Now that I have finished Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs I have to admit that I wish I’d met the man – something I had never felt was all that important before I read the book. What I’d also like to read is the perspective of Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs to learn more about what it might have been like living with (as I see it), one of the world’s most influential inventors. She could call it ‘Living with a Mozart’ or any number of world famous inventors or creators.
I have never been an Apple aficionado; in fact the only Apple device I use regularly is an –iPod although I do find myself reaching for my wife’s iPad 2 with increasing frequency. Yet as I read the book I came away with the thought that Steve Jobs may have influenced more people on the planet at one time than anyone else in the history of mankind. His accomplishments of having been able to revolutionize desktop and laptop computers, music, mobile communication devices, tablet computers are self-evident. It’s ironic that one of Apple’s failures was the Newton – a personal device that used a stylus – a feature that Steve Jobs avoided on everything else he helped develop for the rest of his life.
That Steve Jobs changed music is undeniable. On iTunes alone there are more than 400 million customers. Facebook may have reached one billion users (with some debate on how many ‘fake’ accounts make up that total), but Apple has become virtually the only platform for music around the world – which do you feel is more significant? The word is that Apple is also readying a television/cloud interface that will revolutionize flat screen viewing. I would not bet against them accomplishing this goal.
Obviously people today never had the chance to meet Mozart, Da Vinci, or Sir Isaac Newton. Biographies written on those subjects are purely historical and we’ll never know what it was really like to have lived with them in their time. I don’t know much about people that knew Mozart, da Vinci and Newton intimately (although I have read a little that Newton was not unlike Steve Jobs in his inability to filter what he said). I doubt there’s much that’s been written by their wives, significant others or close friends. So Laurene Powell Jobs has an opportunity to offer a very personal and intimate view of this amazingly complex and influential person.
Understanding what people want and will respond to before they know it is a talent reserved for only a few amazingly insightful people. However the ability to put that insight into products and services is truly what made Steve Jobs one of the most influential people in history.
I’d like to read Laurene’s book – wouldn’t you?