Steve Jobs passed away yesterday, but not before acomplishing one of his larger goals : putting a ding in the universe.
The company that Steve Jobs built, and then rebuilt is the tastiest of the fruit in the valley, if not the world.
Apple succeded where its competitors (Microsoft & Dell) failed, and for one in-your-face reason: Apple has always been much more than personal computers, it's array of products in the recent years have been able to enable us beyond the limited constraints of its competitors that have a singular focus, and a lack for delivering quality from end to end.
Devotion to and innovation in the entire user experience, the ecosystems to how we consume (iTunes, iPod, iPad,) and how we express ourselves (PIXAR, Macintosh, desktop publishing was born out of AppleTalk) is everything Apple.
From what are being termed job-isms, there is one that sums up the commitment behind the Apple culture Jobs built:
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
Jobs recognized the reaction one gets when pursuing such excelence is usualy less than receptive. His response wasn't to lessen the criticisms where they are warranted or move the focus away from the task at hand and deal with something as stupid as delicate egos.
“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”
Steve Jobs did just that. I challenge you to name off the top of your head a prominent C.E.O. that you believe does the same.
An outpouring of "how Steve Jobs changed my life" stories will no doubt be coming in the weeks and months, and although I have my own instead for now I think I'll share a section of Om Malik's "The Tao of Steve"
"The idea of Steve led me to follow my heart, make tough choices, be brutally honest with myself (and sometimes annoying to people I love) ……Steve Jobs meant try harder, damn it, your customers (readers) expect better than that. Steve taught me to care about the little
things, because in the end, little things matter."
Where I diverge from Malik is when he refers to Jobs as his muse.
Steve Jobs is not my muse, but he certainly did his part in feeding it.
Like most people who have shared in the Apple experience I "think different".
And where that marketing campaign may have flew over the heads of some, Jobs extraolated on what that difference is here:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Jobs was at Apple's core, yet he understood the importance that the culture he was responsible for was spread far and wide.
Like a seed culture doesn't work when you try to localize, to centralize it or keep it from others.
Culture needs to be everywhere and it needs to constantly change.
Apple and its large customer base, a legion of misfits, rebels and troublemakers are wide awake.
We will change the world in a multitude of ways, few of which will be contributed to what was started in a garage.