In October 2007 I had a 90 minutes meeting with Steve Jobs. It was a very special moment in my career. At Fon we were already partners with Google and I had met most of the key actors in the technology world by then but not Steve Jobs. The meeting was not a success. Steve Jobs then told me that Apple was going to do Fon without Fon. I am glad they never did!
More news is coming out now about this initiative that never materialized at Apple.
As you can see I was very cautious about what I said about Steve Jobs then.
When I met with Steve Jobs to talk about Fon I found him to be both a genius and an unbearable person. I walked into the meeting in awe and I left in desperation. Steve Jobs in person was one of the biggest disappointments of my business life. And that was only after a 90 minute meeting. Other top entrepreneur who I met including Larry, Sergey, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell and even Bill Gates are extremely nice people and not for that less successful than Steve Jobs. And this is not just my opinion but that of most who ever dealt closely with Steve Jobs I found out later, something that somehow the general public is not aware of. I imagine that working for Steve Jobs every day must be occasionally great but frequently a torture. And I say this writing off a Mac and with an iPhone in my pocket, my point is that you don´t need to be cruel to be successful. As a result, probably Steve´s main character flaw, which is to remind you in every other sentence what a brilliant individual he is and how unoriginal you are, partly explains the success of the new Palm Pre. In this post Scoble explains both, how fantastic the new Palm Pre is but also how it was mostly built by former Apple employees. Would this be Apple employees who couldn´t stand Steve anymore? Probably. Everyone calls Steve Jobs a genius and he certainly is a design genius. But he would be even more successful and certainly a happier person if he did not have a compulsion for humiliating other folks.
Disclosure: I own Apple shares and do not own Palm shares.
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Thank you Steve Jobs. Thank you for the iPhone. Thank you for making laptops like the MacBook Air that only work with WiFi. Thank you because since we met and you told me how interested you were in WiFi us at Fon we keep getting calls from 3G operators who are selling your iPhone and find that it is a bandwidth hog. At a meeting with Steve Nicholson of The Cloud last Friday for example I heard that the iPhone consumes 30 times more data than the average mobile handset and is alerting operators on how important it is to off load traffic to WiFi networks. The iPhone is now the best selling mobile handset in USA. AT&T reacted quickly and bought Wayport for $275 million or 27 times EBITDA, not bad for a world experiencing a global financial crisis. My sources tell me that the iPhone was the main catalyst for the purchase. It is estimated that it costs 85% less to send traffic through WiFi than through 3G. And now Boingo just bought OptiFi. At Fon we are also noticing more and more iPhone traffic. We call it iFon traffic. And it´s great for Fon.