his biggest pride was to see an Apple billboard next to the Louvre.
Yet his favorite place on earth is probably his home, Silicon Valley. He reportedly delights in driving on the scenic I-280, and spending hours hiking on the hills surrounding Stanford campus in Palo Alto.

Favorite music: Steve’s favorite musician is definitely Bob Dylan, whose tunes he played throughout his youth with his guitar at home. He would discuss their lyrics with his friends, such as Bill Fernandez or Woz. Some people believe he dated Joan Baez mostly because she was Dylan’s ex.
Steve also loves The Beatles and Grateful Dead, all part of the rock scene of the 1960s (thus before he came of age). He describes himself as an audiophile: after he became rich, one of the only pieces of furniture he bought was a $100,000 stereo system. It is still true today.

Favorite art: we can’t say for sure but we know that Steve loves photography. For a long time his home was only decorated with large black-and-white photographs of cultural icons such as Einstein, or the California landscape, mostly by Ansel Adams. He also had Japanese prints.

Lifestyle

Bachelor days

Before his marriage, Steve Jobs was a real workaholic. He would spend far more time at work than home, where he would only show up for a quick dinner in the kitchen and a short night. While he was living in his Woodside mansion in the 1990s, dinner was prepared by a young couple of Berkeley alumni who lived in the huge, empty house.

Family life

All of this changed after he married Laurene in 1990. Humbled by NeXT’s failure, he spent increasingly more time with his newborn son Reed, followed by daughters Erin and Eve. His then-teenage daughter Lisa also joined the family. Pretty much everyone agrees Steve was transformed by his newfound role of caring father. He looks a lot after his kids and their education; for example, he goes to parents meetings, forbids them to watch TV, and makes sure they eat healthy food. He often talked about how he tried to balance his busy life with the duties of pater familias.

In 2005, he said in an interview: “That was one of the things that came out most clearly from this whole experience [with cancer]. I realized that I love my life. I really do. I’ve got the greatest family in the world, and I’ve got my work. And that’s pretty much all I do. I don’t socialize much or go to conferences. I love my family, and I love running Apple, and I love Pixar. And I get to do that. I’m very lucky.” That’s how he envisions his life.

Food habits

Ever since his teenage years, Steve has been a militant vegan. The root of it all can be traced back to when he was 19 in Reed College, and started exploring strange diets that he pretended would allow him to eliminate all mucus and therefore the need to shower. At one point he was a “fruitarian” i.e. he ate only fruits. He also started an habit he kept a very long time: that of fasting. He was convinced digestion was burning too much of his energy, the energy he needed at work when he stayed up several nights in a row.

Nevertheless, Steve is still a strict vegan to this day, like his wife Laurene. He is known for lecturing his guests about eating meat, and he makes no concession to himself, apart from eating fish (sushi especially). One of his favorite meals is known to be raw carrot, without any kind of dressing. For example a journalist invited at his home described the meal he was served: “We dine as the Jobses always do: both are strict vegans, eating no meat products. Dinner is pasta with raw tomatoes, fresh raw corn from the garden, steamed cauliflower and a salad of raw shredded carrots. While the adults eat, their six-year-old son picks lemon verbena and other herbs in the garden for the after-dinner tea.” He buys his organic vegetables from the Palo Alto Whole Foods Market, where he is often seen walking barefoot. Other of his favorite local restaurants include the Palo Alto caterer Il Fornaio (whom he hired to run Apple’s cafeteria), where he likes to eat pasta, the Fraiche yoghurt café, various restaurants and cafés on Stanford campus, and Sushi Ran in Sausalito.

Clothing habits

“I don’t give a shit what I look like,” Steve once confided to friends. This is why he is always seen in his Levi’s blue jeans and black mock turtleneck, even for public occasions. Indeed, he dresses this way pretty much all the time, although sometimes he is seen wearing shorts and sandals. It is a bold change from his dashing days at Apple and NeXT, where he would wear the most expensive Brioni suits.

He is not burdened by the paradox of being a multi-billionaire and wearing blue jeans with holes in them. In fact, always dressing the same makes perfect sense to him; he often declared the rationale was “to save him some time in the morning, not having to decide what to wear.”

Home & means of locomotion

Houses

Steve’s most famous home is probably his Woodside mansion, which he bought in 1984 and in which he lived throughout the 1990s. The house was famous for its grandiose dimensions (it was the party house of a copper magnate) and, especially, for its total lack of furniture.

This is one aspect of Steve’s personality that hasn’t changed in decades: he is such a perfectionist that he can never decide on what to buy, thus ends up buying nothing. As a bachelor he only had a mattress, huge Ansel Adams prints, and a super-expensive stereo system as pieces of furtniture. He did not sleep on a bed for years — even though he was a multi-millionaire. At Woodside the kitchen was the only room that was fully furnished. He did have a Bosendorfer grand piano and a BMW motorcycle in his living room however, testaments of his love of German engineering.

Steve’s current house in Palo Alto is still decorated with austerity, although Laurene has tempered that quite a bit. Here’s how a Time journalist described it: “The Steve Jobs who is currently running two sophisticated companies lives in a turn-of-the- century English-style country house in Palo Alto with his wife Laurene […]. The house is run with a distinct 1960s flavor. Laurene has planted a garden of wildflowers, herbs and vegetables all around. The rooms are sparsely decorated, the only extravagances being Ansel Adams photographs.” Some things never change…

Cars

Steve’s father Paul was a machinist who fixed cars to make extra money. His son certainly has inherited his Californian love of cars.

Although Steve enjoys quite a humble lifestyle, compared to the megalomaniac habits of people of this kind of wealth (cough-Larry Ellison-cough), he always delighted in driving fast, powerful cars. For decades he has driven German cars, Porsches first, then Mercedes. These cars inspired him for designing his computers, as he reportedly asked for the Macintosh design to be “like a Porsche”, and wanted the NeXT Cube to be “the black Porsche of computers” (computer artist Susan Kare viewed it more as the“Death Star of computers”).

    It is pretty easy to recognize Steve’s car on Apple’s parking lot:
  • It’s a Mercedes, and Steve loves German engineering
  • It’s parked on an handicapped spot
  • It has no licence plate

 

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