Steve Jobs was a remarkable and fascinating businessman, and by some distance the most interesting and accomplished personality operating in an important corner of the economy. He had a respect for the intelligence of human beings and their ambition, and potential – showing an optimism which is rare in a cynical industry. And …
Dr Craig Venter
The same one who took public funded genomics data for the human genome project sequenced the potentially profitable bits then patented them?
Oh yes, the Venterpillar, headed off at the pass with the human genome by the Wellcome Foundation IIRC.
I'm a quite bit shocked by the upvotes.
What a bunch of clowns; even wikipedia is closer to the truth.
Re: I'm a quite bit shocked by the upvotes.
It may have been an oversimplification of a composite of Venter's position and the sequence of historical events, rather than a report of historical fact, but there's no denying Venter's appetite to monopolise biological discoveries.
Fry bashing eh?
Consumerism and materialism are just an extension of the very thing that keeps people divided and gives us opinions - free will. Jobs (like many others) proved that when you harness it you can achieve great things. The rest of us prove that it makes us like different things and think in different directions.
You talk bollocks sometimes,
..but I agree with every word.
RE: You talk bollocks sometimes,
I'd say he talks utter, sweaty bollocks *most* of the times but I fully agree this time: this piece is pretty much PERFECT.
Congrat and thanks, Mr Orlowski.
another +1, except for the obligatory Venter-pump (is that the same ten years it's going to take us to achieve cold fusion?)
Though I think Jobs *did* achieve some genuinely worthwhile things; just not the ones most people are going on about, which happened in the later phases of Apple. His earlier work at Apple and NeXT, and also Pixar, is far more significant, I think.
Best Andrew article ever?
Jobs may not have changed the world, but he did more to improve MS Windows than anyone in the world.
Absolutely, but most commentards here will never understand (or maybe just accept) that.
Some are too young, some just too close minded and foolish.
Anyway who gives a fuck about them anyway, we know that's true and it's all it matters.
It'll be an interesting next few years for user-level IT that's for sure. The Apple crowd seems capable, but I'm afraid they may lack that proverbial spark. Microsoft could hardly be more lost, Google just wants to find more ways of sticking probes on us, while calling it all innovation. HP? Let's not even go there.
Kind of depressing scenario to be honest.
"... The Apple crowd seems capable..."
True, and damning with faint praise - the transition for Apple is from a company "owned" by one man with the ego to push his vision regardless of the consequences, to a company that will likely be run a board of directors ... rather like all the other companies out there. What matters to Apple is not the products that they have in the pipeline now, but what they need to invent now to sell in 2015.
As for the tech worlds new "fearless leaders" - a nameless bunch for the most part aren't they? Sure, we still have Larry Ellison around but he's a dickhead - although that seems to be one of the job requirements when you come to think about it. Of course, being having a dickhead in charge isn't a guarantee of success but it does seem to be one of the common factors in the success of many fine companies.
You make it seem like SJ only made iDevices all his life. Well he did a bit more than that to the IT world.
Let's put it this way Mr Orlowski, if there hadn't been a Steve it's likely there hadn't been a Register and you writing for it.
Let's not forget the Tim Berners-Lee created the browser on a NeXT because it was quick to do (took him 2 months). If he had to create it using Athena Widgets or Motif on Unix he might have not been so inclined and we'd be still using AOL, Compuserve or on BBSs now.
If you can't understand these little details, then please shut up a let those who do care.
Actually, Metavisor ...
I was using Gopher on a Sun Workstation along side the early WWW software (early '90s) ... Gopher was far easier to use, client-side and server-side. I rather suspect that if the University of Minnesota had gone with the GPL, instead of a fee-based license for the server right from the git-go, Gopher would have the place that the Web has today ... Or be operating alongside it as a peer, at least.
How easy is Gopher? My 95 year old techno-illiterate Great Aunt is using it to publish her life's story (I maintain the server for her).
