By Jake J. Nho
I am not an Apple, that is to say I do not own a product from the American company Apple. This seems strange since most people say I am quite tech-savvy. But, no. No Apples in my life except for those times when I was laying out newspaper pages on the Macintosh.
Even a couple of month ago when I went to get a new smartphone ― had Jobs died earlier, I might have bought an iPhone, for sentimental reasons ― I did not get an iPhone.
I settled for the Galexy S2 which was just as powerful ― and I use this word carefully ― as any iPhone. Apple recently presented the iPhone 4S. No problems; I am good with my Galaxy.
Why I bring this up is that it is not the simple introduction of megahit products like the iPod and the iPhone that makes him significant.
He somehow had the power to look into the future and, as people say, gave consumers products they liked even before they knew it. How is that for foresight, and thus we called him a visionary.
This does not stop with consumers. My Galaxy, I truly believe, may never have been this good had it not been for iPhones. And it would not have inspired companies like HTC of Taiwan, now the world’s fourth largest smartphone maker after Samsung Electronics, Apple and Nokia.
With every single step, he took the future to a new level, a higher and arguably better plateau. The sky is the limit? I think he was shooting for more, much more.
You know, had it not been for Jobs, we might not have the computer mouse. Granted, he did not invent it, but he made it into a reality when others had given up. Had it not been the mouse, we could have had something much better, but probably not.
The most important part of Job’s achievements, if you haven’t heard it a hundred times already, is how he pushed for new innovations. Most of them took time but Jobs was a patient man: You wouldn’t imagine that of perhaps the most significant genius of our generation.
I have to steal some lines from an article written in a recent (Nov. 17) issue of Newsweek by Aaron Sorkin, a screenwriter and producer.
Apparently, Sorkin made a nice remark about the Mac (What is the difference between the Mac and the PC? Everything I’ve ever written, I’ve written on a Mac.)
So the phone relationship started (they never actually met). Nothing serious, until Jobs suggested that Sorkin does a Pixar (just in case, this is an animation picture company Jobs ran when he was kicked out of Apple) movie.
The conversation goes something like Jobs insisting that Sorkin takes it up. Sorkin goes on to say that he doesn’t think that he can make inanimate objects talk. And Jobs shoots back that when ``if you make them talk, they are not inanimate anymore.”
That is in essence the kind of person Jobs was, constantly challenging different boundaries but always taking the time to make sure that the ideas and products are ripe and within reachable limits, whatever that was for Jobs.
What Steve Jobs gave the world cannot be taken back. What we can hope for is for entrepreneurs and companies to follow his lead and think out of the box, something similar to experiencing the ``opening the box” whenever new Apple products come out.
I do not say that Apple products are great. They are good. But what is certain is that Jobs was ahead of our time and he took the industry and our thinking to new levels, providing consumers with more choices and better prices.
I feared, as everybody else, that he was going to die before his time and we did not want to let him go. There was a lot more left for him to do on Earth. Inspire, and then some.
The way he changed my life is the way he touched virtually everyone’s lives; how you do your office work, how you communicate, how you access information. How you can have limitless access to music, movies and whatever else. They are too many to list.
In doing so, Jobs pushed everybody to get off their butts and get to the ready because he was many steps ahead of you. He was, always.
The real test for Steve Jobs, I believe, is, ``Will Apple remain competitive despite his permanent departure?” Great leaders create organizations that function at the highest levels even in their absence.
For now, you have put in your time. It is time to rest, Steve Jobs.
Jake J. Nho has been a journalist and a marketing executive for the past 26 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.