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One lesson we learned from Steve Jobs

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Steve Jobs? Apple CEO?

The news was stunning, even if not completely unexpected: Steve Jobs, the iconic co-founder of Apple Inc., who will be remembered for!among many other things!his showmanship and larger-than-life public persona, died peacefully, surrounded by his family.

In the coming hours, days, weeks and years, there will be volumes written about Jobs, his impact and his legacy. Many will wax eloquently about the man who transcended electronics and literally changed the world during two stints at the company he helped build. No doubt, some of these endeavors will offer profound insights into Jobs' genius and his place in history. But it is difficult to imagine that any will truly encapsulate the extraordinary life and phenomenon of Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs

The biggest lesson I think the electronics industry took from Steve Jobs is the boldness of his vision!his willingness to truly reach for the brass ring.

I can pretend no special insight. I never actually spoke to Jobs, or got closer to within about 30 feet (convert to m) of him. I didn't know Jobs; I knew of him, of course, but I am hardly alone in that. It is simply beyond me to comprehensively sum up Jobs' contribution to the electronics industry, much less society as a whole.

Still, as someone who frequently has the opportunity to speak with people who work in electronics, I'm constantly impressed by the widespread desire to emulate Apple, not just in consumer electronics but in the semiconductor industry and its supply chain. People are justifiably amazed by Jobs' ability to create an ecosystem around Apple's products that compounds their value to customers.

The biggest lesson I think the electronics industry took from Steve Jobs is the boldness of his vision!his willingness to truly reach for the brass ring. So much of electronics has been and will continue to be about engineering out as much cost as possible to compete on price with razor thin margins. Jobs didn't want any part of that. He showed the world, repeatedly, that if you go the extra mile to create products that truly resonate with customers, they will not only pay a premium but stand in line, rain or shine, to get their hands on them.

Not that everyone can or should believe they can command a premium on their products the way that Apple does. Apple has always been a special case for several reasons, many of which can be at least partially credited to Jobs' leadership. It's not as though firms can emulate Apple's success by following a step-by-step blueprint. Still, Jobs showed the entire electronics world that extraordinary heights were achievable if leaders were willing to make bold investments, take the road less traveled and, in the grammatically incorrect words of the famous Apple ad campaign, think different.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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