For more, see:
Yes, I know, that was published in '93 ... Gopher was around before the release of that document, having been released in the spring of 1991. The WWW was publicly available later in the summer of the same year.
If you can't understand these little details, then please shut up a let the adults continue our conversation.
Oh for fuck's sake, he's not bashing Jobs. Did you even read the article?
Your post is wrong on so many levels. The most glaring one being that we'd be using AOL or CompuServe... you may need to think about how they would work without web servers. Tim couldn't have programmed it on X Windows as he didn't know how, a browser was made in 1 month that did (a whole 1 month faster!), that browser (Line Mode Browser) is still an active project.
Tim Berners-Lee will be remembered in 100 years, the way we remember great people like Brunell or Faraday, pioneers, founders, people who did really great stuff. In the grand scheme of things Jobs in inconsequential, the only people who will remember him are the same sort of people who believe Elvis is still alive. How many people will remember the actual designer of the iWotsits though? How many people know the name of the actual designer? Without him do you think Jobs would have been anything more than the CEO of a 3rd rate company?
Ahh well, maybe now Apple will go back to it's proper position, begging Bill Gates for a bit of change he has behind the sofa to prevent them going bust.
No, that's bollocks.
Had Jobs and NeXT not existed, the WWW would still have been invented. Perhaps not in the same form, or at the same point in history, but it would still have developed. The same is true of pretty much all the generic developments that are credited to Jobs - he got there first, in some cases a little way ahead of the competition, in a few rare cases a long way ahead of them, but without him they would have happened anyway, one way or another.
Umm is this the same Steve Jobs who literally BANNED Flash from every one of his mobile web device, telling us to buy apps to see what the free internet could offer...?
Never read such a more laughable hyperbolic BS in the past two days than this idiocy, linking Jobs to the birth of widespread, public internet...
...best case he was a bystander but in reality rather a johnny-come-late if you remember Macs being horribly handicapped until ~Jaguar (or rather Panther.)
I read your replies, thanks, but they seem to have something in common - The web would very likely be different from what it is today if Jobs and his company weren't, in a small part, involved.
Btw, I was using Gopher before the web. There's no chance it would ever have been as popular as HTTP and the WWW. I'll lazily borrow this bit from Wikipedia to explain why: "Gopher has a more rigid structure compared to the free-form HTML of the Web. With Gopher, every document has a defined format and type, and the typical user navigates through a single server-defined menu system to get to a particular document. "
The web is not rigid! That's why we get all sorts of stuff running on it, and why companies like Netscape loved it.
As for the line mode browser etc, well they were text mode browsers, hardly something people other than geeks would ever be interested in (used lynx on VT220s for a long long time, so I know what I'm saying)
This was just a small example anyway, there are plenty more of these little things where Steve had an influence that enabled a big part of today's IT landscape. No wonder we have all these other bg companies showing their respect for him.
Not saying many others didn't make their own dents on the Universe and those too deserve recognition for it, but let's remember Steve for his long long career and contributions, not just the past 10 years.
Gopher's not rigid in the sense you are reading into a line of the dubious Wiki. If it had gone mainstream early on, it would have had similar functionality to today's WWW. To suggest otherwise is just plain daft.
I always configure a serial port to provide a login prompt for a dumb terminal when I set up more modern systems. Fixing a dead GUI without rebooting an otherwise fully functional system is kinda handy sometimes. This laptop has a second largish flatscreen GUI display, and an IBM 3151 serial terminal. All three displays have IBM Model M keyboards attached.
I still use lynx ... The fingers know it, no muss, no fuss. Four nines of what I am looking for online is ASCII anyway, so why bother with a GUI browser?
Steve was a marketer, and a good one. He wasn't a visionary, rather he was good at pushing "current state of the art" on suckers^W TheGreatUnwashed[tm]. Steve was also a friend of mine. I'll miss him, especially on the rare occasion I get to The Peninsula these days. But trust me, dude/tte, he was no $DEITY. Which is what Andrew's article was pointing out.
