While Steve Jobs may not have created the Apple church, Apple followers are now born in the crib
He did, undeniably (Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011). To many, Steve Jobs maybe known as the face of Apple Computers and maker of devices such as iMacs, iPods, iPhones and iPads. To technology insiders, he was the guy who demanded that users of his computer programmes and electronics should be moved to emotion.
The one to make bold statements such as “...people don't know what they want until you show it to them”, Jobs had an uncanny knack for looking into the future and daring to be different in the present. In 1996, he realised that making beige boxes for computing would no longer be a great thing. A profitable thing perhaps, but not great. Hence his plan to bring computing to the palm, using devices so powerful, affordable and fun to use that users will ask “How did we live without that?”
Jobs impacted our lives not with cute gadgets, but strong philosophical changes to the business philosophies around us; the impact of many of these will be felt for decades to come.
The logical way
Jobs insisted on creating computing devices that accompany the brain as it focusses on accomplishing a task. The most “logical way of working” is the hallmark of Apple products.
Jobs contended that it was futile to attempt to protect digital content, focussing instead on creating an easy-access distribution chain for digital content.
While competitors were busy inventing digital locks, he opened the gates to iTunes Online Store to all. Products that are priced right, affordable and accessible have made the store great and the business model for digital stores of the future.
Breaking down restrictive walls, Jobs wanted to open doors to rich content from cultures around the world to people around the world. It is amazing how much he accomplished in less than a decade. Perhaps his biggest asset was the trust he placed in users to follow the honour code. To date, Apple software does not come with complicated serial numbers, require repeated authentication or is subject to occasional law and enforcement checks. ‘Punish the legitimate customer to make up for the pirate' has not been Apple's philosophy under Jobs, and it has paid off — Apple is the most valuable technological company in the world today, massively enriching its investors.
Steve Jobs was socially reserved, but he set the benchmark for customer care. He published his email ID for the world to get in touch with him and quite often replied to end users in person.
Customers were not penalised for losing the software CD, they were simply issued a replacement with a gentle reminder that the next one would cost. The world of business maybe populated as densely as earth, but such customer care is rare.
Jobs also combined philanthropy and acute business sense by donating computers to educational institutes at all levels. While he may not have created the Apple Church, Apple followers are now born in the crib. The ‘i' products are ubiquitously available and the de-facto standard for some categories of electronic devices. The genius of these products lies in the attention to detail — from working with confectionery makers to get the lozenge colours of the unibody iMacs to making graphic buttons that are “so good you'll want to lick them”.
Few have contributed to improving our lives with innovations that take us towards the glitzy future we saw in movies. One wonders how much we would have been impacted if this person had another decade to live. Or perhaps, quite a few decades. Without prejudice, may I be forgiven to say that along with Jesus and Einstein, Jobs' second advent is something I look forward to?