The New York Times has the article The Bad Behavior of Visionary Leaders by Tony Schwartz. His article talks about three leaders, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos.
What disheartens me is how little care and appreciation any of them give (or in Mr. Jobs’s case, gave) to hard-working and loyal employees, and how unnecessarily cruel and demeaning they could be to the people who helped make their dreams come true.
I have been thinking about why it is that I reserve a special animosity for Steve Jobs compared to the other two. I think there are two related reasons. First, I was much more aware of Steve Jobs personality from early on than I have been with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Second, Steve Jobs’ attitude and behavior affected me and what I wanted to do with the type of product each person’s company sold. With Elon Musk, there is no product of his company that I have ever bought or contemplated buying.
The wonders of graphical user interfaces made using computers easier in many cases. However, there were many things I needed and wanted to do with computers every day, even every hour, that were not well served by graphical user interfaces. With VMS, Unix, and Linux, there was no problem using the best method for the task at hand. With the introduction of Cygwin’s virtual Unix on Windows machines, I had what I needed to make Windows useful to me. MSDos was so inferior to the DEC-10 and VMS machines, that I refused to buy a PC until Windows-3 came out.
My dislike for Steve Jobs was well entrenched and many years old before I learned about his conspiring with other Silicon Valley companies to keep engineering wages low. Even if the companies I worked for were not part of the conspiracy directly, (and I have no way of being sure of that), they certainly benefited from the lack of competition on salaries.