PORTRAIT OF A REVOLUTIONARY: Steve Jobs

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The Revolutionary:

Name: Steve Jobs
Born: 4 February 1955
Place of Birth: San Francisco, Unites States
Died: 5 October 2011

Best Known For: Co-founding Apple; Tech entrepreneur; shaping the modern world as we recognise it today through product launches such as the Apple Mac computer, the iPhone, iTunes and iWatch; paving the way for the digital revolution; making incredibly inspirational speeches; Co-founding Pixar.

Core Beliefs:

Jobs believed in people, rather than technology alone; in asking questions; that design was about functionality more than just aesthetic;  that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication; that the future was something we could create.

Iconic Quotes:

It's not a faith in technology. It's faith in people.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Biography:

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California in 1955. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs who raised him in Mountain View, California – in what is now known as Silicon Valley. Jobs showed an early interest in technology and electronics and began attending the Hewlett-Packard Explorers Club, where he met Steve Wozniak. The two became friends and later, in the 1970’s, co-founded Apple Inc. together.

Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer in 1984 and revolutionized the personal computer industry with its user-friendly design. Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple continued to innovate and introduce new products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Jobs’ design philosophy, which emphasized simplicity and ease of use, has had a lasting impact on the technology industry.

In 1985, Jobs was fired from Apple, but returned in 1997 and led the company through a period of incredible innovation and growth. He stepped down as CEO of Apple in 2011, but remained as chairman until his death in October of that year.

It would be remiss to paint a picture of Jobs as too perfect. Stories of his quick temper, disrespect for employees, and tendency to fire people without warning have always followed him. This is most poignantly outlined in the memoir written by his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, who he initially claimed was not his daughter. 

Despite what personal flaws he may have had, Jobs’ impact as a Creative Revolutionary was truly significant.

Impact:

Steve Jobs’ impact on the technology industry cannot be overstated. He co-founded Apple and helped to introduce the Macintosh computer, which paved the way for the personal computer revolution.

Jobs’ design philosophy, which emphasized simplicity and ease of use, has had a lasting impact on the technology industry and continues to shape it today.

He also helped to popularize the graphical user interface, which made computing accessible to a wider audience.

Three Tips from a Revolutionary:

Design Matters:

Jobs believed that design was not just about how something looked, but also how it worked. He emphasized the importance of considering the user experience and creating products that were both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Simplicity is Key:

Jobs believed that simplicity was the ultimate sophistication. He strived to create products that were easy to use and focused on doing a few things exceptionally well, rather than trying to do everything.

Think Different:

Jobs was known for his unconventional thinking and willingness to take risks. He believed that the only way to change the world was to be bold and think differently. He encouraged people to pursue their passions and not be afraid to take risks.

Essential Reading:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Essential Viewing:

Essential Listening:

This article is a part of our monthly “Portrait of a Revolutionary” series, in which we look at some of the influential figures who have created real change in the world. These revolutionaries span both time and geography, but what they have in common is that they took action. They are the individuals who sent electrical currents through our societies, who created paradigm shifts, and who sparked global movements.

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