Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs - a man of our time passes

Steve Jobs is a tad older than the cohort of my youth. I remember seeing the first Apple PC and wondering at it being PORTABLE! By portable, I mean you could pick it up! IT WAS A GAME CHANGER! Before that we had a micro computer - a huge box full of boards - that the engineers among us had built. There was no way we could pick that one up. We all shared the box and two disk drives....5 people could work at once. I was taught to fix it - by opening the front panel and fiddling the boards to achieve a better connection. Later one of our group got a job repairing Apples - I was allowed into the workshop as long as I did not touch anything.

ANYWAY - Steve's desktop PC was an inspiration to a lot of us. The younger ones bought one and weaned themselves off the mainframe and it meant we no longer needed a whole group of people to cooperate in providing group computing facilities. At least one of our number was inspired to design a PC and other hardware - these days he owns an international industrial computer company. I hope he will retire as wealthy as Steve. Thankfully he is as healthy and as strong as a mallee bull.

Rest in peace Steve - and thankyou .... Candice :-)

One of my favourite flowers - delicate and amazing...

1 comment:

  1. Remember I mentioned Steve Jobs inspired my cohort - I found this article on Technology Spectator on 6 October and by Charis Palmer which provides some very relevant ideas on how to innovate and be successful:

    If there’s one lesson corporate Australia should take from the grand vision of Steve Jobs, it’s that it’s ok to fail.

    From his decision to drop out of college, to his infamous firing from Apple at age 30, Jobs knew how to get back up, dust himself off and get on with it.

    As it turned out, Jobs later said getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to him, because it meant the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.

    Imagine how different the world would be if every successful businessperson was able to look at things through the eyes of a newcomer, with all the curiosity, gumption and positivity that comes with it.

    Australians generally fear business failure, but what they need to understand is that failure is part of a normal process of learning, research and discovery.

    Some of the world’s most successful corporations have become so either through colossal early failures, or by building a culture where failure is accepted.

    Yet how often do we gravitate to the best business success stories, and overlook or worse still, feel schadenfreude, when we see the downfall of a high-profile executive that couldn’t quite make something work.

    At telecommunications giant SingTel, innovation is driven by the encouragement of managed risk-taking – staff are given a failure “pass card” that they can pass on to a colleague after one of their projects goes pear-shaped, which then gives their colleague the symbolic permission to fail.

    Under Steve Jobs Apple built a culture with practices that go against traditional wisdom coming out of business schools, as Horace Dediu explained in this piece on just how ‘Jobsian’ Apple is.

    Some of these principles include accountability without control, saying no to “better things”, building products before markets are identified, functional vs. hierarchical organisation, and a disregard for polite consensus.

    Right now we’re living in a world where great companies are being toppled, not because they lack strong competitive advantages, but because they seem incapable of giving up the old way of doing things.

    Apple never fell into this rut. What eventually was to become a Steve Jobs’ mantra of “Stay hungry, stay foolish” seems to have helped the organisation move on from failures (like MobileMe, or the Lisa computer), and learn from the failures of others.

    There’s little doubt working for Apple is no easy ride – Jobs once said: “My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better,” but Apple has also stuck by its staff, refusing to lay people off during the dot com bust.

    Few people probably know Apple completely overhauled the iPhone from its original design, but Steve Jobs made his team do it because he wasn’t 100 per cent happy with the product.

    “It was hell because we had to go to the team and say, ‘All this work you've [done] for the last year, we’re going to have to throw it away and start over, and we're going to have to work twice as hard now because we don't have enough time.’ And you know what everybody said? ‘Sign us up.’”

    Jobs once said the real issue for him when hiring is whether the prospective employee would fall in love with Apple.

    And it’s Jobs’ advice on work that is most worth remembering.

    "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”