October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs has died, at the age of 56.

Terribly sad. A great man.
He put much stock in the notion of “taste,” a word he used frequently. It was a sensibility that shone in products that looked like works of art and delighted users. Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.”

Regis McKenna, a longtime Silicon Valley marketing executive to whom Mr. Jobs turned in the late 1970s to help shape the Apple brand, said Mr. Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, “to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.”

Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

125 comments:

Moose said...

God lays even the powerful low. It is every man's destiny.

America's Politico said...

I once met Steve Jobs. He gave a lecture and I was lucky to be there. Today I think of him. I am reminding the song I heard on radio this weekend, Wanting Memories. He was the innovator. My prayers for his family. (iTunes has it, search for the song, by Cantus, a choir.)

I wish he was frequently invited to Senate or House hearings or to visit the White House on issues such as: What can America do to be innovative? What about US education? (Jobs took typography at Reed that change the way we type.)

God bless, Steve Jobs! An All-American.

sane_voter said...

I think of two things as I ponder the death of Mr. Jobs. One, the loss of a visionary when America truly need such talent.
And two, the stark realization of mortality that such a rich and smart man is unable to come up with a way to beat the grim reaper at a relatively early age.

DWS said...

"It's not the consumer's job to know what they want." So, they get what they get. Thanks, Steve. I'm sorry I exceeded my authority.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So sad. And so inspiring. He and his business partner literally changed the world. Changed the world in a positive way.

Of course, now that he has passed as an eeeeeviiil corporate pig oppressing all of those poor people in NYC who are protesting, his estate will be raped by the US Government. (unless he has a good estate plan).

Right? Corporate = evil Rich= guillotine Nevermind that he created some of the best technology and created jobs for millions of people and created wealth, both of which will continue beyond his corporal life.

Rest in peace Mr. Jobs.

Thank you.

rcocean said...

Great man? Meh. Certainly a smart man and a man who was lucky in business.

Interesting that he owned 7% of Disney.

Quayle said...

I personally think he was a name for the ages in American history.

But from another point of view, isn't Steve Jobs exactly the kind of person that Obama condemns, that the Wall Street demonstrators decry, and whose house Van Jones wants his minions to surround?

He was a mega-rich capitalist through and through.

He was in bed with large banks, with other rich capitalists, and he presided over a company that is hording obscene amounts of cash rather than hire new workers.

I mean, based on the criteria of Obama's left, he was the absolute devil, wasn't he?

Joan said...

If only the rest of American high tech industries would buy into and continue Jobs' commitment to elegance and simplicity. Many people don't realize how difficult it is to engineer something beautiful, massively functional, and at the same time graceful and (here's that word again) simple.

When I was in software user interface design (3 lifetimes ago), I was constantly battling with the engineers against feature creep. Their goal was always to stuff more cool gizmos into the software, which leads directly to bloat (see: every Microsoft product). I could never find a way to explain to them that cool features could actually be bad things if they prevented users from doing what they wanted to do. Users shouldn't have to think about whatever it is they want to do, it should be obvious from the design (and perhaps a tiny bit of training to ramp up). Steve Jobs understood this idea so thoroughly that he was able to build an entire corporation (some say "way of life") around it. For all that I get annoyed with Apple's hipster-cool, I do recognize and have enormous respect for their commitment to great design.

God bless Steve Jobs. May his ideals live on.

PatCA said...

What a brilliant, inspiring man. RIP, and know that you will live on in the sense of wonder that you brought to the rudiments of daily life.

I find myself shedding a tear over someone I don't know.

Patrick said...

It is sad to lose a man so young. He lived well, however, and packed a lot of living in those short years.

Steve Jobs created a lot of wealth. He changed the way a lot of people obtain, use and create information. Really, I don't think genius is out of line, not by a long shot.

He was also given a final gift - to know with some precision the time of his death. One hopes he made use of the information.

xnar said...

Obama says that at some point you have made enough money.

Let Steve be the counter example to that.

At some point, it is not about money.

Roger J. said...

Thanks to American Politico for dropping his schtick and delivering a good euology for Mr Jobs.

As to Moose's initial comment: Recall Grey's elegy: the paths of glory lead only to the grave

Mr Jobs was an innovator. RIP Mr Jobs and condolences to his family and friends.

somefeller said...

I mean, based on the criteria of Obama's left, he was the absolute devil, wasn't he?

No, he wasn't. He might be the devil to some more fringe left people, but no one important or notable. And I suspect Steve Jobs' political and cultural views were more in line with Obama than the Tea Party crowd.

