Steve Jobs, born in California 56 years ago to a young cash-strapped couple, achieved the kind of world domination that eluded the Soviet Union. While not everyone could afford Jobs’s sleek products, nearly everyone knew about them – and aspired to buy them.
Initially, Apple’s goal was much more modest. “We didn’t think that computers would be able to play sophisticated games, play songs or do video editing, or even that the Internet would exist,” Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Jobs, recently told Metro.
“We thought people would use computers at home for very simple things, like organizing their recipe collection.” Soon, however, Jobs had raised the bar. At age 27, he recruited PepsiCo executive John Sculley to become Apple’s CEO with the question, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
“Steve set the bar high and moved it even higher,” Dean Hovey tells Metro. Hovey, founder of design firm IDEO, designed Apple’s groundbreaking mouse. Jobs got the idea for the mouse at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in Silicon Valley. “He was a genius in how he spotted ideas and talent,” says Hovey. “He got fanatical about it. PARC inspired him with a lot of stuff, but it doesn’t mean that they had a product that everyone could use.”
Fanatical, indeed. Jobs famously didn’t use consumer focus groups: he didn’t think people knew what they’d like. Instead, he trusted his own instinct, and with every new product he was proven right.
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” wrote new Apple CEO Tim Cook in an email to the staff. “Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
One person was hoping to say farewell to Jobs, but didn’t get a chance: his father. Syrian-born John Jandali, a Las Vegas casino executive. In the 1990s he told a newspaper he wanted to meet Jobs, but Jobs didn’t respond.
“I don’t want him to think I’m after his money,” Jandali told The Sun. “I have money. What I don’t have is my son.”