Showing posts with label Steve Jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steve Jobs. Show all posts

October 16, 2018

Paul Allen And Steve Jobs - Both Left Us Early!


Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft died yesterday, Oct. 15, 2018.

His untimely death reminded me of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Microsoft who died Oct. 5, 2011.

Allen co-founder Microsoft in 1975 and Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976

Allen was 65 and Jobs was just 56 at time of death.

Both were pioneers in the IT Revolution.

Both died of cancer.

Both dropped out of college.

Both accumulated $20B of wealth in today's money.

Both own(ed) 2 sports teams (Jobs posthumously)

Both were huge philanthropists in terms of what they left the world: money in Allen's case and many innovations in Job's.

Both have been in Time's 100 Most Influential People.

Both died an early death--sadly too young!

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 11, 2018

Contrarian on Apple

As Apple approaches the unbelievable $1 trillion mark in market value, I am going the contrarian. 

Historically, I love Apple products--truly. 

But since Steve Jobs, Apple has done virtually nothing!

They are losing the battle for common sense priced products. 

They are losing the battle on innovation. 

Think for a second what has Apple come out with that is "WOW" in the last few years--either in terms of new product or design. 

Do you care anything about Siri?

Are you in love with their Apple Watch? 

Do you think much of their new iPhone X?

What about the computers--same old, same old?

I am still using the iPhone 7plus and have no intention to upgrade anytime soon. 

See the picture above, this is Apple's idea of innovation. 

It's the new Mac Pro -- virtually the same as their iMac Pro, as their store rep explained to me--except it's shaped like a tall and weird version of the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. 

BTW, you still need to attach a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. 

Are you impressed NOT? 

Apple as a brand used to mean the latest and greatest. 

Even now, I am still drawn to Apple products, just because I am conditioned to think of it as the best!

But is it still the best and is it worth the premium price?

Apple still has me as a customer and I am still a big fan of what they have done in the past.

But they better do something amazing again and now, because I think their stock is in for a mighty big and painful tumble if we don't see the old Apple again soon. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

November 2, 2017

If I Could Be Anyone(s)

So someone asked me a very deep personal question.
"If you had $20 million dollars and could do whatever you want (be whoever you want), what would that be?"

I was on the spot a little and didn't have time to introspect the way I like to do, and I gave an answer that I really wasn't happy with...and it's been bothering me since. 

So sitting down now and really thinking about who I want to be--this is my real answer:

As a composite person, I want to have the:

- Lovingkindness of Mother Teresa

- Serenity of the Dalai Lama

- Spirituality of Moses

- Determination of Rocky

- Leadership of Rick Grimes

- Strength of Samson

- Agility of Bruce Lee

- Intellect of Sigmund Freud

- Understanding of Albert Einstein

- Ingenuity of Steve Jobs

- Inquisitiveness of Capt. James T. Kirk

- Bravery of those martyred in the Holocaust

- Heroism of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

- Beauty of my wife and daughters

- The integrity of my dear father, Fred Blumenthal

What would I want to do--just simple things like:

- Cure Cancer, Parkinsons, ALS, etc.

- Eliminate poverty

- Herald in world peace

- Help/comfort those that are hurt and suffering

- Make people smile/happy

- Be a good person with integrity in all situations

I could probably go on and on, but generally this is what life means to me. 

Maybe today, I ain't the smartest or fastest or strongest, but I have dreams, hopes, and aspirations. 

If that isn't good enough, well at least I have a heart and a soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 12, 2015

Apple Desperately Needs Some New Fruit

I love my Apple iPhone, but this core product debuted in January 2007.

We're going on almost 9 years!!!

Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is enormously successful:

- It accounts for 92% of the smartphone industry's profits (even though it only sells 20% of the smartphones). 

- The iPhone bring in almost 2/3 of Apple's total revenue now going on almost $200 billion. 

But, the new growth that Apple seeks in not based on any real exciting innovation.

