Wed, Aug

Steve Jobs: The iRevolution

RETROSPECTIVE - (Editor’s Note: Apple’s Steve Jobs died this week at age 56. Steve Jobs had little to do with politics … which consumes much of the focus here at CityWatch … but he had everything to do with the technological process that enables internet publishing and new age communication. A look back at Jobs and his legacy seemed appropriate.)

Steve Jobs will always be remembered as a historic figure who shaped the technological revolution of the past three decades and made it accessible to everyone in the world. Jobs inspired a whole generation of young entrepreneurs to take chances, to innovate and to pursue their dreams with relentless determination.

Jobs always conducted his life with passion, purpose, focus and daring. "It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy," he was quoted as saying in 1982. He was a brilliant visionary. In 1985, he told Playboy magazine, "The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We're just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people -- as remarkable as the telephone." His comments came years before there was an Internet.

Jobs had an uncanny ability to create and market products so beautifully designed and powerfully functional that consumers had to own them. He once told Business Week, "For something this complicated, it's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." And so it was with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Jobs also applied innovation and technology to distribution. For instance, take those iconic and always crowded Apple Stores. Even more impactful, he reinvented the music business with iTunes. "It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry," he told Fortune in 2003. "This is landmark stuff. I can't overestimate it!"

But in October 2003, Jobs learned he had cancer. He had not yet turned 50 years old. Jobs, a notoriously private man, did not publicly disclose his illness for several months.

In June 2005, Steve Jobs gave a powerful commencement address at Stanford University. [video] He told the graduates, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

On selecting a career, Jobs said, "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

Jobs spoke about his willingness to take chances, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Jobs also spoke of death, "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."

Jobs' had stepped down as Apple's CEO this past August for health reasons. On October 4, the day before he died, Apple announced its new iPhone 4S. Did the name "4S" actually mean "for Steve"?

Jobs leaves behind a wife of 20 years and four children. At the time of his death Jobs' net worth was estimated to be more than $7 billion. He was one of the richest persons on earth. But money was not what drove Steve Jobs, as he told the Wall Street Journal in 1993.

"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me."

(Joe Peyronnin is an NYU Journalism Professor. This article was posted first at huffingtonpost.com)

Tags: Steve Jobs, iMac, iPhone, iPad

Vol 9 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 7, 2011