by on December 7, 2018

In 2000, Bill and Melinda Gates launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide health care facilities and education to underprivileged people across the world. In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced that they would give away 99 per cent of their shares in the Facebook for human development. It is not unusual for the tech CEOs to donate billions of dollars in charity. But not Steve Jobs.


Interestingly, the Apple co-founder apparently never donated a single penny towards any charity in his life. Jobs might come across as a tightwad from his lack of donations or his lack of support for charitable organisations, but he had his reasons.


Job's daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs recently published a memoir-- Small Fry-- detailing her life with her famous father. In the book, Lisa gives a kaleidoscopic view of Jobs, citing incidents that often leave you perplexed. In one of such incidents Lisa revealed why Jobs never gave away a dime in charity.


It was a few weeks after Christmas when Lisa joined the Palo Alto High School or 'Paly' when Jobs' wife, Laurene, took her on a trip with the Audubon Society. A few days later, a distraught Jobs came in Lisa's room. When Lisa questioned him about the cause of his unrest, Jobs revealed that it was her bird trip with the Audubon Society.


"What matters in life," he said, "is only what you do with your own hand."


However, when she failed to understand what he meant, he explained, "That bird trip...That sort of-thing...These sorts of things don't mean anything. They aren't real."


Jobs' discrete explanation at the time didn't help Lisa in understanding what he truly had meant until days later she learned that the trip had been given to them in the hopes that either Laurene or Jobs himself would donate money to the society, which as Lisa wrote in her book, is what had actually bothered her father.


Notably, Jobs wasn't frugal only while giving away money in charities but also while conducting his household. In the book, Lisa recalls that Jobs made calculations out loud about the cost of things at the grocery store and the restaurants. She wrote that her father would be indignant when things were too expensive. He would also refuse to buy things when he thought that the budget or the purchase was more than what a normal family could afford, even though he could afford it.


The reason for this thrifty behaviour, as one can understand, was Jobs' humble roots. Jobs didn't come from a well-to-do family. Money wasn't ample but it was enough. This is what motivated him to drop out of Reed after completing just one semester in the college. This stayed with him even when Apple became big and he became rich. He believed in earning things and in spending based on requirements that would meet the demands of an average American family.


This, however, didn't stop him from helping people near and dear to him or indulging from time to time. He bought an Alfa Romeo car for one of his girlfriends, Tina, and paid off Laurene's student loans. He also kept two cars- a Porsche and a large silver Mercedes-- for himself.




Posted in: Society