‘Steve Jobs didn’t really invent anything.’ Really?

“Steve Jobs didn’t invent anything! Not the Mac. Not the iPod. Not the Next cube. So says tech-industry pundit Mark Anderson, CEO of Strategic News Service, as part of his strategic predictions for 2012,” Bob Evans writes for Forbes.

“Let me help you wrap your willing suspension of disbelief around this: if you thought Steve Jobs invented the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod, iTunes, the iPad, and various other profoundly successful and influential products, you’d be wrong,” Evans writes. “Because, you see, Jobs didn’t ‘invent’ them; no, he merely ‘integrated’ them.”

Evans writes, “I think where Anderson is way off in his comment on Jobs as non-inventor is that it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation—in fact, I’d argue that the most-successful companies going forward will be those that continue to invent while they also pursue breakthrough approaches to integration.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

58 Comments

  1. I don’t know for sure.
    But he made people want the products. I don’t think Apple would have amounted to much more than a fit note in history without Jobs no matter if he invented anything or not.

      1. By the way, Daimler of Germany did not invent the engine, but he remade it and thus he came up with an automobile (car).

        It does not make Daimler any less great since engines (of various types) before were done for almost two hundreds years, and no one could apply it to small car before him.

        1. To say Steve Jobs did not invent anything is flat out BS.

          The same creation format happens in music:
          I bring in a guitarist to do a lead solo and most do something completely generic (boring) that appeals to their technical minds, ego, and peers. Often they have to be pushed to break out of the routine of the “expected” and when this happens we often come up with truly creative results. After that, it’s a matter of working note by note to perfect it with the attending musician. Strictly speaking, I’m not creating or playing anything hands-on, but it would never happen without me standing there saying “Umm that’s great but not what we’re looking for, just play something and we’ll know when we hit on something original that works.”

          The same happens in almost every industry (IE: car parts, computer chips) where specialists tend to be narrowly focussed, lacking an overall view, and need to work alongside overall designers. Few could achieve such great products alone.

      1. If you had lived in Colorado Springs in 1899-1900, you would not make such an assertion, KSH. Tesla’s reputation here reflects the FACTS of his scientific inquiry (and complete lack of business acumen, including paying his bills). Edison was a giant, sir. Tesla, not so much.

            1. Some puppies, a horse, and Topsy the elephant.

              Oh, yes, and William Kemmler, homo sapiens, in the Auburn Prison, New York, August, 1890.

              These, however, were all intentional. Tesla’s cow was a mistake.

          1. Maybe. But Edison did electrocute an elephant.

            And forget Tesla vs. Edison. Westinghouse was greater than either when it came to practically applying electric power. Westinghouse was the promoter of AC power, what you are using now. Edison advocated DC power, which would have required a power station every few miles. Tesla advocated “broadcast” power. Still a pipe dream.

    1. Exactly. It’s not about whether Steve was sitting at a workbench crafting this stuff with his own hands. No, instead he crafted them with his mind and let the engineers do the hands-on work. It’s still invention no matter how you put it. He created Apple and NeXT, both of which are the foundations upon which OS X and iOS are built.

  2. I know you’re kidding, but at least with Apple I know what it is they want me to buy. With BASF I never figured out what it was I was supposed to go shopping for.

  3. If you have the knowledge and foresight to come up with a detailed idea for a great product, but you don’t have the skills to actually build it, what do you do? You hire people with those skills.

    Once they’ve built it, who invented it? The person who thought of it, not the skilled labor who built what they were told to build (even though they used their expertise to flesh out the technical details).

    In this way, Jobs did invent the Apple I, Apple II, Mac, etc. He didn’t say, “I have no idea what I want Woz, just build something and I’ll market it.” No, he had the idea along with Woz.

    Once Apple got going, he didn’t say, “Make me a better computer, ” and then some engineer put a Mac in front of him. That’s not how it happened.

    There’s a reason his name his on a whole lot of patents.

    1. Otto Lillienthal had a hang-glider that flew, the Wright Bros. had the first successful powered airplane that maintained sustained, controlled flight. Sony didn’t invent the personal, portable tape music player, they just created a small, pocket-sized one that people fell in love with.
      Steve’s skill lay in identifying a shonky product then making it work better and look beautiful, and easy to operate, thus desirable.

    1. No. They integrated it. The only inventors are those who came up with wires, canvas, sticks, and string. There are about a couple dozen valid patents, all expired. Nobody’s done any inventing for the last thousand years. We’ve just been sticking stuff together.
      No creativity there.

      Yeah, right.

      1. Well if not innovators or inventors, I sure wish there was a good word that says exactly what I am thinking of when I see an iPod next to every MP3 player before it. Or when I see the first iPhone next to all other smartphones before it, or the Mac next to all other personal computers available or in PARC that came before it. Something that does whatever I am trying to label, justice. That word would describe what it was Jobs did for Apple, and it’d also describe what Apples products do in the markets they are in. Fine, if it isn’t “invent”, then invention doesn’t seem as profound I thought it meant. If it’s “integrate” then the word integrate means something much more profound than I thought it did.

  4. Jobs was many things. A child abandoner, a liar about being sterile, a thief stealing from Woz, a crook for backdating options, a stingy stink for hoarding his wealth, a father missing in action and needing a book to tell his kids his life story, a moron for not listening to sound medical advice that led directly to his death, a immature stinking baby in the way he treated prospective employees in interviews … its all in the book.

    Good riddance. Gates outclassed this moron by leaps and bounds.

    1. What exactly did he steal from Woz? He started a business with Woz, they remained friends and Woz is still an Apple employee. Woz built the first Mac and Steve had the idea. How is that theft? Ask Woz if he feels stolen from.

    2. “Gates outclassed this moron by leaps and bounds”

      AHAHAHAHAHA

      What are you? One sociopath defending another? Gates built an empire based on crime, and I say that without hyperbole. Microsoft’s heritage is theft, backstabbing, and an obsessive compulsion to destroy all competition even if it meant breaking the law, which it regularly did.

      Let’s also not forget that his company produced(and continues to produce) some of the worst products ever forged by human hands, which never seemed bother him, and through his efforts to force everyone and their dog to use them he has caused amounts of time, money, and productivity to be lost that exceed all measurement. Bill made the world a worse place to live in, palpably so.

      And in addition to all that, he runs a hollow charity as a front to evade taxes on his business investments.

      Yup, he’s classy alright.

      Nothing like that horrible Steve Jobs fellow, who actually innovated, brought great things into the world, and didn’t run his businesses like a gangster. Which is all apparently moot because he could be a jerk in his personal life. Thanks for letting us know that, X.

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