Thursday, October 6, 2011

Of Mice and Men

I sincerely hope that when Steve Jobs gets to wherever he's going that he looks up Neil Aspinall and laughs long and hard at him.  I was going to say "punches him in the mouth" but I think Jobs was probably a bit too groovy for a physical altercation which is just as well.  Neil Aspinall was the head of Apple Corps, the Beatles' holding company, that made a nuisance of itself while Jobs was trying to reinvent modern life.  Truly great men always have to have their detractors and the fact that in this case it was the Beatles is really hard for me to swallow but there you have it.  If anyone should get innovation it should be them, right? 

Between 1978 and 2007 Apple Corps. sued Apple Computer repeatedly for trademark infringement with the cases dragging on for years and eating up capital that Jobs could have used to develop other things.  According to legend Jobs called his fledgling company Apple because he was a Beatles fan and, really, would you mistake the two companies?  Why did Apple Corps. have it's panties in a knot?  As it turns out, it's all Brian Jones's fault.

Okay, not really, but he intoduced John Lennon to an artist named Magic Alex.  Magic Alex really did create some cool things but he said he could make things like force fields and flying saucers.  Would you trust an entire division of your new company to someone who made claims like that?  No?  Well, you're not John Lennon.  Lennon put Magic Alex in charge of Apple's Electronics Division, which is what gave the repeated cases teeth.  As you muse over that bit of lunacy consider that this is the same corporate culture that produced this memo.

Can you imagine what could have been if they'd all just gotten along?  As with most things a fan fic writer has.  James Ryan wrote a great piece called "Carry That Weight"  over at Rooftop Sessions several years ago that imagines it.  I urge you to check it out.

There is no song today because, frankly, I can't think of one.  Instead here's Jobs's commencement address at Stanford in 2005.  Rest easy.



  1. "You've got to find what you love." That's a great message for us all!

    Steve Jobs was truly a Renaissance Man.


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