Steve Jobs

17 Oct

With the passing of Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs, there have been numerous stories and blog posts. The iPad and iPod touch are very popular amongst a segment of the online autism communities, leading to a number of stories and articles from this community.

I’ve put off writing about Mr. Jobs’ passing for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that my take on his passing is not really autism related. So, consider that before going on reading this.

Another reason I’ve put off writing is that I have a different take on things. I’ve read a number of stories about Mr. Jobs and how he invented the iPod and the iPad and many other things. Every time I read those I think there’s probably some guy at Apple thinking, “I remember suggesting in a meeting that we make an MP3 player” or “I remember telling people, the iPod touch is basically a tiny tablet. What if we made it bigger?”

This isn’t to take anything away from Steve Jobs. He was a remarkable man, with many technical accomplishments to his own credit. In my mind, Mr. Jobs was one of those rare people who could grow from being technical to being outstanding on the business side. (even more rare is the person who goes from business focus to technical. So rare that I can’t think of one. I could point out a few failures…)

Whatever Mr. Jobs’ role was in inventing the iPod and the iPad, he had the courage and insight to take Apple into what was basically a failing market. The MP3 player wasn’t a promising market (just check how well Microsoft did in that space). Same goes for the tablet computer (again, take a look at Microsoft based tablets). Phones? Apple didn’t invent the cell phone. It’s another tough market (think Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Blackberry). Really, Mr. Jobs led his company into many areas that were becoming commodity markets and made his products stand out.

But creating these businesses, these opportunities for Apple isn’t what stands out in my mind. What stands out is that Steve Jobs made technology cool. He made computers cool. He made MP3 players cool. Much more than this, he made being a technologist cool. I may feel that it’s a tough sell to claim that Steve Jobs “invented” everything Apple put out, but I won’t deny he is given credit for them. He’s got a bit of the Tony Stark penache as he announced new products. It isn’t just the look. The trademark turtleneck. Believe me, I worked for IBM during the Paul Horn (VP of Research) in black-T-shirts and pony tail era. There was more to Steve Jobs than just the image. He was the cool technologist. I wish his family well.

2 Responses to “Steve Jobs”

  1. Zachary Lassiter October 17, 2011 at 20:15 #

    I wrote about Steve Jobs at

    • Sullivan October 17, 2011 at 20:34 #

      Zachary Lassiter,

      good to “see” you again! And, “Lassiter” is a good name when speaking about Steve Jobs, eh?

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