There are a billion blogs and websites saying goodbye to Steve Jobs.
Probably there are also a minority of places that are snarling and being disrespectfully negative, such is the openness and availability of the ‘net.
Now then, I regularly make a point of laughing and jeering at most Apple products, but not laughing and jeering at Steve Jobs. (Not that he cared one way or the other about the little bit of brown noise from the likes of me!)
So, when I saw the world grind to a halt when he died, I watched, absorbed, and observed. It struck me that there was a similar outpouring of grief when Versace died, and it was from similarly minded people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to take the piss out of Steve Jobs, but to marvel at him in my own way, and the control he had over people.
Just as Versace took simple things made of cheap cloth and turned them into what some considered stylish and the must-have fashion of the now, so too Steve Jobs did exactly the same with computing and mobile telephony. As he once said in 2007, “We have reinvented the mobile phone,” re-inventing is what he was about. Re-inventing and re-packaging and making gadgets and ‘tech’ that was already out there become fashion statements by making them slightly differently.
More often than not, the iPods, iPhones and iPads were doing a bad and greatly more expensive job of what was already being done by plenty of other devices on the market. But, Apple products looked sexy, and that’s what people wanted. They would forego the advanced technology others provided, opting instead for the shiny shiny highly expensive world of the Apple stable.
Nobody looking at an iPhone or an iPod would disagree about how appealing they look. They certainly do. They carry a design and style and finish that’s never been beaten.
Steve Jobs knew this attention to style detail was what the public wanted, which is why almost as much money was ploughed into design parameters as was ploughed into the actual technology.
All too often the technology would under perform compared to the uglier competitors on the market. All too often methods of doing things were re-invented and ended up not quite as functional as competitors devices, but none of that mattered. Apple products looked damn good. Things looking good sell. Man, how they would sell!
Just as people will buy a branded pair of trainers (say, with Nike, Adidas, or whatever on them) for £200 despite the fact that they will fall to pieces after 3 months, rather than buy an unbranded pair of trainers from, say, Marks and Spencers costing £20 and typically lasting 3 years, so too will people buy Apple products rather than their better counterparts.
The quality they are chasing isn’t the technological quality, but the fashion statement quality. Steve Jobs knew this. Steve Jobs understood this. Steve Jobs fed this need. He was the leader of a multi-piece orchestra of brilliant top musicians who needed someone with his understanding to precisely and accurately stitch together what they were doing so as to dazzle the audience. And, dazzle them he did.
Heck, people were so obsessed by Apple products that they’d miss their young daughter’s birthday in order to queue up to buy the latest slightly shinier version of the shiny thing they already had. That’s how Steve Jobs managed to get inside people’s heads, and drive Apple to have far more money than the American government.
Now, that’s brilliant, and from a single brilliant mind.
So, Steve Jobs, exactly the same age as me, (well, he was actually 17 days younger), despite all this, got beaten by cancer. That can never feel right or fair to lose such a brilliant mind to such a pointless and ugly disease.
He died despite his clean living vegetarianism, his Buddhist outlook on life, his happiness to just wear what he wore and not wear the pointless suits and ties that hide lies, his obsessive attention to detail, all his wealth, and all his understanding of exactly what to give people to make them want even more.
The Steve Jobs legacy will be written into history and his name will be taught in school lessons alongside all those other innovators that we learn and marvel about generation after generation after they are gone. Good.