Who would think that news of the death of a former French first lady would intersect with the subject matter of IFO’s latest reading material: “Steve Jobs” And yet, it has.
Danielle Mitterand has just passed away at age 87.
The AP reported a recent remark of the wife of the late Socialist French Premier, Francois Mitterand: “”Everybody knows that the foundation of the system today is money: Money is the guru, money decides everything … That’s why we are working to get out of this system,” she told RTL radio last month, summing up a lifelong cause in one of her last interviews before her death…”
So, how did her life mix with Steve Jobs’ life? Walter Isaacson’s book told how Jobs proudly showed his admiring dad his new factory in Palo Alto. Later, “Things were not quite as sweet when Danielle Mitterrand toured the factory. The Cuba-admiring [from the AP story: “She once even kissed Cuba’s revolutionary Fidel Castro at a residence for visiting dignitaries near the presidential Elysee Palace.”] wife of … Mitterand… asked a lot of questions, through her translator, about the working conditions, while Jobs, who had grabbed [Apple employee] Alain Rossmann to serve as his translator, kept trying to explain the advanced robotics and technology.
After Jobs talked about the just-in-time production schedules, she asked about overtime pay. He was annoyed, so he described how automation helped him keep down labor costs, a subject he knew would not delight her. “Is it hard work” she asked. “How much vacation time do they get?” Jobs couldn’t contain himself.
“If she’s so interested in their welfare,” he said to her translator, “tell her she can come work here any time.” The translator turned pale and said nothing. After a moment, Rossman stepped in to say, in French, “M. Jobs says he thanks you for your visit and your interest in the factory.”