By 8-Bit Jay
Special to the Parade
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address June 12, 2005
On Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away. Say what you will about his management style (he was a notoriously tough boss who wouldn’t hesitate for a second to fire someone) or Apple as a company. They did a lot to advance personal computing. Think about it. Back in the mid to late 70s, the thought of everyone owning a personal computer and making it affordable seemed crazy. Sure, Jobs and his good friend Steve Wozniak may not have invented the personal computer, but they definitely helped popularize it and made it accessible to the average person.
Jobs was one of the main forces behind the popularization of the modern operating system. Before graphic operating systems like we see now, computers were difficult for anyone who wasn’t a computer geek to make use of.
In what was perhaps just a lucky break for him (or a carefully calculated plan) Steve Jobs bought Pixar in 1986. It was originally a division of Lucasfilm called the Graphics Group. He invested much of his own money in the company and it eventually went from being a high-end hardware maker to a software company and eventually into the successful movie studio that it is today. During this time, Steve Jobs was not at Apple, as he had been forced out by the board.
Jobs went on to found NeXT, a computer company that would later be purchased by Apple. NeXT wasn’t itself entirely successful, but the software in their computers laid the foundation for the future of Mac OS.
In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple. He came back with the skills he needed to clean up the then-failing computer company. At the time, trying to save Apple probably seemed like the equivalent of bungee jumping with a rubber band and hoping not to fall, but he was determined.
First, Jobs cleaned house by firing those he felt were unnecessary. He found those who were talented and kept them close. He began marketing his computers in such a way that some models were designed for home users (such as the iMac and iBook) and more costly models (such as the PowerBook and PowerMac) were geared towards professionals. It seems to have worked well enough to get them back in the game.
By the turn of the century, Jobs was thinking of ways to revolutionize the music industry. Apple launched the iPod and iTunes in 2001, and it forever changed the company’s future. It made them large enough to introduce devices like the iPhone, iPod touch and eventually the iPad. They were able use these devices to make themselves not only one of the top consumer electronics companies in the world, but the most valuable company in the world, and all before he died at the age of 56.
Quite a resume.
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