07 October 2011

One more thing on Steve Jobs

My first smartphone was a Sony Ericsson P990i which I bought in 2006 on eBay. It was cutting edge, best in class had a massive touch screen with a qwerty keypad and I was proud of it. It was a bit bulky, but what the heck, with tech like that it would have been silly to hide it in the pocket anyways. This ofcourse was before I bought the iPhone.

The phone that was the apple of my eye suddenly looked like an ancient artifact, a big and bulky stone hedge, much like how the Motorola DynaTAC looks now. Two years into it, I still love and use the same iPhone (which sadly is also dying now) and planning an upgrade to the iPhone 4S.

The iPhone was not my first tryst with the Jobsian magic though. I had wanted that thing right from the day I saw the magical keynote from Jobs in 2007 where he announced the iPhone amidst the oohs and aahs of the audience. The thing just looked insanely futuristic, yet felt so simple and obvious to use. It came to India at an insane price, so i settled with the iPod touch. A device I quickly fell in love with and which now is Apple's biggest selling product in India.

Within all this time, I've had the great pleasure of following Apple and Steve Jobs closely (and being paid for it!). First as a product manager for an iOS app and now as an analyst obsessed with tracking their every move. To witness the kind of impact that both of them have had on virtually everything in the past few years has been a humbling experience. He and his team took a product, pushed its technology years into the future, overturning entire industries in the process. Behemoths like Sony, HP, Acer, Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, Intel and countless others who banked on fake premiums and past laurels were left napping and forced to change strategies, management and mindsets. Thanks to Apple and Steve Jobs, our daily devices are much more sleeker, powerful and user friendly today than they were some years ago.

In India, they might not be doing huge numbers but its app store has created thousands of jobs here with one-tenth of its 500,000 app strong App store filled by apps built by Indian developers.

While Jobs is best known for turning Apple into the most valuable and revered brand worldwide, as a great leader, visionary, and for his mercurial management style and eye for perfection, his own life is no less than extraordinary. Put up for adoption on birth, dropped out from college, kicked out of his own company, its quite amazing that he came back and churned out the iPhone, the iPod Touch , the MacBook Air and the iPad, all while he was battling with cancer. The man who at the age of 13, cold-called the head of HP and cajoled him into giving him free computer chips is also considered the greatest salesperson and orator of the time. Not to mention, Steve the inventor - the man also has over 300 patents to his name.

The stature of the man is evident from the sheer volume of tributes that have flown in since yesterday, from Obama to our very own Manmohan, over 6000 tweets per sec, and in front of Apple stores worldwide. Such is the respect that among Apple's biggest foes, Google put up a link to apple.com (which ofcourse is dedicated to Jobs) on google.com and flags at Microsoft flew at half mast for the entire day yesterday.

Its weird for me, and perhaps millions worldwide, to be affected so much by the loss of somebody that they've never met. It reminds me of what he told the CEO of Pepsi when he wanted to lure him to into joining Apple -“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" And that is exactly what Jobs did, he created products that made our lives immeasurably more easy and fun.

Oh, and one more thing....Thank you, Steven Paul Jobs. RIP. #FanforLife

Some selected links for further reading:
Steves' bio
Steves' best quotes
Steves' anecdotes
Steves' stanford speech


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