Monday, August 19, 2013

Movie Review: Jobs

The long anticipated movie of the rise and fall and final rise of Steve Jobs has finally hit theaters. Let me start by stating just how impressed I was by Ashton Kutcher's depiction of the late Apple creator. Especially toward the beginning of the movie, Kutcher's acting had portrayed Jobs' character and style quite successfully. 

The movie opens with Jobs rushing to a stage to introduce the first iPod. Kutcher made his way center stage in Jobs' legendary fashion, striding without much emotion, only to end his talk with another unmatched creation in technology. Not a hardcore Apple user myself, but we can admit that Jobs' presentations were always excitedly anticipated by the media and public alike. And he never disappointed, which the movie was able to capture. 

The movie ended with as much excitement as it started. It ends with Jobs reading the advertising phrase to Apple's Think Different campaign of 1997. It's a tribute to all those who dare to challenge the conventional and invent, which is where I started having some reservation with the movie. 

Anyone who knows anything about Steve Jobs has probably heard that he was not an easy person to deal with many times. He was a straight-shooter, always speaking his mind at someone else's expense, or so the story goes. I've never met the man myself, although it would have been an honor to have. However, I don't know if I would have ever worked for the guy. 

The movie portrays Jobs as a relentless, ruthless businessman, and many accounts confirm this.  It worked in his favor, having created an empire before his untimely passing. My objection though is that this may be perceived that it's the only way to run a successful company. Keep in mind, that at one time Jobs was pressured to return to Apple, after being fired by his board, to rescue the company. He returned reluctantly, even though he believed in his product enough to invest in a million shares of the company's stock. His termination had hurt his ego, and it took plenty of pressure to bring him back. His return came after he was harshly criticized for being so darn difficult. He insisted on doing things his way and he was short-tempered and pretty offensive. He verbally attacked board members, staff, even his competitors, but in the end it was assumed that it was this management style that had made the company succeed. 

Granted, running a company as big as Apple should require owners to step away from their emotions. And for the record, Jobs did plenty of crying when he was away from the office. But does managing a company require the level of hostility portrayed in the movie? We should hope not, especially with what businesses are investing in customer and employee relations these days. But not all these companies are as reputable as Apple, which had me wondering whether Steve Jobs was as difficult as he was portrayed. 

If the movie is to be commended for anything, it is how it captured the harsh dynamics of running a corporation. It covered conflicts of interest that arise between the board and its executives and brought to light the issues of corporate responsibility. Although Apple has been lucky enough to avoid any questionable behavior throughout its history, what it did face, however, was having to choose profit over customer satisfaction. Apple's initial board settled for profit, while Jobs allegedly wanted to put his customers first. Hence,the reason behind his termination. 

Local viewers gave the movie a standing ovation when it ended. With an injection of suspense, business literacy, and humor, the movie portrays just how challenging the rise to the top can be. More importantly, it teaches viewers that with a little bit of passion and preserverance, the average man with a dream can accomplish just about anything. 

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