Thursday, October 6, 2011

Losing Jobs Matters

The passing of Steve Jobs matters; technology will be less human than it could be.

Apple is one of the world's most influential organizations, not by sheer wealth, but by impact across variegated industries beyond technology: music, publishing, retail, and more.

Yet, as beautifully detailed by David Pogue Steve Jobs: Imitated, Never Duplicated, this influence was created and wielded by an iconoclast. Lots of companies are run by geniuses, but Jobs defined himself by running against the grain, doing things "wrong," and yet hewing to principle's of beauty that engendered cult status.

I can't imagine a board electing a CEO who, like Jobs, dropped out of college, never worked for anyone else, and simply didn't give a damn what other people thought.

So how did Jobs wind up running one of the world's top companies? It's because he built it, and he did so at the time of the industry's inception. Since the computer industry is long past its inception, we can be confident that it simply won't see another titanic iconoclast at the helm.

And this is a great loss.

Innovations will continue to pour out at an accelerating pace, but they will not cut to the soul as beautifully as those created in the world of Jobs. Simply put, Apple makes products that are, above all, powerfully human.

Is there another force on this planet as powerfully human-oriented than Apple? Oriented in practice, not simply ideology or disposition? I submit that the key was Jobs's deep, micro-managing, hands-on involvement in production, bringing the corporate might Apple to bear on the most minute impediments for common users to achieve their goals.

The entire might of one of the wealthiest companies was, for a time, directed at removing the impediments of common people from achieving their desires.

According to Pogue, there will not be another Steve Jobs, ever, and we are worse off for it.

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