Steve Jobs was many things: technological genius, eccentric billionaire, master marketer, and notable jerk. Like most people, he was not all good, and certainly not all bad. He helped revolutionize the world of personal computers and mobile phones. He also did a bunch of things that made people believe that “Think different” was more of a life motto instead of a marketing slogan. When we say Jobs was a little bit crazy, we don’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Sometimes he was crazy smart, rather than just plain crazy. Here are 13 examples.
13. He Soaked His Feet In Company Toilets
Some people might use a stress ball or an afternoon workout to work out their workplace frustrations. Not Jobs though. According to his biography, he had a unique way to relieve stress while at the office. He would soak his feet. We know what you’re thinking, that he probably did it under his desk. Wrong. He used the company toilets. Yuck.
12. He Bailed On a Luxury Hotel Room
During a trip to London, England, head of Apple design Johnny Ive booked them into a five-star hotel room. While regular people like us would be insanely happy to spend even a few hours in a luxury penthouse room, Jobs thought differently. He reportedly took one look at the room and decided it was awful. He called Ive and told him they were leaving immediately, even stopping at the front desk to berate a helpless employee.
11. He Accepted A Laughable Salary
For years, Jobs was one of the lowest paid CEOs of any company. He accepted an annual salary of $1.00 to run the tech giant. Luckily for him, he owned over $2 billion worth of Apple stock. Other CEOs would later follow his example, as the leaders of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) and Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) took similar $1.00 salaries.
10. He Didn’t Believe In Showers…
Jobs diet was always a weird thing. He dabbled with being a vegetarian and vegan at times, and for a while was convinced that having a meat-free diet, free of toxins, meant he didn’t produce body odor. He basically stopped showering or using deodorant, much to the chagrin of his co-workers. When he worked at Atari, his boss actually put him on the night shift so he could work alone instead of stinking out his fellow employees.
9. …Or Shoes
Much like trying a natural diet and avoiding showers, Jobs also hated to social construct that is footwear. He often strolled around the office in bare feet. That’s kind of gross. Imagine if you had to deal with the smelly feet of your co-workers. No thanks.
8. He Fired People With No Notice
Jobs had a legendary temper. He was known for firing people over the slightest of errors, both at Apple and during his time at Pixar. When one of employees pleaded with him to stop being so rash, and at least give terminated employees a couple weeks notice, he replied, “”Okay,” he said, “but the notice is retroactive from two weeks ago.”
7. He Screwed His Friends
This is one of the more famous stories about Jobs. While working for Atari before Apple was founded, he was promised a bonus if he could produce a clone of the game Pong. He commissioned his friend Steve Wozniak to work on it for half the profit. After Woz banged out the amazing game known as Breakout, Atari gave Jobs a $5,000 bonus. Jobs didn’t tell Woz about the bonus though, and paid him half of the original price of $750. Woz got $375 for doing all the work, while Jobs got $5375 for being the delivery boy.
6. His Car Had No License Plate
For whatever reason, Jobs didn’t want to put a license plate on his car. So he took advantage of a California legal loophole that gave drivers six months to put plates on a new car by simply leasing a new identical model twice a year. He never explained his reason why. He also has a tendency to illegally park in designated handicapped parking spots, long before his health declined to the point where he actually needed them.
5. He Denied His Daughter’s Existence
For years, Jobs refused to acknowledge the existence of his daughter, Lisa. He even claimed he was sterile and would not take a paternity test. It was heartbreaking for Lisa and her mother, as they struggled financially while Apple’s success grew. Despite this, Jobs named one of his early Apple computers after her, the Lisa I and Lisa II. Eventually, he seemed to grow up and accept responsibility. He welcomed Lisa into his family and reimbursed her mother and the state of California for back child support. At least this instance of Jobs’ craziness had a somewhat happy ending.
4. He Didn’t Listen To Doctors
Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. The good news is that is was a rare type that was actually very treatable and the prognosis was that he could probably recover from it. Instead he bizarrely ignored the doctor’s advice for the better part of a year, trying to cure the cancer himself with a mixture of eating healthy and natural medicine. He eventually agreed to the surgery, but it was too late. The cancer would continue to cause numerous health problems for Jobs until he passed away in 2011.
3. The Case of The Missing Hard Drive
Jobs was known for making his email address publicly available and there are many stories of him actually answering a few of the probably thousands of random emails he received. He once famously told a customer who complained about the iPhone 4’s “antennaegate” problem to just “avoid holding it that way.” Brilliant.
He wasn’t always flippant in his responses though. In 2008 a customer named Matt McCoy emailed Jobs about a missing hard drive from a laptop he returned to an Apple Store. The next day, McCoy received a phone call (not just an email!) from Jobs himself, assuring him that the missing hard drive would be found and returned. It was, and Jobs takes the title of “Best Customer Service From a CEO.”
2. He Designed Products No One Knew They Wanted
When the original iPod came out, MP3 players were clunky and not that popular. They didn’t have an abundance of storage and could be hard to use. Portable cassette and CD players were still dominating the market. No one realized they needed an iPod until Jobs and Apple released it in 2001. It started a portable music revolution. Similarly, people scoffed at the release of the iPad in 2010, claiming it was just an overpriced laptop with fewer features. Wrong again, critics. The iPad has been an overwhelming hit.
1. He Fought The Music Industry
Before iTunes existed, the choices for buying music were limited. You went to your local record store and bought the entire album for whatever it was priced at. Jobs wanted people to be able to pick and choose their favourite songs, and the music labels hated that concept. The labels felt they could make more money selling music in album form, rather than selling singles for $0.99. They were wrong. After Jobs finally convincing some of the major labels to come aboard, the rest fell in line and iTunes became a smash hit.