Steve Jobs has died. He was 56 years old. Pancreatic Cancer finally got him. This should come as no surprise since Mr. Jobs gave up his Apple CEO position earlier on August 24th.
This is a sad day for techies. Steve Jobs was the good one in terms of innovation and vision. To this day black hardware otherwise known as a NeXT computer is admired as one of the most brilliant and innovation systems to date. The operating system from the NeXT spawned eventually OS X, which propelled Apple back from the brink of extinction.
Apple has put on their entire front page a memorial to Steve Jobs with an email to share thoughts and condolences. Rightly so, his spirit is entwined throughout the company.
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
May his innovative spirit live on. MacWorld has created a biography of Jobs and noted he reigned as Apple CEO for 14 years.
The Wall Street Journal lists some of Apple's technology acquisition deals. While Apple clearly has an eye for key critical technology, I'd say more they listed to their engineers internally.
Take the case of iTunes, audio on demand, and portable devices for playing them. First, Apple utilized AAC, a higher quality audio compression algorithm than mp3. Next, Apple managed to get content providers to use the iTunes store, literally a miracle from the attitudes of music companies and crisscross licensing, copyright issues. Finally Apple keeps the golden rule, designs should have no more than 3 clicks to purchase, in any user interface.
Many an engineer knew these technically strategic, critical aspects of buying music online, but Jobs, Apple, put the system all together and blew away the competition as a result. The all in one, closed system came home. Same is true with iPhone. Strategies to put music on cell phones had existed for years. Thousands of power point sides, white boards and meetings with political posturing, egos and stock options floundering. Internal political battles over 1/10th of a penny codec price increase forever kept the audio quality from being instantiated. Dogmatic approaches to working a deal with music, content companies died on the table. All hail Apple, the people who far more than innovation, have good old fashioned common sense. Never taking their eye off the big picture, they put power puffing egos aside and made the online music market happen.
Let's hope their example sticks.
Wired Magazine has pulled up this Jobs quote from 2005 that is even applicable to Economics. Don't let some dogmatic philosopher tell you you don't know what you do know....with that, here's the quote:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
You can see Job's management style right in this quote. He let designers, engineers have their inner voice. Now Jobs is the real ghost in the machine. His spirit is interwoven with technological innovation that literally makes people dance with joy.
Dennis Ritchie Died
I don't know if anyone cares but Dennis Ritchie invented "C", the most successful programming language to date and upon which most modern software was built. He also worked on Unix development, which was a team invention, all of this when he was at Bell Labs.
Here's also a great example of the kind of contribution corporations used to do and should do today. AT&T ran Bell Labs, a prestigious research division and a host of inventions, innovations originated from Bell Labs and brought in the modern communications era, cell phones, Unix, programming, audio compression, list goes on and on.
He's actually more important in terms of contributions than Steve Jobs in many ways, but only people who are geeks have ever heard of him.
I was thinking of this, why is it economists get Nobel prizes but not engineers? Engineers, the actual inventors really should be more public acknowledgment.
Nobel for engineering
"why is it economists get Nobel prizes but not engineers? Engineers, the actual inventors really should be more public acknowledgment."
I wasn't shocked by his death, but was at the same time. I figured he'd resign as CEO well before his death and was shocked to see how long he worked. It really shows how much he cared about Apple and how dedicated he was to his company.