Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Steve Jobs' invention exhibit in Washington, DC.

Rob Mahaffey alerted me to the new exhibit dedicated to Steve Jobs at the US Patent Office in Washington, DC. Don't miss it if you are going to the capital.
USPTO Press Release -- Located in the atrium of the Madison Building, the exhibit features more than 300 of the patents that bear the name of the iconic innovator along with many of the trademarks that have given Apple its instantly recognizable identity around the world. The display gives insight into the visionary commitment Jobs gave to each of the products and designs he influenced during his time with Apple, the company he co-founded at the age of 21 with his friend and fellow computer enthusiast Steve Wozniak.

 I don't want to be too picky, but it's sad to see that the public's perception of Steve Jobs' contribution is reduced to iPhone*. People don't realize that he created a whole system to support iPhone-based breakthrough. That is, Jobs put together a coalition of players like Google (cloud/applications), ATT (wireless infrastructure), "Hollywood, Inc (content)," Samsung (hardware), Chinese manufacturers, and many others  who by themselves wouldn't be able to achieve a qualitative change in technology.

Today, a person on the street knows that "Edison invented the light bulb*," despite the fact that Edison designed and implemented the whole electricity distribution system. The light bulb was a relatively small part of his achievement. Similarly, a few generations from now, people will be thinking that Jobs invented the iPhone... With all due respect, the role of true innovators is under-hyped.

* David Kahneman calls this psychological effect WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is). People have hard time imagining things and concepts beyond their immediate experience.

tags: innovation, tool, system, media, information

1 comment:

Вождь краснокожих said...

Very insightful. Thanks.

Still, the amount of Steve idolizing and worshiping that goes on is a bit disturbing. After all, SJ did not do any of these things all by himself.

Rather, he had a small army of very bright folks whom he often drove crazy or abused outright, who actually did most of the heavy lifting.

Granted, his ideas were bold and it's hard to quarrel with the results that he and Apple achieved. All the same, ask anyone who was actually close to the man, and you will not find the kind of Kim Jong Il style mourning we saw at the infinite loop.

I say, kudos to the man, but I am glad he in high tech, rather than a dictator of a small country.