|"Steve Jobs, with an apple"|
Come 2113, only a few builders of the basic foundations of computer technology, will be remembered. This is nothing personal; nature dictates that people of a perceived lesser significance, fade with each passing generation. However, a select few survive, and eventually become status symbols for both the age they lived in, and the inventions they worked on. The prime candidates in this field include former Microsoft kingpin, Bill Gates. Creator of the world-wide-web, Tim Berners-Lee. And perhaps more than anyone else, co-founder of Apple – and Godfather of all things computer, Steve Jobs.
Think about this for a moment. In 1973, the height of technology was 8-track and the Stylophone. Computers were little more than over-elaborate calculators; sparse, expensive, and the size of a transit van. For people of the 70’s, the notion of super-intelligent Smartphones sitting in their pockets, was the stuff of extreme science-fiction fantasy; as ludicrous as it was ridiculous. Yet somehow, our species went from that reality, to this one. This is where Steve Jobs came in. Human curiosity was always going to allow the technological bridges between these timelines to be built. It is just as one of their main architects, Jobs created structures as intricate as they were progressive.
Without Steve Jobs, the iPhone wouldn’t exist. The same goes for iPads, the iPod, iTunes, Macbooks, and any number of multi-functional computer products used by the millions on a daily basis; hardware and software. While it is true certain elements of these ideas existed in other products, it was Jobs who possessed the ability to utilize, market, and combine them into what we generally take for granted as current technology; connecting dots to form a whole most people couldn’t even imagine, yet alone turn into a physical product.
As a personality, he was – like all great minds of history, impossible to categorize. Overwhelmingly forward thinking, charismatic, idiosyncratic, and stubborn, he came across as a sort of deeply philosophical post 1970’s John Lennon; who loved computers and ran a billion dollar company. A mind some may have found as fascinating as they did frustrating, and carrying hippie ideals at his core, Jobs was more artist than scientist. This counteracted his methodical, very Japanese business approach; discover a fresh idea, absorb every useful ounce from any source he could – which was where the real hard work set in. Copy it, improve it, finish it, release it, and then set the standard for the next stage of invention. All the while wearing a black turtle-neck sweater tucked into trainer-led blue jeans; like most great computer brains, his fashion sense left a lot to be desired.
He didn’t always meet with great success. The Apple Lisa flopped, and in 1985 was voted out of the company he created; rejoining in 1997, after Apple’s decade of disaster. But even then – much like the Newton is forgotten for being the first tablet on the market, the Lisa is forgotten for being the first computer to have its own monitor and mouse function; the standard bearer, until laptops took over. Even where Jobs failed in the short term of innovation, he helped ignite a flame, beneficial to the grander scheme of things. Even till his dying day, he never stopped pushing forward; a type of passion impossible to teach anybody, and even harder to explain to the uninitiated.
Jobs passed away from cancer in 2011, at the still mentally fresh age of 56. Much like the songs John Lennon may have written in the 80's, or the roles River Phoenix would have nailed in the 90's, we shall never know how much progressive innovation Jobs would have created over the coming years; it is believed voice recognition software, was one he wanted to crack. He gave more to the world in thirty years of radical imagination, than most can muster in three thousand years of yielding to tired modes of thinking. He possessed a truly incredible, free-thinking mind, and I would highly recommend anyone interested in humanities, business, or philosophy, to check out any of the wide range of interviews and presentations he gave in his lifetime.
Perhaps the deepest imprint on the world left by Steve Jobs, had very little to do with technology, and is a more human gift; the message to simply think for ourselves. He wasn’t always liked, was often accused of plagiarism, overt ruthlessness, and neglecting his family life; which he admitted he was at times guilty of on all accounts. However, no one can argue against how the man lived his life, his way; something I believe every human being alive should strive to do. Steve Jobs was the Thomas Edison of the baby-boomers. He was also one of the few genuine people of the last century; I would personally label a genius. And if none of this satisfies you enough? All I can say is this; in 1986 he bankrolled a young, computer animation company, struggling to survive. It's name was Pixar...
Thank you for reading The Internet Files.