And if we are going to discuss the passing of Steve Jobs in concert with political items of our era, I think Andrew Sullivan said it best today as follows: Leonard Cohen once said of America that it was "the cradle of the best and the worst". Today, we lost one of the very best in American history, a reticent genius and entrepreneur, an inspiration for countless of us who has changed the very fabric of our lives. And we also saw the end of the road for one of the very worst: a nasty, callow, delusional, vicious know-nothing, brewed in resentment, and whose accomplishments could fit on a postage stamp. It's a fitting comparison: achievement versus resentment, creativity versus narcissism, hope versus fear. I know which one will get the bigger headlines tomorrow. And there is some comfort in knowing it will pain her.

Patrick said...

Interesting, Dustbunny. I would be very interested to know what the typical shlub down at those protesters would think of him.

Conflicted, I would guess. But really, their little protest would be even more ridiculous without him and those large corporations that make all that cool shit that keeps them yapping all day.

pm317 said...

Yep, I shed a few tears in the last hour.. The good ones die way too early. I used to know a guy at school who was in awe of his NeXT computer and this was early 90s. I can hear him still talking about the quality of the interface. Perfection for perfection sake.

Patrick said...

I don't know, but if I had to guess, I'd say Jobs likely sprouted some of the typical Dem/leftist nonsense.

Looking at how he lived his life - hard work, drive for success and more success and pushing for more, I don't really think he lived as a man of the left.

Mark said...

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work,” Jobs said in a 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, which has been much quoted in recent days. “And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

yashu said...

Yes, a truly great man, an icon for our time. RIP.

And agree with other commenters: when I think about "capitalism," when I think about "corporations," among the diverse images that come to mind, I think of people like Steve Jobs. Not the little top-hatted Monopoly Guy or Montgomery Burns.

Lem said...

Steve has gone up to tweak and make Cloud better..

RIP

Quaestor said...

RIP Steve Jobs. Gonna miss your attitude, man. And the vision thing, though the iPad is a solution for a non-existent problem IMAO.

The last time I bought an Apple hardware product it was Macintosh PPC 7600 a/v. Ultra cool in '96. Ultimately I upgraded the processor to a 400Mhz 604ev, the RAM to 1GB, added an ATI Radeon video accelerator, and upped the system to OS9. I had it on my credenza basically as a toy, but it was by far the fastest workstation on the company LAN. Later I decided to run an intranet web server for the MIS department, and my under-utilized Mac seemed like a good candidate for the job. Then I realized OS9 had no native web server capability. (At this time Microsoft had a personal web server available for Windows 98 through TechNet) I looked around and found a third-party MacOS web server for $500! Half a grand for a web server?! Mac developers must assume Mac owners are made of money. Out of pure cussedness I dumped OS9 and installed RedHat 5.2 on my formerly cool and now totally eccentric PPC7600 a/v.

I still buy Apple software from time to time, my latest purchase was Lion, but I run my OS X license on an i7-powered home-built Hackintosh that eats mere iMacs as a mid-day snack.

Mark said...

FWIW, I have been railing against Apple the Big Brother You Don't Recognize for about as many years as Apple has been in existence. And his bank balance notwithstanding at the time of his death, I'm not convinced he didn't end up being an opportunity cost to Apple over his tenure.

But he ran his company the way he thought best and satisfied (and enticed) enough customers to have made a lot of people very rich, and not co-incidentally changed the way the entire culture perceived technology and content not one, not two, but at least three times.

Like I say, I often despised Jobs' business practices, but let's recognize the passing of a giant when it happens. Godspeed, Steve Jobs.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Andrew Sullivan should go back to England & quit writing his stupid, pompous screeds on the USA.

garage mahal said...

Nevermind that he created some of the best technology and created jobs for millions of people and created wealth, both of which will continue beyond his corporal life.

Little known was the fact that in those Shenzhen sweatshops that made the Ipods, workers are required to sign disclosures stating they won't kill themselves, after a rash of suicides.

Quayle said...

I fully agree that Jobs probably leaned left, and that a high percentage of the demonstrators on Wall Street probably have iPhones, and probably 100% have or had an iPad.

But this demonstrates the cognitive dissonance of Obama's left: they don't know or admit the full ramifications of their ideology.

The early Apple was able to grow because Jobs went to a venture capital fund and got funding.

And that funding came on the prospect of all of them getting filthy rich.

Apple wasn't created on altruism. It wasn't created on a vision to provide the poor with their music in one place.

Apple and Jobs were highly aligned with a large group of people's desire to get rich. And that was the horse the pulled it all forward.

The left will all proclaim they loved Jobs because he created neat stuff. But he was no less an American capitalist then the head of Goldman Sachs.

And if you think Apple didn't do their own share of rent seeking, then you haven't paid enough attention to their pricing and product release strategies.

Quayle said...

and probably 100% have or had an iPad.

correction: iPod.

Simon said...

A great loss; he and his family are in my prayers.

In some senses, his corporate obituary was already written a few weeks ago, and of all the offerings, this struck me as the best, arguing that Jobs' greatest asset was his ability to accept and learn from failure, a lesson we all should learn better.

edutcher said...

Jobs and Wozniak started Apple after working at Xerox PARC, where Xerox was developing the GUI concept. When they decided to form their own company, they asked Xerox how much it would cost to license the GUI technology. Xerox, having made the decision to give up on it, said, "Take it".

Free. And the rest is history.

One of the great questions for Apple is how do they survive without Jobs. He had retired, due to health, and the company was tanking when he came back.

Along with people like Grace Hopper, Donald Knuth, Kernighan and Ritche, and Tim Berners-Lee, he will always be one of the Great Intellects of the digital age.

Quaestor said...

somefeller wrote:
No, he wasn't. He might be the devil to some more fringe left people, but no one important or notable.

Quayle's point just zizzed right over your head, didn't somefeller. And you didn't even need to duck.

Roger J. said...

Garage: there is a time and a place for bile--this isnt it

sad

Joanna said...

1984 commercial

Freeman Hunt said...

Truly depressing news.

somefeller said...

But this demonstrates the cognitive dissonance of Obama's left: they don't know or admit the full ramifications of their ideology.

I suspect the average liberal understands that capitalism is a good thing, but they also understand America is a mixed economy, with a necessary regulatory state, and that's also a good thing. Conservatives who preach an all-or-nothing, you have to oppose the post-New Deal regulatory state if you support capitalism mentality are the ones who have a simplistic worldview. But the good thing is, it looks like much to the chagrin of the Tea Party crowd, a smart Harvard-educated technocrat who understands the way the economy really works is likely to be the GOP nominee.

But let's avoid politics for now (it was brought into the conversation by members of the resentment right) and instead let us now praise great men - and bid farewell to Steve Jobs.

ALH said...

It is amazing what one person can accomplish despite not living a long life. Left to wonder what the next 30 years would have brought from him if he lived.

I didn't know that he was adopted until I read the WSJ obituary- a pretty good advertisement for adoption, I'd say.

Quayle said...

Jobs and Wozniak started Apple after working at Xerox PARC, where Xerox was developing the GUI concept.

I believe the story is that they started Apple in Wozniak's parent's garage.

The first product was a make it yourself micro computer. They would ship you the board, the chips, and a Xeroxed and stapled set of instructions, and the hobbyists could put together their own computers.

Then later, after a first set of Apple micro-computers had been developed and sold, Jobs and Woz were looking to build the next generation.

Xerox had developed and deployed the iconic 'desktop' interface in a specialized word processing system.

Jobs and Woz saw the potential (which Xerox didn't see) and adapted it as the UI for the Mac, as above. Microsoft quickly (at first kludge-i-ly) copied it.

The rest is history.

Oh, and hyperlinks were developed at Lotus in Boston.

Roger J. said...

somefeller: you deliver a political screed in your first paragraph and then say lets avoid politics in your second paragraph still enveighling political commentary--you are a preening idiot.

Roger J. said...

the only appropriate commentary should be: Steve Jobs, Requiesat in Pacem

somefeller said...

somefeller: you deliver a political screed in your first paragraph and then say lets avoid politics in your second paragraph still enveighling political commentary--you are a preening idiot.

As I pointed out, others brought up politics on the thread before I did, specifically to use Jobs as an example of what the Obama left, whatever that is, supposedly hated and didn't support. Don't bring up a topic unless you want it discussed. But I'm sorry I harshed your mellow.

rcommal said...

The first product was a make it yourself micro computer. They would ship you the board, the chips, and a Xeroxed and stapled set of instructions, and the hobbyists could put together their own computers.

And now, there is the MAKE movement, among other things. Possibilities and opportunities. Two things Jobs was good at seeing and envisioning.

---

One of the most admirable and inspiring things about Jobs personally (and of course there were others that weren't so great: human!) was his ability to fail, sometimes spectacularly, and then learn from that, oh-so-effectively.

Roger J. said...

Somefeller: whatever-- not the appropriate venue

Maguro said...

I had completely forgotten that he started Pixar, too. Amazing dude. RIP.

Quayle said...

And how about the seeding of Pixar.

Just the early Apple would have been a life's work.

He followed that with Pixar then Apple 2 (portable).

Truly a giant!

America's Politico said...

Jobs left us after making sure that his company, Apple, became the richest (# 1) in the US. Is this not terrific?

I cannot wait for his authorized biography by Walter Isaccson to be published in November.

His Stanford address is at http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

R.I.P. Steve, you will be missed around the world.

Sixty Grit said...

I started working at a mainframe manufacturer in 1974. In the late seventies, at the Santa Clara county fair (Silicon Valley is in SC county) I started seeing small computers built by hobbyists on display. Meh, thought I - who would ever want a tiny, puny little computer like that. Computers fill rooms! And what would one do with such a puny machine?

