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I'm an assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I teach and research how news sites can better reach their audiences. I received my Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where I was one of the founding editors of MyMissourian.com, a citizen journalism site for Columbia, Mo. Before graduate school, I worked as a community newspaper editor in Southern Utah and Southern California.

Celebrate the drive of a Silicon Valley pirate; RIP Steve Jobs

My first impulse when I learned of Steve Jobs’ passing was to try to find

A mashup of the two stars of the 1999 TNT movie "The Pirates of Silicon Valley." Image via http://www.methamatrix.com/archives/210

“The Pirates of Silicon Valley” on Netflix streaming. (The trailer is available on YouTube.) Fortunately TNT read my mind because the channel will rebroadcast their 1999 docudrama tonight.

It’s not the greatest movie ever. It’s probably not an accurate depiction of who Jobs and Bill Gates were at the time. But it’s a movie I’ll always remember fondly because it served as my first introduction to the entrepreneurial spirit that drove both men and the computer industry.

In the movie, Jobs comes off as driven to the point of obsession. He provides awesome perks for employees because he never wants them to leave work. He doesn’t, so why should they.

While I know I could never be that obsessed, I admire his determination, and so should Apple fans and employees. Apple owes much of its success to its refusal to accept the status quo. That philosophy largely comes from Jobs. Daniel Lyons, the Newsweek reporter who once moonlighted as the Fake Steve Jobs, put it best in Vanity’s Fair’s “How the Web was Won” when he describes how Apple approached the music industry to create the iPod and iTunes store.

But I really think that Apple came along and took all the risk. Apple said, O.K., we’ll invest in making this hardware device and in making a store, and running that store, and making all these deals, and working with all you scumbags and assholes in the music business. We’ll put on our asbestos suit and deal with you people, right, to be able to, like, sit in the same room and breathe the same air that you criminals in the music industry … do, right?

The more I use my iPad, the more I realize Jobs was applying this same willingness to get down in the mud with the news industry. I still believe the iPad will do to the news industry what the iPod and iTunes Store did to music, and I welcome the change. It’s too bad Jobs won’t be around to see it.

As I watch the film tonight, I’m going to be looking for clips I can share with my students that will convey that same wide-eyed idealism I felft more than 10 years ago. Journalism needs more people willing to forego the saftety of big media conglomerate paychecks to strike out on their own. In fact, those people might represent the brightest hope for the industry.

Editor’s Note: I shared some of these reflections with Ryan Clark, a reporter from the Ohio University Post.

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4 Responses to “Celebrate the drive of a Silicon Valley pirate; RIP Steve Jobs”

  1. Mallory #

    Courage seems to be a theme in so many of your posts. I love it, Hans. Still hope one day I can take a course from you…;)

    October 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm
  2. MacMyDay #

    You say this is on Netflix streaming???? I just searched didn’t find it? Can you confirm? Maybe I am doing something wrong?

    October 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm
  3. Hans K. Meyer #


    Sorry I misstated. It’s not on Netflix streaming. I did find it on Veoh and Google Video. Veoh requires you to install their Web player, but the Google video link seemed to play the entire movie.

    October 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm


  1. Movie-The Pirates of Silicon Valley | non stop learner - December 20, 2012

    […] (re-post from http://www.hanskmeyer.com/2011/10/celebrate-the-drive-of-a-silicon-valley-pirate-rip-steve-jobs/) It may not be the greatest movie ever. It’s probably not an accurate depiction of who Jobs and Bill Gates were at the time. But it’s a movie people will always remember as it served as an introduction to the entrepreneurial spirit that drove both men and the computer industry. […]

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