One word, actually two: Steve Jobs. Born in 1955, Steven Paul Jobs was our era’s leader among leaders. Can we contest this statement? No. The person, better defined as a persona behind Apple was THE man, both figuratively and literally.
Co-founding Apple in the 1970s, Jobs was both a visionary and a global trend-setter. His unstoppable geniality and visions of how to model and redesign the future of technological advances made Apple the world’s most valuable technology company with a market value estimated at $351 billion. Introducing the likes of today’s ever popular products such as the Macbook, iPod, iPad and iPhone just to mention a few, Jobs made an impact on popular culture, changed the way new generations interact, talk, consume technologies, live their social lives. Apple’ s brand repositioning in the 1990’s conducted by Jobs lead to virtually redesigning society as a whole. Today’s generations talks Apple, walk Apple, consume Apple, desire Apple at every step of the way and each time a product launch by the company is announced. Talking by the numbers to clarify the mightiness of Apple’s business?
- 339 retail stores worldwide
- 3,013 patents owned by Apple
- 46, 000 employees (more likely 60, 000 nowadays according to some sources)
- +140 million iPhones sold worldwide
- 304 million iPods sold worldwide
- 15 billion iTunes downloads
- +15 million iPads sold (up until March 2011)
At the peak of his career and after reaching worldwide notoriety as the embodiment of Apple’s culture and its social face, Jobs died of pancreatic cancer on October 5th, 2011. Certainly no news here as the whole world mourned the passing on of the modern God of the most desired tech gadgets. Tears were shed by millions of Apple fanatics, technology professionals, colleagues, people admiring this God of modern times. Quite righteously. As none other than president Obama stated:
” Steve was among the greatest of American innovators. Brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it”.
While reading further about the future of Apple after Steve’s depart and enjoying all the playful and user-friendly features of my iMac which made my life at work so much more amusing, I stumbled across the news of another death, much less reported on and whom I’ve never heard of before: Dennis Ritchie. On October 12, 2011, Dennis Ritchie died at 70.
Who is Dennis Ritchie? Ritchie was none other than the father of C programming language and the key developer of the UNIX operating system. Being one of the creators of modern computing, his role was key in shaping today’s computing environment. Basically, no Ritchie, no computers as we know them today, no Apple technology as it is nowadays. Mr. Ritchie or his company Lucent Technologies System Software by numbers? Wouldn’t know, the data is not as easy to find as Apple’s. Irony or sad reality? Probably both. Steve was a God, but so was Ritchie, so shouldn’t we be mourning all our Gods with the same respect they deserve? The conclusion is up not to a single person, but to all the rest of us.