"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jobs Is Gravity

I wish the iPhone had a different name and was a more open software environment right from the top. I think it will get there eventually. Michael Lucas-Smith hopes for the same, but then writes...

Screw you Jobs, you're an idiot. Stop taking credit for the brilliant work your engineers do to make Macs so great. Hey, have we all forgotten how jobs wanted to limit Mac memory and while he was out of town his engineers pumped the Mac memory up to 2mb? Let us not forget how he managed to split the Apple company in two with his Apple vs Mac wars. What a moron. Get a life.
This is going *way* overboard.

From what I understand, Jobs has been responsible for a number of bad ideas, some of which made it into product and some didn't. But Apple is a unique company. There are several reasons for that, and they all revolve around Steve Jobs in various orbits.

Woz designed the Apple I and II which were far beyond everything else and set the course for Apple's uniqueness. But Woz was content building neat things for his friends to admire while working at HP forever, HP ignoring his genius forever. Jobs went out and made the sales that launched Apple.

From that point on there appears to have been two Apples. One of the Apples was continually pulled into the gravity that weighs down every sizable organization.

The other Apple was continually pulled into the gravity of Steve Jobs. (That gravity left Apple and became NeXT for quite a while, but even then some of the planets were still at Apple.)

Without Steve Jobs then:

  • The Apple II probably would not have become a business success, funding everything to come.
  • Even if it had, the Macintosh probably would not have existed.
  • Even if it had, it probably would not have been delivered in its pleasing vertical case.
  • Even if it had, it probably would not have emphasized rounded rectangles in its user interface.
  • Even if it had, it probably would not have been supplanted by the NeXT OS and NeXTStep to rescue it from oblivion.
Jobs did not create all these things himself, but he pushed for them and demanded them, and they made all the difference. Without Jobs the result is something much more like Windows, and that would suck.

I am pretty sure Jobs is the force that moved all these things together in the right direction. He demanded more than what any of the contributors would have done on their own. Bill Atkinson was pleased with his algorithm for drawing ovals. Jobs pointed out that rounded rectangles are everywhere. Atkinson initially objected, but quickly figured out how to draw them efficiently.

We would be in a world that is much more square without Steve Jobs.

Even the Windows API has a RoundRect procedure.

Coincidentally the Toronto Globe and Mail refers to Jobs like this...

"Microsoft has a certain cult of personality. Gates is thought of as a special guru, and people sit at his feet trying to understand what he's thinking," says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc., a research firm in Wayland, Mass. "That's totally different from Steve Jobs. He's an autocrat. He's a sun king. He's very capricious, autocratic, and creative and charismatic. He's all kinds of good things, mixed with some pretty strange things. It's a totally unique formula."

The personalities of both men have been imprinted on their companies for years.

He's a sun king. I love it.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.