India today (Oct 6, 2011) woke up to shocking news – the death of Steve Jobs (Oct 5, 2011). Everyone knew it was a matter of time before he would die but yet everyone was shocked and “saddened”. Today was going to be a special day in India – Dasara was being celebrated across the country.
The main significance of Dasara being an end of evil (corruption if you may) and we hear the death of a good man. Yes, his competitors did see Steve Jobs as “evil” as his quality was so superior that it hurt their balance sheets.
My Introduction to Apple Products
In my first job in the US (EVB Software Engineering), during 1992-93 time frame I used a Macintosh for the first time. The monitor size was “impressive enough” during those days, today it seems smartphones screens are almost as big as those old screens! Macs were very expensive during those days and most of us stuck onto the sluggish Windows 3.1.
My daughter’s first computer definitely was a Macintosh!
For a brief period, I programmed in Objective-C on NeXT computers.
By no means, I was a “power” user of a Mac. After a long gap, we bought our first Apple product at home – iPod, followed by iPad and just recently an iMac.
Steve Jobs – The India Connection
Steve Jobs at 18 (in 1973) visited India in search of enlightenment or ‘nirvana’ and went back unsatisfied. If he had visited now, wonder how many hours he would have lasted in India (2G, CWG, land scams)!
He came to India with his friend Dan Kottke to meet his guru Neem Karori Baba, but before they could reach the ashram Neem died.
Somehow things never worked between Steve Jobs & India – he tried to set up something in India but shelved it quickly (his reasons could be a worry for India). China gained in a big way from Apple, it directly/indirectly employed over a million in China.
A Buddhist and vegetarian, he wanted to avoid surgery and try alternative medicine to cure his pancreatic cancer (diagnosed in 2003). In his famous Stanford Commencement Address, he said,
I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.
Tweets, Condolences in India
The entire day twitter has been filled with #SteveJobs tweets. Politicians, celebrities in India have been acknowledging his contribution. Even our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had something to say about Steve Jobs (we weren’t aware our PM was Apple savvy) – “Jobs was an innovative man who taught the world to connect” – glad the standard obituary message wasn’t released from the PM’s office.
In India when a politician or movie actor dies (especially in South India) innocent citizens feel the wrath for no reason. It is usually an ugly turn of events. Apple’s homepage was simple and classy.
He Could Predict What The User Would Want
“We’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users – the users don’t have to come to them, they come to the user.”
Steve Jobs – Perfectionist, Innovator, Entrepreneur
This incident will demonstrate the level of his perfection – He did not want to hear the fan noise in a Macintosh [in 1984], it took six months for engineers to get rid of the fan, yet dissipate the heat.
On Sept 17, 1985, he quit Apple. Steve Jobs sold all of his Apple stock, kept one share for $100m to start NeXT Computers. He spent $100k to design the logo, simply because he wanted it to be special and perfect. NeXT developed OpenStep over which most of the current Mac OS X has been built. Apple bought NeXT in 1996 and Steve Jobs was back in Apple.
In 1986 he bought Pixar for $10m. In 2006 Walt Disney bought Pixar at a valuation of $7.4 billion, making Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney ($4.4 billion/ 7% of Disney at the time of his death).
He introduced iPod in 2001 at a whopping $400 a piece, a gamble which worked and changed Apple’s fortunes. Launched iPhone in 2007, iPad in 2010. His recent series of successes seem to have wiped out his failures. He personally introduced products on stage for over 30 years.
While it sounds trivial today, Steve Jobs insisted on giving the ability for the end user to “change fonts“.
The surge in Apple Stock
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, if you had bought 100 shares for about $400, today it would have been worth approximately $38,000 (source: CNN).
Last reported he owned about 5.5 billion shares of Apple (worth $2.1 billion at the time of his death), took an annual salary of $1! His net worth was reported to be approximately $7-8 billion.
(Lack of ) Innovation in India
Steve Jobs undoubtedly was known for his innovation. Just few days ago Narayana Murthy commented on the deteriorating quality of IIT graduates, his concern is the lack of innovation from the cream of India. Our culture doesn’t allow us to innovate, question people – we are afraid of failures. Needless to say this needs to change.
India is very conscious about the school from which you “earn” your degree. One must note that Steve Jobs was a school dropout, it was his hunger that brought him the success.
Apple Products in India
Lately, Apple products have become very popular in India. The official showrooms are having a roaring business. Reasonably sure all his fans in India would say RIP.