Joe Trapani on Steve Jobs succeeding despite being a huge asshole

Gina Trapani read a letter from her brother Joe about meeting Steve Jobs back in the 1989. I think you're going to love it.

Mr. Jobs bought the north tower at 145 Central Park West. The building is called The San Remo. Bruce and Demi bought the south tower later on. Jobs didn’t like the sound that the generator made that ran the elevator motor. The motor room was one floor directly above one of his living rooms so Jobs decided to finance a brand new elevator installation. And of course, he insisted on state-of-the-art equipment. So, the company I worked for did the elevator installation in Jobs’ apartment and it ran well for a while. And then it started having a very intermittent shut-down problem that I was sent to fix. The entrance to the motor room was a straight ladder from Jobs’ foyer in his apartment to the level above.

When I arrived this Friday night he was not there yet. At about 8:30 p.m. I could hear that Jobs had come home to the apartment because he was on the phone yelling at someone about how the marble that was installed in his kitchen was not matched properly and that you could easily see the seams.

As I was about to leave I called down to let Jobs know I would be passing through the foyer to get to the elevator. He entered the foyer and watched me walk down the ladder. He asked me if I fixed the elevator and I replied I was confident, but not one-hundred percent sure, since the problem occurred so infrequently. He asked me if I was the engineer and I said yes.

I was 26 years old in 1989 and I had intimate knowledge of the control equipment, having been part of the design process.

Steve Jobs then began to scream that it was unacceptable that brand new equipment would have such a problem.

Later I recalled how many times the Lisa crashed when I was digitizing elevator control circuitry at my last job.

Jobs said that if the problem happened again he would throw our company out so a different company would supply a real engineer. All I said was that I was sorry for the inconvenience and I would continue to do everything I could to fix the problem.

When I left the building, I asked the doorman if Mr. Jobs had ever been in the elevator when the problem occurred and he told me no. He said that Mr. Jobs was an asshole and that I shouldn’t listen to anything he said. I remember at the time wondering how someone so classless could be so successful. After reading his biography I found out: Steve Wozniak.

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