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A Man, His Passion, His Work

Sharad Raghavan

Edited by George Beahm
2011, pp. 168, Rs.199.00


It has been about eight months since Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs died, and the adulation he received in life has not receded even in death. After all, the character of the company he helped build—how it stood for a quirky, independent alternative to the gigantic and frankly bland Microsoft—was a rallying point for so many people fed up with Windows computers, Microsoft’s lack of innovative software and general Big Corporation mindset. Of course, that is not to forget the much more recent innovations in the form of the iPod, iPhone and iPad—so popular and trendy that the prefix ‘i’ has become almost synonymous with modernity and innovation. Computers and smartphones have become so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine a time when they did not exist, and when every element of the computer we now know was a new invention, a risk taken towards pushing technology forward. For example, Apple’s Macintosh brought the computer mouse to the world, the iPod became famous for the click wheel, and the iPhone for its sophisticated touch-screen interface that without doubt has changed the way we use phones. The difference between Apple and Microsoft is probably best exemplified by a quote by Jobs about Microsoft’s Bill Gates: ‘I wish Bill Gates well. I only wish that at some time in his life he had dropped acid or spent time at an ashram.’ It is that out-of-the-box thinking that brought Apple alive for its fan base. And, regardless of the clever marketing tactics employed to make it seem that owning an Apple product was a gateway to an exclusive ‘cool’ club, the fact remains that Apple users are extremely loyal—’once you go Mac, there’s no going back’. So, clearly there is something that company is doing right, apart from marketing and product design; the software itself seems to connect to people. And that’s where it becomes important to get into the minds of the people behind Apple’s innovations. As the face of Apple, Steve Jobs is that person. Since his death, and even before, several books have been written about the visionary (by all accounts, that’s what he was)—some providing a balanced account of the man and his work ethic, some simply proving to be gushing eulogies with nothing critical to say, and others seeking to be different by ...

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