The man behind Apple and Pixar: Steve Jobs

“Imagine the scenario: a billionaire walks into a mobile phone shop. The sales assistant says, ‘Can I help you?’ but gets the reply ‘Just looking, thank you.’ The man tries a few phones, lifting his glasses to look at the detail of the display. He presses a couple of buttons. He shakes his head. He could buy any phone in the shop; in fact he could buy the shop, or even buy the chain. But he doesn’t. He walks out, empty-handed,” Charles Arthur reports for The Independent.

“It sounds like an urban myth but it could be a day in the life of Steve Jobs, who is chief executive of two technology companies that are admired both inside and outside their respective industries: Apple (which makes the iPod and a range of computers) and Pixar (which made the films Toy Story and The Incredibles). Apple made him a multi-millionaire, Pixar made him a billionaire, and the two mean that at the age of 50 he has cemented a unique position as a force in computing, consumer electronics (through the iPod), the music business (the iPod again) and Hollywood,” Arthur reports. “And despite all that, he still can’t choose a mobile phone. (How nice to find you have something in common with such people.) His problem, he says, is that he can’t find things that satisfy him. ‘I end up not buying a lot of things,’ he says, carefully, when I ask how he chooses what to buy from the myriad of gadgets and technologies in the shops. ‘Because I find them ridiculous.'”

Arthur reports, “So, looking forward, what does he see? For example, will TVs and computers merge? ‘Our personal belief is that while there’s an opportunity to apply software to the living room, the merging of the computer and the TV isn’t going to happen. They’re really different things. So yes, you want to share some information [between the two], but people who are planning to put computers into the living room, like they are today, I’m not sure they’re going to have a big success.’ That’s a no, then.”

Arthur goes into a history overview of Steve Jobs’ life and, along the way, writes, “Apple grew and prospered, and so did Jobs; the Macintosh introduced the idea of ‘windows’ and ‘mice’ to the wider world. Microsoft adopted the idea and made it famous, continuing a long rivalry between Jobs and Bill Gates that stretches forwards and back in computing history. While Jobs obsessed over details, Microsoft steamrollered its way into companies and took over the world. What’s peculiar is that Gates has frequently been wrong about the overall direction of technology. His 1995 book The Road Ahead is full of clunkers about how life would develop; Microsoft barely realised that the internet was coming along.”

“By contrast, you’d be unwise to bet against Jobs. In 1996, when NeXT Computer had already failed in its attempts to sell hardware (and so was having to concentrate on software), he gave a long interview to Wired magazine. In it he forecast that Microsoft wouldn’t find out a way to own the Web, that nobody would make money from web browsers, that the Web would be a huge hit for commerce (at a time when Amazon was barely six months old), and that the internet would revolutionise the supply of manufactured goods, by letting consumers specify fine detail of their desired product which could be relayed back to factories. Dell Computer, for example, works on precisely that basis. And Dell is by far the most profitable of the computer manufacturers. Jobs tends to be right about the direction of technology,” Arthur writes.

Full article with much more, highly recommended, here.

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Related articles:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs named to U.S. News & World Report’s list of ‘America’s Best Leaders’ – October 23, 2005
Steve Jobs: ‘Apple’s goal is to stand at the intersection of technology and the humanities’ – October 18, 2005
Who will be Apple CEO when Steve Jobs retires? – October 17, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs appears on cover of TIME Magazine’s October 24, 2005 issue – October 17, 2005
Slate scribe: What’s with the press corps’ crush on Steve Jobs and Apple, anyway? – October 14, 2005
What would Apple be without Steve Jobs? – October 07, 2005
The resurrection of Steve Jobs – September 15, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005

22 Comments

  1. Steve Jobs is a smart person that mostly knows what people want. Pixal and Apple are not directly connected as company management but the are philosophy connected. It’s Jobs philosophy that makes it succesful.

  2. Back in 2000:

    “The model for the next president should be Steve Jobs. He has the sharpest mind of anyone I know. He can see what’s good for people and give it to them before they even know they want it. And he does it without resorting to selling junk.”
    — Steve Wozniak

    MW: “trade” as in, “Isn’t there any way we can trade George W. Bush for Steve Jobs?”

  3. “”Isn’t there any way we can trade George W. Bush for Steve Jobs?”

    My God! Don’t even think it! Bush is the only one who could find a way to bankrupt Apple in no time.”

    Pretty sure he meant steve jobs would be pres of the US.. which would be the sex!@

  4. do you people really beleive that a different president can change a country like the U.S that much? I doubt it. It would take at least 2-3 generations to fix the US from where it’s at now. Also, I frankly don’t beleive there’s an interest.

  5. As pathetic as it is, Devon… you are absolutely right. A president can do virtually nothing to change a country unless the people who comprise the country WANT to change. In that case, a president could still only guide the people along the way.

    Sadly, that is not the case here in America. I believe it is called… complacent smugness.

  6. America used to be a place filled with independant individuals, pioneers they were called I believe. They took it upon themselves to cut their own firewood, build they own houses (away from flood plains) and see to it that their cupboards were stocked with food for the winter.

    Now they complain about oil prices, complain that the government doesn’t respond fast enough to help them out of a foreseen flood and they are clueless as to where their food comes from. Not only that but they are all to ready to sue you for their own recklessness. A political leader you want do you? Hah! Just another person to blame for not making your world perfect for you.

    What do you value America?

    /end of rant

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