Steve Jobs, and Woz, and several other innovators saw what I couldn't - there was a future for computers that didn't require separate A/C units and power cables the diameter of your arm to power them. God bless them for their vision.

The fact that we can sit at home and comment on a blog (what the heck is a blog, asks 1970s guy) is a testament to how things can change in a relatively short period of time.

somefeller said...

Somefeller: whatever-- not the appropriate venue

Fair enough. That's why I stopped after making my point. But don't raise the issue of venue with me, I didn't bring the politics into the venue. Scroll up for that.

SunnyJ said...

From a neurological science perspective, and in view of the politics of the day...Mr Jobs was a deviation, an outlyer and steeped in the glorification of self society he succeeded in creating neurological distance between humans. He was unable to relate to others personally and he foisted that glitch on the rest of us...now we have 2 yr olds that scroll and can not communicate face to face, or learn without hyper stimulation...wow, that's so wonderful! Not. He was demented and driven, unkind and impersonable, mean spriited in competition and dishonest in his stock option scam. But, he's the chosen one, the press adores and all must follow.

He was just a guy with an anomaly brain, ADD most likely. The rest is just media lore. Personally, I could have lived without the hyper disconnection that presents itself as 7,000 facebook friends.

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
Jobs and Wozniak started Apple after working at Xerox PARC, where Xerox was developing the GUI concept. When they decided to form their own company, they asked Xerox how much it would cost to license the GUI technology. Xerox, having made the decision to give up on it, said, "Take it"

I think you've got Jobs' curriculum vitae a bit confused. He worked briefly for Atari. Wozniak and Jobs did work in Palo Alto, but not on Xerox's campus, they worked at Hewlett-Packard.

Jobs and Wozniak did visit the Xerox Palo Alto computer science lab where they saw and learned much about the Alto and its experiment operating environment, GUI. But Xerox did just give it to them, nor did they steal it, there was a deal. Xerox was allowed to buy pre-IPO stock from Apple, in exchange for engineer visits and an understanding that Apple would create a GUI product. The scientists and engineers at Xerox were frankly skeptical that Jobs and Wozniak could develop a GUI-based system that could run on hardware that typical Apple buyers could afford. And they were right, initially. Apple's first GUI system was the Lisa, a costly system that failed miserably in the marketplace.

Roger J. said...

Somefeller-rather than parse a blog for political content, can we not agree that Steve Jobs was a truly innovative guy and the world will poorer for his passing

we can fight the political battles tomorrow

and let us mourn his passing

fair enough?

rcommal said...

Potential visionaries and entrepreneurs would do well to contemplate Jobs' path, in all its facets, like it all or not, sentimentality not required.

somefeller said...

Fair enough.

Quaestor said...

Correction: "But Xerox did just give it to them, nor did they steal it" should read "But Xerox didn't just give it to them, nor did they steal it" Big difference. Sorry.

Roger J. said...

somefeller: thanks

A. Shmendrik said...

In 1977 I had the choice of blowing my summer job money on either an Apple II kit or a kayak. I chose the kayak. Before I did I shopped a small hobbyist computer store on North Avenue in Wauwatosa. The Apple kit that was being sold then was essentially $1,100-1,200, you had to assemble a lot of it yourself, it used a television set as a monitor (character only, I seem to recall 40 columns x 25 lines) a cassette recorder as a program storage device. I thought there was too much risk of there being a problem with assembly and too little in the way of applications (I recall their literature showed someone logging recipes into their Apple II.) I still have the kayak.

My next encounter with an Apple was a IIC in 1984. Later that year I used the first edition Macintosh (128K memory?). Have not used much in the way of Apple PC's since then.

I think you really have to look at Jobs as being an Edison-like figure. He hammered out a lot of successes and he never had that business guru manner like Jack Welch or any of the other CEO's we know (too much) about. If Jobs were not known for introducing great products, he would hardly have been known outside of Silicon Valley, since he didn't choose to preach some particular strain of management wisdom. He just knocked out a long string of great products, with very few misses. And he pulled their nuts out of the fire after Sculley nearly crashed the company. R.I.P.

DADvocate said...

Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products,

This is truly a gift. Working in the technical side of marketing research, I see multitudes of people that easily make things more complex. Few even understand the art of simplification.

Peter Hoh said...

He accomplished quite a lot. He's earned his eternal rest.

Sixty Grit said...

DAD - that reminded me of an engineer I once had the misfortune of working with - he could find the longest distance between two points. Drove an RX7 filled to the windowsills with garbage. Sad case. But I am sure he is working for the government now, bless his heart.

WV: troofl - not to be troofl'ed with.

Chris said...

I hate Apple and Jobs' attitude always annoyed me, but to not respect him for the innovation he brought to the music and phone industry would be absurd. For me, saving Pixar was his top accomplishment. I know it may sound nuts to some, but that's always what I'll have the most respect for him for.

Titus said...

Sad.

