Steve Jobs

I’m not an Apple man. Never have been. Probably never will be. I don’t need Apple. I use Linux so all is fine. But Steve Jobs undoubtedly had an significant influence on what and how use technology. His impact can be heard everywhere.

Obama got it right when Jobs an innovator, for he wasn’t an inventor. He took products, packaged them up in a unified system and made them look appealing. He didn’t invent the MP3. He was packaged it better into the iPod. The iPhone is Japanese technology, Chinese built, British designed and American marketed. And all sold at Switzerland prices.

What I don’t like about Apple is the locked-in syndrome. You can only use what they sanction, one reason why Flash isn’t available and yet is compatible with 90% of websites. The iTunes system also requires the exclusive use of their products.

There also needs to be some perspective here. Apples are sold in the West, and by the West, I don’t mean the First World. They aren’t that well-known in Asia, non-existent in Africa and rare amongst the developing world masses. Only techies and media types would know about them and computer engineers will use Linux for its open system.

The recent Apple adverts’ tagline was ‘the way we do it (normal things) will never be the same.’ That’s pretty true. But Jobs didn’t save the world here. He improved and packaged technology. To quote Steve Woznaik, the co-founder of Apple, ‘Steve wasn’t into the technology, hardware or software but he knew how to make you want it. Marketing was his greatest strength.’ Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Job did move Apple from PC to MP3, phones and laptops creating the world’s largest technology company by value. Its skill in functionality, smoothness in operation and image and if you buy into it, the integration with other Apple products, make it fairly iconic. The value of the brand says it all.

As a man, I liked Jobs. He had an idea and he went with it. His arrogance was so often proved to be correct, its sustainable. The BBC headline called him a ‘visionary’ (written just like that) and that’s about right. He was also a bit of a hippy, lived in India as a late teenager, a life-long Buddhist and vegetarian and I like him for that. The guy had foresight and guts to stick it through. RIP

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” 

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

Steve Jobs – Stanford Graduation Ceremony 2005


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