updated 10:30 am EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
Exec crticized but supported Obama
More details from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography -- due on the 24th -- are making their way to the media. Jobs almost, for instance, reportedly missed meeting President Barack Obama in the fall of 2010, as he insisted that Obama personally ask him for a meeting, even after Jobs' wife said that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you;" in all Jobs is said to have held out for five days, but finally conceded and met the President at the Westin San Francisco Airport.
"You're headed for a one-term presidency," Jobs told Obama at the beginning of the meeting, claiming that Obama's administration needed to be more business-friendly. For reference Jobs cited the ease with which companies can build factories in China; in turn he criticized the US system, suggesting that "regulations and unnecessary costs" makes starting domestic factories difficult.
Jobs also want on the offensive regarding the American education system, arguing that it was crippled by union work rules, and that the unions needed to be broken before the school system could be reformed. Jobs' solutions, however, included not just allowing principals to hire and fire on merit, but also keeping schools open until 6PM each day, and running them 11 months a year.
Jobs is said to have been at least partly responsible for organizing a dinner with Obama and several other CEOs who would push for the demands of innovative businesses, but initially said he had no intention of coming after the White House added more names to the list, making it too large for his comfort. His criticism even extended down to the menu, where he suggested that shrimp, cod and lentil salad was "far too fancy," and that he didn't want a chocolate truffle dessert. The White House overruled, and cited Obama's love for cream pie.
Isaacson mentions that Jobs later told him he wasn't impressed by Obama, who Jobs complained was focusing on the reasons things can't be done. The two nevertheless kept in contact, talking on the phone several times. Jobs in fact offered to help produce ads for Obama's 2012 campaign, repeating an offer that was made back in 2008. At the time, though, Jobs is said to have been annoyed that Obama strategist David Axelrod wasn't deferential. Jobs wanted to do for Obama what the "Morning in America" ads had done for Ronald Reagan.
In a separate excerpt quoted by the New York Times, word emerges that Jobs underwent unusual and expensive gene therapy to fight his cancer. At the time he was just one of 20 people in the world to get all the genes of both his tumor and his regular DNA sequenced, at a cost of $100,000. Teams at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT all collaborated on the sequencing, which gave doctors the ability to tailor drugs to defective molecular pathways. One doctor told Jobs that his sort of treatment would soon make most forms of cancer a manageable chronic illness; in turn, Jobs later told Isaacson that he would either be the first "to outrun a cancer like this" or one of the last to die from it.
A more minor piece of information that in 2009, Jobs began designing his own luxury yacht. The boat is described as sleek and minimalist, with 40-foot-long glass walls, and under construction in the Netherlands by a firm called Feadship. The project stands in contrast to Jobs' stated opposition to conspicuous consumption; Apple has long focused on selling "premium" products however, and Jobs himself was known to drive an expensive Mercedes SL55 AMG.