If you are reading this, Steve Jobs will have influenced your life. In this short reflection, Peter Heslam gets to the core of the Apple founder’s impact, sparked by the major movie Steve Jobs.
Social scientists often talk about history in abstract terms. They talk, for instance, about processes, developments, and factors of production. When writing economic history, many of them make no mention of actual businesses, let alone the innovators who founded and led them. At the heart of a Christian social vision, however, lies the human person and this film is a powerful reminder of the astounding potential of a fallen yet creative human being to change the world. It is, indeed, a measure of the depth and breadth of his impact that the life of a technology geek should be thought a fitting subject for a mainstream movie with a starstudded cast.
One thing in particular accounts for that impact: Jobs’ perception, foresight and vision in anticipating, and seeking to fulfil, people’s needs and desires. This was not the result of the superior market research and technology consultancy; he disdained such services because he sought to generate new markets and products: ‘You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology, not the other way around’.
This reverse progression is made difficult by the fact that most potential customers find it hard to articulate their needs and desires – either because they cannot imagine solutions or because they are looking for them in the wrong place. The generation that initially dismissed personal computers, mobile phones and emails as unnecessary is now the generation that cannot