The revised book of Jobs

The very first thing that occurred to me upon hearing that Steve Jobs was gone was this: “If Aldous Huxley had waited eight or nine decades, he could have set Brave New World in the year 632 A.S.: After Steve.”

“Surely you’re not comparing Steve Jobs to Henry Ford,” I hear you say. [Insert Leslie Nielsen witticism here.] I am doing exactly that. If Ford put cars on America’s roads, Jobs put buds on America’s ears. And you can’t get much more Fordish than this: you can get any color of earbuds you want, as long as it’s white.

Or I could point out that the Ford Motor Company is Detroit’s #2 automaker, and that Mac OS, whatever version it’s in right this minute, outsells every other desktop/laptop operating system but one.

But I keep coming back to that phrase “insanely great.” The particular genius of Steve Jobs, I think, is that he knew if something was great enough, you could afford to go a little insane. In a world full of risk avoiders and me-too products and Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron product planners, Apple under Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid to say “Bring ’em on.” We can only hope that Apple after Steve Jobs will do the same.


  1. KingShamus »

    6 October 2011 · 6:55 am

    RIP Steve Jobs.

    Not a fan of Apple products, but I have to respect the man’s talent and insight. He will be missed.

  2. Ed Flinn »

    6 October 2011 · 9:33 am

    Speaking of me-too, I favor Philips earbuds, that come in black and feature hooks to keep them in the vicinity of the ears.

  3. canadienne »

    6 October 2011 · 1:27 pm

    I remember how bloody annoying MP3 players were in the pre-iPod days.
    But home computers really started with Apple, graphical user interfaces and desktop publishing with the Mac, portable music with the iPod, and there were smartphone before, but the iPhone was a game changer. Whatever colour your earbuds, you have to admit that Steve Jobs knew what we wanted before we did. The guy was an insanely great thinker, and he will be missed – nobody knows what he would have come up with next.

  4. CGHill »

    6 October 2011 · 2:09 pm

    This says as much as anything, I think: when Amazon decided to start selling downloadable music, they set up their download routine to check for the presence of iTunes, and to install purchases therein automatically. They knew no one was going to abandon iWhatever.

  5. McGehee »

    6 October 2011 · 2:39 pm

    iExpect Apple to evolve in a slightly different direction before too much longer, and it will be interesting to see what it will look like.

    Thus far, for example, Apple seems to have been more tolerant of iPhone jailbreaking than I might have expected — they won’t support a phone if they know it’s ever been jailbroken, but beyond that it’s apparently not an issue. I wonder whether that policy will harden in the future; it’s not as if they couldn’t design ways to know even if the end user never confesses.

    And I wonder whether the “any color you want as long as it’s” culture will persist for very long. It’s a lot easier to capture the public’s attention by changing the wrapper than the contents, after all.

  6. Jobs death hysteria « Скрипучая беседка »

    8 October 2011 · 9:45 am

    […] when I read all this cries, praise and wailing on Jobs’ passing [f.i.]  – which always, always comes down to laments about his company and chotchkes it produces- […]

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