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Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs

Many people will see Steve Jobs in his more recent successes in Pixar, iMac, iPod, iPad, and the iPhone. With the original Napster and other peer-to-peer music sharing, Apple dared and even became successful in selling music which people thought impossible. These successes (and I am sure there are dozens of others) encapsulates Steve Jobs. He and his company, Apple, is adored around the world. With his passing today, the world is saddened. For me, Steve Jobs embodies perseverance. For being ousted from Apple in the 80s. For struggling to make Pixar work as a graphics hardware company. For unable to get Next Computer to wide adoption. For the failed Newton. With every struggle, he persevered and triumphed. He guided Pixar into a premier computer animation studio. The Next Computer became the foundation for the OS X. The Newton would be scrapped to be replaced by the iPods/iPads. He came back and took a struggling Apple and made it one of the most successful companies on this planet. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

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  1. Charles Liu
    October 5th, 2011 at 22:32 | #1

    All those iPod, iPhone, iPad made in China probably had an impact on those worker’s lives.

  2. October 5th, 2011 at 22:41 | #2

    His passing is front page news in China, and I am sure around the world.

    Here is a Chinese report on Tudou.com:

  3. October 6th, 2011 at 06:38 | #3

    Is SJ a product of the education system of last generation that encourages folks to think outside the box, to be innovative… We need one or two geniuses out of a million for these innovative products/inventions.

    Hope China will have more of these geniuses and move up to higher value products and assemble our own versions of iPod, iPhone…that are invented in China.

  4. pug_ster
    October 6th, 2011 at 10:08 | #4

    When Apple showed off its iphone 4s, I think that it is the beginning of the end of Apple’s dominance. Iphone 4s is a great phone, no doubt, but Android phone has already been eclipsing Iphones already. Samsung Galaxy s II phones beats iphone 4s’ hardware in terms of looks and screen size. Other phones offer including the Galaxy S II already offer higher LTE speed. Don’t forget that Apple thinks that its users don’t want to change their batteries nor do they want put microsd cards in their phones.

    Sure that ipod touch is considered a high end music player, but I think within the next year or so, we will see $100 android music player. Ipads would probably be popular in the next year or two, but Android OS will release updates OS and Android Tablets will eventually eclipse ipads. I also didn’t mention that Microsoft will spend billions on developing windows 8 for tablets and phones and if they do it right, they can be a major competition towards towards apple and android.

    Although Apple had a couple of successful products over the past few years, they suffer one major flaw, they make relatively costly high end close system products. They did it 25+ years ago when they made the Macintosh when the cheaper PC’s and commodore 64 beat them. Android OS phones is already outselling iphones and it is going to continue.

  5. October 6th, 2011 at 23:13 | #5

    It’s true – Android based tablets will give Apple strong competition. Steve Jobs & company raised the bar and these products/services are to beat for the rest of the industry.

    I share your sentiment. As long as China has capital and people not tied to farming, we are guaranteed to see a share of geniuses there. It’s only time.

  6. October 6th, 2011 at 23:29 | #6

    China Daily reports, “The world mourns Steve Jobs”

  7. October 6th, 2011 at 23:43 | #7

    Another China Daily report, “Apple fans bid final farewell”

    With tributes also from Chinese industry leaders.

  8. Wukailong
    October 7th, 2011 at 03:27 | #8

    I don’t want to be nitpicky here but Steve Jobs didn’t even finish college. The education system of the US didn’t have much to do with this, but the financial and social systems of the time might have helped, like bankrupcy laws that make it easier to start over again, and access to risk capitalists. There are a lot of European debates as to why Silicon Valley is so successful and it focuses a lot on the financial laws.

    As yinyang said, it’s only a matter of time before you have the same thing in China.

    Great post, btw! I really liked it and I share its sentiments. Believe in yourself, don’t fear failure and there’s nothing you can’t do.

  9. October 7th, 2011 at 05:45 | #9

    Hi all, it has been a good discussion. It could be due to the topic is not controversial.

    SJ did not graduate from college, so was Bill Gates. It could be a waste of time for geniuses to go to traditional colleges. Education starts in the family and carries to high school. Well, the 3 pillars of success to me are: genes, hard working and some luck/opportunities. SJ and BG have all 3.

