Education

Steve Jobs gets some interesting reading -- his own obituary

The Bloomberg financial newswire accidentally publishes Steve Jobs' obituary. What must it be like to read about your own demise?

The Bloomberg financial newswire accidentally publishes Steve Jobs obituary.

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I know that it's standard in the news biz to prepare obituaries for well-known people in advance and add details once the death actually occurs. This cuts down on errors made in a last-minute rush. It's a borderline creepy practice, but I guess I can see the need.

But I wonder how Steve Jobs felt last week when his obituary rolled off the newswire? Yep, somebody at the Bloomberg financial newswire pushed some button or clicked some text box prematurely, and the obit hit the streets. It was pulled almost immediately, but you can see its contents in this article from gawker.com.

One really strange aspect of the report are the accompanying reporting notes -- a list of people to call in the event of Jobs' death, which includes his ex-girlfriend Heidi Roizen and California attorney general Jerry Brown.

The obit reads like a macabre resume. Because Jobs is such a public figure due to his Apple career, that's the main focus of the obit. It talks about his meteoric rise and some of the unusual behaviors that marked that rise, such as his sometimes being mercurial and screaming at his employees.

I wonder if Jobs himself sees his life in terms of career milestones and, if not, what the experience of reading his own obituary must have been like.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

26 comments
ndean.jones
ndean.jones

Spending many hours as an "Apple Dad" was difficult ennough. The company "Apple" offered no support, the computers as wonderful and flawed as be did not give my students the advantage needed to compete in the growing space we now us as cyberspace. (if that is proper verbage). IBM, INTEL, MICROSOFT, and others have since offered more support each and every year than Apple. Steve needes to be planted,but not in my backyard.

ray
ray

I do hope you aren't teaching in grade school or high school. If so, please take a refresher course in both English and Writing. :-o Aside from that, it's well known that Apple gives a lot of computing support to schools and many schools are moving more in the direction of Macs than Windows PCs - simply because they work, do not require much "support", are not virus infected half the time and are more reliable. (if that is proper verbage) [sic] ;-) :-)

samhain.knight
samhain.knight

Then i don't have to watch those lame Mac commercials anymore. If we're lucky maybe some Mac fanboys read the obit and took it seriously and being little emo db's they'd cut themselves and die in a puddle of their own sorrow...

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

He framed it and it's hanging on the wall in his house.

425th Ranger
425th Ranger

If he is smart, he will look at how people see him now and would have said AFTER he died (perhaps say a thing or two no one might say to his face) and if he does not like what he reads,.....change it now,... what a reprieve, the chance to change it to your liking,.....

cowen80194
cowen80194

As Microsoft is to open sales for any platforn you can run code on. What systems does Mickytosh have that are open code? I have heard about the clones of apple/mickytosh that he put out of business to strike out competition. Am mickysoft has been called a monopoly? Microsoft write software, Jobs company builts and controls all the software and hardware and is not cross compatible to PC with out emulation and that is a sticky place to be since Jobs like to take to court anything that interfers with his monopoly market and runs that clone into the ground. Just keep it in court with patent and trade infringments until the other guy runs out of money. Jobs really was and is a horrible excuse as a father and a business man.

robert_r_penn
robert_r_penn

I did the "write your own obit" exercise as part of some career counseling I got a few years ago. It was interesting to think about--the highlights of my life and who I considered to be my survivors, but since I had already decided on my path forward, it didn't inspire me to make major changes that weren't already in progress.

al
al

As an exercise is awareness at a "team building" training session, we had to write one for ourselves and two others in the group. Since we all had long relationships (people there knew each other at least 5 years and most 10+) it was an eye opener. How we saw our own lives vs. how others did. As far as "old news", I too did not see it. I wonder if he changed any after reading it, or not.

maurimev
maurimev

I can't belive such a mistake, it seems to me like a trick to sale some reading material, gain some clicks and justify an article.... Really you run out of ideas?

lmarks
lmarks

I wrote my wife's obit about ten days before she passed away. She appreciated the opportunity to proofread it.

jacob3273
jacob3273

I had a similar experience in that when I went to buy something on credit, I was told that the (large national chain) store's credit records showed me as deceased. Part of the issue is my very common last name, but I told the lady that I'd been waiting a long time to use Mark Twain's line: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

sfasbind
sfasbind

My wife had the same thing happen to her but from the 3 major credit reporting agencies when we were in the process of refinancing our mortgage. It took us 2 months of fighting with the credit agencies to prove she was not deceased.

jacob3273
jacob3273

One would think that if she walked in and slapped the snot out of someone in those offices, that might do the trick. I mean, how could they take any action while insisting that she's deceased?

kjohnson
kjohnson

What's the point of having employees if you can't scream at them?

su3264
su3264

It is interesting that many folk in the US are merely irritated in it being "old news", while we in the "Old World" are not only grateful for ANY news from the Colonies, we manage to have a smile at the same time. Lighten up guys, it takes all sorts to make a world. The fact that we are here on an IT group which has yet again proved that human ineptness will always overcome technology should be a lesson AND an occasion for a wry smile. N

jeff
jeff

Good point. I have never understood why the first reaction of so many online comment authors is so negative. The real point of the post anyway was not that this was a brand new story, but that it must feel strange to read your own obituary.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

For every grouch, there's someone who just GETS it. Thanks again.

MikeGall
MikeGall

he demanded to be able to proof read it.

HLecter
HLecter

A friend told me about a creative writing exercise in college where the class had to write their own obituaries. Unless you're Steve Jobs or someone famous, it's almost depressing to think that you have to use your resume for content. Hopefully it's not too late to start doing something interesting or really useful, that you would be remembered for.

stealthj3
stealthj3

mmm, a week old, find more interesting stuff to talk about, please

jim.parkhurst
jim.parkhurst

'Cmon. This broke 8/28 (I checked my email archives) and is way past under the bridge.

jcbronson
jcbronson

"I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up." - Harry Hershfield

Mark A. Lewis
Mark A. Lewis

At least this report was not early like Bloomberg's obit. All joking aside, This is a very good article. Great job, Toni!

su3264
su3264

It's new to me here in UK. Blimey, nearly a week old story! I expect you heard that WG Grace died? :) N

KaryDavis
KaryDavis

... but I didn't hear about it. Thanks for the info Toni, I found it very interesting!!