An amazing man.

Roger J. said...

titus: you say in four words what I hope my obituary would be

thank you

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
Xerox, having made the decision to give up on it, said, "Take it"

They didn't decide to give up on the Alto (never a commercially viable system, anyway) Xerox used it to develop the Star system, very similar to the Apple Lisa conceptually and architecturally, and like the Lisa a commercial flop. Xerox concluded that their GUI needed to wait on more the more advanced microprocessors and peripheral interface technologies that would be available in the 1984-1986 time-frame. But Apple beat them to the punch with the aggressively marketed Macintosh, which was really just a toy in its first incarnation, but by the time Xerox was ready to develop a follow-on system (Star II?) they had lost market share to Apple and key personnel to Microsoft, IBM and Sun. Xerox concluded that the only market open to them was the tiny window between personal computers and full-on workstations, which seems to upper management an unlikely business plan. They realized their mistake was partnering with Apple in the first place. If they had keep those two hippies at arm's length then perhaps the 1984 Comdex would have belonged to a Xerox product and not the Mac. They tried to recoup their losses by suing Apple, claiming their GUI infringed Xerox's patents and copyrights. The case was thrown out. RIP Xerox.

rcommal said...

now we have 2 yr olds that scroll and can not communicate face to face, or learn without hyper stimulation

Where did Steve Jobs say that parents should abdicate responsibility for their children? The latter would be a bug, not a feature, and one introduced by the parents and not Jobs.

Steve Koch said...

What he did with Apple was amazing and inspiring. He has been terribly sick for years (how he must have suffered) but worked right up to the end (he just retired in the last couple of weeks).

All the money in the world could not buy the medicine to save him.

Apple will decline without Jobs, he was a product genius.

Roger J. said...

to all a good night- Mr Jobs RIP and to the friends and family of Mr Jobs, my condolnces a truly great man who departed this life far too early

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Our era’s Thomas Edison now belongs to the ages. Generations yet unborn will marvel at what he did, because his developments forever altered the course of society in ways barely imaginable before his time.

In the expansive economic freedom of the Reagan era he and Bill Gates made entrepreneurship not only respectable, but decidedly cool, an ethos continuing to this day, and which cannot be killed by the current administration.

The entrepreneurial explosion likely to begin in early 2013 will owe much to Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gates, not least of which is the ability to command more computing power than was available to most corporations only a generation ago.

rcommal said...

Apple will decline without Jobs, he was a product genius.

It will be interesting to see whether "will decline" (beyond the likely reaction in the immediate present and future) will prove to be true. Wouldn't it be interesting if another of Jobs legacies turned out to be cracking the succession and life-of-company-after-death-of-original-visionary code. Only time can tell; it's a good bet that this was his preference as he faced the inevitable.

edutcher said...

Quaestor, I got the story from a prof in grad school.

His version makes a little more sense to me, but you may very well be right.

Lyle said...

Fucking life. Ends in death. I'm thankful Steve Jobs existed.

Michael said...

Jobs and Wozniak and a fuy named Mike Markula (the grownup) got all this going and along came Gates who stole the concept of non technical people operating a computer intuitively. Jobs won in the end and got to see his eclipse Gates' in a number of profound ways. I lived in the bay area in the 80s and my first computer was a Macintosh. I wrote letters on it and did flight simulations. But it liberated me, the Mac, from a total reliance on trained technical people and ultimately from secretaries and analysts. Jobs was a genius who is going to be missed. RIP

We dont get a lot of pure genius like Jobs. RIP. You will be missed

Quaestor said...

Apple will decline without Jobs, he was a product genius.

I doubt Apple will decline. Ford prospered on without Henry. Alexander Graham Bell's death didn't destroy Bell Telephone. Edison's companies live on in one form or another, and came to dominate technologies he never imagined. Nobody is indispensable, Jobs included.

As for being a product genius, he pulled some boners in his time, quite a lot actually; if he hadn't been such an iconic figure (Iconic in almost its literal sense, Apple buyers tend to have teenie-bopper level of devotion to Jobs and his company that can only be compared to similar obsessions with pop music personalities) Apple would likely have not re-hired him.

A short list of Jobs mistakes:

1) Lisa
2) Lisa 2
3) Macintosh XL
4) The original Mac had no active cooling because Jobs didn't like the hum of the fan, thus the Mac earned its nickname among the cognoscenti: the beige toaster.
5) NeXT Cube
6) Apple Newton
7) Power Mac G4 Cube
8) Exclusive deal iPhone with AT&T, a company with vast basic cellular coverage but insufficient bandwidth to exploit the iPhone's features.
9) iPhone antenna that grounded out if you hold your phone like a human being.

rcommal said...

It's no disservice at all to Jobs to say he wasn't the Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla of his age (and his legacy doesn't need those over-the-top, inapt analogies). Why can't his particular genius and legacies stand on their own.

