DUDE, I INVENTED THE FRIGGIN IPHONE.
“Fake Steve Jobs” (aka Forbes magazine writer Dan Lyons) was recently outted in August as the author behind the wildly popular The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Linked in recently sponsored a night with the real Guy Kawasaki conducting an open interview with Fake Steve Jobs (“FSJ”) this evening at the Computer History Museum. We were even lucky enough to have the sleuth who tracked him down in attendance: Brad Stone joined the conversation on stage during the interview. That’s Dan Lyons in the middle below with Brad to his right. Feel free to click on the picture for a small set of photos I took during the session.
I’ve taken a few snippets of the interview which turned out ot be a bit more of a stand up comedy routine. These notes were taken from my iPhone, mind you, so I’ve paraphrased a tiny bit in a few cases. Here are a few choice Q&A soundbites (from both Guy and the crowd) as Dan Lyons discusses everything from his unveiling to his relationship with Apple.
Did you leak your identity to sell more books?
No, I didn’t mean for the blog to become some kind of icon or something… it was accidental. I started FSJ simply because I wanted to learn how to use Blogger. I picked it up and dropped it after a while, figuring interest would die down once I stopped posting. The result was just the opposite: I kept getting emails from people asking why I stopped. I even received emails from people who wanted to encourage “Steve” to continue blogging.. they actually thought I was the real Steve Jobs!
The only attempt to cash in on the blog was this lame-o idea to sell Fake Steve Jobs t-shirts on Cafepress. The t-shirts are so camp, they’re worth buying simply for the comedic value of them. I sold a total of 4 shirts my first day, all of which were to Katie Cotton who works in public relations at Apple. I was totally expecting to hear from their lawyers after that. Somehow, amazingly, I never did.
Did you do any research on Steve Jobs to add to the authenticity of the blog?
Not at first, although eventually I did spend hours gathering info on Steve on the web, and also read up a bit. I started to realize how big this had gotten when the New York Times wrote a piece on Steve Jobs.
Was the unmasking intentional?
No way. In fact, I was on my way to a retreat in Maine to shut out the world and focus on writing my book when I got the call from Brad Stone. I told my wife the next few days would be crazy and she was pissed!
Brad, how did you figure out it was Dan?
(Brad hops up from the stage after Guy Kawasaki recognizes him and asks him to come up).
I was interested in playing sleuth and compiled a list of people who were likely suspects (including the real Steve), but I eventually dropped the matter entirely. My interest in finding out the writer’s identity re-surfaced once I started attending conferences and found everyone was buzzing about FSJ. Eventually I started putting the pieces together when I noticed similar writing patterns on the floating point blog. A big clue was the fact that the floating point blog was a naked broadside attack on open source software. *laughs*
What’s your take on the other fake blogs? There’s a fake Steve Ballmer out there now, among others.
Well, maybe the writer is a Microsoft employee or something – afterall, Ballmer probably figured if there is a fake Steve, there has to be a fake Baller too, right? although his running around on stage flapping his arms around probably is enough of a parody on Ballmer. No additional humor needed.
What’s funny about these fake blogs is that sometimes they’re picked up in traditional media as legitimate stories. The funniest example was the fake Al Sharpton blog, which defended Michael Vick’s recent dogfighting troubles. The story involved fake Sharpton stating that if a white quarterback coordinated fights between dolphins with spears attached to their beaks, the media would have given him a pass. As ridiculous as it sounds, MSNBC picked up the story and reported on “Al Sharpton” defending Michael Vick! *laughs*
Have you ever met Steve Jobs?
No, never. I get asked that all the time. People also keep asking me if a single day passes where I haven’t thought of Steve Jobs. When I think back,not a single day has gone by in the last year and a half where I haven’t thought of Steve. Isn’t that fucked up?! It’s like I have a man crush on him or something. *laughs*
But Steve Jobs is a facsinating personality in that he creates buzz regardless of what he does. I’m not talking about facebook buzz bullshit – this man has an actual company which makes real products! *laughs*
Even Forbes bought into the buzz. Believe it or not, they emailed FSJ once and wrote to me that while they don’t know who I am, I obviously know the silicon valley inside out, and they would liek me t work for them. (Note: Dan Lyons worked for Forbes at the time) So I figured I’d write back and ask them how much the job pays!