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Steve Jobs

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It is now about a week since Steve Jobs announced his retirement as the CEO of Apple Inc. I’ve debated whether to do this blog entry about my thoughts about the man, who has influenced the lives of just about every person who uses technology. After all this is a website about BBQ and grilling. But the bottom line is: This is my site after all, so I can write about anything that strikes my fancy. Apple products have been a part of my daily business and personal life for the last 22 years. I simply couldn’t let this sad announcement go by without a comment. If you are looking for BBQ please move on.

When I heard the announcement last week of Job’s resignation, my initial reaction was one of total shock. In gathering my thoughts, I was surprised at my own reaction because the signs had been pointing to this day being just around the corner. Still I guess it was a case of false hope that this day wouldn’t come. Now you know everyone has to retire sometime, but this was a case of a man hitting his creative peek having to retire at a relatively young age due to an incurable illness. The fact he ran a company that was also at it’s peek and turning out products that had revolutionized high technology several times over, made it all the more sad. You’d certainly love to see what might have come down the pipeline in the next 20 years of an Apple Inc. headed by Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs has been compared by some to Thomas Edison in the impact his company’s inventions have had on society. Most people who invent a revolutionary product, never achieve that kind of success again. But look at Apple, they had the MacIntosh. That was followed up by the iPod/iTunes, the iPhone and the iPad. Each of these products was not the first of it’s kind, but each revolutionized their product category. Before I go on here, let me just state that I realize there is a company of talented individuals who played a hand in the release of these products. But it was Steve Jobs vision, attention to detail and perfectionism that helped make these products what they are. Some folks say the iPad has finally realized the vision of the original MacIntosh, a computer for the rest of us.

You can’t deny that Steve Jobs was a very polarizing personality. People seemed to love him or hate him. Many times this was because Jobs felt he knew better than the folks giving him unsolicited advice. He usually did. Steve Jobs as an individual and Apple as a company are somewhat unique in that they make what they think is the right decision and they stick with it. They don’t rely on focus groups or opinion polls or crowd sourcing to develop more “me-too”, wishy washy products. While I certainly don’t always agree with Apple’s decisions, I do admire the way they stick to their guns. My new website is a result of one of these decisions that I totally disagree with. The handwriting has been on the wall for a while in terms of Apple stopping development of iWeb. When they started up iCloud and killed MobileMe that was it. I totally disagree with the decision, but knowing Apple I didn’t hold any false hope they would change that decision. So I moved on and built this new site and found a new web host. I can still admire the man and the company although I disagree sometimes with their decisions.

One of my great pleasures in the years of Steve Jobs run as first iCEO and then CEO of Apple, is how the company does what they think is right and totally ignores the opinions of all the so-called experts, pundits, new-media idiots etc. First you had all of the people over the years telling Apple they should split the company into two companies: one for hardware & one for software. They somehow don’t realize that Apple controlling all aspects of the user experience is what sets their products apart. Look how well that same strategy worked for Palm. Palm who?? These same folks had the Apple Stores doomed to failure as well. Well let’s see=they have been one of the biggest keys to Apple’s resurgence. You also have all of these financial people telling Apple what to do. This advice usually amounted to becoming like every other company in the tech sector. They just didn’t seem to understand Apple and I often wondered if this advice wasn’t to help these clueless analysts out. Become like the other companies so we don’t have to think outside the box. Apple has steadfastly stuck to their guns under Steve Jobs and look where they are today. As for these financial pundits, if they were as smart as they think they are, how come they aren’t out there making a killing on the market? Why aren’t they all rich 10 times over following their own advice? Then there are the tech pundits who revel in saying Apple is doomed to failure, or this product can’t possibly succeed, fail fail, fail. I think this group of folks is made up of equal parts clueless people, people with an axe to grind, and people who have a vested interest in one of Apple’s competitors. Sometimes one person can be in all three camps. Look at all the folks who talked about all the features the iPod lacked and every new MP3 player was hailed as an iPod Killer. When the iPhone came out the same folks were saying that it too was doomed to failure and hailed the release of the next iPhone killer. By the time the iPad came out these same folks were looking pretty stupid rerunning their same act. It still didn’t stop them from trying. But by now many people weren’t listening anymore.

One of the smart things that Apple has done under Steve Jobs is that they don’t listen to these pundits. They come up with a product they feel will work easily for the average user. They aren’t shooting to be all things to all people. These pundits are often screaming the iWhatever is doomed to failure because it doesn’t have their personal killer feature. They fail to realize that they aren’t the average target user. The iPhone for example just works. Your parents can figure it out. They may be a bit overwhelmed at first, but soon they are using their iPhones in ways he never thought possible. It all was integrated and made sense. I also have to laugh when I watch some of the ads for competing products to the iPhone or iPad. They run these ultra macho ads touting all these bullet point features that the average user could care less about. Apple shows an ad of what folks can actually do on an iPad. Their competitors show robots playing with a pad device that can run 9 movies at a time. OK who but a robot needs to run 9 movies at the same time? One of Steve Jobs strong points is said to be how he can cut things down to the essentials and eliminate the fluff.

Steve Jobs second run at Apple seems to be marked by more collaboration and teamwork. Steve Jobs greatest legacy may be the team of people he has assembled to run the company. While Apple under Jobs may have ultimately done slightly better than Apple under Tim Cook, I really think Apple has many years of success ahead of them. The things that make Apple what they are today seem to be in the companies DNA. Steve Jobs seems to have assembled a team of like-minded individuals to help and now succeed him.

As for Steve Jobs, I wish him well and would like to thank him and his company for all the great products they have developed over the years. It would be great if Jobs run as chairman of Apple’s board of directors last a long long time. First and most importantly it would mean Jobs is in good health. As a bonus, Apple would still have the benefit of Steve Job’s vision.

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