    The environment provides important hands to nurture creativity for innovation and enterprise. Protecting intelligent properties is the key too, otherwise we just copy others’ ideas if there is no law enforcement.

    China lacks such environment now but it is changing as the country develops further. China has schools for geniuses (not as established as in US) and I hope children are admitted due to their IQs instead of the wealth/power of the parents.

    SJ demonstrates we can get up from failure and it could be the best opportunity in life.

    China has not developed farming enough compared to manufacturing. Farming is important even it does not reap a lot of foreign profits.

    I do believe the Apple will face a lot of competitions from Android devices. However, they’re now the top horse and marketing (esp. the image) is important key to capture/maintain the market share.

  10. xian
    October 7th, 2011 at 06:19 | #10

    It’s not really about college (although that helps), but more about risk taking and opportunities. Most Chinese and other Asians will balk at the idea of their kid dropping out and trying to start an enterprise that may or may not be successful. We are conditioned to major in an employable field and aim for a stable, salary job as a worker, not an innovator. A good path to a comfortable, upper-middle class life to be sure, but not the kind that produces breakthroughs. My parents understand this, but they still insist on the traditional path.

    As for Apple, I can’t say their products are as innovative as people think. They’re just the first to make things mainstream, that’s where the big money is. Their proprietary formats are just annoying. The man knew how to forge a brand and attract followers though, no doubt about that.

  11. October 7th, 2011 at 07:45 | #11

    Xian, well said.

    I posted something as follows. We need about less than 1% geniuses for innovations to create jobs, about 30% (rough, rough estimate) professionals (accountants, engineers…), and about 60% for farmers and factor workers for a balanced society. It is safe to be professionals. When you’re parents (assuming you’re not now), you will do the same I bet.

    I hope China will help these geniuses by providing this kind of environment, safety net for failure and venture capital for taking a chance.

    I do not think Apple is that innovative. There were companies that made devices like iPod before iPod – a Singapore company no one remembers its name now.

    However, innovation is only part of the equation to market any product successfully and make them built cheaply. Timing would help too. Microsoft had a tablet before. Apple has the right timing, the right components from different companies who are truly innovative… Creating a portable hard disk is innovative, but integrating these components into a usable, low-cost consumer device is genius.

  12. October 7th, 2011 at 12:12 | #12

    Another example.

    Xerox PARC is the inventor of Window. The management thought it was nice but not marketable. It did not take long for SJ to notice the gold mine and he explored it by implementing it in his new PC. In this case he is the genius with vision but not the innovator. BG followed it later and he was at best the second genius on this technology break through, but BG profited the most.

  13. xian
    October 7th, 2011 at 14:02 | #13

    Agreed. I know my parents want the best for me, but if everyone thought that way… who will take the risks? I hope to be my own boss someday and satisfy both worlds, but that won’t be for years to come…

  14. October 8th, 2011 at 23:40 | #14

    Here is a good article attributing 25 inspiring quotes to Jobs.


    25. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed saying we’ve done something wonderful … that matters to me.”

    24. “I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list … That didn’t look so good, but then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And a man on a bicycle blew the condor away. That’s what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”

    23. “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

    22. “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

    21. “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

    20. “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person; they are done by a team of people.”

    19. “The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient. But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea. And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

    18. “I wish [Bill Gates] the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

    17. “My self-identity does not revolve around being a businessman, though I recognize that is what I do. I think of myself more as a person who builds neat things. I like building neat things. I like making tools that are useful to people. I like working with very bright people. I like interacting in the world of ideas, though somehow those ideas have to be tied to some physical reality. One of the things I like the most is dropping a new idea on a bunch of incredibly smart and talented people and then letting them work it out themselves. I like all of that very, very much.”

    16. “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM (NYSE: IBM ) was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

    15. “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.”

    14. “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

    13. “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

    12. “We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make ‘me, too’ products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.”

    11. “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

    10. “A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”

    9. “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.”

    8. “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex.”

    7. “We didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.”

    6. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

    5. “We’ve never worried about numbers. In the marketplace, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. … You can’t con people in this business. The products speak for themselves.”

    4. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

    3. “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. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

    2. “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

    1. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

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