Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 22:41 UTC
Apple "Regarding the speech, it is amazing to hear Steve Jobs talk about some things that were not fully realized until only a handful of years ago. This talks shows us just how incredibly ahead of his time he was. I've listened to the entirety of the recording a few times now and have taken extensive notes, of which I will further elaborate on in future blog postings." This 1983 speech by Jobs is not as visionary as it seems. It's virtually identical to Alan Kay's mind-blowing Dynabook vision... From 1968. Kay even describes multitouch (p. 8) and Siri (p. 6). Not entirely coincidentally, Kay joined Apple in 1984. Look people, Steve Jobs was an incredibly talented individual that left a real imprint on the world - you don't need to make him larger than he was.
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v The inverse is also true
by Tony Swash on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 22:54 UTC
RE: The inverse is also true
by No it isnt on Thu 4th Oct 2012 06:07 UTC in reply to "The inverse is also true"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Right. Insisting on not making him bigger than he was is somehow making him smaller.

Reply Score: 2

Woz created...
by thavith_osn on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 22:54 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

...the objects that created Apple, Jobs put those objects in our hands...

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 23:01 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

To be fair, I do think Jobs was a visionary. He just wasn't the only visionary nor was he the 1st to predict many of the technologies he'd later go on to sell.

But who do you credit with being the 1st? The manufactorers or developers? The scientists? or how about sci-fi writers?

Gene Roddenberry had Siri-like interfaces on Star Trek and that was long before desktop computers were even conceived, let alone smart phones. And while we're on the subject of phones, he also invented the flip phone (aka communicator).

However I'm pretty sure vocal communication interfaces were written about even before Star Trek.

So I guess my point is this: Jobs was a visionary, but there's no shortage of them. Getting those visions to market and making people buy them is the hard part, and like or loath the guy, he was a good sales man. Bill Gate is/was too, for that matter.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Laurence
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 23:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Getting those visions to market and making people buy them is the hard part, and like or loath the guy, he was a good sales man. Bill Gate is/was too, for that matter.


Exactly.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by sicofante on Thu 4th Oct 2012 07:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
sicofante Member since:
2009-07-08

And so we're back to square one. Everybody is trying to remember Jobs as a "visionary", when he mostly "envisioned" obvious things many others were envisioning at the same time or well before him. Instead, Jobs should be remembered as the guy who made some of those visions come true, by hiring the right people (starting by Woz...), selling the products well and all the other stuff a good CEO is supposed to do.

I "invented" the Google Street Car and View many years before Google even existed, and I shared that "invention" with a number of people that would testify I did. I never took it to the market, because I'm lazy, so it just doesn't count at all. Point being, what's important is actually executing the "inventions" and "visions". All of us have great ideas every now and then. That doesn't make us so special. Jobs wasn't either in that regard.

Remember the guy for what made him different (a great CEO and sales pitch genius), not what make him equal to so many people.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by kovacm on Thu 4th Oct 2012 09:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

I "invented" the Google Street Car and View many years before Google even existed, and I shared that "invention" with a number of people that would testify I did. I never took it to the market, because I'm lazy,


You work worked with Andrew Lippman ??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf6LkqgXPMU

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by kovacm on Thu 4th Oct 2012 09:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
RE: Comment by Laurence
by WorknMan on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 23:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

But who do you credit with being the 1st? The manufactorers or developers? The scientists? or how about sci-fi writers?


If we use a concrete example, the Apple 1, I credit both the man who had the skills to build it, and the man who had the vision to bring it to the masses. Apple being what it is couldn't have been done without both of them.

Reply Score: 5

Jobs knew how to make things happen...
by galvanash on Thu 4th Oct 2012 01:01 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

That was his primary skill. People called him a "visionary". That is an accurate label I guess, but it's meaning tends to be lost on most people.

Visionaries don't invent things or create things. They take small ideas they believe in (their's or other's) and run as far as they can with them. They play things out, see where it leads, get things done, make things happen. Their value is not in the idea itself, but their ability to mold it into their vision of what it could be. Any idea they feel is worth pursuing they pursue as if it is the most profound idea in the history of man - the goal being to convince everyone else to see it the way they do...

I think people do gloss over the fact that someone like Jobs cannot do what he does without being surrounded by some very talented people... At the same time though, he was always the guy in the spotlight, so he tends to get most of the credit. He was very good at that part too, the showmanship aspect of selling the general public on his vision.

I don't begrudge the accolades he gets. You absolutely need people like Jobs to turn ideas into successful products. He was lucky in many ways because he had enough money and was surrounded by enough talent that most of the time he could execute pretty damn well on his vision.

