Now that one of the world’s greatest marketing luminaries is no longer among us, it’s time to look at the most popular Steve Jobs myths out there, to see which ones are actually true. There is a lot of legend surrounding the figure of Mr. Jobs, the loner, the genius, the awesome marketer – a mind who will surely be missed.
1. Steve Jobs’ Salary at Apple Was Only $1
Part of this myth is entirely true. From 1997, until his resignation as Apple’s CEO in 2011, Steve Jobs received an yearly salary of $1 from the IT giant. Not even enough to buy a song plus tax on iTunes. What this myth omits is that, like most well-performing executives at Apple, Jobs received copious performance awards and slow-vesting stock. When he sold a record number of computers in 2000, old Steve received an $88 million private jet. By April 2011, he had accumulated no less than 5,6 million Apple stock. He was actually listed as the 136th richest person in the world, according to the 2010 Forbes ranking.
2. For Privacy, Jobs’ Car Had a Barcode, Not a License Plate
According to myth, Steve Jobs’ car, which displayed a barcode instead of license plate, could be scanned by police as he sped by. That is not true, although it is unclear why he did, indeed, display no license plates. He once said it was a sort of game to him, only it is unclear whom he was playing with – license plate thieves? The police?
3. Steve Jobs Wore the Same Outfit Every Day
It’s true that, since 1992, on almost all public appearances, Steve Jobs could be seen worn nearly the same outfit – a black mock turtleneck with jeans. Jobs never said why, but it’s easy to assume he felt at his most comfortable in his simple outfit, and he probably also didn’t want to waste a lot of time deciding what to wear every day. However, he did wear other things, too: a suit to the 2001 MacWorld Expo in Tokyo, tuxedos to the Academy Awards, or even a white t-shirt and vest.
4. Jobs Vowed to Never Visit Japan Again
A popular story launched during Jobs’ 2010 visit to Japan says the mogul was prohibited by Kyoto airport security to board his plane, as he had purchased ninja death stars, was carrying them on his person and would not be allowed on the aircraft with him. Apparently, Jobs threw a fit and swore to never visit the country again. According to Apple officials, Jobs did visit Japan, enjoyed it and would have gladly returned at any time. No mention whatsoever of ninja weaponry.
5. Jobs Bullied His Employees
Yes, he was demanding. Yes, he was a consummate perfectionist. Yes, he could convince anyone to buy anything. Yes, he would obsess about the smallest details of a project. Yes, he would sometimes aggressively test employees, to see if they could defend their opinions. And while it’s true that the Apple working environment was challenging, a host of staff testimonials show that Apple was very loved and respected by those who worked for and with him.
6. Steve Jobs Was a Magician
Some have said that Jobs was perpetually surrounded by a magnetic field, thanks to which he could convince anyone of anything, particularly when it came to buying Apple products. This, however, was in no way due to magic, but to an incredibly well-thought out business model.
7. Steve Jobs Always Embraced Innovative Ideas
No, Jobs’ success was not only about embracing innovation and saying ‘yes’ to any idea, no matter how left of the middle. Quite the contrary, Jobs had the courage to say ‘no’, over and over again, to sloppy details, useless features and insufficient development efforts. By “getting rid of the crappy stuff,” he helped Apple create the best and most simple products it could create.
8. Steve Jobs Stole the Mouse Idea from Xerox
This myth goes as far back as 1979, when Jobs visited Xerox PARC. He did, indeed, see a bulky, clumsy and expensive mouse prototype there. That model was released several months later, while Macintosh only released theirs in 1984, after working on their own mouse for years and years. Since the mouse already was available to the public, it doesn’t really qualify as theft.
9. The 80s Was Jobs’ and Apple’s Glory Era
Nostalgic Apple Macintosh fans will argue that the 80s were the best decade for the company. True, the Macintosh, which appeared in the 80s, was a stroke of genius, but in all other respects, the company fumbled and made several key communication mistakes with customers and competitors alike.
10. Apple Is Doomed without Steve Jobs
Although this myth will need to stand the test of time before its proven or dismantled, chances are that the company will survive. Look at their most recent talked-about release, the iPhone 4GS. While not the iPhone 5 many were expecting, it is still the best smartphone on the market, from a technology point of view, it’s substantially cheaper than the previous model, and just as sleek as the iPhone ever was.