As a colophon, anyone interested in what Gopher is, see:
Not that the OP is right, but you're utterly wrong too:
"The most glaring one being that we'd be using AOL or CompuServe... you may need to think about how they would work without web servers."
Um...you know AOL and CompuServe both predate WWW and were not remotely web-based in their most significant incarnations, right? Right?!
OH MY GOD!!!
There'd be no Register without Steve?! My God! How on earth did we manage on this planet with Steve Jobs?! Who invented the wheel? The fulcrum? Food? Trees? Dogs? Cats? Hamsters? Cheerios? Those little plastic things that you stick under doors to stop them moving when the wind blows and you always lose them unless...look anyway, lool what I found in a ancient text....'And low verily did Steve rest on the 7th day after creating all that was good, for twas the Sabbath, an holy day for mankind.".
I often wonder what mystic, freakish cult you serious Apple fanbois would join if Lord Steve of Jobs had never graced us with his presence?
I like a bit of Apple kit, have a couple of Macs and iPhones but it's just a company and they're just products that get stuff done. He was just a good businessman with a talent for spotting talent to get stuff made and sold.
It hasn't been tremendously dignified and even a lot of the worship seems directed at the toys not the man.
It feels like the hagiography (in the pejorative sense) will replace the true, and truly interesting, story.
I'm glad someone said it
Excellent article Andrew.
This all brings to mind the idea of the hierarchy of needs.
Borlaug was a giant, and he attended to the most important need of all - the need for food. But once people have had that need met, we don't appreciate it.
Those of us in the west with our 'first world probems' care more about the people helping us to meet our still unresolved needs.
AND NOW A MEMORIAL STATUE DEMANDED
to Steve jobs, inventor of the computer, mobile phone, social media, touch pad technology, etc etc....
STOP STOP STOP NO NO NO
Sorry, but he did none of the above.
HE WAS A SALESMAN, a visionary SALESMAN but a really good salesman who sold people what he wanted them to have by making them believe they needed it. Did he change peoples lives, some maybe, but what small lives they must have been.
You wish SJ was only a salesman
"Visionary" is the correct term. SJ didn't have to sell anything, all he had to do is present the products of his imagination.
Capitalism, the ultimate form of democracy, placed a few votes initially into SJ's care which he then successfully parlayed into more allowing him to express his visions more and more.
SJ was not a Tesla in that he didn't create low level core technology, he was rarer in being one who could put the elements together at higher levels. The ability, the leadership to pull things together and make the whole greater than the sum of the parts is just the sort of thing that is missing today.
You may have a point but
He was no longer in charge when the new 4S was developed and released, it shows. No real wow innovation this time. What now for Apple?
there was no real wow innovation...
...in the 3S either. they're exactly equivalent products: spec bumps to the previous design. Jobs was in charge for the 3S. So...
RE: You wish SJ was only a salesman
"Capitalism, the ultimate form of democracy"
Are you high?
"Capitalism, the ultimate form of democracy"
Holy shit, what on earth?
Ermmm, let's turn to our old friend, the US, for the utlimate example of what happens in your utopian dream, shall we? Oh yes, the 1% mega-rich rule over the 99% people coping, down to the almost-at death's-door-for-the-want-of-something-to-eat population!
Yep, have to admit that old screw-anyone-over-for-a-buck captilism racket sure levels the playing field and ensures peace, justice and decmocracy for all....if you have enough money to afford any of those things!
What's next, Steve Jobs put the Sun and Moon in the sky and set them spinning or was that God? Oh sorry, the same being wasn't it! Jeez, each new post in this thread from you fanbois just makes we fear for the future of humanity, it really does!
Well said, Andrew
Things have come to a pretty pass when the only sensible article in the mainstream media appears in the Daily Fail!
