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The directness of Apple's approach was captured in its legendary baseline 'think different', almost an insolent retort to IBM's then running 'think' campaign. Perhaps as David showed ages ago, taking on the Goliaths, might all be about well aimed pot shots.

Jobs Steve Innovator

The sad demise of Steve Jobs has deprived the world, of one of its greatest storytellers.

Steve Jobs brushed some compelling insights, about what it takes to walk the pioneering path. Five years after he made his final journey to the great beyond; these remain behind as milestones, for all those who want to take the road less trodden.

Throwing open the category

Computers were initially seen as machines, which could be used only by engineers. Steve Jobs liberated the entire industry. He democratized access to computers. Apple pioneered many concepts like graphical user interface (GUI) and such; that opened doors for the 'non techie', to embrace computing.

And the rest as they say was chemistry- a case of the new user really bonding with the category.

Making the computer accessible to the general public seems obvious today; as all brave ideas appear with the benefit of hindsight. But Steve Jobs was among the very first, to realize the fruits of such an initiative.

Challenging the established giant

Apple presented an almost rebellious point of view, to the prevalent paradigm established by IBM.

Where IBM was huge and distant, Apple was friendly and inclusive. Apple looked at computers like they needed to be objects of desire, not machines of efficiency. Apple was positioning itself as the upstart, ready to take on the bullies. In doing so, it successfully placed itself on the same pedestal as IBM. And this was a comparison that was certainly played to Apple's advantage by Jobs.

The directness of Apple's approach was captured in its legendary baseline 'think different', almost an insolent retort to IBM's then running 'think' campaign. Perhaps as David showed ages ago, taking on the Goliaths, might all be about well aimed pot shots.

Invading other domains

With the i-pod and the i-phone; Steve Jobs infused 'Appleness', into two completely different and distinctly diverse arenas of human interest.

What is really interesting about Apple's ventures in these domains, is how they got transformed post that event. Apple was able to bring in an 'out of the box' perspective; to fields that had only been experiencing incremental innovations. Steve Jobs was able to transmit Apple's edge in digital technology, beyond the confines of personal computers.

Understanding a brand's core competency is an elusive endeavor. Often massive success in a particular field; tends to limit and blinker this definition. Being able to see latent opportunities in other spheres becomes increasingly difficult. But Steve Jobs's forays into these uncharted waters through Apple, simply turned out to be music to everyone's ears.

Building folklore around the brand

The Apple success story was never about numbers; though they weren't bad by any stretch. It was about insight, intrigue and involvement.

From Apple's stand against IBM, to the manner in which Jobs hired Joe Scully- providing an immortal recruitment punch line -'do you want to sell colored water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?'

From the manner in which fans flocked at stores; in anticipation of a new product launch. To the emphatic panache with which Jobs himself pitched these products at presentations, raising the bar for the other CEO's.

Steve Jobs ensured that Apple used the oldest trick in the book, to hold audience attention-by narrating a riveting modern day fairytale.

Rising again after setbacks

Finally the life of Steve Jobs, also celebrates taking disappointments in ones stride. This is a facet central to any innovative process.

It is not like there were no product failures for Apple-the high profile disappointment of the Newton, being a case in point. It was not as if Steve Jobs had it all his way-briefly he was asked to leave the company that he founded.

But as Henry Ford put it, 'failure is an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently'. Both Apple and Steve Jobs showed remarkable resilience in bouncing back with renewed energy. And that is what eventually separates the champions, from the pretenders.

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Steve Jobs leaves behind an 'i-generation'; a passionate following of people weaned on Apple products. Barack Obama perhaps best summed up Jobs's influence on the world when he said, 'millions across the world learnt about his demise, on a device he had helped invent'.

Now that is called leaving behind a mark!

This article has previously been published on afaqs!

Patron Saint-Juhu Beach United
Author, Creative Thinking Trainer, Brand Ideation Consultant,

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