Oct 5th marked one year since Steve Jobs died. Beyond creating Apple, which today is the most valuable company in the world, and creating products that changed our lives (see iPod, iPhone, iMac), Jobs was, well, Steve Jobs. He was one of the most disruptive, fastidious, innovative, brilliant and iconic leaders to ever live.
Since his passing, Apple has maintained its lead in the market but that doesn’t mean the technology industry and its onlookers don’t miss one of the most unusual, charismatic, passionate and creative figures of our time.
1. His Presentation Style
Any tech journalist and/or former Apple press event attendee will agree: Sitting in the audience at an Apple keynote is different without Jobs on stage. His showmanship was unmatched and he introduced new products unlike any other. Even if he was announcing a small update to a product (i.e. a software adjustment), his passion and presentation style made you feel that it was much more than that. But it was with the big product launches — the iPhone, the first iMac, the iPad — and his reveal and magical descriptions that he would always bring down the house.
There’s not much to say about this one: black turtleneck and jeans. And it’s not just the superficial aspect of it, it’s the signature look and style he exuded with the repeated outfit that made it so memorable. And according to the story he told Walter Isaacson in his biography about how he felt a uniform would give him a distinctive style, that’s exactly what he wanted.
“It’s not the public’s job to know what it wants.” “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” “Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?” “Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?” “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
The man was quotable.
The public got to know Jobs through his speeches and rare interviews, but even better through his personal email responses. He was a secretive guy, but he did respond to some customer emails from time to time.
When one user wrote to Jobs explaining there was an issue with the antenna when he would hold the iPhone 4 in a certain way, Jobs responded with “Just avoid holding it that way.” When another emailed and asked, “Will the iPhone ever have a universal inbox?” Jobs responded with “Yep.” Some of the best ones are rounded up on MacLife.
“We want to put a great computer in a book you can carry around with you.” You’d think Jobs said that at the iPad introduction in 2010 or a few years before that. Nope, he said that in 1983 while speaking at the International Design Conference. The tape of the speech was actually released this week (you can hear it here). It’s just one example of Jobs’s amazing vision and his ability to create and anticipate the movements of consumer technology. He envisioned a phone and a computer combined. He made one. He envisioned a tablet computer for the masses. He made one. More than anything, we miss Jobs’s vision.
Oh yeah, and this one more thing.
Once it was the iPod Mini at the end of a MacWorld presentation. Another time it was the MacBook Air at the end of a laptop event in 2008. We miss that last surprise at the end of a presentation.