It’s October 5th today and it has been 3 years since the legend passed away and I thought I’d dedicate a post for him, telling his story to the ones that don’t know about it, and to acknowledge the legacy he left behind, and how he passed the baton to many of us just by being an inspirational figure.
I won’t go into much detail about his story because everyone knows about it. Instead, I’ll focus more on how people have misunderstood what he really did and what he stood for.
He inspired an entire generation of entrepreneurs to follow their dreams because that’s exactly what he did. He followed his dreams too. Not everyone could do what he did, but to top it all, he did it after dropping out of college. Maybe he didn’t even have a clue as to what he would do because he traveled to India and stayed in ashrams; but nevertheless, he believed that everything would come together somehow. He dropped in on calligraphy classes that would absolutely not help him in any practical matters, and it all came back when he helped design the macintosh.
Even though he was adopted by two people who weren’t college graduates, they still loved him a lot that they saved up money for Steve to go to college. That didn’t work out either, but fate brought things together when Jobs started getting intrigued by Steve Wozniak’s work. They knew each other since Jobs was in high school and Woz was in college, which is when they started making Blue Boxes – a device which allowed you to make free, long distance phone calls. That was their first business. Later, Jobs came face to face with what would be his destiny and what would be something that he would use to create a revolution; A computer.
It was still in its crude form when he decided to introduce it to people, so that they would understand its significance like how he did and then start buying it.
With Jobs’ colossal ambition and the drive to innovate, Apple was born and was soon funded by Mike Markulla and also got on board with the company. The Apple 2 was the primary source of revenue for the company at that time and it accelerated the company’s growth.
As Apple grew, so did Steve. Yes, he took existing ideas and made it better and made them usable. He took them out of research labs, concept states and gave them life. What was considered useless by IBM, was the next big thing for Steve. He knew what people wanted even before the people themselves knew it. It was true with the Apple 2, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.,
That’s who he was. People misunderstand this simple aspect and say that the media glorified Steve, thus overshadowing Linus Torvalds or Dennis Ritchie or whoever! Steve jobs never sold himself as a computer scientist; he sold himself as an excellent marketer and an even extraordinary orator and salesman. And he was extremely good at all those aspects. That’s why we regard him as a genius! When it came to showing people what they wanted, then giving them exactly that, Steve was the best.
When Steve was 30 years old, he was ousted from Apple. He was rich, famous and could buy whatever he wanted even without a job. But he had created a revolution in the computer industry; more importantly, he was still an entrepreneur. So he didn’t stop when things didn’t work out at Apple. With NeXT and Pixar, he continued creating revolution after revolution. Fighting Disney itself and establishing his authority over them, he brought Pixar into the picture with Toy Story and other amazing films. In the end, Pixar was bought by Disney and Steve was on board with Disney. A year later, Apple’s then CEO Gil Amelio brought in Steve Jobs back to Apple while Apple’s sales were down low and the company was sinking. They were desperate for help. Steve, was smart enough to take control of the company in the next few years and with that, he brought back Apple to making profits. All this in a mere three year span!
That’s what he could do, and that’s what he did and that’s what he stood for. I personally own an Android based phone and I’m a huge fan of Google products. But the reason I’m endorsing Steve Jobs is not because I’m a fan of Apple; It’s because I’m a fan of Steve Jobs. His eye for detail tells you how much of control he had over his products and how successful that was; how his tantrums and temper shaped the quality structure of every employee at Apple, Pixar and NeXT, and how he loved design that reflects in every Apple product even today.
On a side note, I believe he would’ve done something different with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus.
The point is that the false claim by a misguided fan that Jobs was a brilliant computer person isn’t exactly right. Without him, there might not have been any iProduct. But without the iProducts, could we have accelerated our growth in the computer / mobile / music industry? Someone else might have made an iPod, but he did it long ago, when people didn’t even know that we could have a device for music. By “people”, I mean the commoners; not the ones who’re familiar with the tech industry.
As a person, he did have many flaws. But those flaws made him who he was. maybe he learned from them, maybe he didn’t; but whatever he was, he is an inspirational figure to every aspiring entrepreneur out there.
So, the next time someone says, “He didn’t invent anything, he just took something that existed and made it better”, you’ll know how much work that took and how that “something” wasn’t even IN the market, available for people to buy. The next time someone says that, you’ll know how a man with cancer still wanted to put a dent in the universe. The next time someone says that, you’ll know about the ambition that took to create such a business, the vision that was required to innovate, the craftiness that was needed for a business to survive and grow to become one of the greatest companies in the world.
The goal wasn’t to live forever; the goal was to create something that would !