Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Steve Jobs

I have had wanted to read this book for long. I remember a person at our gym being morose and leave immediately after seeing the sad news of Jobs’ demise on TV in October 2011. Steve is a celebrity with many movies and books dedicated to him. He is part of the folklore. Something our grandchildren are going to read about in the annals of computer history. I remember buying three iPhone 4 phones for my friends and colleagues in India in 2012. And back in 2005, was amazed by seeing iPod for the first time. Apple products lure you to use them, and it’s no wonder the creator of the company warrants peoples awe.

Movies tend to be hyperbolic. I had not quite warm feelings towards Steve from the way he was shown on screen, in movies. But books have an advantage of going deeper and trying to have a coherent narrative. That's what Walter Issacson has done in Steve's biography. He has set high bar on how to research a person and do justice.

One thing I loved about Steve’s life is his focus. Focus that would make simplicity possible in all Apple products. That simplicity would have come at a cost. Cost of losing market share on the short term and cost of “displeasing” people who were not aligned to his vision. That needs courage. I can only imagine it doing at the scale of a million dollar company (at that time of course). Now Apple is the most valuable company in the world. No wonder Steve was whimsical most of the times. I think most of this quirkiness about minor things was to make sure that everyone is on their toes and important details are not missed. Something akin to Van Halen and the Brown M&Ms.

He wasn’t perfect. The author has taken care to share this insight and at the same time made us empathize with Steve. Now I think of him a soul who constantly hustles, never settles and takes all of us ahead. That’s a beautiful thing.

A book soon to be added to my collection. I enjoyed reading it.

Note - 8/7/2017 - Updated iPhone 4 I bought 5 years back last Thursday. The phone itself must be about 7 years old now and works perfectly for calls, music, text messages and WhatsApp. This long shelf life speaks a lot about the build quality and thought put in place to deliver a wonderful product. Steve created that thought. That's his legacy.
 
 

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