A few weeks ago, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I watched the movie Jobs—not the recent one with Michael Fassbender, but the one with Ashton Kutcher. I’ve always been intrigued by Steve Jobs. How could someone so brilliant, so revolutionary, be such a jerk at times? But then again, do we really want our heroes to be saints?
The last scene in the movie has Jobs narrating what would become one of Apple’s most famous commercials: Think Different. Interestingly, this version never aired. Jobs’s narration was replaced with Richard Dreyfus. I think Jobs’s version is better. Here's the original commercial.
Julia Child and Steve Jobs were also outsiders who thought “different.” Jobs was an orphan who never graduated from college, and tall, gangly Julia Child could hardly boil water at 37, before she began her iconic—though very much an insider’s—cookbook.
There is one scene in the movie Jobs where Steve Jobs complains to Steve Wozniak that the transistors are not straight. Wozniak replies, with a certain degree of frustration, that no one will see them anyway. Walter Isaacson’s biography on Jobs, on which the movie by the same name is based, examined this in more detail. Jobs really did care and insist that even the parts that no one saw were perfect.
Of all the cookbooks I own (and I own a lot), Childs’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking is still my favorite, even if I cook from it the least. Even so, there are many times when I simply marvel at the detail and the precision. The recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking require focus and attention to detail. Many of the steps are like the transistors in the Apple I—your guests may not notice them, but you will.
Jobs once said that “[l]ife can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is—everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” I think these words could just have easily come from Julia Child.
So maybe the next time I want to try something new, something different, I’ll engage in a bit of a thought experiment: Steve Jobs and Julia Child in the same kitchen! That would be crazy, but then again, here’s to the crazy ones!