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Change agent

india Updated: Oct 07, 2011 17:05 IST
Apple fans

Passionate, prickly, and deemed irreplaceable by many Apple fans and investors, Steve Jobs made a life defying conventions and expectations.

And despite years of poor health, his death on Wednesday at the age of 56 prompted a global gasp as many people remembered how much he had done to transform the worlds of computing, music and mobile phones, changing the way people communicate.

With his passion for minimalist design and marketing genius, Jobs changed the course of personal computing during two stints at Apple and then brought a revolution to the mobile market.

Charismatic, visionary, ruthless, perfectionist, dictator - these are some of the words that people have used to describe Jobs, who may have been the biggest dreamer the technology world has ever known, but he also was a hard-edged businessman and negotiator through and through.

The iconic iPod, the iPhone - dubbed the "Jesus phone" for its quasi-religious following - and the iPad are the creations of a man who was known for his near-obsessive control of the product development process.

Jobs created Apple twice - once when he founded it and the second time after a return credited with saving the company, which now vies with Exxon Mobil as the most valuable publicly traded corporation in the US.

But the inspiring Jobs came with a lot of hard edges, often alienating colleagues and early investors with his my-way-or-the-highway dictums and plans that were generally ahead of their time.

How did he do it? Design fans, Apple staff and Jobs acquaintances credit a natural design-sense drive to simplify. Jobs' return to Apple was a study in reduction.

A new product or feature begins with 10 ideas - good ideas, no also-rans, which are presented as "pixel-perfect" mockups. Apple culls the 10 to three, which are tried out for months more, before a final star is chosen.

Meanwhile, the design team meets for two types of weekly meetings - one to brainstorm with no limits, and one to focus on getting the product out of the door, BusinessWeek described.

"He always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do - but the things that you decide not to do," former Apple CEO John Sculley told the CultofMac news website in 2010.

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