Learning From Steve Jobs 50 Years Later –

Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of Blink and Outliers, has recently made headlines for comments he made in an interview about the late Steve Jobs’ legacy. According to Gladwell, Jobs will be forgotten in 50 years while Bill Gates will be remembered — more for his philanthropy than for Microsoft. It’s hard to imagine what technology and history books will look like 50 years from now, but we have a feeling Gladwell is wrong in this case. Here are seven reasons why we think Steve Jobs will still be a household name.

  1. He was a god to creative types:


    If you know people who call themselves creative, it’s almost a fact that they’ll also tell you that they’re Mac people. Steve Jobs put as much emphasis on the design of the computers and interface as he did on how they worked. Mac computers have always looked a bit different from those of competitors, making them perfect for the artistic types who want to stand out, and graphic user interfaces and Adobe Creative Suite programs have made working on Apple products seemingly the only option for any creative who wants to be taken seriously. Creative types won’t be forgetting Jobs in the next half century, that’s for sure.

  2. Apple is insanely popular:


    Did you know that Apple turns over its entire inventory every five days? Five days! That means if you visited an Apple store a week ago, the machines that were in stock then won’t be there today. Jobs’ legacy depends largely on the continuing popularity of Apple, and with an unbelievable turnover like that, it’s doubtful it will slow down any time soon.

  3. Apple has a brilliant business strategy:


    Another reason to believe Apple’s profits and reputation (and thus Jobs’ legacy) will keep climbing is that their strategy of making money off of hardware simply works. Their profits, $11.6 billion in the most recent quarter, come mostly from selling iPhones, iPads, Macs, and iPods, rather than iTunes songs, apps, or other software. Compare this to Amazon’s strategy of making money from media content and to their last quarter profit of $192 million. That money’s nothing to scoff at, but Apple’s strategy keeps them far beyond the reach of content-focused companies. If you’re not learning about this strategy and Jobs’ influence in business school, you should ask for your money back.

  4. He’s responsible for Pixar:


    Without Jobs, we wouldn’t have Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen, or Nemo. In 1986, Jobs bought a piece of Lucasfilms, which he intended to use to sell computers and software for 3D animation to Disney and the government. The industry-changing film aspect came as a step toward that goal when they animated short films to demonstrate the computers’ capabilities. Jobs then saw the true potential of the company and signed a film deal with Disney; Toy Story was born. Whether you’re in a film history class in the future or just enjoying the continuing line of award-winning movies Pixar produces, you’ll be reminded that Jobs was behind the Pixar magic.

  5. He changed the way products are announced to the public:


    Whenever Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to announce Apple’s newest products and updates, we can’t help but think of Jobs. Many effective presentations today, and especially those at Apple, borrow from Jobs’ announcement style. Wearing relaxed clothing and giving quippy but passionate summaries of products in front of a wall of snappy, attractive slides is Job’s signature technique that has been imitated by many seeking similar success. Every time we see a larger-than-life slideshow and someone using Jobs’ presentation tips, we’ll talk about the innovator.

  6. Nice guys aren’t always the most memorable:


    Gladwell’s argument that Gates will be remembered because he’s philanthropic might be a nice thought, but it disregards the way history actually plays out. Nice guys should be remembered over the jerks, but sometimes jerks make a bigger impression. Take the classic example of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Edison is known as possibly the greatest inventor of all time, a title that could’ve easily gone to Tesla, a brilliant man who was often cast out of the spotlight and discredited by Edison. We’re not saying that history is going to remember Jobs, who was known to be a jerk frequently, over Gates, but Jobs accomplishments are going to stand out regardless of his personal shortcomings.

  7. He had an iconic wardrobe:


    Fifty years from now, Jobs is going to be remembered if for no other reason than this: the hipsters of 2062 are going to be dressing like him for Halloween. His iconic black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers will make a simple costume for cool kids of the future. “I’m Steve Jobs, of course. I’ve watched recordings of his presentations before he was turned into a hologram.” We can bet that Bill Gates won’t be given this privilege!