Like all people I was surprised and not surprised when Steve Jobs announced his resignation from Apple this week. With his health issues in the past, it was expected that this day would eventually come. It made me think about my Apple experience and why I respect Steve Jobs immensely.
My Apple Experience
My Apple experience is probably quite similar to many people out there. Early on I resisted working on Apple Technology as I viewed the technology as being limiting and beneath me. I even bugged my brother about his Apple fervor endlessly. I mean isn’t Apple just for all the people who don’t know technology? I certainly don’t need use one. Then one weekend after I was getting annoyed with the aesthetics and performance of my Windows tower at home, I wandered into Best Buy. I saw the Imac and thought I would give it a try to see how limiting it actually was.
My plan was that I would just use it for browsing, email, and pictures. I had prepared myself for how limiting it would be and how little I would be able to do and have control over. I had told myself that my kids and wife would use it more. And that was true, at the start. Then I found iTunes, the Unix-based OS, iLife, iPods, and how easy everything was. (including uninstalling applications) There really is something to be said about a computer that doesn’t need an instruction manual. I was hooked. The iMac was simple but yet robust.
Now I still use my Windows 7 machine at work and there are things that both technologies excel at.
But the most telling statement is that if I am doing something that can be done on both, I rarely turn on my Windows 7 machine.
What Steve Jobs means to me
Steve Jobs to me is someone who has three competencies not usually found in one person:
- Singular Design – I think everyone would agree that Steve has a real skill for looking at designs and products from an end-user perspective. He always sought simplicity with singularity. Singularity is the one aspect I love about Apple products. There is only one way to do something. I find that it sometimes confused the matter when other technologies provides multiple ways. They think they are helping, but all they end of doing is killing Unicorns. It may take a little longer to learn the one way, but it will be simpler after that one way is learned.
- Bravery – I think the best quality that Steve Jobs has is bravery. He frequently promoted ideas that weren’t just addressing problems. They typically addressed an opportunity to provide more to the client. They typically were revolutionary and not evolutionary. He then had the convictions to follow through on these ideas and ensure they happened. I think we can all be a bit more brave and do things that are constantly improving things.
- Charm – Steve is compelling, passionate, and inspires confidence. To quote Kramer from Seinfeld: “It is all about poise! Poise counts” I think this poise was critical to execute those brave, singular designs.
I think about being brave at lot in regards to Agile. I always ask myself am I being Brave and creating new ideas and expanding the understanding and use of Agile or am I just promoting other’s best practices. I think there is a time and place for both, but we are professionals need to ensure we do both.