Apple of our Eye
His vision changed how the world uses technology. The Macintosh, the iPhone, the iPad, iTunes: Let’s look at the man behind this
revolution in consumer tech
By Nehaal Peerbhoy
“Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
— Steve Jobs
(24 February 1955 – 5
Where does one begin in describing the life of some so influential? Do we gauge him by his words, by or his actions? Or do we simply let his
creations speak for themselves?
Steve might be a hero to his fans, but to me he seems more of an extraordinarily determined and positive human being. Life threw him challenges at every step, and what’s astonishing is the way he faced them head-on
He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs after his birth parents could no longer care for him. Steve was taught how to handle basic machinery at a very young age by his machinist father Paul Jobs, and in his high school days often attended lectures at the
Hewlett Packard facility and later even worked there as a summer employee with his friend, Steve Wozniak.
Following his high school
graduation, Steve enrolled into Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where, quite surprisingly, he dropped out after just one semester. He continued auditing classes at Reed while sleeping on the floor in friends’ dormitories and selling scrap such as coke bottles for food money, and even getting weekly free meals at the Hare Krishna temple. Quite astonishingly, Jobs often related the success of his Mac computers to one single class of calligraphy he stumbled upon at Reed.
Steve later worked at Atari
videogames for the sole purpose of making enough money to make a spiritual trip to India. This journey resulted in him returning from India as a Buddhist with a clean shaved head and orange robes. Even at this young age, Steve was known by close friends as someone who was extremely goal-oriented and would stop at nothing to get to where he wanted to be. At Atari, Steve and Wozniak took up various challenges - from creating new chips to enhancing gameplay. Steve and Wozniak were firmly fixated on one thing - to build the ultimate computer and take the fight right to the big boys in Silicon Valley. A goal such as this could easily be swept under the carpet as a dream inspired by some Cinderella tale. Wozniak often said that it was only Steve's determined nature that made sure Wozniak followed through on their now-famous adventure.
Bite of the Apple
Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. As the company started to expand, Steve started looking for someone with the expertise to manage the expansion they were aiming for.
In 1978, Jobs hired Mike Scott as the CEO for what turned out to be several turbulent years until 1983, when Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi Cola by saying, ”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?”
Things didn’t quite flow
splendidly from here on as Jobs continued with his expensive forays into computer technology, and often came into conflict with his subordinates over lengthy meetings at odd hours. Steve's relationship with Sculley also severely deteriorated and he was
on the verge of staging a boardroom coup when he himself was fired
After the storm clouds disappeared, Steve founded Next Computers. He often remarked that getting the boot from Apple was the best thing that happened to him as he now once again felt like a beginner in a technological wonderland, using ideas as his maps. At Next Computers, Steve was at the centre of all creative and developmental concepts, and was the man who called all the shots. However, capital was running scarce as even with all the new ideas and concepts, there were no products on the horizon. Steve had to appeal for venture capital from billionaire Ross
Perot, who invested heavily in the company.
In 1986, Jobs bought The Graphic Group (which was later named Pixar) from Lucasfilm's computer graphics division for the price of $10 million. Jobs contracted with Disney to produce a number of computer animated films that Disney would co-finance and distribute. The first film that was released by this promising venture was Toy Story, a film that received critical acclaim and did astoundingly well at the box office. The credits of the movie also show Steve Jobs as Executive Producer. Other films released by this venture have been WALL-E; Monsters, Inc; A Bugs Life; and
Finding Nemo - among many others.
Eventually, Disney, after failing to renew the contract in 2003-2004, decided to purchase Pixar in 2006 for a whopping sum of $7.4 billion! This made Steve Jobs the largest
shareholder of Disney with a sizeable 7.4% share. He also became a member of the six member steering committee that guided the company through all major decisions.
The i-Era Begins!
The apple can’t fall far from the tree! In 1996, Apple announced that it would buy Next Computers for $429 million and would also be getting Jobs back into the company he founded. After his return, Jobs soon became the de facto chief and was ultimately named CEO. He was tasked with returning the company to profitability, and in doing so, terminated many of Apple's then development programmes. Over the years, he became famous for his ruthless streak: Any project that didn't fit with his vision was axed. Jobs and Apple then switched their focus towards the Macintosh project and started synergising it with the NextStep Operating Platform (which led to the new MacOS). The company then
released the iMac, which was an
important milestone for Apple as since then, all Apple products have
continued to have similar styling cues. The company soon branched out towards digital appliances for the everyday consumer. They introduced the landmark iPod in the early 2000, and in doing so, became a household name! Along with the iPod, Apple introduced iTunes, a music store and iPod management software that boasts of the largest music collection in the world.
With the release of the much awaited iPhone in June 2007, the world got its first glimpse of what mobile browsing could be. The iPhone doubled up as an iPod and a phone and hence became the pivotal accessory for every social animal. Compared to the other smartphones available in those days, the iPhone was a major leap forward. Various versions of the iPhone have been released over the years and its popularity has only grown.
In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad, a revolutionary tablet that acts as a phone, computer, and music player - blurring the lines between computing and mobile devices. It is estimated that since then, Apple have captured more than 70% of the tablet market. As is common with all the other creations of Steve Jobs and Apple, the iPad also became an object of desire for gadget enthusiasts across the globe.
As a manager, Jobs demanded
perfection from every individual in the work environment. He was closely involved with all issues at Apple; from conceptualisation to development, to finance, and even marketing. His competitive personality and his ruthless business doctrines were what led Apple to where it is now. It’s also interesting to know that Jobs just received a salary of $1 a day for his role as the Chief Executive
Officer. Jobs had his first bout with cancer in 2003, and continually fought it over the years. He resigned as CEO on August 2011 once his condition worsened. Steve Jobs was finally overcome by the disease on 5 October 2011. As tributes poured in from across the world, it was clear that Steve Jobs had impacted the world of business in more ways than any one person could be expected to.
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple” – Apple statement.