I watched the film “Steve Jobs” before a recent trip to the United States. The man’s fame did not stem from just being the founding father of Apple computers, but from his biography as well.
The two-hour film is not the first about Jobs, and it most likely will not be the last. In the last three decades, Jobs has changed the world completely. It focuses on a specific period in his life, between 1984 when he was fired from the Apple board of directors to his reinstatement in 1997, with flashbacks of times before and jumps to times after.
The film takes the form and style of a play. It shows Jobs talking with Joanna Hoffman, his marketing executive, Steve Wozniak or “Woz”, his partner in Apple, John Sculley, his chief executive officer, and Chrisann Brennan, his girlfriend and mother of his daughter Lisa, whom he had refused to recognize in the beginning. These conversations all take place in the backstage of a showroom where he was putting on display a new Apple product to young admirers of his company.
Each conversation had a dramatic conflict within it. You could tell that Joanna’s love was one sided. As for Woz, the conflict was greater because it was between a visionary and a pragmatic manufacturing engineer. The same applies to Scully because he is the distributor of the products. With Brennan, it was even more complex because it was about the legitimacy of his daughter. As for Steve Jobs himself, his dramatic complexity lies in him being an extraordinary personality, a genius, a visionary and a selfish man.
Because Jobs was an international figure that changed the world, you see in the film that he is linked to Einstein, Martin Luther King, Beethoven and Gandhi. These people did not just change the world with their knowledge and philosophies, they did so because they knew how to conduct a full recital of melodies and acts, like a maestro who interprets notes and mesmerizes the audience in their seats, anxiously waiting to listen to what is coming next.
Steve Jobs did not produce anything with his own hands. He came up with visions. His visions determined the tasks of others to discover how they could become a reality. His genius was in choosing the roles and people who would carry them out.
Sometimes it was too tough for the people around him. Joanna surrendered to his genius. She just wanted be next to him. Woz was older. He also surrendered to the genius and sufficed with keeping for himself a place in that kingdom of invention. Sculley surrendered to the fact that geniuses are not stopped by market rules. Perhaps it was the daughter who has succeeded in taming the genius, probably because he was sure she was a genius like him.
You need to be a maestro in order to make a difference in the world, because only a maestro knows how to harmonize several elements together and deploy them to serve a vision that exists in his head and that only his eyes can see.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm