Frankly, I can’t say I liked Steve Jobs very much as a person.
By all accounts, he was a very disruptive character. In his time, he had disrupted a number of major industries. Also, he had raised the bar so high that any hopes I had of becoming an icon one day had now been completely dashed. But what really really got my goat was that I heard he could cuss much better than anyone, including me, and I thought I was pretty darn good already. Damn!
But I realise that as a writer, and a blogger, I don’t have the luxury to indulge in such personal pettiness and prejudices, at least not where it involves this man. For I, and all currently active writers and bloggers owe him a great debt for the practice of our craft. He had made our lives as writers so much easier, and indeed made it possible for us to be bloggers. Much of what he had been able to accomplish, he had done so through a combination of his genius, his maniacal doggedness to create great products, and I suspect, also his propensity to shower verbal abuse for all unwilling or unable to rise up to his ability to imagine the future.
It was he who disrupted the publishing market and paved the way for the then revolutionary desk-top publishing when he ushered in the Mac in 1984. He and his company, Apple, introduced graphical user interface to computer users. The then text-based DOS market was shaken up so dramatically that it forced Microsoft to follow Apple’s lead quickly so as to stay relevant. Now graphical user interfaces are the norms on all PCs. And a whole generation of bloggers has since been birthed because of it.
Then he brought on the iphone, which was aimed at disrupting the phone industry, but has the added, perhaps unintended, benefit of a note-taking feature. Gone are the days when we as writers had to hunt high and low for those scraps of paper or notebooks (the prehistoric ones, made actually out of trees) on which we had scribbled random thoughts or ideas, which we invariably couldn’t find when we needed to refer to them. Think about all the profound thoughts forever lost to mankind, just because they won’t stick in our minds, and the things we stuck them on refused to show up on call.
Today, thanks to Mr Jobs, all we have to do when we feel the onrush of an idea is to reach out for our iphones, and with a few simple taps, that brain wave is forever hard-wired into the nifty little gadget, ready to be retrieved anytime. And should we lose the darn (see, I told you I’m good) thing, we can always go to our Mac, or, no offense, Mr Jobs, our PC, so long as we had been disciplined enough to ‘sync’ the two.
And for anything more than a few fleeting thoughts, there’s the iPad, which is basically an enlarged version of the iphone. We can cram as much verbiage as we wish into this wide-screen lightweight champ, and continue working on it for as long as we wish, wherever we wish. Come time to do some rewrite or revision, we can simply transfer the drafts to the Macbook, or the PC or laptop. And write on further.
There had never been a better time than now for people to write and/or blog. All the tools we never really knew we needed to make our work easier are out there already The only way all this i-gadgetry can be topped will be by something called, maybe, the “iWriter”, which will take away the real heavy duty writing from us. I’m not sure if that will augur a steep ascent into writing heaven, or a sharp descent into writing hell. All I know is that I’m glad Steve Jobs didn’t get that done in his time. But who’s to know if Tim Cook doesn’t have it on his plate right now ?
In the meantime, let’s just be thankful for what we already have from The Great Disruptor. Please join me in a big shout-out for the man , “Great Jobs, Steve!”