Each generation, and in rare cases, industries, have watershed human beings who transform not just business but how we interact with the world. There is a long history of these folks – in our more modern eras we have had those with names like Morgan, Ford, Salk and Buffet. In all of our lives I would count Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as two folks who have had a profound impact on our professional and personal lives.
You may know by this time tonight that Steve Jobs has passed away. Many folks only realize his impact on technology based on the last decade – however – others may know his history back into the 1970s. As the co-founder of Apple – what a phenomenal shift in just 35 years. From the original Apple to the iPod, iPad and Mac series – these innovations have disrupted personal computing, Hollywood (Pixar), the music industry and many other major segments of our lives.
One anecdote from his career: after founding and launching multiple lines of both successful and failed products – and then after what is likely the most famous (and infamous) branding campaign in 1984 (the super bowl ad) – he is asked to leave the company. After more than 10 years of decline at Apple, he returns and counterintuitively partners with Microsoft, cancels all licensing agreements and starts the slogan Think Different. The rest after 1998 is history we know. Simply amazing and candidly, not likely to be replicated.
I started looking at the world with a technology lens in 1982 when I received the Commodore 64. Moreso when I was drawn to the IT world in 1991 at the emergence of my career. I entered a world of complexity, layers of sophisticated systems and a lot of confused people whose main role was not technology – yet they had to use these systems day after day – often with great angst and difficulty.
In a sort of dual world – by day I worked with enterprise platforms and the mysticism of how they ran – and by night was continually stunned by the simplicity of the iPod, my Macs and wondered how those two dimensions could ever converge. Apple’s influence reached beyond its products and the industries they impacted. In fact, as my brother shared with me tonight, they created raving fans, literally evangelists who pined for the simplicity of Apple technology to impact the business world and greater world of tech for everyone.
For myself – it was OS X in 1999 as a milestone in my view of how technology should work – which of course also transformed how Macs operated. This has informed the tenets I have about creating technology:
- simplicity, to the point of leaving out features that while impressive, will raise the complexity of use
- user-focused, it should not take an administrator to run an application – a regular user should be able to configure their own software
- portable, it should not take more software to make a program portable (a luxury we only have in our current era) – if it runs on one computer, it should run on others and other devices
- evolving, a program will take on its own life and we should be able to watch it do so and focus on being a steward of it
It is the influence of Jobs, Apple and these views on technology that have informed the vision for Arkovi. Individuals and companies did not need another overly complicated solution. Both elegant and simple – one can engage in minutes on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social platforms and modern technology. Arkovi insures that it also only takes minutes to accommodate the critical steps of curating that social footprint.
In studying the highs and lows and evolution of Jobs’ innovations and philosophy on technology and business – I hope the resulting understanding continues to influence our efforts with Arkovi and our customer’s ability to leverage the incredible power of social media.
Much like the significant crowd of people behind Steve Jobs and Apple – I am grateful to have the group we have focused on our pioneering effort in carving out a new sector in technology that lives in and around social media with Arkovi. My vision and goal is that we experience even a small portion of the growth Apple has seen – and that we can serve our customers as diligently with leading edge solutions and service.
Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.