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.”
- From Forbes a few weeks ago, “The Top 10 Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Us – If We’ll Listen”: “To create the future, you can’t do it through focus groups…The customers today don’t always know what they want, especially if it’s something they’ve never seen, heard, or touched before.”
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.”
Cisco Live: Catalyst 6500 and Sup2T: Engaging attendees with Mobile Devices
With the launch of the Sup2T supervisor, and associated line cards (69xx), for the Catalyst 6500 Family Switches, Cisco embarked on an innovative strategy to help attendees learn about the features of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, by providing a simple “Trivia Game” that attendees could play by downloading a Catalyst 6500 Mobile app, directly to their mobile devices.
Over 780 attendees completed the trivia game on iPhones and iPads, and each day at Cisco Live, three “winners” were randomly picked from all the attendees who had answered the most trivia questions correctly.
The mobile app, available at the iTunes app store, was a huge success, especially with its contextual set of features and content, centered around the Catalyst 6500 family of switches.