"Please leave us alone," Apple's CEO Steve Jobs fired off in an email to Chelsea Isaacs, left, a senior in the journalism department at Long Island University, this week.
Just what got him so hot and bothered?
While working on a paper about the application of the iPad in academic settings, Isaacs had contacted Apple's Media Relations department for comment. When they failed to get back to her in time for her deadline, she appealed directly to Jobs -- known to respond to random customers personally from time to time.
And did he ever.
First he informed Isaacs that he couldn't help her: "Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade, sorry," wrote Jobs.
Isaacs appealed again, via email: "I never said that your goal should be to get me a good grade. I merely asked why your media relations department won't respond to emails," she wrote.
"We have over 300 million users, and we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind," replied Jobs.
"Number one, I am one of your 300 million users, and number two, I do have a problem," reasoned Isaacs. "I need answers that only Apple's media relations department can provide."
That's when she got the Big Apple of brush-offs.
After the jump, we see the excellent advice Jobs previously gave college students -- advice Isaacs was actually following.
In a commencement address he gave at Stanford in 2005, Jobs describes his unwed mother putting him up for adoption, in the hopes that a college-educated couple would be the ones to raise him. Fast forward 18 years.
Jobs enrolls in Reed College, a school he describes as "as expensive as Stanford," only to drop out six months later, feeling guilty, he says, about what the tuition was costing his adoptive parents.
Instead, after dropping out, he took classes ad hoc, signing up for electives he wanted to take, like calligraphy -- a move Jobs described in the commencement address as nothing short of prescient:
"Much of what I stumbled into, following my curiosity and intuition, turned out to be life-changing. Because I had dropped out and didn't take the normal classes, I took a calligraphy class. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle. None of this had a hope of any practical application in my life, but 10 years later, when we were designing a Mac, it all came back to me ... If i had never dropped out, I would never have dropped in on that calligraphy class and personal computers wouldn't have all of the fonts that they have today."
Good advice if we've ever heard it. By following her curiosity and intuition, Isaacs landed nothing short of a poison-pen letter from Apple's CEOand a segment on "Good Morning America" -- in other words, the scoop of the week. Not too shabby for a not-yet-graduated journalist.
Too bad the biggest effect Jobs' email will likely have is a black mark on Apple's public image.
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