Who Is Fake Steve Jobs?
Silicon Valley is in an uproar over a new blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.
The guessing game has begun. Who is writing it? Send me your guesses. I’ll gladly buy the most expensive iPod for the first to identify Fake Steve Jobs.
We’ve seen this sort of mad comedy before. Ten years ago, Beltway political watchers were gripped by a bawdy novel called "Primary Colors," the story of a philandering presidential candidate from a Southern state, Jack Stanton, and his icy wife. It was no secret that "Primary Colors" was a satire of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential run. The author of "Primary Colors" was listed as “Anonymous,” yet one thing was for certain. This “Anonymous” had so perfectly caricatured the Clinton campaign that he/she had to be an insider.
As Wikipedia recounts, “Writers for Newsweek and The Washington Post speculated some of the following to be the possible “Anonymous”: George Stephanopoulos, Garry "Doonesbury" Trudeau, Former L.A. Times editor Mary Louise Oates and her husband, Robert Shrum, Mark Halprin and Sidney Blumenthal.” Also mentioned was Chris Buckley, America’s best political satirist and a former Geroge H.W. Bush speechwriter.
“Anonymous,” of course, turned out to be Joe Klein, the Newsweek columnist. Klein’s outing came about like this, according to Salon’s account: “New York magazine published a piece about how a literary expert had used a computer program to pinpoint tell-tale similarities between Klein's bylined writings and “Primary Colors.” [Jacob] Weisberg had written a sidebar noting that there were other reasons to suspect Klein. The author of the book, Weisberg reported, was knowledgeable about New York politics, a onetime Clintonphile who now felt betrayed, and a man obsessed about the subject of race. All these attributes fit Klein.”
Shortly after New York magazine’s canny guess, The Washington Post got Newsweek's editor, Maynard Parker, to admit that “Anonymous” was Joe Klein. Then Newsweek fired Klein, who now writes a column for Time magazine.
So who is Fake Steve Jobs? I asked my colleagues at Forbes.
Betsy Corcoran, a longtime Silicon Valley observer, thinks it could be David Morgenstern. But Quentin Hardy and I suspect an outsider, perhaps even a hired gun, who is being fed gossip from a high-level source. The writing is just too good, too perfect in detail and pitch. In fact, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs reads as an edgy sitcom, written by a "Simpsons" or "South Park" scriptwriter. Quentin thinks it could be Harry Shearer. Yep – the writer is that good.
Then again, Fake Steve Jobs might not be posting from Silicon Valley or Hollywood at all, but rather from the U.K. or the U.S. East Coast. Why? Because the day’s first blogs are typically posted around 5 a.m., PDT.
Send us your guesses. Win the latest, coolest iPod if you’re the first to identify the author of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.