LP #002 (LinkedIn Post)
Yes.. I said it. If there is any individual who has been idolized to an extent where his ardent followers could be an official cult, it has to be Steve Jobs. Let’s get it straight… He was a good entrepreneur, a delightful marketer, a perfectionist, etc. but not one who changed the world for you or me. I speak from a pure ideological point of view and have no intentions of digging deep into how bad a father, a person or boss he was. I do not have first hand knowledge of it and would not want to comment.
Talk to any Apple addict and you will hear statements like “He changed technology”,“The digital landscape can be divided into 2 phases.. Before Steve and after Steve”,“He is the greatest innovator that ever lived”, “Steve Jobs is a genius” etc.Arguments like this will fly from all sides like the splatter from a McDonalds French Fry deep fryer and some of them might have merit, some can easily be refuted and most can be classified as glorified exaggerations of a die hard fan.
But one that really takes the cake and in my case makes me really riled up is when they say “Steve Jobs changed the world.”
Let me make my point extremely explicit… Steve Jobs did not freaking change anyone’s world!!!
Instead of ranting on about why this claim is absolutely baseless and even sillier than urban legends, let me just list out a few people who actually did change our (or mine.. If that is more politically correct) world. To keep this argument from spiraling into nothingness, let’s keep this discussion focused on tech and digital.
1. Bill Gates – He is definitely the person who has affected our lives the most by a long shot. His dream to put a PC in every home is one that has given so much steam to our technological revolution in the 20th century. Without the PC, it’s accessibility and affordability we would still be struggling to accomplish tasks that we so easily take it for granted. The developers who gave us all the present day gizmos would not have been able to deliver. Steve Jobs made the Macintosh, but it was never intended to be used by the masses, so sorry Steve.
2. Larry Page & Sergey Brin – The guys at Google might not have had the 1st search engine, Yahoo beat them to it, but they definitely did have one of the best engines. The search engine has to be the single most important technological advance of my lifetime. Imagine giving the world access to any information they fancy.. Now that is life changing!!!
3. Elon Musk – I have no intention of talking about the advances in technology he is ushering in via alternative energy cars and Tesla Motors. His single most life changing contribution was giving the shopper, the ability to sit at home and shop without using any paper currency – PayPal. E-commerce sites would not have evolved to what we know of it today if not for PayPal.
4. Jeff Bezos – If we talked about payment gateways, there is another person who truly changed the way the whole world shops. That is Jeff Bezos and the mother of all e-commerce platforms, Amazon. Amazon truly flipped the advertising and retail markets on its head creating so many new dimension to explore for all digital newbies. Life changing couldn’t be a more apt term.
5. Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook… need I say more?? Social networking was still in its infant stages when Mark Zuckerberg unleashed the today’s behemoth on us. If there is one person who can refute that the advent of Facebook was truly life changing event for him or her.. Ummm, I would not know what to say.
Life Changing or World Changing is not a silly term and should not be used with such frivolousness. It should be used for truly deserving people and events, not for anyone who can make something look good. But once again Apple fanatics would disagree.. after all they call their salespeople “Genius”. So using hyper-adjectives is not new to them either.
This is not intended as a Steve Jobs bashing piece. Just wanted to make others think and appreciate true innovation.
P.S. I use an iPhone 5S and am quite happy with the product. But once again, an iPhone din’t change my life or the world.
The author is a seasoned marketer with experience over various platforms and marketing functions and is currently employed with one of the largest internet/mobile application companies in the world. Degrees apart, lessons learnt from the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life has defined his professional and personal outlook.