Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Great vision was just part of this Jobs lot


I'm too old to have got into the cult of Apple. Too old and too uninterested to have surfed the technological wave.

I never really trusted computers. As a journo, I grew up with old newsroom typewriters and the clattering of the computer keyboard could never replace the satisfaction of banging typewriter keys and slamming return carriages.

But some of my more visionary, creative friends truly got Steve Jobs and his once-in-a-lifetime genius. They had the first Apple Macs, fell in love with their iPods, were in awe of the iPhone and queued to buy iPads.

Jobs was their iDol and, from what commentators are saying, deservedly so. The boy who was born to unmarried college students and adopted by a middle-class Californian family grew into one of the most visionary entrepreneurs of the 20th century. His impact on the world has been compared with that of Thomas Eddison and Henry Ford. He had no formal technical training, he dropped out of college and didn't have any management certificates. He was fired from the company he started and then rehired when Apple was floundering and led it to its position as one of the most successful companies in the world.

He had no qualms about demanding the very best wherever he was and whatever he was doing and, ultimately, he had no fear of death, using the knowledge of his own mortality to follow his heart and go all out in the drive for better and more beautiful designs.

He may have had no fear, but what he did have was vision and drive and the desire to expose himself "to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things to what you're doing". He understood the power of aesthetics in the functional and the desire for his generation to stand out from the herd.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw (and Robert Kennedy), he was a man who never looked at the world and asked why? He looked at the world and asked why not? Would that there were more men like him.

- Herald on Sunday

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