Wednesday 13 December 2017

Steve Jobs: A visonary leader with a lasting legacy

Katherine Rushton

THERE are not many people that can be described as a genius without it sounding trite, but Steve Jobs is one of them.

Not only did he dominate the technology industry, building a company which briefly ranked as the biggest in the world, but he dominated it without recourse to any of the consumer testing and hedging of bets that proliferates in the rest of the sector.

Pictures: Tribute to Steve Jobs

Along with a relentless pursuit of beauty in Apple's designs and slick technology, Jobs had a steely backbone that saw him rely, resolutely, on his own gut instinct. The way he saw it, Apple's role was not to follow or second guess what people wanted from their gadgets. It was to lead them, and by doing so, to create the market.

So the world began to crave iPods, then iPhones and finally the iPad which, as many analysts pointed out earlier this week, met with a lacklustre reaction when it was first unveiled, but has quickly spawned an entirely new industry.

This "I know best" outlook could have seemed arrogant in anyone else, but Jobs got it so exactly right every time that it allowed Apple to seduce users into an entire ecosystem that changed the way many of us lived. To think that such a small line up of products can have created a company of Apple's size and influence is, by anyone's book, astonishing.

But perhaps Mr Jobs' influence as an individual is even more remarkable than his prominence through Apple. Before Jobs, the drop out arts student, turned his hand to technology, the hardware industry was often dismissed by the mainstream or creative industries as a deeply unglamourous sector populated by unremitting scientists and so-called "geeks".

By combining technology with beautiful design, Jobs not only brought technology into the mainstream, making it cool and covetable – he also inspired a generation of talent from diverse backgrounds to eye technology up as a sector to work in.

For creatives, marketers, graphic designers and product designers, Apple is one of the most desirable companies to work in, and technology has transformed from the annexe of the uncool to one of the most rapidly changing and creatively challenging industries there is.

He may have gone, and his absence may rattle Apple, but his legacy in energising a generation of talent is unlikely to fade at all.

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