The day Steve Jobs died most of the world started mourning him as if he had been the benevolent uncle whose jokes are going to be missed at family dinners. It’s odd, considering that, as the chief of one of the world’s biggest corporations, he has shaped our desires, deciding what we were going to want and when we were going to want it, for almost thirty years, and for his own economical benefit. As a side note, while doing that, he made himself a name for being a total asshole with anybody working with him.
A myriad of articles, obituaries (this is a sweet one, written by his sister), and special features started flourishing on the net and elsewhere, each of them distilling bits of Steve Jobs’ life and wonders. I doubt that the release of Jobs’ official, super-authorized biography will be enough to stop this post-mortem leak of information. And that’s why, instead of wasting my time trying to verify the authenticity of each of these apocrypha, I’ve decided I would rather add my personal contribution to the list. With an anecdote that comes from my uncle Dado.
Dado is retired now. But in the eighties he was forty something and was working as a commercial manager for Apple Italy. Steve Jobs, his megaboss, was ten years younger and was trying to develop his business in the land of pizza. Dado claims that they met once, in my hometown. Jobs was supposed to turn up at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He arrived at 8. My uncle didn’t ask, but someone told him that the reason for his delay was that Jobs had gone to the Colnago bike factory, sat down with the head bike designer, and had him design a bike tailored for him. According to my uncle Dado, that bike was actually built and shipped to the US, before sitting unused inside Steve’s office for years.
I was intrigued by Dado’s story. While researching into it, I stumbled upon this clip (you can skip the 30 seconds gothic intro), where a young Steve Jobs explains why a computer is like a bicycle for our minds. A good metaphor, that also made me realize why it is that that Colnago bike never saw the road. It was just there as a reminder. I hope someone can finally ride it now.