Steve Jobs is said to be the Thomas Edison of our generation. In 1976, he and his high school friend Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer, Inc. in his parent’s garage in California. Jobs became obsessed with the idea of the personal computer. With only one investor, Mike Markkula, Apple created the first successful and highly produced personal computer, the Apple II. At 23 years old, both Jobs and Wozniak had stock worth more money than they could imagine. Although he created Apple, the Board of Directors demanded that an experienced executive run the company. With the threat of IBM’s PC always close, Steve worked around the clock to create the Macintosh. Jobs created one of the greatest commercials of all time to launch his creation to the world.
Despite all his work, the original Macintosh was dismissed by the world of technology and the fate of Apple as a company was questioned. Meanwhile, IBM’s PC dominated the market. Jobs’ genius became too much for the company and he was forced out. In 1985, taking five top Apple managers with him, Jobs set out to create a new company with his original intention…create the greatest computer the world had ever seen. The company was named Next and they created the perfect computer from the inside out. Unfortunately, the NEXT computer was too expensive to find a place in the consumer marketplace and the company began to struggle. With no other options, they decided to drop their focus on hardware and focus solely on their extraordinary software.
Jobs had always had a fascination with Hollywood and was given an opportunity to purchase a small animation company known as Pixar from Lucas Films. Jobs now controlled two struggling startups, both of which had revolutionary software. Pixar hired an animator from Disney, John Lasseter, who was a technical and creative genius. The company, working with Disney, used their software and animation savvy to create the first entirely computer animated film which they called Toy Story. Toy Story changed everything. The movie became 1995’s highest grossing film in the United States and made over $365 million in the box office. Toy Story allowed Pixar to go public making Steve Jobs a billionaire.
In the meantime, Apple was struggling and in 1997 Jobs returned to rescue the company. His success in Pixar, Next and his reinvention of the Apple brand gave him what’s said to be the greatest turnaround in corporate America. In the years to come Jobs would have a profound influence on technology, film, cellphones and even the music industry. His introduction of the iPod and the creation of iTunes allowed people to purchase individual songs legally for the first time. His invention, the iPhone, showed us that cellphones aren’t just for making calls. The iPad in 2010 gave us a touch screen computer we didn’t know we needed and now can’t live without. All the while Jobs was struggling a rare form of pancreatic cancer. With his failing health, Job’s resigned as Apple CEO last month, staying on as chairman. Yesterday, October 5, 2011, Jobs died at the age of 56.
Some of the greatest minds in technology have issued public statements to the press. So here’s to the ambitious, the greatest, the innovative, the inspiring, the idealistic, and the charismatic Steven Jobs. The worlds of technology, mobile, music and film will be forever in your debt. Rest in peace.
Sources: Print- The Virginian-Pilot, Video- Bloomberg Game Changers