Monthly Archives: October 2011Blog

An Icon Is Gone. Thoughts On Steve Jobs

In business today we’re all trying to keep up with technology and grasp its implications. We’re all constantly learning. Through these years of seemingly light-speed changes, the one company to consistently watch has been Apple. Now with the passing of Steve Jobs, it’s very possible that an era of imagination and creativity in the world of consumer technology has ended. From David Pogue:

Suppose, by some miracle, that some kid in a garage somewhere at this moment possesses the marketing, invention, business and design skills of a Steve Jobs. What are the odds that that same person will be comfortable enough — or maybe uncomfortable enough — to swim upstream, against the currents of social, economic and technological norms, all in pursuit of an unshakable vision?
Zero. The odds are zero.
Mr. Jobs is gone. Everyone who knew him feels that sorrow. But the ripples of that loss will widen in the days, weeks and years to come: to the people in the industries he changed. To his hundreds of millions of customers. And to the billions of people touched more indirectly by the greater changes that Steve Jobs brought about, even if they’re unaware of it.

Jobs was the lynchpin in the transition to digital for many industries, most notably entertainment. His devices weren’t just “cool;” they brought with them whole new businesses and new ways of creating wealth. Part of his special magic was his ability to convince corporations, solidly entrenched in the physical realm, to become digital. Now that that force is gone, who is there to exert the same kind of influence? His unique combination of leadership, passion and persuasion are what changed industries. Who can duplicate that?

There’s a sense that without Jobs, not just Apple, but whole industries – maybe the entire culture – is without a guide, at least in the digital realm. After all, Apple is the one company that’s always been copied, and that affects lots of things in society. Jobs took good ideas, made them better, sold them to consumers, then compelled industries to change. That’s how he fulfilled his dream of “changing the world.” Like him or not, the world is different because of him — maybe not ideologically, but  in very tangible ways.

I’m looking forward to reading his official biography. Maybe there will be something in it that will cause us all the “think different,” look beyond today, and bring a new level of imagination and creativity to the things we do. That would be great. Maybe it will even spawn another Jobs-like leader. But there will never be another Steve Jobs.

Read full Pogue article: