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 constantly learning. Through these remarkable years of light-speed changes, the one company to consistently watch has been Apple. Now with the passing of Steve Jobs, it’s 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 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 appreciated him feels the loss. But the ripples from it 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 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 about 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 will exert that influence? His unique combination of leadership, passion, and persuasion is 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 others copied, and that affects lots of things around us. 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.” He said, “Think Different.” Like him or not, the world is different today 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 some of us to “think different,” to look beyond today and bring a new level of imagination and creativity to the things we do. It may even spawn another Jobs-like leader. But there will never be another Steve Jobs.

Read full Pogue article: