Committed To The Core – The Passing Of Steve Jobs And A Lasting Legacy

I have never been a small or particularly slim individual. In fact, to be brutally honest at times in my life i have had the aerodynamic properties of a bungalow and the coordination of an American bombing raid.

I have always put huge effort into running, for example. My arms and legs swing around like the pistons on a frantic steam engine but despite this it would require a theodolite to ascertain that i am actually moving forwards.

This made me a bit of a duffer at school sports.

I attended a school that is becoming all to common place in modern society. A school that operated a strict ‘ no competition rule’ where children are encouraged to start, explode with energy and then finish with no apparent winner or looser in the proceedings.

On the sidelines of such organised school events there was a side competition, one where winning and losing was the real aim of the game – parents scampering to outdo each other with their children’s achievements whilst at the same time promoting to children that there are no winners or losers in their pseudo world of sports.

This is a false stance, because of course there are winners and losers in every walk of life. Survival of the fittest and all that. Everything else in these children’s lives surround success and failure dependent on their own personal ability and effort. Parhaps we should remove the PlayStation‘s from the children’s rooms and force them to partake in a game of Monopoly instead, after all no one has ever been dawned with the patience to actually finish a game, hence no winners or losers in an ironic twist to the branded name.

If children are not armed with the understanding of failure, or loss – then how are they expected to cope when the harsh reality finally sinks in, when they venture around the back of the school building to find their girlfriend in a passionate embrace with Basher McGhurk. There will be a bloodbath.

No one wants their children to be a failure and of course it would break any parents heart to see their child finish last in an egg and spoon race that they exerted such gracious effort into. The reality is someone must always be last, and sometimes that person will be you. The longer you have to deal with this situation the more equipped you will be to handle it when the time eventually comes.

But why think like that, when positive thinking coupled with hard work can relate to such huge success?

I write this less than 24 hours after the untimely death of Mr Steven Paul Jobs. “Steve” Jobs.

Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple Inc, and served as its CEO and Chairman. An inventor accredited with the Macintosh computer – the worlds first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface in 1984. 27 years before his death. There is no doubt that although he did not found or construct the company by himself he was the charismatic force behind Apple inc. ,famously luring the CEO of Pepsi Cola to serve as CEO of Apple by asking him, ” Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of you life or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

His time at Apple was not a constant success, there was a huge slump in Apple sales for a decade. The visionary output of Steve Jobs in the computer market was overtaken by the rise of the Desktop PC and the introduction of the revolutionary Windows software introduced by Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Indeed it was towards the last decade that Apple Inc and in particular Steve Jobs had a monumental rise to fame after a decade or so of hard work, commitment and inevitable failure.

During the success of the Macintosh boom Steve Jobs had invested in a computer graphics company called ‘The Graphics Group‘ from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division for $10million. The company could have been considered a relative failure in the computer market, producing high-end graphics. That is, until circa 1995 when The Graphics Group has it’s first major breakthrough, although not commercially known as this name.

Perhaps you have heard of…’Pixar’. Pixar Image Group to be precise, a company that through the visionary expertise and continual strive through strife that Steve Jobs  has brought us such magical films as Toy Story,  The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Cars.  Films that do not take failure lying down, and in fact promote success through winning. Films about being the best.

Jobs sold Pixar to Disney for over $7 Billion in 2006 and in turn became the biggest shareholder in Disney Pictures – something many forget.

Throughout this success jobs has not given up on other revolutionary ideas. The Mac OS was introduced in the late 90’s and brought some credibility back to the Apple Mac – a success that is still evident today as the Apple brand of computers and computer software continues to define home computing with its very own element of ‘cool’.

Jobs and Apple were not finished. Revolutionising the film and computer industry was not enough and it is perhaps through his next step and the introduction of the iPod and Apple Itunes that Jobs legacy will be for ever lasting. His vision and aggressive stance on music formats has seen the demise of the high street music industry and the decline in hard copy music merchandise to be replaced with invisible music downloaded from the ever-growing world of the internet, reducing costs and increasing availability.  This format of music, although open to increased competition as time goes on does not look to be disappearing anytime fast and is the first step towards the future of the music industry as a whole.

A similar stance was taken on the mobile phone industry, the introduction of the phenomenally popular iPhone brand and the recent iPad range will continue on the Apple Inc success long after the passing of Jobs and the vision that he himself had.

Lets not get philosophically soft on Steve Jobs. Apple inc may be regarded as one of the world’s top companies to work for but he was no soft touch. He was often regarded as an erratic and demanding leader that demanded success and with a deep desire to win at all costs. He even achieved notoriety in Fortune magazines list of toughest bosses. He epitomised and often quoted a phrase made my Wayne Gretzky that stated he would skate to where the puck was going to be, not where it had already been.

It is, without doubt, a sad day for technology and innovation. The founding father for so much of our private entertainment and amusement has passed. Without doubt, this will be leached on by many that have had no interest in Jobs in his lifetime other than his death and his relationship to Apple. The same people who a friend correctly pointed out, wear T-shirts  featuring the image of a grunge icon that died many years ago whilst standing in the Que for an X-Factor Audition. The same people who pay large sums of cash to attend football matches with a Che Guevara T-shirt on as a political statement.

I am not going to hide behind Steve Jobs like i have a personal reason to grieve his passing. Not like the school band geek that strives to tell everyone that he had been listening to the newest commercial success, ‘for ages’. But i do have a problem with the ambulance chasers that, although appreciating and celebrating his innovations have no knowledge of the path he travelled to get there.

We teach our children there are no winners, and breed in them a belief that failure is ok and that not being the best is acceptable. Without breeding a nation of over zealous children who believe success is everything we should surely point out that success does not come easy, and nor does it come quickly. That over time, we will not always be successful but no matter what, if we believe in ourself and believe in our own vision that we can achieve success and although perhaps not on the scale of Steve Jobs we can be happy with ourself knowing that having given everything -we have achieved what we set out to do – we never gave up because things were not going completely our own way. We got better.

Steve Jobs 1955 -2011

” I believe that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is perseverance”

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