Steve Jobs and ‘impossible’ goals

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“In a great documentary on the Apollo program, Eugene Kranz, the flight director of all those missions, reminisces about what had been accomplished during that unique period in American history,” Dan Pallotta writes for Harvard Business Review. “He couldn’t stop crying.”

“I’m typing this week’s post on my new iPad 3G — truly a marvel of imagination, technology, and tenacity,” Pallotta writes. “It’s amazing not just because of the technology itself, but because of all the work building partnerships over the years that went into making it what it is — the negotiations with record labels and movie makers that made iTunes possible, enrolling Time magazine and countless others in its promise, and the nurturing of the network of app developers that helped make the thing the mind-boggling device that it is”

Pallotta writes, “Now, Steve Jobs was thrown out of the company he created. He has waged a fierce battle for his life against pancreatic cancer. He has stared deeply into the abyss of despair one feels when their dreams have been crushed and seem to be gone forever. I may be wrong, but I have to believe that at some point, using his own iPad and measuring the true distance he had come to make it real, Steve Jobs must have found himself crying.”

Full article- recommended – here.

28 Comments

  1. I personally believe that the number one driving force behind Steve Jobs is his goal of defeating Microsoft. While others may occasionally get in his way (Google, RIM, etc.) the ultimate destination is: Mac OS = 50.1%, Windows 9 (or whatever) = 49.9%. I think that this motivation started when Bill Gates said to Steve, “You can’t win.”

    I’m positive he feels this way. I can see it in his face.

  2. @Wingsy
    “I personally believe that the number one driving force behind Steve Jobs is his goal of defeating Microsoft.”

    I respectfully disagree. I believe he wants to create great products that actually make life easier. I believe this was the original dream that he had and one that continues to drive his desire for perfection. “Good enough” is not in his vocabulary. He wants to be proud of his work.

    However, beating M$ is definitely icing on the cake!

  3. @Wingsy
    You don’t understand. Desktops are the past, even laptop computers are going to be niche products in a few years. Think about it this way.
    Each 10 years or so you get to see things change radically.
    1970-Mainframes
    1980-Command line monochromatic computers
    1990-Mouse/GUI
    2000-Laptop Revolution
    2010-Cloud/Mobile computing
    2020-?

    So Jobs is not attempting to win a battle fought back in the 1990’s, he is strategically positioning Apple in the “What is next” revolution. Relevance is what is important. In 20 years call it Mac or call it whatever, if Apple is still relevant, then they have won.

  4. I highly doubt SJ has as his goal, the defeat of MS. I can’t imagine him even spending any time thinking about that. Why would he? He clearly has as his goal the creation of products and processes that can make our lives better. That’s a full time job and I imagine infinitely more satisfying a challenge than thinking about MS. There’s no time to waste on the useless inertia of other companies. Probably why so often you see such brief one-liner answers from him; he doesn’t have any interest wasting brain time on trivialities or inertia. MS will defeat itself through its own inertia; and already is.

    SJ came from the part of a generation that believed it could change the world and make it a better place. That’s old-world America. Too many CEO’s today believe looting the world and “crushing the competition” is their mission in life. Which is why you see them so unable to compete with SJ and Apple.

    Since they can’t loot or crush Apple, what you see Adobe doing now is going to become a more and more common theme; if you can’t loot or crush, employ government muscle so you can. They’re like a pack of scavengers snarling and tearing at what Apple has created and left behind. Meanwhile SJ is looking into the future; looking ahead and what he and his team can do to make the world a better place….

  5. @ Tyrell Corp.

    You win the award for best pop culture reference of the day!

    I just wanted to make sure you knew that someone got your joke.

    “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die. “

  6. @ Wingsy

    I don’t agree (about Microsoft). Apple is already the winner, because Apple has become the most relevant tech company in the world. Microsoft may still make a lot of money, but they are mostly irrelevant these days compared to Apple.

    Besides, Apple and Microsoft are not direct competitors (except in some relatively minor ways like Zune vs. iPod and Office vs. iWork). Apple profits primarily from selling hardware; Microsoft from selling software.

    So here are the ways Apple primarily competes (with the world).

    Media players – Apple wins with iPod, by a huge margin.

    Mobile phones – You know the story…

    Tablet computers – You will know the story…

    Music retailing – Apple is #1. And this one is not even one of Apple’s “core” profit centers. Same with the other parts of the iTunes Store, including the App Store. No one has anything close for selling electronic media.

    High-end PCs – Apple wins with Mac, with something like 90% of the dollars spent on PCs costing more than $1000. Apple probably makes the majority of the PROFIT in the PC industry.

    PCs in general – They don’t have to get to “50.1%” Mac OS X market share to win this one. If Apple can get to about 25%, they will probably be the #1 PC maker in the world in unit sales.

    So… Apple is already the winner in most ways. And nowhere does it require “beating Microsoft.” Steve Jobs knows this and has moved Apple way beyond IBM (original “big brother”) or Microsoft.

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