One should take extreme care when choosing role models. At least that’s what I told my teenage son’s friends as we discussed the case of football star and dog-fighting promoter Michael Vick a couple of years ago.
I thought of this as I read the case of John Devor on Apple Insider. Devor is the co-owner of a Mac shareware company called The Little App Factory, which makes an app that recovers music, movies and photos from iPods and iPhones when Macs fail. The app, called iPodRip, hit the market six years ago and has some six million customers, according to The Little App Factory.
Devor apparently draws his inspiration from Steve Jobs, and even models his career path after the Apple chief. He writes: “I myself dropped out of school recently to pursue a path in the Mac software industry, and you yourself have been a consistent inspiration for me.”
Sounds like a healthy, albeit one-way, relationship—until Devor received a letter from Apple lawyers telling him that the name iPodRip violates the iPod trademark and that he needs to change it.
According to Devor, a name change would be devastating given the many competing apps and scams out on the market. His app’s name, he contends, is recognized as a legit app. So Devor reached out to the man himself. He sent a wordy email (courtesy of CrunchGear) imploring Jobs to help him keep the name.
And Jobs, in fact, replied—a kind of miracle itself. He sent Devor this terse message:
Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.
Sent from my iPhone
So much for heroes, I told my son’s friends. Best to depend on yourself, I said, hoping they didn’t realize I was ripping off the lyrics of the song The Greatest Love of All. Likewise, Devor changed the app name of his app to iRip, leaving people to wonder, “Is that a rip off of iPodRip?”
Tom Kaneshige is a senior writer for CIO.com in Silicon Valley. Send him an email at email@example.com. Or follow him on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.