At a conference of CIOs that I attended this morning in Lisbon, all of our group were reflective and emotionally affected by the news of Jobs’ death – many heartfelt words were spoken from the stage, as they have been on stages, social networks, phone calls, and conversations all over the world today. And as we all mourned, many of us were literally holding Steve in our hands as we communicated via iPads, iPhones, Keynote, and Macs.
Steve leaves a vast and extraordinary legacy and I will let the more eloquent pay tribute. But I will make a prediction and I will express a hope.
I believe that we will look back at the 2002-2011 period as a golden age of technology – driven by Jobs at his most visionary. All of the promise of digital was finally being delivered in a way that was truly powerful, simple, and matched to human beings. I predict that we won’t see such an outpouring again for decades. 
But I hope that I am wrong. My hope is that Steve inspires all of us in the technology business to stop creating confusing, poorly-designed, slow, complex, ugly, maddening products that weigh down rather than lift up the work and souls of people. My hope is that Apple’s next ten years are more insanely great than its last and that its competitors are inspired to keep or exceed the pace. My hope is that Steve’s lessons will bring about a better world.
To the Apple and Jobs families, Forrester sends its best thoughts.  


Steve Jobs

Nicely done and captures the spirit of how to think about Steve's legacy going forward.

analog and digital

Hi George
Insanly simple thoughts. Well said. There are many products around the world which are designed by ego rather than by heart. Steve designed everything with a combination of simplicity and great user experience and that's why we love Apple products.

Companies must learn to simplify things and this is a best way to connect the humans who are analog with digital emotions.

Steve Jobs


Well said. I'm sure Steve Jobs has inspired a new generation of visionaries.
I also think Steve Job's legacy will be his ability to dream and to encourage others to be creative.


Steve Jobs Legacy

George, great reflection on Steve Jobs, a man who I have always admired. There is a lot to be learned from his legacy.

It is mostly a lesson in visionary leadership beyond the drag of bean counters and market analysts. Go to YouTube and watch Steve Ballmer publicly ridicule price and function of the iPhone and iPad and you'll see the huge difference. One is a manager, the other a leader. Also Steve Jobs' tantrums and outbursts are equally legendary, for me in a very positive sense. His life was also shaped by his illness and he pushed towards his visions not only despite but quite likely 'because'. From my own experience I can report that seeing death in the eye is a fantastic simplifier. So many things become irrelevant that others are bogged down with.

But simplicity is not achieved by keeping things simple or by reducing them to cost or ROI considerations. The complexity of simplicity is sometimes staggering as I tried to explain in one of my recent blog posts. Simplicity is only achieved by a focus on human aspects. Desirability is not about numbers, features and marketshare and that should be an important lesson to Forrester's market analytics. Adoption is about human interaction. Steve understood the social network aspects of his user community much better than Mark Zuckerberg. Steve was a prophet of technical deliverance and a saviour by excellence.

Let me add that I don't think that the golden days of innovation are over. We are mostly faced with a lot of scepticism and cynicsm towards political and financial institutions and yes, also towards technology. While Apple is a large vendor, Steve's innovations where mostly improvements on other people's ideas and he excelled in bringing them to life hoilistically. It is not the iPhone as such but the iPhone/iTunes/Appstore developer to consumer social network that is the grand innovation. Apple has used and acquired many ideas from others and gave them a platform. He gave a 100.000 mobile developers a platform too.

In corporate IT these steps towards the future are yet to be taken. I find however the same scepticism and cynicism in CIO's and market analysts of corporate IT that we can hear in Steve Ballmer's assessment of the iPhone or iPad. Maybe that ought to be a lesson as well.

Thanks George, Max J. Pucher
Chief Architect ISIS Papyrus Software

Steve Jobs, the Contrarian

When asked about Steve Jobs' legacy, many will point towards Jobs' demand for simplicity and accountability. I disagree. I think Jobs will be remembered for his uncanny ability to turn defeat into victory, on his terms, without regard for irrelevant opinions or the passing of time.

Back in the early 80s, the conventional wisdom was that Steve Jobs was just a hack who got lucky, and the Apple II was just a hobbyist computer that would inevitably give way to Apple's Lisa Computer project, sure to be The Next Big Thing. To make way for smarter and more talented people who were coming in from places like XEROX PARC, Steve Jobs was booted from the Lisa launch team in 1982. Instead of settling for the role of company spokesperson, as some called for, Jobs agitated to take control of a less-popular project from Jef Raskin and ended up becoming the driving force behind turning that skunkworks effort into the Macintosh.

Later, Jobs was excoriated for not licensing the original Macintosh OS to clones. People pointed to Microsoft and said that Jobs lost market share and by extension, the PC market opportunity, by failing to license the OS to emerging companies like Compaq and Dell when such an opportunity was possible. When he was booted from Apple, he went on to form NeXT. Years later, when Jobs retook the helm of Apple, the NeXT kernel ultimately replaced Apple's engineering efforts during his absence.

The vast majority of the Internet community has derided any kind of pay wall for any kind of content. Jobs disagreed. He spent literally years negotiating with Denver-based MPEG-LA for the IP that would enable iTunes. Stockholders complained that it was a waste of time and money, and the little press that followed Jobs' dealings were quick to connect the proposed device to the failure of the Newton scant years before. Even today, people cling to the notion that paywalls will never work, conveniently ignoring what Jobs has done.

Jobs could have launched the iPad almost two years before it actually launched. Rather than rush the product to market, as other tablet clones have done, Jobs took control of the supply chain, creating sourcing agreements and taking control of dozens of points in the manufacturing process that effectively closed the door on competitors. This was an extension of the price/performance industrial process that enabled near-monopolistic returns on first the iPod, then the iPhone.

The amazing thing about the iPad? The Jobs project that broke the proverbial camel's back in 1985, the irresponsible idea that got Jobs fired, was for an obviously outlandish device that would "...put all the computer's insides behind the screen," a device dubbed the "FlatMac". Or, the iPad, twenty years earlier.

So when it comes to Jobs' legacy, I'll always think of the slogan coined by TBWA\Chiat\Day: "Think different."

I like the fact that you

I like the fact that you concluded your tribute with a view to the future. In our reflective sadness, few of us considered what Steve Jobs might have accomplished in the next twenty years. I am convinced that he will inspire many others to lead the way.


We are really shocked at the news of Steve Jobs. He was the pioneer of the modern world which is standing on the Information Technology. The world has lost a very valuable person. We will never forget him.

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