Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs: America's Greatest Failure

Example of one of Steve Jobs' epic, bonehead failures:
Nick Schulz writing in today's National Review Online:

"Lots of digital ink will be spilled about Steve Jobs in the coming days, most of it focusing on his truly marvelous successes.  It’s better to focus on his failures. 

Jobs failed better than anyone else in Silicon Valley, maybe better than anyone in corporate America. By that I mean Jobs did what only the greatest entrepreneurs can do: learn from their failures. I don’t mean learn from their mistakes. I mean learn from their abject, humiliating, bonehead, epic fails.  [Examples: Apple I and early Apple II, Lisa (pictured above), and NeXT.]         

Jobs is a great entrepreneur for another reason. Lots of ninnies can give customers products they want. Jobs gave people products they didn’t know they wanted, and then made those products indispensable to their lives

I didn’t know I needed the ability to read the Wall Street Journal and The Corner on a handsome handheld device at my breakfast table, on the Metro, on the Acela, or in any Starbucks I entered. But Steve Jobs did. I didn’t know I wanted to mix and match my music collection on a computer and take it with me wherever I went, but Steve Jobs did. I didn’t know I wanted a portable multimedia platform that would permit me and my kids to hurl angry birds out of a slingshot at thieving pigs. But Steve Jobs did.  

All those successes were made possible by failure after failure after failure and the lessons learned from those failures.  

There’s a moral here for a Washington culture that fears failure too much. In today’s Washington, large banks aren’t permitted to fail; nor are large auto firms. Next up will be too-big-to-fail hospital systems. Steve Jobs is a reminder that failure is a good and necessary thing. And that sometimes the greatest glories are born of catastrophe."

5 Comments:

At 8/25/2011 8:41 AM, Blogger The Grouch said...

Don't forget the Newton-- way ahead of its time.

 
At 8/25/2011 8:57 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

nor the NeXT computer...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXT_Computer

 
At 8/25/2011 10:57 AM, Blogger juandos said...

One of the reasons Steven Jobs is successful is due to the fact that he was smart enough or lucky enough to go into the digital electronics market, one of the least government controlled markets in this country and thereby making that whole market sector one of the most profitable...

Consider the following PJTV postings of Glenn Reynolds doing a short interview with John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T: The Government Caused the Financial Crisis, Not Greed

 
At 8/25/2011 12:14 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

The problem isn't so much that the politicians are afraid of failure. It's more that, in an effort to avoid failure, they just pile on more debt, thereby leaving the ultimate problem to someone else.

 
At 8/25/2011 8:59 PM, Blogger Charles Platt said...

"I didn’t know I needed the ability to read the Wall Street Journal and The Corner on a handsome handheld device...."

The writer didn't know that? Surely this was obvious since the first BBSs running on 14.4 modems.

"I didn’t know I wanted to mix and match my music collection on a computer and take it with me wherever I went."

Ditto. As soon as MP3s were developed, this was obvious.

Maybe Jobs's great achievements was to make obvious ideas comprehensible to hopelessly unimaginative journalists--and simple enough for them to use.

 

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