Why iCon

Posted by Swaroop C H on June 9, 2007 Filed under: books

I read the iCon book recently and have been wondering what makes people (like me) so fascinated about Steve Jobs?

  • He didn't create any great technology or product, it was people who worked with him who did all that, for example, Steve Wozniak and John Lasseter.
  • He was a leader, a manager, that was his role. He's an inspiring leader, is that why he's admired?
  • Or is it because he's ruthless in executing his visions and ideas?
  • Or is it because he gives such enrapturing keynote speeches that they are now called "Stevenotes"?

I guess it just goes to show that he's a man of many contradictions.

The best example that I've come across of how he can inspire people is his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 (the official video is available for download using iTunes). This speech was so powerful that I know of one friend who quit his job after hearing that speech and decided to go chase his dreams. That was a huge risk but guess what, he's doing much better than before now.

The book has some interesting accounts of how Steve came to India in search of "truth", wore a lungi, went travelling in cities and deserts, and even meeting a baba in the Himalayas (which itself is quite a story). Another story was how he hung out with his New Age buddies at an apple farm in Oregon, which is eventually how the company was named Apple. Then there are the accounts of how Steve demanded absolute loyalty from his friends to accounts of his taste in the kind of ads that Apple made and so on. It was a good read.

The bottom line is that he led Apple and Pixar and collectively changed three major industries for the better - the computer industry, the animated movies industry and the music industry. And he has battled cancer and survived. All this in a single lifetime. And he's only fifty. That's why I admire him so much.


Umang says:

More than any of the four points you've mentioned, I think Steve Jobs is a master at marketing and PR.

Aanjhan says:

Yes. I have been reading this book. A very interesting one.. I was also recommended iWoz (Steve Wozniak)

PizzaDude says:

Oh! I must get my hands on that book and also on that video. I think I am very badly in need of an inspiring talk.

Swaroop says:

@Umang: Oh yes, definitely. I was thinking about that when I wrote "stevenote" but didn't explicitly write about his marketing skills.

@Vishal: Let's hope so, I think the overhype around iPhone has made me little skeptical about it.

Vishal says:

And now, he is about to change the telephone :-)


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