Steve Jobs: Always Remembered
It has been a year since Steve Jobs died. What can we say about him, and why do people continue saying it?
Many stories will be published today about him that may seem tiresome, overwhelming, and totally unnecessary.
Jobs has joined the great scientific, industrial, and social pantheon. He is a rarefied individual who had a vision, the will, and personal force to execute it through America’s greatest cultural triumph: the public corporation.
With his corporations, Jobs didn’t simply transform industries; he fundamentally traumatized them. He started with computing, then movies, music and telecom. Although you find him morally repugnant or prefer his competitors’ products, you would be foolish to oppose his influence and stature.
Jobs introduced graphical interface, again transforming the computer industry. While exiled from Apple, he revolutionized Pixar’s digital animation. Upon returning, he gave us the iPod and iTunes, which transformed both how music is listened to and purchased. While you may prefer Android, the iPhone kickstarted the Smartphone boom. In doing this, Jobs built his companies and products into colossus.
Even when we don’t mention Jobs directly, he remains in our conversations. If you bring up mobile anything, you’re bringing up Steve Jobs. Currently, Jobs has influenced all mainstream technological products and services.
Jobs, like previous industrialists, realized that when we consider the world’s operation, we are actually considering the way people have made it run. This is exactly what Jobs did.
Jobs is a creative capitalist icon who is culturally lionized. His stature is such that a myriad of words will still be written about him. Don’t believe me? Just research the numerous words being slung at Thomas Edison. See the new History Channel drama, The Men Who Built America.
There are two reasons for this. First, people are profoundly interested in so-called great men, especially those creative tycoons. Secondly, as a result, there is a lot of money involved.
This is the early cycles of Talking About Steve. Next is analyzing all changes made since his death. It will accelerate as we retreat further from his leadership, and with all of Apple’s missteps. It is an inevitably, lazy argument that will be made repeatedly.
The contrarian takes won’t stop, either — the Steve Jobs-was-so-awful stories will reinforce the fact that, yes, he was. Otherwise, why are you still jabbering on about him?
New texts will surface that reveal even more about him. His friends and family will be compelled to write about him. Future generations will examine his influence and cultural impact in unseen ways. Perhaps in a drama about post-industrial America builders, viewed on some unimaginable interface.
Ultimately, his legacy will be examined further.
All this because we just want to understand him. Most of us are not great people.
We want to know how he ascended to greatness and what we can learn that may help us accomplish this. Those predestined individuals will likely be as fascinated and want to look to him for inspiration.
What we mention when we mention Steve Jobs is ourselves. We mention him in a way that helps us understand both him and ourselves, to understand how he could be at the top while we’re stuck at the bottom, typing on one of his computers, praising its design, lamenting its Maps.
If you think you’ve heard or read it all, just wait.