In November 2007, soon after then-Forbes editor Dan Lyons was outed as Fake Steve Jobs, Lyons had some very complimentary things to say about the Apple CEO: "I actually really admire him. I wouldn't want to work for him, I wouldn't want to live next to him, I wouldn't want to be in his family. What he does requires a hardness that I don't think I could have. I feel affectionate toward him."
A lot has changed for Dan Lyons since then. He left Forbes for Newsweek.
He shut down Fake Steve Jobs (because of his concern for real Steve's health) in favour of a Real Dan Lyons site.
Then he shut down that site after he got flak from his Newsweek bosses over some true-but-not-very-kind posts about Yahoo's PR department.
Today, Lyons is writing just for Newsweek magazine. His column in the latest issue is, of course, about Steve Jobs. However, a lot has changed since Lyons' "affectionate" moment, so very long ago (in Internet years at least).
Writing about the lack of a public succession plan for Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, Lyons make a withering comparison between Jobs and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
"Gates... was every bit as synonymous with Microsoft as Jobs is with Apple. He... set up the transition years in advance, giving Ballmer the CEO post and letting him get more exposure even while Gates stayed on as the figurehead," he wrote. "By the time Gates did step down... his departure was practically a nonevent."
Ah, but no such transition plan exists at Apple - that we know about anyway. "Jobs, in contrast, seems determined to hang on at Apple no matter what.
See, in the world of Steve, it's all about Steve. When he does go, he will be remembered as a tremendous genius - but also as a petulant narcissist with a grandiose sense of his importance and a sadly limited view of the world around him."
I wonder how much admiration Lyons has left for his Steveness. One thing's for sure: all Lyons' time as Fake Steve Jobs certainly gave him keen insight into his muse - and he still has plenty of fire for those in the crosshairs.
Note: This blog first appeared on our sister site The Industry Standard.