Steve Jobs: superb salesman and brand developer - check; ruthless capitalist - check; innovator - not so much.
May I recommend "Faking It: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society"
no Tesla indeed
I posted my condolences yesterday, and still wish refrain from ill comments to the late Jobs out of respect for his family, but as a celebrity figure we also shouldn't hide form the truth, especially when such a false rosy picture is being painted of person who just wasn't as heroic as the obits are making him out to be
I find all this adulation and idolatry sad for all the people who really did invent the home PC, Pixar, the mouse, GUI, the Imac, Iphone, Ipod etc that Jobs is now getting credit for.
I read in a Yahoo article yesterday that Jobs hired Wozniak to help with a project for Atari (before Apple), which Wozniak did most of the work on, and the pair got a $5000 bonus for doing such a good job, which Jobs promptly pocketed and didn't mention to Wozniak. Worse, Jobs fathered a 1st child with his High school sweetheart, and refused the paternity for years, going so far as to state IN COURT that he was Sterile and couldn't be the father... very poor behavior indeed.
The man was a shrewd businessman, but it makes me upset to see the press and apple fans giving him credit for revolutionizing the world... really all he did was make money by managing people to deliver products that competed well in already established markets. Maybe, just maybe I'll give him a bit of respect as a computer pioneer in being one of the co-founders of Apple (even if Wozniak was doing all the tech work), and I really did enjoy playing great games on the Apple ][, but that's about as much creativity as I can give him.
Archon, 7 cities of Gold, HHGTTG (all text) and Broadsides were some of my favorites. Even Oregon Trail, Chivalry and the rest were pretty fun
re: no Tesla indeed
“I read in a Yahoo article yesterday that Jobs hired Wozniak to help with a project for Atari (before Apple), which Wozniak did most of the work on, and the pair got a $5000 bonus for doing such a good job, which Jobs promptly pocketed and didn't mention to Wozniak.”
Jobs didn’t actually hire Woz, and I think most would say this makes it even worse, but asked his best friend for help and said he’d split his fee for the job without mentioning the bonus. It’s not out of the realms of possibility that this wasn’t not the first time Jobs had pulled a financial fast one on Woz. Pre-Apple, the two sold the Blue Box, a device that Woz had built that enable users to illegally make free phone calls. There are parallels with the Apple I – Woz built something as a hobby, Jobs saw the commercial possibilities. According to Malone’s excellent Infinite Loop, when the duo decided to end the Blue Box operation, Jobs delivered few units to a customer, as one last big order. Jobs told Woz that the man he met had robbed him at gunpoint. Although this may have happened as Jobs said, it could have been that he made up the story and sold the units on his own.
Going back to the design of Breakout for Atari, arguably, the most interesting aspect to this story is what Woz with his money. He bought a MOS Technology 6502 is processor, which was used in the Apple I. This wasn’t the one that he wanted, but the one if he could afford – if Jobs had given him an equitable spilt, he would have gone something else and Apple’s architecture would have been different. An argument has been made that Woz’s choice caused problems further down the road and that Jobs’ decision to stiff his friend was a bad, long-term one.
“Maybe, just maybe I'll give him a bit of respect as a computer pioneer in being one of the co-founders of Apple (even if Wozniak was doing all the tech work),”
Jobs did assist Wozniak with the Apple I, so there was one input. However, I think most commentators said that Jobs skill wasn’t on the technical side, but in seeing how consumers would or could use them. As mentioned above, it was Jobs who persuaded Woz that people would want to buy the Apple I – without him, arguably, Woz would have stayed a hobbyist.
To say, “really all he did was make money by managing people to deliver products that competed well in already established markets,” is waaaaaay off the mark and I would suggest reading something like Infinite Loop to get an idea of his contribution (and that of others) to Apple.
