Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not Only the Death of a Technological and Business Giant

Yes, Steve Jobs was a great entrepreneur and contributed immensely to human innovation. Absolutely true. The world would be a better place if more people would have his genius and drive, and if they could also enjoy today that rare (and gone) moment of entrepreneurship and innovative freedom that took place in the America of his youth.

Now, in the name of historical correctness, let's make it clear that Jobs was much more a political motivator and a salesman than a great engineer or designer. Many of his misattributed inventions did exist much before he marketed them, and were created by other inspired technical minds, inside and mostly outside of Apple. His main skills - obviously very important ones - were the ability to capture the spirit of times, coordinate the efforts of talented designers and engineers, and discover the free lunch sitting around.

I've never been an Apple user, I never bought even 1 cent of Apple products for myself, and I'll tell you why. First, because Jobs' business model was directed to people that couldn't do it by themselves (don't take it as an offense, his is an important contribution). You cannot get a technical and business model that's more centralized, proprietary, closed, overpriced, and, why not, paranoid than the Jobs' model. So I just rejected it - doesn't match my personality and preferences - and many of my geekiest friends did the same. He was a political motivator after all, so his products have the characteristics of political cult (driven by quality, point taken), and true geeks, true engineers, true hackers, in the great old Vernian tradition of a world of unbridled innovation, would run away from Jobs like they would run from the devil. Besides, Jobs was known for his authoritarian tendencies and for questionable political judgements.

Anyway, his passing represents more than the loss of a technological and business giant. With him dies the last cycle of joyful technical innovation and free enterprise that humanity experienced. Sad and dark times those we've been living through instead.

PS: I don't say it from the perspective of somebody that has never used an Apple product. Others in my family use Apple products, and I need to deal with their qualities and weaknesses on a daily basis.

No comments: