Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Maverick of the digital age –Steve Jobs

Undoubtedly, maverick of the digital age; who changed the face of technology; who made dent in the universe; whose mantra was “Simplicity is ultimate sophistication”; a successful business entrepreneur and an iconic figure in the computer industry. . none other than Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman and Chief executive officer of Apple Inc; but in personal, an aggressive, shrewd and demanding manager and an excellent team player, who strove to get better with each passing day by looking ahead of time and made a valuable contribution to the technological advancement in society.
Finally, I completed reading the biography of Steve Jobs; I must say it’s one of the amazing biographies which describes very well topsy-turvy life of Jobs. After reading the book I came to know about few facts which I think are worth sharing about Job’s life. These facts may be interesting, surprising, mysterious etc.
Jobs was adopted, and his biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian unmarried man who went on to become a political science professor. Arabs embraced Jobs because of his Syrian roots, and alsoImage
known as “The Most Famous Arab in the World." He was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs, a middle-class American couple.
After completing his schooling, Steve Jobs was admitted to the Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out from college but continued with his calligraphy classes. This course would later help Jobs in creating multiple typefaces for Mac. This was perhaps a classic example of the fact that nothing learned is ever wasted!
As an eighth-grader, he called William Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, to inquire about a part missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, the New York Times reports. Hewlett reportedly spoke to Jobs for 20 minutes, and then offered him a bag of parts and a summer internship. He was forced to come in night shifts. The reason behind this decision was that he was on complete vegan diet he hardly takes shower and also avoided colognes; it was difficult for co-workers to work with him. Steve was vegan for his whole life. PETA also praised Jobs for his vegetarianism and support for animals.
He used to do LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide(LSD can cause pupil dilation, reduced appetite and wakefulness) and he also claimed this is one of the important things he has done in his life. Also Jobs himself has suggested, LSD may have contributed to the "think different" approach that still puts Apple's designs a head above the competition.
Jobs dated the folk singer when he was in his 20's before marrying Poweell. Jobs met his wife, Laurene Powell, when he spoke at the Stanford Business School, where she was pursuing an MBA. She was a vegetarian, like Jobs, and a former investment banker. The two had an immediate connection. A year after Jobs ran across the Stanford parking lot to ask the blonde beauty to dinner. Both got married in 1991; also his marriage’s cake was without egg and milk; which was not even liked by guests.
Steve Job's quest for spiritual enlightenment brought him to India in the summer of 1974. Jobs came to India with one of his best friends from Reed College, Dan Kottke. Deeply philosophical then, Jobs wanted to study and experience spiritualism and existentialism. In India, he wanted to visit the Neem Karoli Baba at his Kainchi Ashram. However, when they arrived they learnt that Baba has died.
Steve Jobs convinced Steve Wozniak to build some computers for sale. Jobs knew Wozniak for a long time. Both were members of Homebrew Computer Club. Wozniak was too shy to talk in public, on the contrary Jobs was smart enough to handle interviews; product launch events. Apple got its name because Steve Jobs was working at a hippie apple farm at the time, was on a fruit diet (lots of apples), and the word "apple" would come before "atari" in a phonebook. Apple only got off the ground when Steve Jobs convinced Mike Markkula to invest and loan the company some money (about $250,000 USD). Markkula also there to provide "adult supervision" as neither Wozniak nor Jobs have much corporate experience.
Steve Jobs hired John Sculley from PepsiCo in 1983 when Markkula decided he needed to step down and Sculley's corporate history is good for the company. Markkula convinced Jobs to hire Mike Scott from National Semiconductors as CEO in 1978, but after a few years, when Scott fired almost half of the company, Markkula replaced Scott as CEO.
The idea behind Apple was to create world class products not to make profit.
He got pink slip from the company he co-founded. Jobs was ousted from Apple by John Sculley after a disagreement on how to run the company. Steve Jobs hired John Sculley from PepsiCo in 1983 when Markkula decided he needed to step down and Sculley's corporate history is good for the company. However, he only hired John Sculley asking –“Do you want to sell soda water for rest of your life or you want to challenge yourself into different field.”After few months of this incident; Jobs founded NeXT Computer. Jobs sold all of his Apple stock and used the capital to found NeXT and still had money left over (which he then used to buy The Computer Graphics Group, which became Pixar later. Pixar has gone on to produce animated movies such as Toy Story (1995); A Bug's Life (1998); Toy Story 2 (1999); Monsters, Inc. (2001); Finding Nemo (2003); and The Incredibles (2004). When Pixar shares went public in 1995, Jobs became a billionaire.
In 1995, Apple Computer was at its lowest point in history. The company was facing tough competition from Microsoft. Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio, was desperately looking for a way to save the company. In December 1996, Amelio bought NeXT for $400 million and welcomed back the company's founder, Jobs, as an 'informal adviser'. Within eight months of the acquisition, Amelio was out and Steve Jobs became Apple's interim CEO. In 2000, company dropped the word “interim”.
Post Pixar, he wanted another round of revolutionizing to do. This time it was the music industry. He introduced the iPod in 2003. Later he came up with iTunes, which was a digital jukebox. A million and a half iPods later, the music industry still does not know whether this invention will save it or destroy it. Apple has a great advertising track record and its 'Rip, Mix, Burn' campaign was another feather in its cap. Now the industry uses a Mac to make the music and an iPod to store it.
In October 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a rare type of pancreatic cancer treatable with surgery, but he hesitated about having the operation to the horror of the tiny circle of intimates in whom he'd confided; A Buddhist and vegetarian, Jobs decided instead to pursue alternative therapies and treat his cancer with a "natural diet." He tried doing so for nine months, as the Apple board fretted, before finally having the surgery in July 2004, at which point the cancer might have spread and his chance of long-term survival been reduced.
In 2007, came Apple iPhone and 2010 saw the launc of Apple iPad. Both products continue to rule in their respective categories. Apple was the first company who comes up with the idea of making stores of their products and the design of stores was also based on simplicity (Point to note: All apple stores made of white ceiling and floors). And he also patented the glass staircase of Apple stores.
In 2009, Jobs announced that he would be going on a 6-month leave of absence and that Tim Cook would be the acting CEO of Apple. It was clear that Jobs had serious issues with his health. In June 2009, it was reported that Jobs had undergone a successful liver transplant. It looked like he would soon resume work. In 2011, after a brief leave of absence, Steve Jobs resigned. His resignation from the position of Apple CEO came as a shock to many. But he had always maintained that he would step down on the day he felt he wouldn't be able to meet his duties and expections as the CEO. On October 5, 2011, he passed away. His innovation did distinguish him as a leader; a true leader who left behind a legacy; and whose invented products become status symbol.
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. -  Steve Jobs.

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