Anyway, visionary is just as good of a label as any I guess. Ive seen people call him a "salesman", but that just doesn't cut it. Salesman just sell things, it requires skill but not faith... Jobs made his own koolaid, and drank it regularly - no one can say he didn't believe in what he was doing. He may not have invented much of anything, but he sure knew how to run with an idea.

Reply Score: 10

Steve Jobs could be very wrong too
by karunko on Thu 4th Oct 2012 07:25 UTC
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

Like in this "internal use only" video while at NeXT. It's all about workstations, a market that was about to tank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9dmcRbuTMY

And even though I think that NeXT hardware was good but overpriced and NeXT OS probably the best at the time, that doesn't make him any less wrong on nearly all counts.


RT.

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

And even though I think that NeXT hardware was good but overpriced and NeXT OS probably the best at the time, that doesn't make him any less wrong on nearly all counts.


I watched the video and I have to say I don't understand your criticism. The video was made in 90/91 (not sure which)... The professional workstation market was growing, rapidly, and it continued to grow for another 5 years or so. NexT quit making hardware well before the workstation market peaked - the death of workstations had nothing to do with their failure.

Sure, betting on the workstation market may seem like a bad move 25 years later, but 25 years ago it was a perfectly logical thing to do. No one knew that Intel would drop the Pentium Pro bomb on the whole industry in 1995...

Reply Score: 2

karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

I watched the video and I have to say I don't understand your criticism. The video was made in 90/91 (not sure which)... The professional workstation market was growing, rapidly, and it continued to grow for another 5 years or so.

I wasn't really criticizing, just pointing out the obvious truth: even the most brilliant man can be wrong at times.

NexT quit making hardware well before the workstation market peaked - the death of workstations had nothing to do with their failure.

The why would anyone quit a market that has not peaked yet? And even assuming that the problem was targeting the wrong customers or not being effective at that, this doesn't make him any less wrong, does it?


RT.

PS: Some data to pore through is available here: http://pctimeline.info/workstation/work1987.htm

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25


I wasn't really criticizing, just pointing out the obvious truth: even the most brilliant man can be wrong at times.


Oh, no doubt. G4 Cube... Hockey Puck Mouse...

The why would anyone quit a market that has not peaked yet? And even assuming that the problem was targeting the wrong customers or not being effective at that, this doesn't make him any less wrong, does it?


They simply ran out of money (investors fleed). Jobs didn't see any upside in dropping the cash it would take to bankroll NexT further as a hardware company, so they changed strategy and became a software company. My point was simply that it wasn't because the workstation market got soft - it didn't. NexT computers were just too damn expensive to sell in large enough volumes to make it worth their while anymore.

I really think Job's was obsessed with the notion of perfecting a product that could sell in high volume _with_ high margins... Gutting the NexT and making it price competitive doesn't jive with that goal. He didn't really crack that nut until he went back to Apple.

Reply Score: 2

karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

NexT computers were just too damn expensive to sell in large enough volumes to make it worth their while anymore.

Given the period I doubt that offerings from SUN, HP and DEC were that much cheaper, but of course those companies were well entrenched in that market segment and NeXT was the newcomer.

However, I wouldn't dismiss the fact that x86 was getting "good enough" and much cheaper, BSD was certainly a viable option and a little thing called Linux was just around the corner. I'm neither an hater, nor a fanatic, but facts are facts.

I really think Job's was obsessed with the notion of perfecting a product that could sell in high volume _with_ high margins... Gutting the NexT and making it price competitive doesn't jive with that goal.

Definitely, but let's put it this way: he didn't manage to pull it off with NeXT but succeeded with Apple, which sort of contradicts his "Great Salesman" fame -- at least in my book.

Anyway, I don't want to give the wrong impression, so I'll stop here -- imagine we were discussing this in front a couple of beers! ;-)


RT.

Reply Score: 2

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

He did succeed with Pixar.

Reply Score: 1

Interesting read
by Drunkula on Thu 4th Oct 2012 14:05 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

Yeah many of the ideas were around by then. Jobs' vision brought it all together. Sadly the walled-garden that is evolving does not fit completely into my computing philosophy.

Reply Score: 2

Steve Jobs Made the Future Real
by marcelbrown on Sun 7th Oct 2012 20:31 UTC
marcelbrown
Member since:
2012-10-07

There's a large difference between having futuristic ideas and actually implementing them. Absolutely no offense to the Alan Kay or Gene Roddenberry's of the world, but it's the difference between making cardboard mock-ups or building a device that actually works. That was the genius of Steve Jobs. I wrote a follow-up article that talks about this in more detail.

http://lifelibertytech.com/2012/10/05/steve-jobs-made-the-future-re...

Reply Score: 1