Godfather of Modern Day Publishing: Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
The vision of one man over three decades ago brought the biggest change in the way we publish and communicate. Steve Jobs was the Godfather of digital publishing and communication. Siliconeer pays homage to the genius who gave us Apple.
(Above): Steve Jobs speaking at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in 2007. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
Steve Jobs was an inventor and businessman widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer era. His vision has brought a new light in the tech industry. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc., spearheading the advent of the Macintosh personal computers in the ’80s, and then the iPod, iPhone and iPad more recently.
The computer industry as we know it today was very different when the Macintosh computer was first produced. You had to be a whiz in code and computer programming to get the machine to do even simple calculations. However, Steve’s Macintosh brought in the WYSIWG (what you see is what you get) feel to computers with his Graphical User Interface (GUI), laying the foundation of making computers a household necessity.
In the days when publishing was many hours of rigorous work with artists working on paste-ups with brushes, pens and knives, the Macintosh made a big difference when it came to making quality, productivity and price meet at the same threshold.
In the early ’80s, at a design and print shop in Kolkata, India, this man’s invention made a world of difference, and continues to do so even today, as the son of the owner of that print shop is still publishing this magazine here in Silicon Valley, with a more sophisticated version of the same Apple Macintosh.
(Above): The Apple Macintosh computer that revolutionized the publishing industry. [Photo: Oldcomputers.net]
Steve’s Mac introduced the era of Desktop Publishing, in a way that was easy enough for a fifth-grader in Kolkata, with no knowledge of computers to be suddenly able to publish his first story, do his first layout on the Mac way back in 1985, a time when working with computers was only limited to tech titans from IIT or the likes.
Today, as I see my kids, a five-year-old and an eleven-year-old, playing and creating with iPads and Macs, it brings back the memories of my childhood, and a thought worth mentioning.
It takes a genius to envision such versatility in a world of bytes that even kids who can’t properly write their names, can operate and play with devices he created.
Steve’s unorthdox ways and thought process made it possible for him, but they did not come easy. He had to go through many obstacles that came his way as he moved on his crusade, one byte at a time.
In a speech Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005, he said being fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to him; “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” And added “I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”
Jobs was a demanding perfectionist who always aspired to position his businesses and their products at the forefront of the information technology industry by foreseeing and setting trends, at least in innovation and style.
He summed up that self-concept at the end of his keynote speech at the Macworld Conference and Expo in January 2007, by quoting ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will,” Steve said.
His design sense was greatly influenced by the Buddhism which he experienced in India while on a 7-month spiritual journey. His sense of intuition was also developed there by the spiritual people with whom he met and studied.
Jobs was a fan of The Beatles. He referred to them on multiple occasions at keynotes and also was interviewed on a showing of a Paul McCartney concert. When asked about his business model on 60 Minutes, he replied: “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”
(Above): Steve Jobs presenting the iPhone OS (iOS) 2 at WWDC 2008. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
Apple branched out, introducing and improving upon other digital appliances. With the introduction of the iPod, iTunes digital music software, and the iTunes Store, the company made forays into consumer electronics and music distribution.
On June 29, 2007, Apple entered the cellular phone business with the introduction of the iPhone, a multi-touch display cell phone, which also included the features of an iPod and, with its own mobile browser, revolutionized the mobile browsing scene. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminded his employees that “real artists ship.”
Steve Jobs may be no more but his legacy will remain for long. A man with a vision, and an eagle eye that could look beyond the evident, his last words were, “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”
His death was announced by Apple in a statement which read:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.
Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.
His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
An obituary, read:
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
Parts of this article have been adapted from Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org)