8 May 2007

Stay hungry, stay foolish

I have just finished reading IWOZ and iCON - books on the co founders of Apple. I was drawn into their experiences in the early years when they started out from their homes, experimenting with chips and trying to make computers.

Immediately my mind went back to my school days where we had the rudimentary BBC Micro. After the initial excitement of playing games like Pacman and OddJob we were told that the machine could also do many useless things also. Programming in BASIC we would try to make it do silly jobs like make an inventory for the school library (what was the point? Most of the books were never returned!). Finally after many months when it worked, we jumped around the machine with childlike joy. I think all computers after that have just been machines which work faster at the job and are sleeker – they never matched my first love.

Back to Apple. Mainstream media has always painted the founders as brilliant minds who created wonderful machines and then burnt out because the markets changed or they refused to move onto new products or their personal ambitions got the better of them. However, I found the relationship between the two interesting. Wozniak was always pissed that he got less credit for Apple computers with Steve appearing on magazine covers throughout the 80s and 90s.

This is a constant debate in creative fields – whose idea was it? who gets the credit? how much should I be paid for it? The questions and arguments are endless and very often we lose a lot of time and energy till we often abandon projects half-way. The drive is gone and so is the hunger.

However Steve Jobs did not lose that hunger. He never bothered about what people thought or whether he was hurting people or treading on their toes. He went onto create Pixar (which redefined animation films) and then came back and revived Apple with the ipod. Read the speech he delivered to students at Stanford that ends with the lines - Stay hungry, Stay foolish. It will make you see your own life in a new light.

Image credit : Businessweek


Anonymous said...

gimme a break!

'doesn't care'?!...steve job is a friggin power-hungry, media hound, buddy. what world do you live in?!just look at his shenanigans/histrionics at the annual apple share holders' meeting.

if he was in bill gates' position, he would have swallowed the competition as much as, if not more than, microsoft did.

and trust me, don't go by commencement speeches. he's got people to write that stuff for him.

and considering it was at stanford, the speech writer was probably from mit. those chumps are so unoriginal ;)

Shyam said...

I would not characterize Steve Jobs as "someone who doesn't care what others think". I would say that the present day Bill Gates is a better bearer of that title. This is for better and for worse. So you find that Microsoft rarely delivers what its users ask for but, at the same time, Bill Gates donates most of his money AND TIME for research that is extremely important but not popular for usual donors. On the other hand, Steve Jobs, is very good at what he does. He is a perfectionist and has a good eye for what people will want to own. Plus he is a genius at packaging and marketing (even himself). (Remember how he always wears a black turtleneck and jeans. Quick, can anyone remember what Bill Gates was wearing in his last presentation?) So he has managed to keep Apple alive and kicking through the years. Of course, it does help that Apple has always had a subpopulation of rabid supporters who buy everything that the company makes. There is a very nice article in Ars Technica about how PC marketshare has changed over the years. Apple's trend in the last page is especially telling. Of course, it's nothing compared to Commodore's crash. Anyone remember the Commodores. :-)