Take for example Apple's announcements this week:

- A new larger 12.9 inch iPad with a stylus (the Apple Pencil).

- A revamped Apple TV set-top box. 

- Apple's iPhone 3-D Touch that controls the smartphone based on how hard you press. 

Uh, ho-hum--this is all V-E-R-Y boring!

Google has a similar problem with their core business of advertising on Search and YouTube accounting for 89% of their revenue.

But at least Google continues working towards their next moonshot, and has reorganized their innovation labs into a separate entity called Alphabet--working on everything from:

- Self-driving cars

- Delivery drones

- Internet balloons

- Smart thermostats (Nest)

- Broadband services (Google Fiber)

- Longevity research (Calico)

- Smart contact lenses

- Robotics

Unfortunately for Apple, the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 has meant the loss of their driving force for innovation. 

Despite a workforce of about 100,000 and a gorgeous new flying saucer-looking headquarters, can you think of any major new products since Jobs?

Apple is a fruit in it's prime--ripe and shiny and hugely smart and successful, but without any new fruits going forward, they are at risk of becoming a stale mealy apple, versus a bountiful and delicious fruit salad. 

Apple is very secretive, so maybe the fruit is coming. 

I hope for our sake and theirs that Apple is seriously planting for the future and not just harvesting on the past. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 12, 2015

Apple Watch Disappoints

Okay, so here's the Apple Store...

The table with the Apple Watches is proudly on display towards the front of the store.

What do you notice about this picture? 

Correct, there is NOT a single person looking at these watches!

And I have NEVER seen a single person wearing an Apple Watch.

Even though there certainly are other customers in the store looking at other highly desired Apple products. 

The customer closest to the watches has his back turned to them.

No killer apps--where's the beef in terms of functionality? 

Maybe that is unfortunately the story of the Apple Watch version 1.0--the customers were lining up to check them out a couple of months ago, but now they have turned their backs on this product failure. 

Sadly, I feel like Steve Jobs and Dick Tracy are turning over in their graves at about this time now--how do I know, just check the watch. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 12, 2013

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

As I always say, I love Apple--and they still have the best darn Smartphone on the market--but they continue to disappoint with anything new.

This week, with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Apple had the opportunity to introduce something new and exciting, but instead what did we get?

- A faster processor and Touch ID fingerprint reader. 

In nutshell, since Steve Jobs untimely passing, Siri was a bombshell, actually just a big consumer product bomb.

And now with the fingerprint reader as the big newcomer add-on to the iPhone, it's as if (sorry to say), Apple is giving us all the proverbial finger. 

While the fingerprint reader is cute and a faster logon, it is really not a must-have or a game-changer.  

The only thing less exciting than Touch ID is the new Yahoo logo.

In the last two years, Apple has taken a mighty innovation lead and squandered it. 

Still, no one can touch their highly integrated iPhone product.

However, if much more time goes by without something meaningfully new and innovative, they will be in trouble. 

Rumors of an iPhablet (iPhone/tablet) with a significantly larger screen (ranging from 4.8 to 6 inches) will be more like the Samsung Galaxy S4 with 5-inch screen rather than than iPhone 5S 4-inch screen, and would have attraction for people who like to read or watch on a larger, better display. 

Of course a significantly better camera would be helpful too--need I say more?

Some interaction with wearable technology, like a Google Glass with augmented reality would also be a winner. 

And a fully ruggedized smartphone, similar in concept to a Panasonic Toughbook--and up to military grade specs--that withstands drops, spills, dust, and lots of everyday field use punishment, would be way cool for the action-adventurer in all of us--and maybe then we wouldn't need all the silly looking cases.

In the meantime, put your index finger on the home bottom, while Apple puts their middle finger up at you, the consumer.

Steve Jobs, where the heck are you? ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CNET)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 10, 2013

How Apple Is Losing Its Fans

Without a lift, Apple is already (and unfortunately) on the way down.

