Friday, October 7, 2011

Steven Jobs - The Pied Piper of the Digital Age

Special Steven Jobs Tribute Issue. Coverage of the New Art Season in NYC will continue next week.
The Apple I computer, where it all started.

Our world and tech tools would not be so well designed if not for Steven Jobs! 
Steven Jobs with the Apple II computer.

Steve Jobs, who died on October 5 aged 56, was the visionary co-founder, and later chief executive, of Apple, makers of the Macintosh computer, the iMac, the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, and the man behind the astonishing success of the computer animation firm Pixar, makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo; in consequence he did more to determine what films we watch, how we listen to music, and how we work and play than any other person on the planet. 
                             - London Telegraph

Seven Jobs was a unique intersection of the liberal arts, technology, psychology and business marketing. This tribute is being written on a MacBook and every computer on this planet has some of Jobs' ideas incorporated into it. His ideas have touched all who are reading this.

Way back in the 1980's, I spent an afternoon with Steven Jobs at "The Design Conference in Aspen." As we strolled through the natural beauty of Aspen over to the hotel, we talked about art, design and marketing. At one point we were on the path through Hubert Bayer's Grass Mounds* when we saw three baby foxes jumping and playing together, about ten feet away from us. We stopped and silently watched for quite some time before moving on. It was a very memorable moment in the time I shared with a man who would become one of my heroes and the Pied Piper of the digital era. Some of the information below came directly from our conversation on that day so long ago.
(*Grass Mounds, designed in 1955, is an earthwork and green space also known in Aspen as Anderson Park.)

Jonathan Mak Long, a 19-year-old living in Hong Kong, 
re-designed the Apple Logo to create this tribute.

Steven Jobs & Apple Computers
Business Plan: 
A simple vision of how products and a company should be perceived - everything counts.
1) Invent the Future, by Creating Products YOU Wish Were Available.
2) Add Value through Sleek, Beautiful Design and Packaging.
3) Products MUST be Reliable, Uncomplicated, Comfortable and Easy to Use.
4) Keep a Secret. New R&D Ideas Retain their Value only when Kept Behind Closed Doors.
5) Launch New Products with Fanfare to Create a P.R. Buzz. (All products must be remarkable, innovative and have a WOW Factor.) 
6) PROMOTE: With Creative, Visually Stimulating Marketing, Advertising, and Retail Presentation.
The whole experience: creating desire, the purchasing experience and most importantly the use and reliability of the product are all considered when creating new products.

The iPad 2 a lightweight, thin and fast Apple tablet computer. Created to access the web, take photos, share photos, view videos and to connect with friends, family or work wherever we like.

Milestones in Steven Jobs Professional Career: 
1977: Apple II introduced - First Successful Personal Computer  
1984: The Macintosh introduced   
1985: NeXT Computers started
1986: Buys PiXAR 3D Animation Group with the plan to market the 3D software
1995: Toy Story Movie Released, Changes How Animated Feature Movies are Created
1996: Apple buys NeXT for its NeXTSTEP Operating System (the basis for its current OS X operating system) 
1997: Jobs returns to Apple as CEO
2000: The Apple Cube introduced
2001: The iPod introduced 
2007: The iPhone introduced, a Mobile, Mini, Touch-Screen Computer
2010: The iPad Tablet Computer, redefines the Portable Computer Market   

Steven Jobs did not invent the small computer, or the digital music player, or the cellphone, BUT he re-invented all of them and made them into accessible, reliable, beautiful consumer products and objects of our desire. 
Apple Computer was started in a garage by Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak, an engineer. Jobs was always the visionary, front man and marketing guru. The first Apple computers were assembled one-at-a-time by Wozniak, and looked like a science project, made in a garage (see top photo). As the home computer market started to materialize, the two partners packaged their "Apple II" computer in a factory-made, wedge-shaped keyboard / computer case allowing the monitor to sit on top. Simplicity was the goal, so plugging in one video cable and two power chords was all that was required before you could switch on the Apple II and monitor. An external floppy-disk drive was an optional upgrade. The product was designed to "look good" in your home or on your desk at work, starting at under $1,300, a price within reach for interested, middle-class Americans. Before Apple computers, programing knowledge was needed before a computer would actually do anything. 

Jobs' clear goal has always been to make computer technology work by just flipping a switch or pushing a button. "As easy as using the copy machine at work." The magic ingredient at Apple computers has always been their striking visual presentation and their special understanding of human nature - transforming technology into something we really "want" (must have), as exciting and inviting as a childhood toy.  

Jobs didn't believe in marketing research, "Consumers cannot tell us what they want, they can only talk about what they know! We must invent the future from our personal vision. How can consumers tell us about things they have not yet experienced?"
"I, Steve - Steve Jobs in His Own Words" 
will be in bookstores next week.
It offers quotes from Apple's former CEO.

"In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer.... But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” - Steven Jobs in Fortune Magazine

Steven Jobs


Steven Jobs' commencement address at Stanford, 2005.
When Jobs was young he read: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”  Every morning he asks himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” When the answer is  “No” for too many days, he knows he needs to change something. "Remembering that we'll be dead soon makes all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important." Remembering that keeps you from thinking you have something to lose. Follow your heart."

(Sources for this issue: Personal converstion and interview with Steven Jobs, Wikipedia for photos, and accomplishments. Stanford University for his commencement address, London Telegraph for obit and video profile.)

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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