Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs Impact on the World, and Me

You know how every guy with a girlfriend that you know says they're not "whipped"? Well I'm going to make the claim that I'm not an Apple fanboy.
"I'm wicked cool"

But I am, admittedly, a Steve Jobs fanboy.

Like most people, I saw Steve Jobs as a visionary and technological maverick. In my eyes, Jobs could do no wrong... at least in how he saw the future through such clear lenses. From some of the things I've read and what I've seen, his managing style was very atypical from what management schools might tell you works and less than ideal from the employee perspective. Just ask the guys who were there in the beginning at Apple. But you can't argue with positive results, and that's something Steve Jobs certainly achieved.

While most people know he changed the mobile phone market, perhaps less known are a couple of his other greats. Did you know he created fonts? Yes, fonts! Sure, it was early in the consumer market industry and there hadn't been much time for people to demand it, since computers were still only beginning to infiltrate homes. But I think that's even most astounding. Before there was even a demand, Steve Jobs determined that fonts would be a necessity.

Jobs was also at the forefront of the introduction of the mouse. Before that time, computers rested mostly in the hands of programmers who didn't need them... or at least didn't think they needed them. While it wasn't his invention like some report, it was Jobs' design and vision for a personal home computer that included a graphical user interface (or, GUI) with a keyboard and mouse that made the little input device we all know and love a huge success.

Cutting-edge at the time

Jobs also holds a huge pile of patents on the iPhone. While the concept of touch-screen interfaces is very old (no, Apple was not the first to create touch-screen interfaces), it was Jobs who nearly perfected it. Touch-screen interfaces have been around since the 80s but no one really knew how to use it effectively. No one knew how consumers would want it to work intuitively. No one knew how to integrate it with products in a way that people would want to use every day.

No one. Except Steve Jobs.

How ever you are reading this today, Steve Jobs had a hand in laying the cornerstone for it or revolutionized it. The personal home computer was a creation of Steve and Woz. The smart phone landscape was completely terraformed by Apple under Steve Jobs direction and vision. And the tablet? Well those were revolutionized by Steve Jobs. Quite frankly, before him, tablets were crap.

Steve's vision had its most profound impact on me personally in the way that he targeted products for real people. He continuously advocated simplicity of design and beauty of the interface. Things should be kept as simple as possible. And then made simpler some how. A beautiful interface with intuitive usability can be used out of the box and that's often how Apple products come.

A tool helps its user accomplish its goals. A good tool does a good job of this, requiring an experienced user have little training to use it. A great tool requires no training and only some experience or education to use. But a perfect tool is beautiful and requires nothing and teaches its user how to use it.

This is something I've learned from Steve Jobs vision and advocacy and something I try to bring into my own job and life.

We've lost the greatest technology visionary of our times. He will be greatly missed.

Steve Jobs
1955 - 2011

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