Thursday, October 06, 2011

What Steve Jobs Really Gave Us.

It is sad to learn that Steve Jobs has died. As a dyed-in-the-wool, born-again Apple user I can't go a day without benefitting from his life.

A lot of people will talk about the technology and the wonderful inventions that Jobs, and Apple, brought to the market. But he gave us more than that. Let me put it in context.

For some years now the American public has been despondent. The polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 18% say things are going well. Believe it or not, more Americans today think the future is bleak than did so under the rule of George Bush. Only 22% of Americans think there will be less unemployment a year from now.

In other words most people today are pessimistic about the future. What government has wrought is depressing and dark.

But Apple, built by Jobs, does something unique. It continuously offers the public something to look forward to. Call it "crass commercialism," or "capitalist greed" if you want. Bu, every time Apple releases a new product, consumers by tens of thousands literally line up to buy it. Millions more flock to the stores after the initial rush is over.

This is true in America, Canada, China, almost anywhere you can think of. The mere rumor of a new iPhone can set hearts atwitter.

Go to your typical computer store. They are dull places for the most part. But every single time I've been in an Apple store there are customers everywhere, more staff than I can count, and everyone seems to be moving from one product to another with eager expectation and excitement. Ridicule it, if you must. But, given how bleak the outlook for the nation is, I'm ready to grab any shred of genuine excitement about the future.

That is what Steve Jobs accomplished—certainly in recent years—he gave people one reason to be hopeful about the future. Ask the typical consumer if they expect Apple products to get better or get worse. I suggest the numbers would be very high when it comes to those saying the future of Apple products is brighter than it is today.

Obama promised "hope" and delivered despair and depression. Steve Jobs promised little but delivered much. He was the epitome of the entrepreneur, a man who built a fortune by improving the lives of others. He did so without an army of lobbyists, seeking favors, subsidies or handouts. He got rich by enriching all of us.

Given how badly Obama and Congress has dealt with the economic crisis, I'm glad that someone else was out there giving people at least one reason to be hopeful.

Below is a video of Steve Jobs talking about his life and tells three stories from his life. It's worth listening to.