This Christmas, there's one person who's got plenty to celebrate. Steve Jobs. Researchers Thenextweb.com report that children ages 5 - 16 want gifts this year that have the Apple logo on them by a startling margin. That's really quite remarkable, unheard of in fact. That any one company can so capture the imagination and the pocketbooks of the American public.
But if you look back at history from Steve Jobs point of view, it's long overdue.
If you go back to this extraordinary bit of video - dated 1991, Jobs compares human's physical ability to move quickly to the Condor. We lose. But, a human on a bicycle, we win. Humans are tool builders - and with those tools we excel. So, as Jobs says, "Computers are bicycles for the mind."
What he's learned since 1991 is that bicycles may be a great means of locomotion - but they're also fun. Once he figured that out, embracing music to broaden the reach of his devices and offering content like Pixar Studio movies to drive adoption - then it was no longer a fair fight. Microsoft was making software to run businesses and perform tasks. Apple was making hardware and software to create, share and enjoy content. Oh, and yes - to compute as well.
So - this holiday, odds are you're going to buy one of Job's 'bicycles'.
It may be a phone. (iPhone)
It may be a music device (iPod)
It may be a content reader (iPad)
or a content maker (iMac, MacBook, Air).
or it may be his latest foray in to the living room (Apple TV).
The inflection point was 2008 - when Apple reached the apex of its ten year climb to dethrone Microsoft as king of the digital hill.
But what's been changing is more profound than that. The PC was a computer. The Mac is an appliance. And because Jobs is both in the software and hardware business, he is able to create an eco-system that allows him to set the rules for software development and then build devices that are optimized for his rules.
His rules are mostly about simplicity, elegance, usability and beauty. Sure, even now and then he does weird draconian stuff that feels a bit like censorship, but the larger point here is that since its founding in 1977, Jobs has been all about building a bicycle for the mind. And now it seems everyone wants his bicycle.
Happy Holiday's Mr. Jobs.
Steve Rosenbaum is founder and CEO of Magnify.net, and the Author of the forthcoming McGrawHill Business book "Curation Nation" (March / 2011). Steve can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Steve Rosenbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/magnify
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