Even If He’s Not at Apple Event, Steve Jobs Sure Knows How to Put on a Show
In the forefront of everyone’s mind covering the Apple event today, there is probably a fervent little wish that at some point its legendary co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs will saunter on out to take a much-deserved bow.
That seems unlikely for a variety of reasons — most especially because it would take the focus off Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook and also the new products being featured.
It certainly would be something to see, even if it would be difficult, in one stage moment, to encapsulate the profound impact of Jobs on Apple and on the tech world in general.
But it seems unlike Jobs to do that, mostly because it would be too obvious, too rote and too much of a Hollywood wrap-it-all-up cliche.
And, most of all, because it’s not different — a guiding idea that has always been at the heart of Apple and its best motto ever.
I thought a lot about that today, looking over all the frantic speculation about exactly what Apple would release this morning, and all the piles and piles of news stories, tweets and more about it all.
That has become typical around any Apple announcement, of course, and it can become more than a little wearying at times.
That said, when you take a moment to step back and think about it, all the hubbub is perhaps a good thing, given that a lot of it is about what could be done, what might be made, what people really hope for in technology.
That’s because — unlike other, more prosaic tech companies, who all make a lot of cool stuff, too — much of the crazy swirl around Apple seems to be about what’s possible and what could be.
And that is at the heart of the most important “one more thing” that Steve Jobs has given to Silicon Valley and beyond.
Which is to say, the impetus to think different.
In fact, it’s hard to say just how critical it is in this world today to zig in an opposite way from the safe norm, and to do it with a confidence that belies the difficulty of that shift.
In small tech ways, Jobs has done that again and again, dumping everything from removable batteries to Flash to internal disk drives to whatever he thought needed the heave-ho.
These are not easy decisions for a big tech company to make. But they are ones that are often muddled through by too many executives, to little effect and no definitive change, leaving a mushy pile of nothing.
As I like to say about a lot of big companies I cover — they think small, and then, well, think smaller.
For all its pros and cons, that has never been Apple under Jobs, and I hope that continues.
Jobs sounded a lot of the same arguments in his famous 2005 speech at Stanford University, in which he famously said: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
So in honor of his massive contribution: Let’s.
It reminds me of a poem by Shel Silverstein that I always read to my kids — so much so that they are more than a bit tired of hearing it, even if I never am:
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’Ts
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
And while it is perhaps just another iPhone or whatever doodad Apple whips out today, the real point of it — and what Jobs has taught tech — is that it can be anything.
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