IDC reports that the recent quarter global smartphone shipments show Android with an almost 80% market share compared to Apple's flimsy 13%.

I've been a diehard Apple fan for years (and I still love them, but...)

Years ago, I converted all my Windows computers and even my old Android phones.

Apple was innovative, sleek, and intuitive to use.

But since Steve Jobs passed, the company has lost its mojo.

Siri was a bust and what else have they done since.

Google is leading the way with Glass for wearable technology.

Apple is disappointing its consumers, and their stock plummet from over $700 to the upper $300s (now in the mid $400's) shows investor sentiment.

Out comes the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I am salivating--the differences from the iPhone 5 make them "almost" not comparable.

Thought I'd wait for Chanukah, but the opportunity came early and so I am now a proud owner.

A couple of days earlier, a young women on the Metro was using the Galaxy and I asked how she liked it--she said she loved it, mentioned the big screen and all the free apps, and then went on to say that her mom also just switched over from the iPhone and loves the Galaxy too.

What is it about the Galaxy?

The larger 5" screen on the Galaxy versus 4"on the iPhone 5 is the first thing you notice--and yes, when it comes to doing email, reading news articles, or watching video, size does matter!

Also, the Galaxy has Corning Gorilla glass and a higher 2.85 resolution and 35.28% higher pixel density--so it is strong and sharp and images really come out looking like a beautiful work of art.

Also with air gesture, you can just wave your hand to navigate pages and not get fingerprints and smudges all over the screen.

The camera is another huge difference: the Galaxy is 13 megapixels compared to only 8 for the iPhone and if you like taking photos that don't look like they came from a smartphone, this is a better way to do it.

In terms of speed, the Galaxy again outperforms the iPhone, it has 2 gigabyte of RAM versus only 1 for the iPhone and its CPU is 2.46 as fast. I was able to transfer my entire iTunes music library in just a couple of minutes.

Finally, battery power is key and the Galaxy has 1.81x what the iPhone has--which basically makes it not necessary to get a heavy and costly Mophie external battery pack for it.

While there are many features I like better on Galaxy s4, the one thing I'd recommend Samsung improve on is the body, which is a cheaper plastic compared to the iPhones aluminum, but once you have a solid case on it, it doesn't really matter for the end user experience.

Overall, Galaxy has out-done the iPhone, and I think the venerable and cash rich Apple, without some major new technology leaps and advances in design is under very real threat.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 21, 2013

Are They Anything Without Him?


Sometimes, one person can be so instrumental to the success of an organization that they really are, for all intensive purposes, irreplaceable.

Leadership classes and anecdotes about great leaders tell us that one of leaders primary duties is a good succession plan. 

But what happens, when a visionary place like Apple, loses their very special talent--someone that is truly their "secret sauce"--someone like a Steve Jobs--who you can't just replicate or replace (easily or maybe at all)?

While Apple still makes great products, the jury is still out on whether they can truly innovate without Job's vision, exacting attention to detail, and bigger than life persona. 

Hence, the question, are they anything without him?

Perhaps, Apple can find the next Steve Jobs--who will bring new energy and talents and keep them a great organization--or perhaps not.

This new movie about Jobs--played by Ashton Kutcher will remind us of the magic that a truly special leader can bring to an organization. 

If only there was a pill to swallow to make talented leaders--now that would be a job for Jobs. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 11, 2013

Apple Designers Lost In The Imagination Orchid


Apple which is under competitive pressure to come up with something new—since Steve Jobs, their chief and master innovator passed away—seems like a deer in the headlights, where they can’t sprint forward to the next innovation and instead, they just sit paralyzed in fear and stair dumbly into the oncoming Mac truck called Google and Samsung.

Apple, the pioneer of the mobile icons on your smartphone and tablet that look like what they are, has lost their way—big time.

