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Steve Jobs: The Walt Disney of Technology
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(cross posted from my Disney Fan Ramblings blog...)

As everyone probably knows, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday, October 5th, 2011, at the age of 56. He's been battling cancer for at least 10 years, and though I haven't seen anything yet about the exact cause of his death (not because it isn't out there, I just haven't had time to look that much), I'd assume it was cancer-related.

I have read commentaries and seen news reports suggesting that Jobs is the Einstein of his generation. I don't know. There are different types of genius. Einstein was a genius with physics. He could see through the equations to the extension of our reality that we call "special relativity" today. But I don't really think he was a genius in terms of people skills.

A more apt comparison is probably to the 'raison d'etre' for my "Disney Fan Ramblings" and many other blogs, Walt Disney himself. Walt was a genius, not because of his great artistic skills, not because of his intellect in academics, but because of his feel for what people wanted. Walt gave people animated feature films when the prevailing wisdom held that no one would ever go sit through a cartoon of that length. Then he built these things called "theme parks" that the experts felt would never succeed. They did succeed, beyond anyone's wildest expectations, because of Walt's special genius - a gift for knowing what people liked and wanted.

Steve Jobs had this same type of genius. He didn't invent the first Apple computer; according to what I've heard, Steve Wozniak was the one who built it. He didn't invent mp3 players, or cell phones, or tablet computers. But his genius was in recognizing the potential of these devices, and how they would relate to what people actually wanted and needed. He led in shaping the direction of these implements, and others have followed, but Steve Jobs' genius has placed Apple firmly at the forefront of their development, a step ahead of their competitors.

He also exhibited his genius when he saw Pixar for what it could be. George Lucas HAD Pixar in his pocket, but didn't recognize the potential there. Jobs did. Jobs let those boys work in the direction they wanted to go, recognizing the quality of what they were doing, and gave them enough time to succeed beyond their wildest expectations - eventually being bought by Disney and making Steve Jobs one of Disney's largest (if not THE largest) shareholders.

To Steve Jobs, the Walt Disney of Technology and one of those rare folks who are legitimately known as a genius, rest in peace.


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