---

Google's home page has a simple elegance to it tonight.

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
His version makes a little more sense to me, but you may very well be right.

Your prof likely got his story from the plot of a 1999 made-for-TV opus called Pirates of Silicon Valley, an entertaining film, but like most movies, an unreliable source for history.

Perhaps the prof's tale makes more sense because it's more compact and it plays into the Foolish Corporate Dinosaurs vs Clever Hippy Proto-Monkeys meme, which just like the museum tour guide's explanation for the fall of the dinosaurs, is simultaneously simple, comforting, and wrong.

edutcher said...

My prof was a management guy making a point about entrepreneurship.

I doubt he got it from a movie.

Quaestor said...

Here's "Pirates of Silicone Valley" on YouTube, a self-described docudrama, which means emphasis on the drama. Mostly "artistic" truth, whatever that means.

wv: haute, as in "haute cuisine" - can't afford that nowadays.

Quaestor said...

Watch the movie and get to me, edutcher.

wv: manomat - an excellent tradename for a robot hand. Dibs!!

Quaestor said...

Correction: get BACK to me. damn.

Quayle said...

See, I don't see Jobs as an Edison.

Edison was a pure technology guy.

Jobs wasn't. Above all, he was a genius integrator - a brilliant packager.

Quaestor said...

My prof was a management guy making a point about entrepreneurship.

Reading between the lines I see "adjunct" modifying "professor", am I wrong?

edutcher said...

Yes. Older guy, PhD.

rcommal said...

Edison was a pure technology guy.

Technology guys don't have to be either scientists or engineers and most often these days they aren't either (most aren't inventors, either). To describe Edison as a technology guy is weird and out-of-time.

Jobs was a technology guy, "a genius integrator - a brilliant packager," a visionary and an entrepreneur. He also was pretty damn good at recognizing the talents of those who were and are scientists, engineers and inventors. The latter has a tremendous amount to do with his his ultimate success.

EDH said...

DWS said...
"It's not the consumer's job to know what they want." So, they get what they get. Thanks, Steve. I'm sorry I exceeded my authority.

I read that Jobs' quotation differently.

Jobs endeavored to deliver transformative technology to the market that met completely new wants and needs people didn't know they had, not to foist unwanted products on users.

Apple never had the installed base/compatibility market power of Microsoft.

People had to want Apple products, often at a cost.

Quaestor said...

Edison was a pure technology guy

That's quite disputable, Quayle. Many "pure technology guys" died penniless. Edison was a ruthless businessman who defended his patents tooth and nail, fought Westinghouse/Tesla over the AC vs. DC standard using some highly unethical if not downright immoral tactics, and sewed up NYC as a captive power market for decades.

Speaking of unethical tactics Jobs would not have been nearly the success he became without the Other Steve, Steven Wozniak, the "pure technology guy" who led the engineering staff that actually made the products Jobs envisioned, at least until the Other Steve decided he was rich enough and retired. Early in their relationship Jobs worked for Atari. He talked the management in letting him redesign the motherboard for their Breakout arcade game system, the deal being $50 for every chip deleted from the original layout. Jobs couldn't handle the technical side by himself so he engaged the services of his buddy Wozniak on a 50/50 basis. Atari paid Jobs $7000 for the completed design, but Jobs told Wozniak that he only received $700, so the Other Steve got $350 for his work. Not as unethical as electrocuting an elephant, but slimy nonetheless.

rcommal said...

Jobs was, of course, an inventor in terms of technology culture and envisioning the potential of technology, particularly in a broad-based, cultural way; this is a huge part of his genius and legacy. There are different senses of inventor; Jobs himself was excellent at recognizing them.

Quaestor said...

Correction: $100 per chip deleted from the original layout. Got ahead of myself there.

rcommal said...

Quaestor reminds us that Edison was a man of second acts, too. (Still, to carry the analogy of Edison and Jobs in terms of engineering is to push it too far.)

rcommal said...

Final: Thanks for a life of contributing and of notable contribution, Jobs, however you may be characterized. You lived one for the books, and it's a shame it was cut short. You will be missed. RIP.

Titus said...

It's interesting that all of these amazing inventors live in and around San Francisco. Or moved to the area.

San Fran. can't be that bad, right?

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
Older guy, PhD.

PhDs can pass on mythology as easily as the rest of us. Maybe they're even more inclined to if the myth serves as a object lesson in the subject they lecture on. Whatever. Just watch the movie via the link I gave earlier and I think you'll recognize your professor's story unfold in glorious Technicolor, courtesy Mr. Edward "Ted" Turner, another noble teller of truthful tales.

Quaestor said...

San Fran. can't be that bad, right?

