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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Steve Jobs: ‘Insanely great, he created a nursery for young talent’

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Veteran ICT journalist John Lamb pays tribute to Steve Jobs who died today:

The death at 56 of Apple founder, Steve Jobs, is a blow to all those who have grown up with the IT industry.
Together with Steve Wozniak, Jobs – catch phrase “insanely great” – produced the first mass-produced home computer in the 1970s, a stylish alternative to its kit-based predecessors.
 
From the start, Jobs had an instinctive feel for what people would buy and how to sell it to them. He also had a sharp eye for innovation: it was said he first saw the mouse, icon and pointer interface that he adopted for the 1983 Macintosh on a visit to Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre.
 
Developers at his Cupertino, California, headquarters worked long hours, but Jobs created a nursery for young talent, laying on pool tables, free drinks and a Harley Davidson bike for his research staff.
 
Again and again, they came up with the goods: from desktop publishing to iconic hardware such as the iMac and iPhone. The sight of Jobs, clad in black, alone on a stage gripping the latest product to “put a dent in the universe” became a symbol of technological progress.
 
Many of Jobs contemporaries talked about what was possible with IT, but what marked Jobs out was his determination to see it through. He often went out on a limb only to confound his doubters. It is not surprising that he built a cult following.
 
Apple products have always been a bit too left field for many in the public sector; too pricey maybe. Things important to government departments and local authorities such as security, customer service and back-up are not part of the Apple package. At one time GCHQ even refused to clear the iPhone for use by government ministers because of its lack of encryption.
 
But few can fail to acknowledge Jobs’ pivotal role in shaping an entire industry and bringing its products from the computer clubs of San Francisco to a global audience.
 

I have a memory of Jobs turning a top London hotel upside down with a request for Camp coffee, a liquid form of the beverage, in the end staff had to go out and buy it. The little incident seems typical of Jobs: different, demanding and able to get his way.

Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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