Their new iOS 7 abandons this intuitive, user-centric architecture approach of skeuomorphism for instead a more amorphous look and feel—where the user has to guess what an icon is supposed to be (check out the unintelligible icons for Newstand or Passbook mobile wallet).

In other cases, there is virtually no significant perceptible change at all (see Messages and iTunes that are just a little bigger) or other changes that are actually detracting from what was in iOS 6 (see Reminders without the check marks, Notes without a notepad look, Settings without the gears, and the addition of clouds to the Weather icon).

I love Apple products—but just like they are flailing with a new backwards-leaning graphical user interface and Siri, the useless automated personal assistant, they are behind in the wearable technology arena, where Google Glass in almost off and running.

There is a reason Apple stock has tanked from over $700 to hovering in the low to mid $400 range,--without the brilliance of Job’s imagination, a laser-focus on perfecting their products, future-thinking functionality, and sleek elegant design--Apple is in trouble.

Will an Apple watch or television be unveiled soon and save the day?

It will extend Apple’s successful running streak, but their distinctive culture of creativity and excellence had better emerge in more ways than an iWatch or iTV for Apple to hold their crown of technology glory. ;-)

(Source Photo: Facebook Fan's of Apple)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 13, 2011

Designer Bobigner

In a book review in Fortune Magazine (7 November 2011) of "Steve Jobs: The Biography...His Rivalry With Bill Gates", one of Apple's early employees from the 1980's is quoted as saying "Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style."
While Microsoft seemed to lead for many years especially in terms of "business acumen," in the end, Apple built the "more valuable company"--Jobs was the design extraordinare and his imagination for user-centric product designs like the iPhone, iPad, iMac and more touched people in ways that no "other business leader of our time could possibly match."
I have found that not everyone overtly appreciates the importance of design--and in fact, some people make fun of it, almost like children chanting "designer bobigner"--whether because they value function over design or they simply don't have "taste and style" like Steve Jobs complained about his rival.
In either case, I think people who seem or act oblivious to the importance of design are missing the incredible power of those who can develop products with an eye towards beauty, novelty, and functionality combined. A computer is a magnificent thinking machine, but an Apple is generally a work of art.
Think about how people neurotically cover their Apple devices with all sorts of protective cases as if it were a precious jewel instead of a just a phone or computer.
Art is treated as priceless, but a computer is often just a commodity. However, Steve Jobs knew how to combine the functional power of a computer with the design of a master.
While "Big Box" retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco continue to grow and expand, our world seems smaller because of it--their shelves and aisles are stocked high with rows and rows of commodity, look-a-like goods of toothpaste, sweat pants, and TVs; it is easy to forget that those products that are really valuable to us, usually aren't just good to use, but great to hold, feel, and look at.
In this light, I found two product designs that I thought were pretty cool to share.
The first is the white milk container that says Milk and the other is a box of tea bags, each bag with its own hanger for display and use of the side of a cup. The ideas are so simple, yet somehow so creative and appetizing. Two age-old commodities like milk and tea can be made new and special by how we package and meld with it in our environment.
Like the Chinese concept of feng shui, there are brilliant ways to develop our surroundings that energize and inspire, and great design is a magical element in a commodity world and what was not so long ago dominated by the one color black Ford Model-T.
Thank you Steve Jobs and the many other great design minds out there--keep the special things coming that make us say, "I want one!"
(Source Photos: here)


Share/Save/Bookmark

October 8, 2011

Thank You Steve Jobs


Share/Save/Bookmark

October 7, 2011

Think Different, Change The World

This video is a true tribute to Steve Jobs, where he narrates the first "Think Different" commercial (1997).

"Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules.
Andy they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

- Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 21, 2009

Learning from Steve Jobs, CEO of the Decade

Fortune Magazine (23 November 2009) named Steve Jobs of Apple, the CEO of the decade.

Steve Jobs’ unveiled his “digital lifestyle” strategy in 2000 when Apple was worth about $5 billion. Now almost a decade later, Apple is worth about $170 billion—slightly more than Google. Apple has revolutionized the markets for music, movies, mobile telephones, as well as computing.

