Lots of thoughts and words about Steve Jobs in the wind tonight. He has gone too soon.
What sticks for me is that he was relentlessly about the product and maybe more abstractly about the experience of interacting with the product. From the humble Apple II to the Lisa, the Mac, NeXT, Pixar, iPod, iPhone, iPad and the MacBook Air, even the Apple store, the integrity of the design, the feel, the experience was his focus. It has taken a long time for the rest of us to begin to catch up with him and grasp what he was about.
For me, it happened about four years ago. I had been reading in interaction design and interface design when, on the recommendation of a couple of my clients, I bought an iPhone after my Motorola died.
I was transfixed.
This was what a cell phone was meant to be. At that moment, I grokked Apple. Shortly thereafter my IBM ThinkPad passed away and I promptly bought a MacBook Pro which I use to this day. Over the next year, all our PCs were replaced by Macs and last year we put in an Apple Xserve server, as elegant a piece of engineering as I have ever seen.
If we are to do more than enjoy the fruits of Steve Jobs’ genius, then we must internalize what he demonstrated to us in every dimension of the company he built. Whether it is a call to tech support (actually they call you), an interaction at the Genius Bar at the Apple store, downloading an album you remember from your youth on iTunes, the quality of the experience works. The caring shines through.
If we want to honor his contributions and memory, let each of us step to the bar he set, and scrutinize the experiences we create for others, at home, at work, with our customers and ask the question, “Have I created an experience for them that has made them smile, made them feel good?” Steve Jobs showed us that this is not only very good business, but creates a very good life.