Steve Jobs, Apple, and Innovation
December 8, 2011 Leave a comment
If Steve Jobs was to be described as a religious leader, I would liken him unto Moses. His revolutionary ideas changed the world, he was known ‘as a tech guru’, and he brought down a tablet – like Moses. His death says a lot about IT leadership and innovation. People gravitate towards visions more strongly than just products or services. Steve Jobs was a visionary who could sell his product because of his religiosity in technology, and he often pitted himself as a David versus Goliath person. It was not just about selling the products that made him great, it was his innovative characteristics that defined a new trend and style.
Genes play a role in determining the type of person we will be, but the environment has a heavy hand in shaping our personality as well. Jobs was an adoptive child who was on a quest to determine his role amongst the cosmos. He went to India for spiritual guidance, and practised Japanese Buddhism with emphasis on “Simplicity being the ultimate sophistication.” His aesthetic sense combined with a passion for technology would lead to a powerful combination of innovation. He is attributed with combining the arts with the sciences in a way that resulted in what Jobs himself would call “Magic”. This combination of arts and science is what is needed direly in world of technology today. Sadly, many companies don’t appreciate this approach to innovation. Instead, they focus on the engineering aspects of a product and leave out the beauty, or aesthetics, of a product. If they even try to merge beauty with engineering, there is usually a battle between the two fields an both lose out in implementing the best of their respective fields. Jobs was able to ‘distort reality’ and accomplish engineering feats because of his intuitive sense for art.
Determining the future of a company that was so heavily influenced by its CEO is quite simple. Unless Apple takes on the mentality of Jobs it won’t thrive. Already we can see signs of cracks as the iPhone 4S didn’t seem to ring with people, and the fact that its stock dropped so quickly after that. Rumours of the iPad 3 being thicker than the iPad 2 draw an immediate sign of warning. Jobs would never settle for a product being thicker then is predecessor. It’s just not something Jobs would do. Although Tim Cooks is CEO now, doesn’t draw much comfort. He’s not as tenacious as Jobs, and certainly doesn’t think exactly the way Jobs did. In one of his letters to Apple, Jobs gave advice for the next CEO, which was not to think “What would Steve do?”, but instead to rely on your own intuition. Cooks too relies on his intuition as being one of his biggest strengths, yet doing what Steve would do, I think, would prove more successful.