You, no doubt, are now aware that the personal computer-rather, the consumer electronics-industry has lost a pioneer and savvy individual. Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. So much has already been written about this man that there isn’t much more I can add, so I am going to keep this rather short.
He was no saint and was not out make the world a sterile, wholesome place as others try. No, he was out to make products that were easy to use, looked great and, most importantly, people wanted. He succeeded in doing that. But, there was also something else: make money. And make money he did. Apple went from practically zero worth in 1997 to the second most valuable company in 2011.
His products, rather the products that he green lit and had a hand in shaping, were, for the part, huge hits. Macintosh computers went from under 5% of the market to nearly three times that. The MP3 player market was stagnant until he let loose the Windows version of iTunes that worked the then three year old iPod-a product that nearly did not make it. The iPhone-another product that almost never was (the iPad was, supposedly, going to be released instead) reshaped the smartphone market and, of course, iPad accomplished something in one year that Microsoft tried for nearly two decades to do: make people want a tablet device.
Jobs did not engineer anything. What he did to was to look at something with a normal eye-the eye of the consumer and say ‘no, this needs to moved’ or ‘that shade of yellow is wrong.’ He was a genius that way. And those little things not only shaped the market for that product, it influenced many others. Remember the see-through fruit colored craze of the late 1990’s? Those iMacs inspired everything from phones to blenders. For Jobs, it truly was design that came first and he was not afraid to go out on a limb and say ‘no one wants that.’ Maybe other CEO’s should be more hands on like this.
There’s not much more to say other than I will miss the ‘reality distortion field’ during his ‘Stevenotes’. I will miss the passion that he exuded during his speeches and the few interviews he gave. I will miss the potshots taken at his long time friend, Bill Gates who would just take them (I don’t recall ever hearing Gates say anything bad about Jobs, I could be wrong, but I just don’t think he did.)
I think I’m going to listen to some music on my iPad now.