Arment Dietrich

Steve Jobs Answers Emails

By: Arment Dietrich | October 6, 2010 | 
40

Can you imagine being the CEO of Apple – the Godfather of all things iPod, iPad, iPhone?  Now picture answering almost every email that comes your way.  That’s exactly what Steve Jobs does.  He personally responds to almost every email that make it to his inbox while, of course, running one of the world’s most successful brands.  But bad things can happen when billionaires get a little annoyed.

The people at Good Morning America feel Steve should have deleted one particular email.  After a college senior, Ms. Isaacs, late for a paper deadline, didn’t hear back from the Apple media relations team started to panic so she did the next logical thing and emailed Steve directly. Why not?  Well, Steve answered back and it went on for a few.  View the video below for the details.

There are three lessons here.

First, your job as a PR or communications professional is to make your company look good.  You can do this by simply responding to inquiries and answering emails.  We now see how things can get ugly when you don’t do your job properly.

The second lesson is to give Steve a break.  Yes, “leave us alone” is probably not the best response, but he answered the girl!  She could have written a paper on that alone.  Title: “Billionaire, Visionary, Entrepreneur, and Humanitarian Answers Emails Directly.”

Third and foremost, quit feeling sorry for this girl.  It’s making me sick to see the media flock to her side.  After hearing how many times she called and reading her emails I find her just as annoying and would like to say worse.  She has no right to expect anything from anyone.  And frankly, her emails sound pretty snotty, if I do say so myself.

Whose team are you on?  Team Jobs or Team Isaacs?

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40 Comments on "Steve Jobs Answers Emails"

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Rachael
5 years 9 months ago
I have to say I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I would never expect a reply to be honest. Sure it’s not a bad thing to try and see if you’ll get an answer. But Apple is a huge company with who knows how many inquiries per day. Having your grade rely on their response is preposterous. Don’t get me wrong, as someone in the communication profession, I know it is important to respond to people and to do so eloquently. That being said, I don’t feel sorry for this young lady because she clearly has some communication issues… Read more »
Davina K. Brewer
5 years 9 months ago
IDK… this is kinda silly, trading on the Steve Jobs and Apple name for ratings. Yes Apple media relations should respond, but they probably get thousands such requests a day and have other priorities. Yes Mr. Jobs may need some media relations training, but still. How long was she at this, did she wait until her deadline? Don’t know and not sure I care. She did make it about her when she mentioned her grade; plus it’s called research. I just Googled “iPad classroom setting” and had a few million hits. Yes a direct quote from Apple would help, but… Read more »
Jasper
Jasper
5 years 9 months ago

She obviously has no clue how much work is it to lead a company like that (or media department for that matter). I for one think it’s 100% right of Apple to focus on user issues rather than students writing research papers. Maybe its not smart PR, but its a valid argument.

Jasper
Jasper
5 years 9 months ago

She obviously has no clue how much work it is to lead a company like that (or media department for that matter). I for one think it’s 100% right of Apple to focus on user issues rather than students writing research papers. Maybe it’s not smart PR, but a valid argument nonetheless.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

I’m not, by any means, sticking up for this young lady, but why is Jobs answering these emails AND allowing himself to enter into a debate? He’s never been a great communicator and this is just another example. As a leader, lead your company. If you feel like you have to get involved, forward it to your media relations team and ask them to take care of it. But for heaven’s sakes, don’t answer it yourself! Hoogly moogly.

Shonali
Shonali
5 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich “Hoogly moogly.” That’s my new phrase of choice. Might even knock “piffle” off its stand. :p

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@Shonali Isn’t hoogly moogly great?! I stole it from @JasonVerhoosky!

Shonali
Shonali
5 years 9 months ago
Well… I guess I’m on Team In The Middle. If the student did indeed leave 6+ messages for the media relations team, they should have responded by then (they should have responded to the first one). I haven’t run MR for a firm as large as Apple, but I did do so for a large non-profit, and we got a lot of requests such as this. We always responded, and tried to do so in a timely fashion. Should Mr. Jobs have responded in quite so brusque a fashion? I don’t think so but on the other hand, it’s pretty… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@Shonali HAHAHAHA! You and I wrote THE EXACT, SAME THING at the exact, same moment!

Shonali
Shonali
5 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich LOL, I know!!! I got stuck signing up with Livefyre (awesome sauce, btw), and I actually saw the notification for a new comment come through as mine was being approved!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

Quick note: If you’re commenting on this page in Safari or Chrome, you’ll see the comments are all funky and lined up over the right sidebar. It works great in Firefox and Explorer so we’re trying to figure out the CSS/PHP/FTP/any other acronym you can think of to get it fixed. So comment away…and try not to be disturbed by how ugly it is if you’re in Chrome or Safari.

