Steve Jobs, Magic and True Technological Innovation

Why Steve Jobs’ Magic Doesn’t Work In Medicine

The final paragraph was what triggered me to post this here:

I’ve idolized Jobs since I was a teenager. My first email account was on a NeXT, and I think he more than deserves his place in the firmament of business stars. But I’m haunted by a story I heard once about a biotech industry lobbyist who went to see a congressman and was told, “You guys don’t do innovation. The iPad. That’s innovative.” As a society, it seems to me, we say that a lot. We value the magic box built out of many more basic innovations much more than what came before – and as a result, we overlook the work that is actually foundational. And I worry that were this less true, medicine could have done even more for Steve Jobs.

I have never been a fan of Jobs, I have considered him one of the most successful total failures that have ever existed.  If he had a better understanding of business there would be no Microsoft and it is quite likely that IBM would no longer exist.  Instead, he trumpeted that Apple made more money each year while it wound up with a smaller market share.  He certainly knows how to make ordinary pedestrian products so amazing people will spend way more than it is worth to own one (iPod being the iconic product), but he never really made anything.  MacOS?  A Microsoft product.  Hardware?  Apple very early on gave up making hardware.  Even outside of Apple, the most successful thing Jobs did was Pixar and based on my reading it was largely in spite of Jobs than because of him (though Jobs being stubborn and having deep pockets was certain a major contributor to Pixar’s success).  Apple, unbelievably to me, was (perhaps still is) the company with the highest capitalization (which is nothing more than the price of the stock times the number of outstanding shares), despite WalMart, ExxonMobile (etc., etc., etc.) actually having valid reasons for being on top.

The possibility that had Jobs not been so, well, Jobs-like, he might still be alive seems to be the core of his successes, failures and ultimate demise.  Though I never liked him and almost never used his products (and certainly never paid for any of his products), the world is a somewhat dimmer place without him.  Some diamonds sparkle because of the perfection of the cut, others sparkle because of the inherent flaws.  Jobs sparkle was, in my opinion, the later, but now the world is a bit less sparkly and that is a sad thing.

Author: Tfoui

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