In 1987, Apple’s chief executive, John Sculley, wrote that “high-tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product”.
In 2011, Apple’s worth was estimated at £337 billion, and the company (briefly) ousted Exxon Mobil as the biggest company on the planet, the dominant force in three separate, gigantic industries.
At the same time, the Telegraph’s obituary for Steve Jobs notes that Apple managed to maintain their image as a “plucky, creative insurgent against the bland Microsoft behemoth” – even as it overtook them.
None of this would have been possible without the influence of Steve Jobs. The New York Timeshas published an overview of the three hundred patents attributed to him and his colleagues, which include various designs for the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, as well as monitors, laptops, keyboards, mice and even a staircase.
Apple’s portfolio stands as a testament to the high standards to which Jobs always aspired. Journalists, through their tributes, have afforded us a few small insights into how he worked.
Jobs was “not a universally popular figure”, the Telegraph wrote, adding that he “ruled Apple with a combination of foul-mouthed tantrums and charm, withering scorn and carefully judged flattery”. Reviewer Walt Mossberg noted Jobs’ occasional “nasty, mercurial” side, and observed that Apple’s partners occasionally told stories of how difficult he could be to deal with. Other journalists, such as Dan Gillmor, have mentioned Jobs’ transition from “freedom fighter” to “emperor”, creating a “regime of secrecy, manipulation and control-freakery” as Apple came to dominate the world of computing. In terms of business, Jobs was widely known as a “dictator”. The political comparisons are overcooked, but the message is clear: Jobs’ management was meticulous and intensive. If this management style could seem stifling to some outsiders, though, it also directly led to many of the technological world’s most innovative creations.
All of Jobs’ colleagues and partners, and a large share of Apple’s consumers will agree that his company’s numerous exceptional achievements serve as a vindication of the “tantrums”.
Steve Jobs put a ‘ding’ in the universe, all right. For making our everyday lives easier here at the Packshot People studio, we’d like to say “thank you” – and “rest in peace”.