PhilipNowak
PhilipNowak
5 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich Hey Gini, I’m using Internet Explorer and the comments are half way into the sidebar.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@PhilipNowak Crap. We’re trying to fix how it looks.

eatitdrinkit
eatitdrinkit
5 years 9 months ago
Quite honestly? I think she should THANK Jobs for giving her 15 minutes of media fame–a better lesson than her paper would probably deliver. Do I think Jobs should be answering his emails? No, not really, and yes, that is a flaw in his own particular system. He is not a great communicator, as Gini has pointed out. But, in my opinion, she seemed rather “entitled” in her endless requests, and I agree with you that she has no right to expect a reply from anyone. I’d also be very curious to know how much of her paper truly relied… Read more »
MolliMegasko
MolliMegasko
5 years 9 months ago

@eatitdrinkit Do you agree with the way he handled the situation?

eatitdrinkit
eatitdrinkit
5 years 9 months ago

Do I think he could have been less harsh? Probably. But I think she should have stopped, after the first email, and not continued her (in my opinion obnoxious) plea for his attention.

jelenawoehr
jelenawoehr
5 years 9 months ago
I’m joining team “Why is this even a thing?” I would heave been on Team Isaacs for a few reasons had she been a personal friend who told me this story over coffee, not someone who reacted to minor rudeness by going to the media (and Gawker in particular): 1. Steve Jobs IS widely known to reply to emails sent to a particular address. 2. A media relations department SHOULD reply to calls from people working with any publication, even if it’s just “this might get into the school newspaper”; if Apple doesn’t have the resources to handle the volume… Read more »
JMattHicks
5 years 9 months ago

It’s hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong…personally, I think it’s clear both parties could have done better.

But from a PR stand-point, how hard would it have been for Jobs to just respond? He went back and forth with the girl, what not just answer her question and be done? That may not have gotten any press, but it wouldn’t have garnered any negative press either.

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 9 months ago

I agree – the fact that Mr. Jobs answered her personally is amazing – and yeah he should have left out the “leave us alone” but I doubt this will cost Apple in sales.

Ike
Ike
5 years 9 months ago

She screwed it up.

Her response on volley number 3 should have been:

“I understand your need to focus on ‘problems,’ but this mindset shuts you away from finding ‘opportunities.’

Have a nice day.”

OneJillian
OneJillian
5 years 9 months ago
I’m gonna side with Isaac as more of an “everystudent” than a particular student. 1. Steve Jobs is PAST old enough to know better. He’s even had skids before. 2. This student is a STUDENT. She is accustomed to GIVING exactly what is asked, exactly WHEN it’s asked. So yes, if her email sounds snotty, guess what? She’s not old enough to know how to better tone her emails to a busy (total understatement) CEO. 3. MR dropped this ball. Annoying people are ALL OVER THE PLACE. Life goes on. Taking a stand just because you can or it’s a… Read more »
DallasKincaid
DallasKincaid
5 years 9 months ago
I’ll add to this, and I apologize if it’s already been said… It’s never confirmed or denied if these e-mails come from Steve Jobs himself. There have actually been cases where e-mail exchanges between him and the peasants have been proved to be forged. Whenever I see one of these exchanges between Steve Jobs and someone I give it a 50/50 chance of being real and I typically dismiss it. Oh, and regarding the girl…she was a pain in the ass and clearly not getting the hint. Sometimes people need someone to be direct like that to get the hint.… Read more »
dannybrown
5 years 9 months ago

When I first heard this story, I thought Jobs was a dick.

Then I read more reports, saw her contact, and thought she was a dick (dickess?).

No-one’s really right or wrong here (yeah, I know, fence-sitting response, huh?). Jobs is a busy guy – maybe he should have left it with his PR team.

She should have known better, if she is as great a comms student as she’d like to think she is (or wants to be). But there was no harm in contacting Jobs in the first place.

I like Bill Gates. 🙂

jennalanger
5 years 9 months ago

@DannyBrown So you like Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs may or may not be a dick. But do you use a Mac or a PC?

Dannybrown
5 years 9 months ago

@jennalanger I use a Mac. Though I’m currently typing on a Sony VAIO. Go figure 🙂

Not really a fanboy of stuff when it comes to tech, with the exception of SEGA and Microsoft Xbox 360. That’s where I’m biased 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@jennalanger Did you know @DannyBrown still uses a BlackBerry?! GASP!!

Dannybrown
5 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich @jennalanger Hey, Gini, is that a Sony Super 8mm you use for the video sections? 😉

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@DannyBrown Nope! It’s my Mac and QuickTime.

DonovanGroupInc
DonovanGroupInc
5 years 9 months ago

Jobs should have forwarded this to his MR team and said deal with it…but then again the most comfortable seat in the house on Monday mornings is the “Quarterback’s” arm-chair. 🙂 She’s had her 15 minutes of fame and it’s time to move onto something more worthy of ABC News coverage (and our online chatter for that matter). Thanks for sparking the conversation Gini. Andy

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@DonovanGroupInc I wish I could take credit, but @MolliMegasko started the conversation!

janbeery
janbeery
5 years 9 months ago

I completely agree with you Gini. This was such an annoying run on story. Is there nothing else going on in the world that we can be educated on? Really!!??
Granted, his response was less then stellar but agreed, enough all ready.
I’m certain we all would be more then happy to suggest other topics we’d be interested in hearing more about!!!

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[…] Steve Jobs answers emails, by Mollie Megasko over at Spin […]

jyap
jyap
5 years 9 months ago

This

jyap
jyap
5 years 9 months ago

This site has more of those Emails From Steve Jobs:
http://emailsfromstevejobs.com

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[…] has been the subject of some merriment in the mainstream media (and of great commentary over at the PR blog Spin Sucks), but I was particularly struck by the PR advice dispensed by Good Morning America: Perhaps Jobs […]

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[…] in the customer service center and taken phone calls or emailed back and forth with upset buyers (with the exception of Steve Jobs who did it with great […]

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[…] in the customer service center and taken phone calls or emailed back and forth with upset buyers (with the exception of Steve Jobswho did it with great […]

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[…] in the customer service center and taken phone calls or emailed back and forth with upset buyers (with the exception of Steve Jobs who did it with great […]

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[…] Steve Jobs answers emails, by Mollie Megasko over at Spin […]

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