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Laurene Powell Jobs’ Bizarre Week in the Headlines

Laurene Powell Jobs
Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch
Theodore Schleifer
September 29, 2021

Despite being one half of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile couple for decades, Laurene Powell Jobs has always been somewhat of an enigma. Like her late husband Steve Jobs, she is known to be deeply private and to keep a tight circle, which includes heavyweight allies like Ron Conway and Marc Benioff; a handful of loyalists, such as Stacey Rubin; and family members who work at her Emerson Collective, including her son, Reed Jobs. Emerson—a for-profit entity that is part family office, part mega-philanthropy, and part political advocacy shop—was founded fairly modestly back in 2004. But over the last decade it has grown to become a colossus with enormous influence in civil society and stakes in very disparate businesses. I’ve long found Powell Jobs to be one of the industry’s most fascinating figures because of her unusually diverse interests: She is one of the world’s top art collectors and curators, an executive producer of films at Sundance, a majority stakeholder in The Atlantic, and co-owner of the Washington Wizards.