Roger Ailes = Steve Jobs?

“The way I would think about Roger Ailes is that he is the Steve Jobs of television and politics. Steve Jobs came around and created Apple at a time when many other people were experimenting with personal computers and when Apple really found its success with the first iPod around the beginning of the last decade there were many other mp3 players in the marketplace. But Steve Jobs came along and because of his deep understanding of how people relate to technology, he was able to make this package work and it became this irresistible product.

“So, Ailes in his own way, although he’s a very different man than Steve Jobs politically and philosophically, he did the same thing with conservative media. He wasn’t the first. There had been these ideas percolating on the right for decades. But he came along and unlocked the secret because Ailes has this intrinsic understanding of how to talk to people and how to move people within the network to do his bidding. It took a charismatic personality like Ailes to unlock the secret in the same way Steve Jobs with Apple unlocked the secret of personal technology. Sometimes being the real visionary and the pioneer is not about being first. It’s about seeing what other people can’t see.”

Gabriel Sherman, author of The Loudest Voice in the Room, a biography of Fox News’ Roger Ailes, in an interview with Tom Kludt at Talking Points Memo.  The entire interview is well worth a read.

How Apple Stops the IRS from Biting

From “Here Comes the Sun,” Joe Nocera, NYT:

FBI Report on Steve Jobs

The Internet this morning is brimming with excerpts from the FBI’s 191-page background check on Steve Jobs from 1991, when he was being considered for a purely advisory position on Bush 41’s President’s Export Council.

The Export Council consists of 28 members from the private sector, plus members of Congress and heads of the relevant executive branch agencies.

But rather than focus on the contents of the report, I’m questioning the need for the report itself.  I don’t understand why appointment to this position would require such a thorough FBI investigation of Jobs.  It’s not as if he was becoming head of the CIA or Secretary of Defense.  It was an unpaid position without any power.

No wonder so many American leaders don’t want to get involved with the government when asked to offer their expertise.  Who needs a 191-page FBI report filled with quotes from people who don’t like you or are jealous of your success?  You don’t get to be Steve Jobs without making some enemies on the way up.


Romney’s Not Right for That Three A.M. Call

In his article “The Romney Economy” for New York magazine, Benjamin Wallace-Wells offers quotes from Mitt Romney’s former Bain Capital colleagues that I found disturbing.  “Mitt was always worried that things weren’t going to work out — he never took big risks. … I think Mitt has a tremendous amount of insecurity and fear of failure,” says one.  “I never viewed Mitt as very decisive,” says another.

To be an effective commander in chief, you have to take risks, conquer your fear of failure, and be decisive.  If Mitt were president now, I think bin Laden, Quadaffi, and al-Awlaki might well be alive, as well as many other terrorists whom President Obama has killed.  My gut feeling about Mitt is that he lacks guts.

The article reinforces my sense that Mitt wouldn’t be any great shakes when it comes to the economy either, unless you’re part of his 1%.  Mitt took over American Pad and Paper (Am Pad), a company that ended up going bankrupt.  Maybe the company couldn’t have been saved.  But what troubles me is that Mitt and his investors ruthlessly plundered over $100 million from Am Pad as it lay dying.

Capitalism is about creation and destruction.  Steve Jobs created the iPad, Mitt Romney destroyed Am Pad.  We need leaders like Jobs, not Mitt.

What’s in a Name?

In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, we keep being reminded of how IBM laughed at the idea of home computers, seeing absolutely no need or demand for such a thing.

IBM of course stands for International Business Machines.  They were so stuck thinking of themselves as producing machines for business, they couldn’t think beyond that name and that market.

How do we define ourselves?  How do we limit our potential by doing so?

Steve Jobs and Sarah Palin

Two significant deaths today — Steve Jobs’ physical death and Sarah Palin’s political death.  They are bookends, he representing the best of America, with its boundless opportunity for the talented to make our society better, she representing the worst of America, with its concomitant opportunity for the untalented to make our society worse.  They are the light and dark sides of our freedom.

RIP, Mr. Jobs.  Good riddance, Ms. Palin.