Steve Jobs – genius or asshole?

It’s well known within the Apple community that Steve Jobs DOES occasionally respond to emails. Although there’s never been absolute proof, Apple’s PR team and the company’s faithful followers seems to accept most emails from the account are legit and from Jobs himself.

But emailing a CEO is never a slam-dunk idea. Sure, I’ve done it, usually after having a bad experience with a company, and I’m sure thousands of Apple users have done the same. Apple has never been an open company, as their PR team seems to have “no comment” burned into their memory. Arguments from both sides are completely correct in both admonishing and promoting this behavior, noting that the secrecy works.

I’m on the fence here. I hate to see Apple stonewall customers with problems, but I also understand that a vast majority of these issues are either just complaints, or are better responded to in person by an Apple Genius at a retail location. But every once in a while, an email exchange makes me want to root for Apple even more.

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The latest banter between Jobs and Long Island University senior Chelsea Kate Isaacs first had me laughing, then made me pissed as I read through the comments. But what I really wanted to know was this: is Steve Jobs a genius or an asshole?

1. Don’t email the CEO with a common complaint

In ANY company, it’s really poor form to go way above someone’s head to get a question answered or job completed. While I abhor the inefficiency of this, I accept the trade off that happens depending on if I respect the chain of command or defy it. Isaacs bugged the most powerful Apple employee with a bitchy complaint. Had I been Jobs, I would have been meaner. -Genius. Her complaint wasn’t a blip on his radar.

2. If you DO email Steve Jobs, have something to say
Isaacs bitched to Jobs because Apple PR wouldn’t return her call. Know what? Welcome the f*** to being a journalist. Not all sources call back. Not everyone wants to talk. The story not only doesn’t write itself, it doesn’t throw information at you, either. This student could have found another way. -Genius again. She sounded whiny.

3. Enough with the passive aggressiveness
The student humbly asked why Apple treated its students differently than it did those working as or in the media. Humbly ask? Can you proudly ask something then? Can a question even be humble or proud? Christ, Jobs isn’t just some guy. Ask a question that sounds like it was written by Zeus. -Asshole here, but I obviously accept that.

4. Don’t ask someone to do something for you, just ask the question
In the Web 2.0 world, we’re all ‘journalists’ (okay, not really, but go with me). We have the same tools, opportunities to a point and usually the same pool of data to look into. Instead of whining to Jobs about his company, perhaps Isaacs could have just asked her damn question. -Genius. Jobs was in a position to answer her, ‘though we’ll never know if he would have.

5. If you’re going to call someone out, be ready for the consequences
Isaacs is “…just enraged and I want people to know this was done.” Oh really? Was that even her original question? Is she an activist or a journalist? -Asshole if this ever comes back on here. Not sure it will.

Above all, stop bothering Steve Jobs with stupid questions. He’s got Macs to make. Oh, and he’s more genius than asshole.