Did Steve Jobs do anything to justify the hype

My understanding is he was an asshole to turned down quality medical care for a more treatable form of pancreatic cancer. Apple also doesn’t seem very innovative, all they do is release different forms of the ipod touch, which is all the iphone and ipad are. Their real genius was in marketing to make apple into a status symbol to justify the higher cost over PC and android. Apple company is good at marketing, but their technology doesn’t stand out to me.

Why is he worshipped, did he do anything to justify it?

I would take a drink but that well seems a little poisoned.

Read the biography,
It’s got a pretty good examination of who and what he did -

Mostly it was in bringing together solutions to make excellent new products

And I hate Apple.

And yes - he killed himself with woo - and is the first to admit it


Are you in the USA?

There are a couple of documentaries on Netflix about him (streaming). I found one. The Ashton Kuthcer biopic was supposed to be pretty accurate I think. I share some of your questions or criticisms but I think really, he was a driving force of innovation, a juggernaut to use a metaphor (Actually, I guess that is an analogy?). The documentary was quite good because he is relaxed and not full of his usual bravado, you get to see more of the “real” Steve and what made him a genius.

Given the tenor of your OP I doubt there’s anything anyone could say to change your mind. But TLDR answer, yes.

Well… I think Apple gets too much worship, but Steve Jobs was a pioneer of the personal computer and did a lot to get Apple on the right track after he came back in 1997.

Caveats are as follows:

• It does sound like he was an asshole and no doubt subtracted value from Apple while adding on the whole. I’ve heard he would micromanage to the point of correcting individual emails, etc. That’s just insane.

• People will say that Apple is different without Jobs, is doing worse without Jobs, if only Jobs were still there, etc. etc. But he didn’t die that long ago (2011), and is there evidence that, at the time of his death, Apple had a great product pipeline? More iPods/Phones/Pads? Apple hasn’t introduced a big new product since the iPad in 2010 (iWatch? nope!). I think it’s fair to say that Apple’s pipeline was pretty crapola at the time of Jobs’ death, and that would take some points off his legacy perhaps. Or one could argue that Apple did about as well as a company could, and no pipeline can remain so rich forever. In any case, I don’t think Apple would be doing that much different if Jobs were alive today.

• People like to worship a god and ascribe all success (or failure) to a single figurehead. But of course, there were many, many people contributing to Apple’s success 1997 onward.

Jobs did great things. He also had his limitations.

This. Whatever lameness you think of Apple in its modern days, the fact is that Apple, circa 1980, made the first commercially successful personal computer of any lasting significance. Allegedly thrown together by Jobs and Wozniak in a garage (the same as Hewlett and Packard did in starting their company), the Apple II brought computers out of the major corporate computer centers and into everybody’s living rooms.

I second the recommendation to read the Walter Isaacson biography. Possibly the most important thing that Jobs did was to envision high-tech gear as consumer products. There was a time when most people couldn’t use a computer, and considered people who could use one ‘smart’. The fact that most people in 2015 don’t remember that is proof of what a leap Jobs’ vision was.

The Isaacson bio also details the parallel histories of Jobs’ vision (of one company developing the hardware, operating system and software) with the Bill Gates/Microsoft way of having different companies develop each product individually. The competition seemed to favor Gates for a while, with Microsoft capturing much more of the market for operating systems and software. But the debut of the iPod (and the demand it created for content) turned that around: the single-company approach allowed Apple to credibly promise intellectual property holders that their rights would be safeguarded. This in turn allowed Apple to make more revenue from selling the content.

If Jobs hadn’t died young, we might have eventually found out how much these innovations were genius versus luck.

And as noted above, even people who loved him admit he was a jerk. And an idiot regarding his own medical decisions.

I am not a fan of Jobs and have never owned an Apple product, but…

He and Woz were who really got the microcomputer business going. I know that there were several earlier attempts, but do you really want to enter programs by flicking switches? Yes, Woz was the technical genius, but Jobs was the marketing genius. He didn’t invent windowing, but he had it built and he sold it. Then he made a big mistake. He convinced his board to hire a soda water salesman to run the company. Who fired Jobs a year later and was then piloting Apple into terrain within ten years. Meantime, Jobs was building the Next computer, a fine lamented Unix box, much better than the crap SUN was flogging. Too bad it never went anywhere. And was founding Pixar (okay, I just googled and found that he didn’t start Pixar but more took it over). Anyway, Apple got rid of the soda salesman and brought back Jobs who turned the company around and it is now one of the largest corporations in the world (by market cap). Yes, I am bound to admit, he was a genius.

I think the guy was a brilliant businessman. I identify more with Woz. And as an engineer, I recognize how poor I am at business development, marketing and anticipating society’s needs and desires. If I had someone like Jobs around, I could focus exclusively on technology and make a lot more money than I would if I had to deal with the business side of things. And I think many of us could use the guidance of someone who could plausibly say “this is what people want – build this that way and we will make a lot of money” rather than just tinkering at random in my garage.

Anybody who makes Jobs out to be some programming or computing pioneer is overstating things, in my opinion. But as a businessman, he made the best use of the actual technology pioneers he employed.

Already been said, but Jobs was in many ways a jerk.

But, even forgetting his work with Woz, he literally saved Apple when he came back over from NEXT. Sculley, Spindler and Amelio had just about killed Apple. People forget how the popular perception was that Apple was becoming financially irrelevant.

