Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Will Steve Jobs still be remembered in a century?

Isaacson believes so, but I would point out that businessmen we remember either created universities (Leland Stanford Jr College), or eponymous company (Edison, Morgan, or Ford) or a world famous eponymous building complex (Rockerfeller center) and of course a dynasty to go along with the building helps as well.

On my first visit to San Francisco, i saw a lame multi-media sort-of history of California and was first introduced to "the big four".  At that time, i had only heard of Stanford because of Jim Plunkett winning the Heisman and in a stunning upset the Rose Bowl, and had no idea who the other 3 dudes were.  Living in SoCal now, it's impossible not to know Huntington Beach or Huntington Library and Gardens, but one could easily go through live and never hear of Crocker, and unless you're having a drink at Top of the Mark you may never hear the name Hopkins.  Other luminaries that few have a clue of their existence include the man who made GM into the world's leading company, and the father-son combo who brought IBM to such prominence.

Perhaps by being a larger than life character, similar to Edison & Ford & Morgan, will insure Jobs the name longevity that eluded the Watsons.  Obviously a best selling - and largely good - biography helps, but as recent history has shown, some long standing giants of companies can reach the brink of insolvency.

For the book itself, the rise & fall of Jobs were the best parts, and by its nature, his great third act, less interesting - how many times can it grab your attention to read about the next great success.  My favorite story has to be Jobs refusing a gas mask during his cancer surgery, demanding to see 5 models and then he'll choose the best - his wife has to distract him so that they medical staff can place the mask on his face.  I guess it takes that type of obsessive behavior to shepherd so many notable products into the marketplace.

Concerning Apple products, I've noticed that i enjoy their no "PC" products, but have not cared for a Macintosh since the SE.  When i use my father-in-law's MacBook & Safari, i end up frustrated that the commands i know so well on my Dell with Chrome just aren't there or aren't intuitive, which certainly puts a lie to the Apple has a better user interface meme.  By contrast, i enjoy my iTouch & my son's iPad and did notice that the last mention of an Apple computer in Isaacson's tome was the failure of Power Mac G4 Cube (if there was another mention beyond the general statement of integrated environment, it flew past me).

Will give the last word to the Ginger haired yank - a computer science major who dislikes Apple products -who believes that Jobs will end up more known by geeks and fall in the same category as Garrett Augustus Morgan.

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