San Francisco: A blogger calling himself “Fake Steve Jobs,” whose parody of the Apple Inc. chief executive amused and enthralled Silicon Valley, revealed himself on Sunday (5 August) as an editor of Forbes business magazine.
Dan Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes, admitted to writing as Fake Steve after a New York Times reporter found resemblances between the blog and Lyons’ published work and asked him whether he was behind the long-running satire.
Lyons told the Times he had started the fake blog last year to poke fun at the lack of candidness he saw in the growing number of CEO blogs that were attracting media attention.
Forbes.com confirmed the Times’ account and posted an audio interview with Lyons, who lives near Boston and who had managed to evade media sleuths for more than a year.
“I was hoping to stay anonymous for a while longer but on the other hand I knew I couldn’t stay anonymous forever. It had to happen at some point,” Lyons said.
“I hope that it doesn’t ruin the fun of the blog that people know who’s behind it.
The blog, http://fakesteve.blogspot.com, has gained a loyal readership for its frequent posts wrapping puerile put-downs and celebrity name-dropping around sharp analysis of business and technology trends.
Fake Steve, also known as “FSJ” or “El Jobso”, blasts Linux fans as “freetards” and skewers leading journalists as “filthy hacks” before signing off with the Indian salutation “namaste.”
Lyons used his adopted persona to poke fun at Real Steve Jobs’ reputation for being a highly demanding, even arrogant, manager, offering gems such as this one:
“The MBAs say you should set high standards, let people know what’s expected of them, and hold them to that. I do a little twist on that and say, hold people to an impossibly high standard, but here’s the twist -- don’t tell them what that standard is. And fire them if they fall short.”
It has been read by leading industry figures such as Bill Gates, who joked in May when he was introduced at a conference alongside the real Jobs: “First, I want to clarify, I’m not Fake Steve Jobs.”
The blog has even spawned an upcoming book by Fake Steve, a satirical novel called “Options” due out in November.
There were numerous attempts to unearth the real Fake Steve Jobs. One of the most concerted came from Nick Denton, founder of blog empire Gawker Media, who turned the search into a personal crusade, poring over Fake Steve’s posts for clues about the author’s background.
Over the past few months, suspicion turned on a succession of technology writers, each of whom denied being Fake Steve.
One recent suspect, Chicago Sun-Times and Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko, wrote last month that Fake Steve Jobs was just the latest twist on the Silicon Valley pastime of casting the Apple co-founder as visionary inventor, New Age guru, robber baron or eccentric billionaire.
“The fun of Fake Steve’s blog is in celebrating the cultural phenomenon of Bona-Fide Steve Jobs as a cartoon character,” Ihnatko wrote.
As for Fake Steve, the blog will move to Forbes’ website from Monday 6 August, while Lyons takes a break for a few days. But he did have a parting, presumably joking, shot for the reporter who brought an end to his anonymity.
“You did the sleuthing. You put the pieces of the puzzle together. You went through my trash, hacked into my computer, and put listening devices in my home. Now you’ve ruined the mystery of Fake Steve, robbing thousands of people around the world of their sense of childlike wonder.” Reuters