Jobs, Ives (and others) made Apple quite financially relevant.

Jobs was best at telling us what we wanted, even when we didn’t know we wanted it. When the iPod came out, a lot of people (myself included) thought it was the worst decision by Apple, ever.

There were plenty of cheaper mp3 players out there already, and Apple was supposed to be competing against Windows boxes. Why on earth would people pay premium prices for a device to play music?

I was wrong, Jobs and company were right.

People are forgetting the days of Napster and how fragmented the music industry was getting. The recording artists and companies were struggling to make themselves relevant, and then with iTunes Steve Jobs had a direction for the industry to follow. That’s innovation.

We just watched the PBS documentary on Walt Disney, and throughout the program I said to myself “that’s just like what Steve Jobs would do!” Walt would storm in and out of meetings, berate employees and make minor corrections to meet his personal taste, made a few bad decisions that almost put the company in the ditch, and then found the untapped avenues to success in promoting his new theme park Disneyland on television. There was really no reason for a “movie” company to be in those fields, but Disney saw the connections and made it happen. That’s what I see in the genius of Steve Jobs.

Thus why the OP’s implied “marketing is irrelevant” is misguided.

Certain things Apple does make sense, but are not conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom - your company needs to make a vast array of products so you collect money from every possible market niche that is remotely related to the industry you are in. Example : GE, Sony, etc. These companies make everything under the sun and a lot of it is mediocre, but it technically works and makes revenue.

Apple’s strategy - instead of trying to do everything, do just a few things “insanely great”.

Conventional wisdom - when you have an engineering project, you look at the marketplace and create a list of the features the competitors have or that you find from customers to be the minimum. Once the product has the minimum features minimally functional, ship it.

Apple’s strategy - it’s better to do extremely well than ship a product prematurely. If you can’t make a product not suck - due to inherent technical limitations or because the idea was bad - kill it. It’s not good enough to simply check the box on every feature in a product, they all need to be the best you can make them, and it’s better to have fewer, better features than more.

Conventional wisdom - customers want the freedom to do whatever they want on their devices.

Apple’s strategy - it’s better to make the devices only capable of doing the things that they do well, and not the things they do poorly. This rule also applies to third party applications. This is why iphones don’t have multitasking - multitasking destroys battery life. If iphones could multitask, they would prematurely run out of power, and this reduces the value of the apple brand as people will perceive the devices as being bricks that run dry on battery too soon.

Conventional wisdom - collect all the money you can, however you can, and pinch whatever pennies you can. Specifically, accept bribes from software companies to ship your computers and phones with bloatware and time limited application demos. Deny any warranty claim you can to reduce expenditures on technical and warranty support. Use cheap, shoddy technical support from Indian shops.

Apple’s strategy - They don’t permit bloatware or nagware “demos” on their computers, because while this might get them short term money, it reduces the value of the Apple brand. They are usually generous in their warranty policies and are well known for repairing devices that recently lapsed on the warranty coverage. They don’t use Indian tech support.

How much of this was Job’s doing? I don’t know, but there is a reason why Apple is so successful, and it’s not just a mystical “reality distortion field” or “apple cultists”. People buy apple products and they are higher quality and usually worth the price premium.

Marketing isn’t irrelevant. Arnold Schwarzenegger is amazing at marketing. He has parlayed that into a lucrative career as an athlete, actor and politician. I am not knocking marketing, and Schwarzenegger is a great example of a talented marketer.

However Jobs is revered for technology, not marketing. But to me it seems like he entered a saturated market and found a way to convince people that items that cost 3x more than the alternatives were status symbols. I don’t know a lot about him, and I’m reading the replies but I always thought he never directed tech trends personally. Either the trends would have happened w/o him or other companies were already there or almost there. He isn’t like Elon Musk, who is in a special league all his own with technology.

Plus to me the fact that apple for the last 7+ years has been basically just releasing more and more forms of the ipod touch signifies that they are not the tech powerhouse they are made out to be. Google is constantly coming up with new and exciting stuff. Even microsoft is (hololens will be out soon). I’m assuming in 2 years time the apple company will release a differently sized ipod touch (maybe call it the ipad to go or something) which offers fewer features than android devices which are 4x cheaper.

Without Wozniak, Jobs would have become a millionaire selling Starbucks coffee, Earth shoes, or something else.

Without Jobs, Wozniak would still be in that garage in Cupertino.

A bit glib, but not entirely ridiculous.

What beagledave said: Jobs’ genius was in being able to see what customers actually wanted, even before the customers themselves saw it. That’s not a skill that’s particularly relevant to electronics specifically, but it is a skill that’s relevant to any business.

Is he really, though? Apple is often revered for their technology, but almost none of Apple’s technological innovations are ever credited directly to Jobs. What he mostly gets credited for is figuring out ways to make the stuff his engineers were working on easily accessible to people who weren’t necessarily very tech savvy. There were MP3 players before the iPod, but the iPod was the one that your grandmother could figure out how to use, and that’s the one that dominated the market. And that’s the part that Jobs gets credited with most often: the marketing, not the technology.

(As an aside, the video game Civilization V has Steve Jobs as one of the possible “Great Leaders” that your civilization sometimes generates. Tellingly, Jobs is not a Great Scientist, or a Great Engineer - he’s a Great Merchant.)