Think Different. A Tribute to Steve Jobs.

6 Oct

We all know now what happened yesterday – Steve Jobs, the incredible visionary behind Apple Computer, passed away at the entirely too-young age of 56 years old.  Steve truly was a person who created disruptive thinking that forced entire industries, and one could say the entire technologically-driven world into reinventing themselves to fit the brave new circumstances.

We all know the technologies he invented – he led the personal computer revolution first with the Apple II, then the original Macs, then the iMacs, iBooks, MacBook Airs, incredibly capable desktop machines used in graphics and more.  He invented the category of advanced computer animation for filmmaking with his founding of Pixar Studios.   He changed how we buy and consume music to a track-by-track model, and allowed us to imagine carrying our whole “record collections” in our pants pockets.  He created the entire smartphone category and gave it wings with the iPhone, and again with the personal tablet category with the iPad.  And who knows what else is in the pipeline yet to come from Apple that will disrupt our world again.

I’m a firm believer in reinvention – reinvention and change are what drive our world forward, it is what pushed cars onto roads to replace horses and buggies, replaced prop planes with jets, replaced gas lamps with electricity, telegraphs with phones, encyclopedias with the internet, and more.  Progress.  There are many in this world who fight change at every turn (and I’ve riffed on that before:  Ch-Ch-Changes), who want to return to the old ways of doing things, who fight progress, who fight making our world a better place, a greener place, a less polluted place, who fight technology that can fight global warming, who fight new healthcare breakthroughs because they are afraid of challenging their own beliefs, who avoid the difficult conversations we need to have about our world because they represent change.

Steve Jobs succeeded because he “thought different.”  At every turn, he pushed his people and his teams to think different, be different, make different things. He famously disliked and did not use market research because he believed that the consumers don’t necessarily know what they want yet.  Doing so freed him, and the people that worked for him into being able to have truly disruptive, innovative, different thinking.  The concept of “because that’s the way we’ve always done things” did not occur in his world.

Much in our country, and in our world, in the years ahead, is going to require us and our leaders to Think different.  We can’t do the same old crap.  We can’t go back to the “ways of our forefathers”, the literal interpretations of “the framers” of our country’s constitution, to old ways of thinking.  We must push forward, and we must, absolutely must, think different.

Do I hope that Steve’s legacy is some really cool stuff yet to come from Apple, and a company that has the discipline to continue to turn out really cool stuff?  Yes, of course, as a dedicated gadget geek, of course I hope that.  But what I really hope, as we mourn the loss of a great man and a great thinker, is that perhaps some of his thinking – his tireless pursuit of reinvention, his endless push to do new things, try new things and more, will result in our people, our leaders and our nation, and the world being motivated to ditch the old ideas and create the new ones.  Because that, folks, is the only way we move forward.

Think different.

Because Steve Jobs told us to.

As you were,



One Response to “Think Different. A Tribute to Steve Jobs.”

  1. carpetbagger October 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Also, instead of coming up with a product and then convincing the public to buy it, he designed products that the public couldn’t live without, even if they didn’t know it. That’s why, other than the Mac/PC ads, Apple ads simply showed their products working. We saw it and knew we had to have it.

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