Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

Some excerpts of reactions to the passing of Steve Jobs along with a few memorable quotes:

Barron's - Apple: Steve Jobs, 56, Visionary, Passes Away

Intersection of Technology & Art
He thought in broad sweeping terms about where we were going with technology and what happened at what he liked to call the intersection of technology and art, liberal arts. But it's also true that he thought about the smallest details in these products. And that's why he not only saved the company but also put it in a position where it consistently wins the hearts of people, because he believed very much in delighting customers. He did not manage for the quarter, he did not manage for the stock price, as high as the stock price was. He really believed that the only thing worth doing with your life was trying to change the world. - Walt Mossberg in a podcast interview last night

AllThingsD - The Steve Jobs I Knew
by Walt Mossberg

The Optimist
He certainly had a nasty, mercurial side to him, and I expect that, then and later, it emerged inside the company and in dealings with partners and vendors, who tell believable stories about how hard he was to deal with.

But I can honestly say that, in my many conversations with him, the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty, both for Apple and for the digital revolution as a whole.

and later in the article...

This quality was on display when Apple opened its first retail store. It happened to be in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, near my home. He conducted a press tour for journalists, as proud of the store as a father is of his first child. I commented that, surely, there'd only be a few stores, and asked what Apple knew about retailing.

He looked at me like I was crazy, said there'd be many, many stores, and that the company had spent a year tweaking the layout of the stores, using a mockup at a secret location. I teased him by asking if he, personally, despite his hard duties as CEO, had approved tiny details like the translucency of the glass and the color of the wood.

He said he had, of course.

New York Times - Apple's Visionary Re-defined Digital Age

Market Research
...Mr. Jobs's genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, "to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained."

Mr. Jobs's own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: "None. It's not the consumers' job to know what they want."

AllThingsD - Steve Jobs, in His Own Words

Memorable Quotes by Steve Jobs
"My position coming back to Apple was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the '70s, when American cars were boats on wheels." 

"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."

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

I won't be surprised if the significance of what Steve Jobs helped set in motion this past decade or so turns out to be in the very early stages. Maybe the bulk of the full impact is yet to be felt.

Of course, it's also possible the industry will end up going off the rails to some extent. Could it become a little like the industry "in a coma" or "Detroit in the '70s" that Jobs saw upon returning to Apple again?

We'll see.

Adam
 
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