Steve Jobs embodies User-centric leadership in every way:

Customer is #1—Apple’s products satisfy customers. “He may not pay attention to customer research, but he works slavishly to make products customers will buy.” There is intuitiveness to Steve Jobs’ understanding of people and technology. He knows what customers want even if they don’t or can’t articulate it and he designs the technology around the customer. Think iPhone, iPod, and Mac—they are some of the easiest and most customer friendly technologies out there; hence 100,000 applications for the iPhone, 73% of the MP3 player market, and some of the best PCs on the market today.

Innovation is key—Apple is consistently ahead of the curve. Their products are leaders, not follower-copycats. Despite losing the PC wars to Microsoft Windows, the Mac operating system, functionality, and design has been the one setting the standard for ease of use, speed, and security. The iTunes/iPod completely upended the music and movie industry, and the iPhone is the envy of just about every professional and consumer out there who doesn’t yet own one.

Holistic Solutions Delivery—Steve Jobs delivers a comprehensive solution’s architecture for the customer, and it shows with his merging of hardware, software, and service solutions. For example, “over the course of 2001…Apple launched iTunes music software (in January), the Mac OS X operating system (March), the first Apple retail stores (May), and the first iPod (November).” In 2002, Jobs told Time, “We’re the only company that owns the whole widget—the hardware, the software, and the operating system. We take full responsibility for the customer experience.”

Design Genius—The design of Apple’s products are sheer genius. They are sleek, elegant, compact, mobile, yet user-friendly—they are timeless, and pieces such as the G4 Cube have actually been showcased in The Museum of Modern Art and The Digital Design Museum. Even the Apple store in Manhattan with its winding glass staircases and cube entrance is a tourist destination in NYC.

Big Picture, Little Picture—Jobs is a master of balancing the strategic and tactical aspects of product execution. Jobs set the vision, but is also involved in the execution. “He’s involved in details you wouldn’t think a CEO would be involved in.” Apple is his passion and his desire for virtual perfection comes across the spectrum of both product and service from the company.

Mastery of the Message—he rehearses over and over every line he and others utter in public about Apple.” And it’s not only the contents of the message, but also the timing. Jobs knows how to keep a product launch secret until just the right moment. MacWorld, for example, has been used to strategically communicate the launch of new products, and this has kept both Apple fans and competitors closely tuned to these events.

Steve Jobs is a true model of leadership excellence due in no small measure to his relentless pursuit comprehensive product solutions based on innovation, design excellence, and customer service excellence.

Great Jobs!


Share/Save/Bookmark

August 17, 2007

Steve Jobs and Enterprise Architecture

User-centric EA shares Steve Jobs (Apple's) vision for aesthetics, simplicity and minimalism, and innovation.

On July 25, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that "the new Apple cellphone famously does without the keypads that adorn its rivals. Instead, it offers a touch-sensing screen for making phone calls and tapping out emails. The resulting look is one of the sparest ever for Apple, a company known for minimalist gadgets. While many technology companies load their products up with buttons, Mr. Jobs treats them as blemishes that add complexity to electronics products and hinder their clean aesthetics…

With the iPhone, Mr. Jobs is making a similar gamble that users will quickly familiarize themselves with typing text and phone numbers on the device's "virtual" keyboard -- a set of "buttons" simulated by software rather than etched in plastic keys on the front of the device.

Like Steve Jobs' aesthetic and innovative approach to the design of consumer products, user-centric EA shares these principles in the development of information products to meet users' information needs. User-Centric EA is looking to provide useful and usable information products. To accomplish this, User-Centric EA designs information products so they are look good, are simple to understand, focus on transmitting meaningful information to decision makers, and are creative and interesting for users to use as a resource.

Steve Jobs' product design brilliance is a model and an inspiration for information design and knowledge management.


Share/Save/Bookmark