If you follow Apple, Inc. you’re likely to have read something from Daniel Lyons’ blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Fake Steve was started in 2006 and for over a year the public did not know the writer’s identity. The writing? Superbly funny, with a rapier insight of Silicon Valley’s elite, and a delightful acerbic representation of Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, hence the Fake Steve monicker. Lyons was outed as the writer, then put Fake Steve on hiatus during Steve Jobs’ bad health days. With the real Steve Jobs recovering well from a liver transplant, the Fake Steve is back. The only problem is that Fake Steve Jobs is fake.
Dan Lyons is a writer. Books. Articles. He was an editor at Forbes magazine. Now he writes for Newsweek. He wrote the fictional biography, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody.
That book was based much upon his blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, but also focused on Apple’s stock options scandal of 2006 and 2007.
As the real Steve Jobs’ health became a public issue, Lyons stopped writing the Fake Steve blog.
The Real Fake Steve
Steve Jobs has a public persona, more or less based on anecdotal evidence gathered through the years. Hot tempered, mercurial, insightful, vicious, demanding, impetuous, genius, disciplined, crude.
From 2006 to 2008, Fake Steve captured, in a raw form, the real Steve Jobs, in near daily blog updates. Those of us who follow Apple, Inc., and marvel at the story that is Apple and Jobs, were treated to a daily dose of raw, crude, unfiltered Fake Steve that seemed to portray the real Steve Jobs.
So spot on was Lyons’ portrayal of Jobs that many pundits, not knowing the true identity, thought the writer to be Jobs himself.
The Fake Fake Steve
Then something happened. A conscience. Dan Lyons had already been outed as the author of the book and the blog’s writer by mid 2008 when Jobs appeared at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference.
Jobs gaunt and unhealthy appearance at WWDC caused Lyons to stop writing The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Conscience?
Following the real Steve Jobs recovery from a liver transplant in early 2009, Lyons, or someone, began writing Fake Steve again. Someone? If Dan Lyons was the creator and writer for Fake Steve from 2006 to 2008, he’s not the same writer claiming to be Fake Steve now.
Gone are the insights, the accurate and merciless skewers of Steve Ballmer, Walt Mossberg, and Dr. Eric Schmidt. Instead, Fake Steve has become an empty shell of the previous version, an unfunny, harshly critical, belittling, crude and unsuccessful effort to be insightful.
The current Fake Steve is fake. In my opinion, based upon reading the old Fake Steve and the newer Fake Steve, Dan Lyons is no longer writing Fake Steve.
The original Fake Steve was funny. The current version tries and fails to be funny. The original Fake Steve was insightful. The current version tries and fails to be insightful. Fake Steve is a fake. The writer is a stand in, an unfunny stand up comedian incapable of recapturing the original.
Assume that I’m wrong and that Fake Steve continues to be written by Daniel Lyons. What happened?
What caused this transformation from a well crafted, even gifted performance as Steve Jobs writing in his personal diary, to the blather being pawned off on followers as Fake Steve?
Dan Lyons stopped writing The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs because the real Steve Jobs’ health had so obviously deteriorated from 2006 to 2008.
I saw how he looked at [the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, 2008] and it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I just couldn’t carry on.
Maybe Dan Lyons came back to write as Fake Steve, but, with a conscience, he’s no longer the same witty, acerbic, insightful, sometimes caustic Fake Steve we all know and loved.