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How Steve Jobs' Legacy Has Changed 420

On the anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, reader SternisheFan sends in a story from CNN about how the Apple co-founder's legacy has changed since then. "... in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs' life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs' seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs' often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. 'Everyone knows that Steve had his "rough" side. That's partially because he really did have a rough side and partially because the rough Steve was a better news story than the human Steve,' said Ken Segall, author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success.' ... In Steve Jobs, Isaacson crafted a compelling narrative of how Jobs' co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, got pushed out of the struggling company a decade later and then returned in the late 1990s to begin one of the most triumphant second acts in the annals of American business. But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn't like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or 'sh-t.' 'Among Apple employees, I'd say his reputation hasn't changed one bit. If anything, it's probably grown because they've realized how central his contributions were,' Lashinsky said. 'History tends to forgive people's foibles and recognize their accomplishments. When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney. I don't know what his place will be in history 30, 40, 50 years from now. And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge).'" Apple has posted a tribute video on their homepage today.
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How Steve Jobs' Legacy Has Changed

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  • Really? Nobody? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by obijuanvaldez ( 924118 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:14AM (#41557785)
    "Nobody has questioned Jobs' seismic impact on computing and our communication culture"

    Challenge accepted.

    Did he really change how many people use computers or how much influence those computers have in their lives or did he just change which brand of computer they purchased?
  • Move along (Score:4, Interesting)

    by damaki ( 997243 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:21AM (#41557835)
    Jobs has been dead for a year and I don't care. His being dead was news, but this is no news and totally uninteresting.
    Has any new line of text popped up in his biography? No.
  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:22AM (#41557849)

    I never met, let alone worked for Steve Jobs, but I did have a teacher that outsiders might have described like this:

    "But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn't like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or 'sh-t.'"

    (Substituting student for employee, and work for product. And note this was a teacher of adults, not children.)

    The outsider would be wrong in thinking that the teacher didn't care about his students - he wanted the best for them. It's that he taught Via Negativa, a pedagogical technique more common in continental Europe. That the way to get people to produce the best, original work is to heavily criticise that which is not good or average or unoriginal. Those without talent will fall by the wayside, but those with talent end up producing their best work.

    Those who have never experienced it, or who fell by the wayside, won't understand the rewards of working under this technique. But the proof is in the results.

  • Execution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:37AM (#41557981)

    He was great at directing design as well as being a CEO. Even if he was copying a lot of the time, he's still the one that put this stuff into the mainstream, and ensured that everything was done to a pretty good standard.

    Running a successful business isn't always about being genuinely unique. Most of it is execution which is something successful companies are really good at. For an example look at Coca-Cola. Nothing particularly unique these days about a cola soft drink, and Coke was by no means the first fizzy sugary drink, but they execute the details of their business brilliantly. In some ways Apple is the same. They rarely are first with any single component of their products but when Apple has been successful they have executed the entire product better than pretty much anyone else. The whole becomes something more than the parts. The iDevices weren't the first of their kind but each of them was the the first to get the whole package (for lack of a better term) "correct" in a way that the public found appealing. The iPhone redefined the smartphone market in much the same way that Tolkien redefined the fantasy novel genre. Every successful smartphone since clearly has cribbed some of its DNA from the design of the iPhone. Whether you like Apple or not, one has to admit that Apple has executed their business model extremely well and with great discipline for the last decade or so and they have the financial results to show for their efforts.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:48AM (#41558055)

    There was one kid in my neighborhood who had an Apple. He was the kid with yuppie parents who liked to show off (they were in debt up to their ears with various status symbols). Most everyone else had Commodores. A few had Sinclairs (marketed in the U.S. under Timex []) and Atari 400's and 800's.

    The PC's and Apples back then ran in the $1,500 - $2,000 range (that would be probably $5,000-$6,000 in today's dollars). They were way outside the reach of the working class. The real computers for the masses were the ones in the $200-$800 range.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhagwad ( 1426855 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:57AM (#41558123) Homepage

    Slight problem with your analysis - I was using touchscreen smartphones and installing applications on them long before the iPhone. My first was a second hand Palm Tungsten T in 2004 when I was in college. My second was two years later - an O2 with Windows Mobile.

    If you want to count Apple/Jobs marketing abilities as legendary, I have no problem with that since if another company had come out with an exact copy of the iPhone it would definitely not have gotten the same media coverage and overwhelming response.

    Jobs refined the design of smartphones and made them popular. I've stated that in my first comment. I just don't think it compares to the the inventors the summary was mentioning.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:04AM (#41558191) Journal

    your life has been irrevocably changed along with the majority (50.4%) of the United States population.

    Um, you are aware that Apple didn't actually invent the smartphone? They produced a particularly well refined model of smartphone, but the term smartphone itself wasn't even new when the iPhone came out.

    To have a nice car analogy. Ferarri make very nice cars (if you like that wort of thing). However, if Ferrari fans were like Apple fans, most of them would claim that Ferarri invented the fast car, the car, the steering wheel, the idea of gears and all sorts of other things.

    Naturally, noone is silly enough to make the claim about Ferarri. But id doesn't detract from the vehicles they make. However, Apple fans seem to insist the same for Apple products.

    Just the other day, I was arguing with a chap here who claimed Apple invented the thin light laptop. I pointed to the X505, which debuted many years before the Air. The response was ah but it's not the same because (a) it's black and (b) didn't have a trackpad. So, therefore Apple invented the thin light laptop.

    You, apparently feel the same about smartphones.

    If you suggest that Apple made computing mobile to any previous user of a PalmPilot, Sharp Zaurus, Nokia N95, hell or TRS 80 for that matter, not to mention a thousand other plaftorms, you will be mocked for your ignorance.

    You may at this point claim you're referring to the masses (you weren't), but what has that got to do with me or many of the people here. We were using portable computing devices before and we will keep using them. Apple has had no bearing on my life in this regard.

  • Re:A year already? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Friday October 05, 2012 @01:51PM (#41560921) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jobs was an asshole. But one with taste.

    Really? Apple products look nice, but was that directly down to Jobs or was it the people working for him who seem to have had an affinity from Braun designs from the 70s and 80s?

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