There is a FB post of John Carmack about Steve Jobs. It is a long post, so I am quoting the very end of it:

I corroborate many of the negative character traits that he was infamous for, but elements of the path that led to where I am today were contingent on the dents he left in the universe.

I showed up for him.

I do not understand the last sentence:

I showed up for him.

Could you explain what John wanted to say by writing that sentence, please?


It's hard to say exactly what the author means there.

The phrase "show up for someone" has recently become a cliché/idiom which is used to mean something like make time for someone, come to someone's aid, be supportive of someone, act in solidarity with someone:

"What Happens When You Start Showing Up For People"

"If You Care About Someone, Show Up For Them"

"What does it mean to 'show up' for someone else?"

That might seem to make sense in this context, but if you read the whole post, you'll see that it doesn't quite fit. The author occasionally worked with Steve Jobs, occasionally offered him advice, and help, but he also feuded with Jobs, publicly argued with him and was quoted in the news media making remarks about Jobs or Apple that Jobs found offensive. The last thing the author writes about Jobs (prior to this quoted remark) is that when Jobs was dying of cancer, the author considered writing him an email, but didn't do so. None of this strikes me as especially supportive.

Maybe the author did mean to use the phrase as explained above, and I just can't follow the logic of his claim. Or maybe he is using the phrase to mean something else. The strange turns of phrase ("elements of the path were contingent on the dents"?) make it a bit difficult to figure out exactly what the author wanted to say.


The essay opens with:

My wife once asked me “Why do you drop what you are doing when Steve Jobs asks you to do something? You don’t do that for anyone else.”

Another way to say that would be, "Why do you show up for Steve Jobs when he asks you to do something?"

John Carmack then ponders why he would show up for someone who is infamous for their "negative character traits," by reflecting on the strong impact Jobs had on the trajectory of Carmack's career and life through the things Jobs was able to accomplish.

He closes by confirming many of those "negative character traits," and yet in spite of that, because of the tremendous things Jobs could accomplish, John Carmack still "showed up for him."

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