Nobody knows this, so keep it quiet. But I flew to New Jersey and met with George Hotz aka geohot this weekend. Totally top secret but I had to meet him. He’s a really amazing kid. Super bright. I want to hire him at Apple but he’s determined to go to college. I told him it’s a waste of time but he’s pretty stubborn about it. He’s starting this week in fact at some nerd college in Rochester. We’re trying to work out some deal where he can work for us as a contractor while he’s in school.
Fact is, after my initial shock and a little bit of anger when I first heard about him hacking my phone, I sat down and said to myself, Jobso, this kid is you, thirty years ago. Think, man. Look at what he’s done. It’s friggin amazing. And now look at yourself. You used to be a pirate. Now you’re selling the world’s coolest phone but you made a deal with the devil to lock it into a carrier. And, worst of all, the carrier is AT&T, hellspawn of old Ma Bell, the company you started out hacking all those years ago. What’s become of your principles? Yes, you’ve been successful; yes, you’ve amassed a great fortune; yes, you now rule the world. But at what cost to your soul?
Well it was a very powerful moment for El Jobso. As I got off the Jobs Jet in Teterboro I actually started to feel nervous. I tried to explain to this kid what a lesson he’d taught me, what an epiphany I’d had about my life and the world and how Apple should be playing a role in trying to free up telecommunications rather than just making money on it, and how this whole thing about “changing the system from within” is just a lie we tell ourselves when we’ve sold out and compromised our values.
He was like, Whatever, dude. I need a car. Can you buy me one?
Tears ran down my face. It was, honestly, like seeing my own 17-year-old self. The pure, unspoiled, pre-fame, pre-money version of me. The kid who was angry and greedy and hungry, determined to do whatever it took to be a success, even if it means breaking the law. It was beautiful. Geohot, you have changed my life.