This is a tough blog post for me. Like many folks in the US and around the world I too believe we have lost a genius. From a consumer products perspective Jobs disrupted the animation industry, disrupted the music industry, disrupted the phone industry and disrupted the laptop industry. Disruption for the last three meant big wins for Apple -- big profits and big market share numbers.
We’re all wondering what was planned next and, despite assurances that Apple will continue to produce innovation and that innovation is in safe hands with the existing management, I have a feeling that the ‘Jobs spark’ will be hard to replicate in the future. I do have confidence that someone or ‘ones’ will appear in the future to continue the innovation the US has been famous for.
Steve Jobs ‘Righting the Ship’ after he takes the Helm. He’s talking about his predecessor’s approach, not his! That’s why Gates etc. are laughing.
As Managing Editor of the Manufacturing Industry Blog I am allowed the occasional ‘Editorial’ only slightly related to the industry (well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway!). So this blog is tough because I’m not going to address the innovation issue. I’m not going to address the need for improved education or more engineers or more math students (though they are sadly needed).
No, this blog is about priorities in life. I’ve learned, as many of us have, that Jobs allegedly delayed getting surgery for his pancreatic cancer by three-quarters of a year, or thereabouts. It is reported that the new biography that’s due out on Monday has some of the details. Now I make no judgment on his choices, I’ll leave that to you as reader, but a “60 minutes” interview that airs on Sunday with biographer Walter Isaacson apparently confirms details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.
Please don’t judge Steve Jobs, or me. But here’s a similar learning from both of us. I passed a certain age a while ago where I should have had my first colonoscopy. I delayed it. Too busy; not high enough priority; low risk factors; you name the excuses. Four years after that time, in 2010, my wife Julie forced me to have it done. We had a 6 year old and she had just given birth to our second child – a beautiful baby girl.
Steve Jobs, one of the most creative—and effective—innovators in modern America, has died. He was born to single mother. His father was an immigrant. His unmarried parents gave him up for adoption. He never graduated college. By conventional standards, any one of these factors would have made him destined for mediocrity at best, a drain to society at worst. And yet, he not only thrived, but altered the world forever through a combination of unrivalled creative expression and business acumen.
The world has lost a great leader and icon of the Silicon Valley and computer era. Some might even call him a marketing genius. There is no doubt that the recent passing of Steve Jobs has sent waves of emotion throughout the Silicon Valley and the world. Even though I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, I still felt a great sense of loss considering just how much he has changed and influenced the technology age by taking innovative risks and ultimately changing the way the world communicates (Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.) consumes music (iPod, iTunes, etc.), enabling us all to connect with each other. The simplicity and ease of use of Apple’s products speak for themselves. (I can say that confidently as I type this blog post on my Mac :-))
I was in NYC on business when I heard the news (through Twitter first). It felt strange to not be in the valley with the rest of my technology peers experiencing the sadness of the loss together. After all, I had just visited the Apple campus a day earlier and received a tour from a friend who works there. So I did the next best thing… I headed down to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue (which is open 24 hours btw!) where I found myself surrounded by hundreds of New Yorkers who also wanted to honor the legacy of Steve Jobs.
My usual perch is in the heart of Silicon Valley, but this week I’m in New York City for Interop. So when I heard the news Wednesday night about Steve Jobs passing, I felt a sense of the surreal. Nothing like hearing about something hard-hitting and close to home when you’re 3,000 miles away. While I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, he has been a source of inspiration for me, from the start of my career, on. He was part of the legend of Silicon Valley that drew me from Toronto.
Clearly he has moved many and inspired untold numbers. So much has already been written, but I feel compelled to share two things that, for me, characterize the essence of his inspiration:
A Steve Jobs quote as reported in All Things Digital: “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
Steve Jobs challenged all of us to ‘think different.’ But more to the point, he set the bar that much higher. He inspires us to not settle for easy or mediocre, but to push for excellence not yet defined.
And, if you have a spare 15 minutes, please listen or watch Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 where he says, among other elegant, inspiring things: “do what you love.”
“The world lost a true visionary and great man today. Steve Jobs did more than simply shape our concepts of technology and invention, he helped define our understanding of how great innovation and design can bring people closer together. I, and everyone at Cisco, am deeply saddened by Steve’s loss. Our deepest sympathies go out to his colleagues and family. We’ll miss you, Steve, but your legacy will continue forever.”