Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's my money and I'll donate if I want to

I couldn't decide where to put this. I was thinking Vig the Geek, but it's more personal even though it's about someone in technology. I wanted to do a video to really capture the annoyance. In the end I thought this might be the place for it because it's personal venting about my own ideas and other people's inability to think straight.

I read an article today called "The Mystery of Steve Jobs' Public Giving." It was a New York Times article by Andrew Ross Sorkin. We all know that the gray lady leans left so I shouldn't be surprised they they judge people by the lack of philanthropy. This article is SO ridiculous, however, that I couldn't leave it ignored. I really suggest you read it so you'll understand why I'm annoyed. This guy Sorkin clearly does not know Steve Jobs at all even through he claims he's been an admirer of his for some time.

First let's look at the definition of the word: "Philanthropy - the desire to promote welfare of others, expressed esp. by the generous donation of money to good causes." The desire, not the expectation. Not just the act. So when someone makes a billion dollars and gives it away to keep stupid NY Times reporters off his/her back, it's not philanthropic. It's buffing the image to shut up the people who focus on the wrong part of the story.

Also, this guy's writing is atrocious. I'm assuming that the NY Times has editors, but I may be wrong in my assumption. Mr. Sorkin likes the word long and re-uses it in a certain context over and over. His repetition is awful.
"None of this is meant to judge Mr. Jobs. I have long been a huge admirer of Mr. Jobs"
"There has long been speculation of a $150 million donation..."
"But the lack of public philanthropy by Mr. Jobs - long whispered about..."
"(Mr. Steinhardt has long held an inexplicable grudge"

Let's look at the meat of the article. Sorkin wonders why Jobs hasn't publicly given money to any charity or signed the Giving Pledge. He also goes on to talk about the likelihood that Jobs has given away money privately or anonymously. He says, "His wife, Lauren Powell Jobs, sits on the boards of Teach for America, and the New Schools Venture Fund, among others, and presumably donates money to those organizations, though neither she nor her husband are listed among its big donors."

He also reminds us that Steve has been battling Pancreatic cancer for many years and underwent a liver transplant in 2009 in Memphis because California did not have a donor list. It does now, thanks to Jobs' intervention and conversation with Maria Shriver - first lady to the governor of California.

He compares Jobs to Gates. Gates had a larger fortune, earlier than Jobs and stopped working earlier. Jobs had his focus on Apple until 4 days ago. He compares Jobs to Warren Buffett. Buffett is the world's richest man, Jobs is not by a longshot.

Here's the deal. Can Steve Jobs afford to be more philanthropic? Sure. Would it hurt to give a few bucks away? Nope. Does he HAVE to? No. Should he be buffeted by slanderous, poorly written attacks from liberal news organizations if he doesn't? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY NOT! Steve is a self-proclaimed hippy who doesn't care about money. He's not hoarding it, although it's within his rights to do so. His focus was on Apple. He felt he could do more good within Apple. Restoring its profitability and creating products good for the world is his version of philanthropy. Did you or Mr. Sorkin know that the education department of Apple is something hat held Steve's focus. Getting computers into schools has (to steal from Sorkin's style) long been one of Apple's strengths.

Steve is a quiet man. He wears jeans and raggedy shoes with a black turtleneck. He's no ostentatious with his fortune. He's not public about his life in any way. He doesn't care about the money. He doesn't care about the glory. He's the antithesis of what I would be with $8.3 billion in the bank. He started Apple in a garage and got thrown out. He masterminded his way back in and brought the company from the brink of bankruptcy to the powerhouse it is today. He's changed the world of computing. He's revamped technology as we know it. He's fostered a culture and community in apple to do the same thing after his departure. But he hasn't written a check - at least not publicly.

It's his money. He has every right to keep every last nickel if he wants. He worked for it. He's not Paris Hilton that's famous for her last name and a using a night-vision camera. He worked for that money. He created. What's the last thing the average person created besides a macaroni picture frame and popsicle pot holder. He invented from nothing and was rewarded for his efforts. He focused on making great products for people while battling to stay alive for the last 8 or so years.

I like the part that says, "Mr. Jobs views on charity are unclear since he rarely talks about it." Well, Mr. Sorkin, if you had a clue you'd realize that Mr. Jobs rarely talks about ANYTHING unless he's on stage for a keynote. He's a private man. You started the article saying that none of this was to judge Mr. Jobs, yet you compared him to everyone that does more than he does. and explained how those who don't give had to defend themselves with statements to the ones Steve Jobs makes. I'm pretty sure your goal was to take everyone who read your article and shift their focus away from the amazing products he's created, the resurgence for Apple that happened at his hands, his ailing health and current fight for his life, the changes Apple will undergo with his departure and turn them it toward the face that he doens't give public charitable donations.

I hope one day he goes public with millions of dollars he's given away and he sends you the receipts. This is irresponsible journalism in my opinion. I didn't like it when they got on Gates' case about it. I didn't like hearing "Finally" toward Buffett when he decided to give away his fortune.

At the end of the day, any money a person makes is their own. It's nice to give back, but they should never be made to feel that HAVE to and damn sure shouldn't be judged if they don't. Let's say Jobs has $8.3 billion and he should give away 5%. That's $415 million. So Sorkin, let's say you make $100,000. Are you even donating 5 grand a year? I doubt it. It's still the same percentage. Dollar for dollar, to scale.

Judge not, lest ye be judged. And leave poor Steve Jobs alone. He left the company he built and loved because he's, more than likely, dying.

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