Monday, 31 October 2011


As I spent my week puzzling over the disadvantages of democracy – all talk and no action – the idiotic spectacle of the Italians with their trousers round their economic ankles - the last writhings of capitalism furtively displayed by that shameless increase in pay of senior executives in the UK of 49% year on year and the split in the church over how to handle St Pauls from the Bishop of London’s robust approach “onward Christmas soldiers marching as to war” (viz torch the tents) to the more pacifist “turn the other cheek” - the view (yet again) is the Anglican church has made itself an idiot (together with the Catholic church in those leafy avenues of paedophilia Ealing).

What would Steve Jobs have done? Steve the hero of our generation, and undoubtedly a genius techno-artist.

He’d have simplified everything.

He’d have taken Greeks, Portuguese, Italians and Spanish into his legendary lift and fired them, reduced  Angela and Nicolas to torrents of tears by, as Jonathan Ive said, identifying their sensitivities and weaknesses and ruthlessly attacking them where it hurt (which being so sensitive himself he was adept at doing), disbanded all the committees in Brussels and created the greatest currency ever - the iPo.

Trouble is it would have led to war because countries are disparate cultures which can’t be conformed like Apple and because people just aren’t as perfect and clonable as things like the iPad and the Mac keyboard can be, so beautiful that Steve wanted to lick it. Steve himself was clearly not a very nice man. He seems to have been a sadistic bully and full of anger and contempt for others. He was the sort of person who wouldn’t say “after you” as you stood by a lift together (but wouldn’t need to as the thought of being “Steved” in a lift should have been enough to make you flee.)

But he taught us a lot of things and sometimes genius maybe forgiven its bad table manners. He taught us bullshit is bullshit, mediocre isn’t good enough so try again, obsession with detail is good and small is beautiful. Apple always felt small and focused.

Unlike Shell, CitiGroup, Kraft, BA and the EU which I always see as big and sluggish, process-driven, old fashioned and vulnerable. Out-of-condition Goliaths (“Sorry Mr G you need a life style change.”)  So when I kept hearing through the week “does Britain want to become a second class power?” it was like hearing “does Leeds United want to be a second class football team?” But we are and it is.

We need to be the best we can be at what we can excel at. Steve turned a bankrupt Apple into one of the most successful companies in the world in 20 years just by focusing on that. If he’d been an average UK businessman he’d have sold to Microsoft years ago. Or he’d, as Britain, have become a fully- fledged member of the EU.

But if you give up your independence you can’t live your dream.

Now get into that lift and let’s talk.

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