Steve Jobs is the Thomas Edison of our era!
There, I said it. Now all of you Apple haters can stop reading the rest of this post and go back to texting or your version of surfing the Web in bitter disgust. Regardless, Steve Jobs is one of the most prolific visionaries of our era. His influence is cross-generational and has transcended time and space as the leader of one of the most innovative companies in American history, Apple, Inc.
When Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of the world’s largest tech company late Wednesday, I felt compelled to offer an ode to his career—a salute to the inspiration he has been to many people over the years. But rather than make this article a cheap commercial for Apple products, we should focus on the genius behind the products—not the actual iconic imagery we think of when we think of an Apple product.
One of the most impactful quotes on my career was found within a February, 1996 Wired magazine interview with Steve Jobs. I still have the magazine in my office to this day and remember it well because I was a young dreamer living in the Silicon Valley, just starting my career during the height of the Internet revolution, when I came across this article—and the essence of what he said within that article still drives me at work to this day.
“Design is a funny word,” Jobs said. “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” Apple’s attention to the design of its products has been as revolutionary at the turn of the 21st century as Edison’s communications advancements were at the turn of the 20th century. Nothing short of epic!
Apple’s uncompromising pursuit of simple and effective designs of communication devices, under the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs, has transformed the computer, Internet, film, and music industries. The sleek and savvy look and feel of their products are only surpassed in their ease of use and practical application to professional and personal life. While the MacBooks, iPods, iPhones, and iPads are sexy in their look and feel, what has truly made them so successful is how they work on the inside. Simplicity, without being overly simple.
When it comes to designing ideas, stories, products, or projects you need to think different! You need to think from the inside out. You need to start with the essence of what you are trying to achieve for greater good and then add the look and feel later. If the inside of your project doesn’t work, than it won’t matter what you make it look like on the outside. Whether you’re designing a Website, creating a video, writing a book, or developing a product, how it works will ultimately determine how effective it will be.
Thank you Steve Jobs for your inspiration and unshakable will to think different. I wish you the best and lasting health in your new role as Chairman of the Board of Apple, Inc. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action