Steve Jobs promoted opportunities for women at Apple, NeXT

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
A panel involving several women who worked at Apple and NeXT in the early days of personal computing recently discussed Steve Jobs' relentless drive to build new products, particularly noting how treated women as equally capable to achieve greatness.




Looking back at how women are portrayed in movies during the 1970s and 80s, it almost appears to be a joke how backward corporate culture was in the realm of gender equality. That highlights the contrast seen at Apple since its founding.

At an event entitled "Lessons Learned From The Powerful Women Who Worked With Steve Jobs," held by the Cunningham Collective--organized by Jobs' former publicist Andy Cunningham--a roundtable of early female leaders who worked with Jobs at Apple, NeXT and Pixar discussed aspects of Apple's co-founder related to the women he worked with.

The event was moderated by Katie Hafner, a journalist who covered Apple and NeXT for the New York Times, BusinessWeek and Newsweek in the 1980s and 90s.

Panelist Joanna Hoffman, who worked on the original Macintosh team with Jobs and later joined him at NeXT, noted in retrospect how Jobs surrounded himself with a large proportion of women in high ranking jobs.

Reporting on the event, Michelle Quinn wrote for for Silicon Beat that Jobs "didn't care about the gender of his colleagues, just as long as they could get the job done."

Quinn wrote that in the discussion--which also involved Debi Coleman, who worked as a finance and operations chief at Apple for over a decade; Susan Barnes, the controller for the Mac division and a cofounder of NeXT; and Barbara Koalkin Barza, a Mac product manager and director of marketing for Pixar-- "the Steve Jobs that emerged was one appreciated for his fierce passion and drive that meant he judged his colleagues on whether they cared as much as he did about a product's success."

Barnes related an incident where she had been involved in a negotiation with an Apple partner. That company's chairman told her she should go shopping while the men discussed the deal. In response, Jobs faxed over an ultimatum: 'Ms. Barns makes the decision on this negotiation.'

The women also noted that Jobs had predicted in the 1980s that Japan's economic success would be handicapped as an economy moving forward because of a culture that confined women to a limited role.

Coleman called her colleague Hoffman "a heroine to me" in showing how to stand up to Jobs, but also that Jobs expected women to challenge his ideas, rather than just take instructions.

The corporate culture Jobs fostered at Apple, promoting diversity and inclusion, not only left a model for other tech companies to follow, but has been expanded upon by Jobs' successor Tim Cook.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Actual headline: "Steve Jobs promoted opportunities for women at Apple, NeXT"

    What pundits/analysts/Mike Daisey see: "Steve Jobs did not promote opportunities for men, animals at Apple, NeXT"
  • Reply 2 of 35
    And the progressive narrative to elect Hillary based solely on her gender continues to roll on. I ain't buying it.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    And the narrative to elect Hillary based solely on her gender continues to roll on.

     

    What? This sounds like you have PTSD. Everything sounds like a grenade.

  • Reply 4 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

     

    What? This sounds like you have PTSD. Everything sounds like a grenade.




    LOL... No idea what you're going on about. Aaaaaaaaand blocked.

  • Reply 5 of 35
    designrdesignr Posts: 352member

    Isn't this the critical point:

     

    Quote:


    Jobs "didn't care about the gender of his colleagues, just as long as they could get the job done."


  • Reply 6 of 35
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

    And the progressive narrative to elect Hillary based solely on her gender continues to roll on. I ain't buying it.

    This is how you hijack a thread...

  • Reply 7 of 35

    Look at that photo! At first glance there appears too be a majority of women. This is the Steve Jobs that many who never knew him personally nonetheless knew existed. This is the Steve Jobs that people who worked with him dearly miss. This is why the film Steve Jobs (which I did not see but which I heard much commentary about) is an utter failure. 

  • Reply 8 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     



    LOL... No idea what you're going on about. Aaaaaaaaand blocked.


     

    The voices in your head that related the story to Hillary didn't connect the dots for you on my post?

  • Reply 9 of 35
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,465member
    boredumb wrote: »
    This is how you hijack a thread...

    New word: How about "lowjerk"?
  • Reply 10 of 35
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,027member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    And the progressive narrative to elect Hillary based solely on her gender continues to roll on. I ain't buying it.

     

    Your posts are really, really dissapointing sometimes. You choose to enter your grade school persona at random times. What the hell does Hillary, or a "progressive narrative" have to do with this? Why derail and lower this thread into the gutter? This is about the things SJ did. You don't need to take every tiny excuse to go on your political, partisan tirade. 

  • Reply 11 of 35
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,510member
    boredumb wrote: »
    This is how you hijack a thread...

    it's annoying already ... and think how long there is to go to the election ... :no:
  • Reply 12 of 35
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member

    It's a shame that stories like this will not get enough press coverage.

  • Reply 13 of 35
    Half of my bosses at NeXT and Apple were women. They were always better managers.
  • Reply 14 of 35
    Originally Posted by designr View Post

    Isn't this the critical point:



    Yes, but you’ll never hear it.

  • Reply 15 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,770member
    And the hostile misogyny of "men's rights activists" comments will fill in from there...
  • Reply 16 of 35
    wigbywigby Posts: 676member
    designr wrote: »
    Isn't this the critical point:

    It is and probably was the point to Jobs. But through today's lens, it's used to prop up other agendas. Cook is no doubt a great leader but like all leaders left or right of center, they feel the need to push the pendulum too far the other way instead of letting it settle exactly where it needs to be at this moment.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    dysamoria wrote: »
    And the hostile misogyny of "men's rights activists" comments will fill in from there...

    Let's hope not… I think that our community is a bit above that and, if it isn't, that's what moderators are here for, amirite? ;)
  • Reply 18 of 35
    wigby wrote: »

    It is and probably was the point to Jobs. But through today's lens, it's used to prop up other agendas. Cook is no doubt a great leader but like all leaders left or right of center, they feel the need to push the pendulum too far the other way instead of letting it settle exactly where it needs to be at this moment.
    I think you are failing to understand Cook's current strategy; I don't think it is fundamentally different from Jobs', only complementary to it. It's not like Apple has suddenly imposed itself a strict quota regime, Cook has only spoken and lobbied for equality, and given young girls the opportunity to attend WWDC to stimulate their (and their colleagues') interest in programming.

    In fact, attacking the problem at its source (young people and the education system) is the most effective and consensual way to go about it… Just imagine those girls bragging to their friends about just how cool their experience was? Sure, some would be a$$holes and bully them by calling them nerds, but the smarter ones, upon learning just how big of a deal WWDC is and how well-paid coders can be, would be downright envious…

    Are you sure you aren't an MRA in disguise? ;)
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post

    And the hostile misogyny of "men's rights activists" comments will fill in from there...



    Originally Posted by Mainyehc View Post

    Let's hope not… I think that our community is a bit above that and, if it isn't, that's what moderators are here for, amirite? image

     

    I’m confused why sexism against men is okay to you, but perhaps I misunderstand your definition of the phrase.

  • Reply 20 of 35
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wigby View Post





    It is and probably was the point to Jobs. But through today's lens, it's used to prop up other agendas. Cook is no doubt a great leader but like all leaders left or right of center, they feel the need to push the pendulum too far the other way instead of letting it settle exactly where it needs to be at this moment.



    You confuse leaders with everyday Joe. Leaders are to LEAD, and not set the pendulum at the center where the pendulum itself will stop eventually by itself without any outside influence or force..

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