Pick up a copy of iWoz, gives Wozniak's side of the early Apple days. Basically points out that without Wozniak there would be no Apple. Details how Woz really pushed to keep the Apple II going despite constantly being sidelined. It's never nasty or bitter about Jobs, just makes it clear that Jobs is his own man, does what he wants no matter what it takes to get it.
Look, I know Stephen Fry can be a bit of a whore
But on the other hand, he has given us Melchett, and by rather poorly imitating his signature "Baaah!", I managed to pull once, which is quite a feat, considering my appearance and charming quasi-autistic personality. (Yes, she was quite drunk. And quite geeky.)
What I'm saying is, how about not slagging Fry for his failings EVERY BLOODY WEEK? He's hardly the worst tech writer (though he is really quite bad), and by far the funniest one. Picking on the (insert adjective of choice here) guy so often just doesn't seem right.
Other than that, love the article.
So apt and I agree with every word. Unfortunately, this being the Reg, and you being you, you're preaching to the converted....!
And another thing
Only some of the doom-mongers are worried about lack of oil. The others are worried what will happen if we achieve an unlimited supply. It's called global warming; look it up sometime (not on this site though, for God's sake).
<Facepalm guy is actually really really hot due to global warming>.
No, that's not going to be a problem
The only way to achieve a truly unlimited supply of oil will be by a closed-cycle process in the short term, taking the CO2 out of the atmosphere to gather the carbon for the generation of the oil. Hence, such processes will be carbon neutral, and hence, there is no impact on climate change. This is the same reason I heat my house using wood.
and while orlowski's doing that might i suggest you go and Google the term carbon neutral :-)
Organically made diesel, using farmed bacteria, would be made by drawing carbon and hydrogen from the air.
This makes it carbon neutral. Even better, the same tech could be used to create fixed carbon, making the process a net reducer of carbon.
Fossil fuels are only considered bad because they are releasing carbon that's been trapped for a long time.
Otherwise, they are a nice, dense energy source that can be easily transported.
Organic bio-diesel, Stephen Fry's religious beliefs (or lack of them)
And I'm barely 1/5 of the way through the comments.........
Where's the IT angle, what would Paris think....
And the point of the article is?
Boyz will be boyz.
"Dr Craig Venter, another iconoclast, who in a decade will be producing oil and diesel that’s cheap, low-carbon, and renewable" - Big Energy will ensure that never happens. venter will more likely be found dead in an "apparent suicide" within a decade.
He "created" a phone ... well, drove a lot of smart engineers to create a decent handheld computer that makes phone calls, often badly. But it's cute, and worked better than most of the other devices when it was originally introduced. As for the rest, iPod etc - they've all been done before.
Do you think he'll be remembered in 10, 20, 30 years time? Probably not.
I think I'm doing more with my life than Steve did with his - of course, I'm not as rich but that's not how I measure my life.
Forgotten like the other phone guy with a lot of engineers and an eye for existing products: Thomas E.
Bitten, exactly. Try to name any true (as in those he came up with and did not steal from someone else) edison inventions that actually went the distance...
So very true
Superb article, it is what everyone is thinking, except for the 2% of the population that own Apple devices.
I mean, leaving flowers outside an apple store, celebs with fake tears, what sad lonely and unimportant lives some people lead that this event is so important to them.
Please find something more important like the 3million unnecessary child deaths that occur throughout the world every year. The cost of that bunch of flowers could save 10 of them.
SAD SO VERY SAD
A couple of facts: over 20% of smartphones in the UK are made by Apple. Plus over 70% of fondleslabs, and most importantly, over 70% of MP3 players. Seriously, don't you know a few people who have iPods?
If you think that leaves them at 2% of the population, you're not paying attention.
As to those flowers: it is our capacity to feel (irrational) empathy for someone we have no real connection to that makes us capable of caring about "unnecessary child deaths" (what other kind of child death is there, by the way?). I'd be interested to see some analysis on the relative charitable giving of people who leave "tributes" like that vs those who don't.