To be accurate 'Frisco wasn't quite the same town in the heyday of its Silicon Valley suburbs as it is today. In fact, as it is today, what remains of Silicon Valley is in Utah and Texas, or elsewhere overseas. San Francisco could get the full Sodom and Gomorrah treatment, or be subducted along with the rest of California west of the Fault and it wouldn't matter a lick as far as high tech stuff is concerned.

wv: irdirac - Paul Dirac's evil twin brother

Fred4Pres said...

He had a great architect/artist's eye. The apple products have an inate gravatas. Like a classic chair or a great building.

vbspurs said...

They said Bill Gates was the foremost American businessman of his time. How wrong they were. It was Steve Jobs.

Devastating news. We've been robbed of at least twenty more years of innovation with soul.

RIP Steve.

Cheers,
Victoria

Chris said...

"Devastating news. We've been robbed of at least twenty more years of innovation with soul."

I hope this isn't implying that Bill Gates is soul-less. In fact, I think a majority of people would argue that he's one of the greatest philanthropists of all time. What he's done in the name of charity has been astounding.

Fred4Pres said...

Did you know Steve Jobs was adopted?

Quaestor said...

We've been robbed of at least twenty more years of innovation with soul

Jeez... this conversation is getting disturbingly messianic. You'd think Elvis died, or something.

Cobwebs are spun in the dark, ya know. Goodnight.

wv: guitters - What Gibson makes in West Texas

Palladian said...

I knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

Godspeed, Steve.

Palladian said...

We get it, Quaestor, we get it, you're just so above it all. But, unlike you, Jobs will be remembered as someone who truly changed the world.

rcommal said...

Jeez... this conversation is getting disturbingly messianic. You'd think Elvis died, or something

It depends on what you've been paying attention to. Perhaps for you the conversation has gotten messianic, as a product of your focus. For others, that's not so. Their focus is different from yours; they're paying attention differently or at least to different things. No Jeez about it.

Canuck said...

Inventors at Xerox, not Jobs, developed the graphic user interface which included the mouse.

Apple stuff looks fairly cool, but I've never been part of the the Apple "cult."

Bruce Hayden said...

No, he wasn't. He might be the devil to some more fringe left people, but no one important or notable.

RIP and not the devil, but...

I was an in-house patent attorney with Motorola at the time that Jobs came back to Apple in the latter 1990s, and had IP responsibility for the AIM (Apple, IBM, and Motorola) Alliance. Motorola had supplied processors to Apple since close to Day 1, and had carried them over several downturns, when Apple had not been able to pay for their processors for awhile. So, when Apple came to Motorola to get a RISC architecture, Motorola dumped their venerable 68k and got with IBM to modify their Power architecture to the Power-PC architecture at their joint Summerset design center (I was also on that patent committee). And, hence, the AIM Alliance.

But then Jobs came back, and one of the first things that he did was eliminate licensing of Apple's software, without their proprietary hardware - which meant shutting down their legal clone business. And, unfortunately, the biggest and best cloner, was Motorola. They took a $250 million write-off on that business - some way to pay back for their loyalty at supporting Apple for so long.

That said, our first Apple was an Apple II, programmed by my younger brothers to do the family company's books. I had Macs at Motorola (until Jobs pulled the pin, and the company switched to Windows - despite being run on arch-rival Intel's chips), and then the small patent firm I was in before we merged with a large firm. Ok OS, but I never was happy with only one button on my mouse. And, now I have had an iPhone 4 for 3 months, and still can't keep from accidentally hitting mute, etc. buttons when on the phone.

Alex said...

What a hateful douchebag. I'm glad he's gone.

Alex said...

They said Bill Gates was the foremost American businessman of his time.

Yes he was. Bill Gates was the one who brought personal computing to the masses, not Steve Jobs. It was Jobs' elitism and snobbery which prevented the Mac from dominating the 80s to 90s.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcommal said...

Oh, for--whoever's sake: a history. Whether that link is precisely on point likely has to do with others' historical references and touch-points. Putting it out here for everyone who doesn't already know its contents seems unlikely to cause more harm than good.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

"inate gravatas"

goldangit! "Fred4pres" aka Bubba B. the hillbilly sockpuppet mumbling away like he knows something about computing. Or death

cathy said...

In his talk at Stanford in '05 one of his three points was on death. He had an interesting view. That death was a good thing because it cleared things away. He talked about living each day like it was your last, too, which I can't understand at all, but the way he said it was sort of more like life and death just go together.

Gene said...

somefeller: I suspect Steve Jobs' political and cultural views were more in line with Obama than the Tea Party crowd.

On the other hand he deeply believed in hard work and individual responsibility, which are not liberal core beliefs.

Gene said...

I met Steve Jobs when he was still living in his parents' house building his first real computer--a circuit board connected to a small black and white TV and operated by a jury-rigged keyboard with wires going every which way. Later that night we took a walk around his neighborhood. In those days he still had long hair and a Van Dyke beard, wore jeans with no knees and walked barefoot.

