WSJ reflects on Apple after Jobs, looks back at his influence

The news of Steve Jobs’ resignation from Apple’s CEO spot late yesterday was a possibility we’ve seen coming for years, given Jobs’ apparent ongoing health issues. Still, it was a bit of a shock because Apple and Jobs are both at the zenith of their success. I found myself reflecting last night on all of the ways Jobs influenced the world around us, and a host of quick-reaction stories posted at the Wall Street Journal were a helpful guide.

Of course, Walt Mossberg wrote an admiring overview of Jobs’ accomplishments that will take you down memory lane, from the Apple II through the iPad. Although Jobs’ career can be summed up largely with reference to three different companies—Apple, NeXT, and Pixar—his influence has been ridiculously far-reaching, as Mossberg reminds us: "Jobs has dramatically changed the mobile phone industry, the music industry, the film and TV industries, the publishing industry and others." Maybe, say, the computer industry, too?

Jobs has a reputation as essentially a hyper-powered product manager who has meticulously pushed his employees to produce simple, elegant, and well-conceived products. One unavoidable question in the wake of his departure from the CEO position is what happens next at Apple. Or, to put it more bleakly: how long until the company begins to stumble and lose some of the magic that has led to its success? (Will we, say in four or five years, suddenly have six variants of the iPad in different sizes, half of them with TN display panels?) The Journal has a brief story about Apple’s remaining management team, including new CEO Tim Cook and design guru Jony Ive, and the challenges they face. Many folks sound confident, usually projecting that by saying nice things about the talents of individuals still at Apple. However, at least one stock analyst firm disagrees.

Finally, even if you haven’t always been a fan of Jobs and Apple, you may still enjoy his take on life. Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford was an instant classic, telling the stories of his college dropout experience and of his early failure at Apple from his own perspective. One of my favorite bits is about him sitting in on a calligraphy class for no apparent reason:

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

Even more fun is this collection of top quotations from Jobs on a range of subjects.

Comments closed
    • Ragnar Dan
    • 8 years ago
    • mcnabney
    • 8 years ago

    I forgot to add Steve to my Dead Pool this year. If he survives the year, 2012 will definitely be a the year for him to pay out.

    /He’s obviously disentangling himself from Apple to reduce the shock when he dies
    //I wonder if he is a brave enough man to do hospice?
    /nah, he is more of the fight to the bitter end type of guy

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    I just deleted my cnet rss feed. Why did I wait years? Unbelievable the amount of coverage they give apple. I understand the popularity, but they are not 100% of the tech market.

      • Decelerate
      • 8 years ago

      I dunno… They’re like 15% of the NASDAQ already…

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    NEWSFLASH: Steve Jobs is an egotistical prick.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, but all the greatest men are.

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        I would agree, but I would also put great in quotations.

          • cynan
          • 8 years ago

          Or you could just substitute “greatest” with “most successful”

          Success is kind of like a vicious circle when it comes to humbleness. The more successful you are, the more you are drawn to focus on self – as you are clearly better at what you do than many/most/all others in your field.

          I think the most difficult aspect in avoiding having a huge ego when you’re successful is that, if you are good at what you do, then having a huge ego can be a boon to becoming even more successful.

          But there have been a few great men (or men with great achievements) that were not so egotistical. However, this generally requires you to not care so much for personal material gain (very rare) or the financial success of whatever company/organizaiton you are involved with (which is linked to the former). Often, with geniuses, this may happen because they are so darn eccentric – to obsessed with their work to worry about the regular things people worry about. Some of the greatest artists were like this. And a few scientists perhaps. Off the top of my head Mozart and Nikola Tesla comes to mind…

          And Mozart and Tesla were pretty nuts… Maybe Einstein was more balanced?

            • Deanjo
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Maybe Einstein was more balanced?[/quote<] I don't know about that, he did marry his cousin after all.

        • albundy
        • 8 years ago

        yeah, arnold and sheen are under your catagory too.

    • Ragnar Dan
    • 8 years ago

    I have almost as much respect for Mossberg as I have for some of the silly utterances of Jobs.

    Well no, not really that much.

    • StuG
    • 8 years ago

    Jobs must think the world revolves around him with such a statement. Utter Bullcrap.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      It’s not like it’s a new statement. Silly, but not new.

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      I would think that much has been obvious for a long time, it’s how he runs things.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    No, Steve, computers would still have proportionally-spaced fonts. They figured out how to do it in publishing, I’m sure they’d have figured it out on the computer, too.

    Still a titan among pathetic weenies, though this story very clearly illustrates that he was well aware of that fact.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    that’s a little arrogant. Because he went to a class, the world has nice fonts? If he never went nobody else might have ever figured it out? Geez

      • CCKMA
      • 8 years ago

      the point is that no matter how strange the twists and turns your life takes every experience has an impact on your future. Jobs is saying that something such as a calligraphy class had an impact on his life when it came to his passion in computers.

      yes he may have a bit of an unhealthy ego about how profound an impact it had but he’s talking to college students who need to hear that the most basic of things can alter your future in profound ways

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