When we got back to his parents' house he spread out the circuit diagram for the Apple II on a coffee table and showed me a business plan. I remember his observing in passing that he was "going to get rich."

At the time I had no way of evaluating whether he could bring it off or not. I didn't scoff at him. I just didn't know. My main impression was, this kid sure has a lot of confidence.

rhhardin said...

Computers started going downhill when they took the lights off.

Gavin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Your lies and stupid anecdotes about to end Herr Doktor Tee-shirt, masonic trash

Paco Wové said...

Computers started going downhill when they took the lights off.

Blinkenlights!

Bob Ellison said...

I just heard Steve Wozniak say on Fox News, "I wish he were still alive now and I was the one."

That's the kind of anguish usually unseen except from parents when a child dies.

Chris said...

"Yes he was. Bill Gates was the one who brought personal computing to the masses, not Steve Jobs. It was Jobs' elitism and snobbery which prevented the Mac from dominating the 80s to 90s."

It's also fascinating to note that Gates and Microsoft saved Apple from bankruptcy in the late 90s. If it wasn't for Microsost, Apple wouldn't exist anymore.

Kit said...

Steve Jobs, goodbye and thank you.

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

This Kevin Williamson piece about Mr. Jobs passing is rather brilliant.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/279321/jobs-agenda-kevin-d-williamson

PJ said...

Yes, Steve Jobs was brilliant and successful -- good for him! -- but he was also a freeloader because he spent his whole life paying a tax rate that was insufficient to fairly compensate the rest of us for all the roads and schools we built for his benefit. Dude owes us. --EW

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Did you know Steve Jobs was adopted?

@ Fred

No, I did not know that. That article brought tears to my eyes.

Think what might NOT have been should his mother have made a different choice...abortion and extinguishing of the potential of a Steve Jobs.

So many choices, such choices that affect not just yourself, but everyone else.

The Butterfly Effect.

rhhardin said...

Armstrong and Getty texter comments

"shovel ready jobs"

Peter said...

“Meh, thought I - who would ever want a tiny, puny little computer like that. Computers fill rooms! And what would one do with such a puny machine?”

I bought my first computer in 1979. And the only reason it wasn’t an Apple II is because I could not come close to being able to afford such an expensive machine.

It was indeed puny. But what was really important about it was, I could own it- it was cheap enough to be a consumer product. And therefore I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission to use it, or book time on it. Let alone log in to an IBM system with its ever-running “taxi meter” that had to charge (someone) for connect time and CPU usage.

Because it was mine, I could modify it. I could program it, I could do whatever I pleased with it. And that very freedom was intoxicating. Even though “tiny, puny little computer” described capabilities as well as size.

PatCA said...

DBQ, re the adoption. The first set of parents who the mother picked out decided against adopting him because they wanted a girl! So he went to the Jobs family.

It's almost like Fate or God had a direct hand in his life.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's almost like Fate or God had a direct hand in his life.

Re: Adoption. I thought about that too. What if his adopted family had been different or in another location. How would that affect the outcome.

If it were not the Jobs family and instead Ma and Pa Frickett, would Steve still have the creative abilities? Instead of Apple computers and Ipads would he have made something else that was significant....or nothing.

Fate.

Nature/Nurture

Joe Schmoe said...

"It's not the consumer's job to know what they want." So, they get what they get. Thanks, Steve. I'm sorry I exceeded my authority.

DWS, Jobs' quote can seem harsh when viewed a certain way. I gotta be honest, though, and say that I don't think he meant it in an "I know what's good for you now eat your goddamned broccoli and shut up" kind of way.

I think he meant it in a complimentary way. The consumer doesn't need to prescribe what they want; that's for Jobs and his team to figure out. The market will dictate whether they hit the mark or not. So I actually see it more as a nod to a free market with consumers who are free to buy what they wish.

I also see it in a way of the consumer not necessarily knowing what they want, but they'll know it when they see it. One of my past jobs required me to do a lot of marketing/communications type writing. When I'd ask around about what to write for certain things, I wouldn't get much direction. After I put something to paper and asked the same people for feedback, suddenly they had all sorts of opinions of what they wanted. I salute Jobs for appealing to everyone's inner critic. Most times you gotta put something out there to get input.

rhhardin said...

"In honor of Steve Jobs, I'm keeping my Ipad at half charge today."

Tim Reed said...

Steve will be remembered for a long time as long as the famous Apple is patronized. Tim of depuy asr recall

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

That Jobs, a true dreamer who came of age among hippies and ate at Hare Krishna temples, who was inspired by The Whole Earth Catalog, schooled every conventional idea about how businesses should work, shows just how stodgy, unimaginative and full of shit the conservative bootlickers here really are.

His yearbook photo.

So sorry that the hippies have put an end to your plans for corporate domination, Conservatards.