In the epic, powerful 1946 movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, we follow a small-town credit union manager as he learns what the world would have turned into if he had never been born.
What if Steve Jobs had never been born? It’s a scary thought.
- There wouldn’t be iPads or any usable tablets. Their impact is only beginning, but they are already transforming areas as diverse as education, airplane travel and retail.
- Phones would have remained feature phones: ugly, clunky, lots of operator crapware. Nokia might still be on top instead of fighting for survival.
- But even much earlier: without the Apple ][, the PC revolution would have started later. IBM likely would have played an even larger role, Microsoft would have had a harder time eclipsing them, and we might well still look at DOS-style user interfaces on our 30in monitors
- There would be no iPods. Perhaps flash-based Walkmen, but none of the ease of digital media we now take for granted: any track, any podcast, just a few taps away. DRM would play a much larger role than it does today.
- Desktop publishing likely would have remained far less accessible to you and me.
- No millions of kids delighted by Woody and Buzz Lightyear in A Toy Story.
- Tim Berners-Lee might not have created the web without his NeXT. We’d have something instead, but it likely would not be REST-ful but walled-garden-ful, and far less conducive to innovation.
- Throughout the 90’s and 00’s, Steve was the only major leader who still embodied the “change the world with technology” spirit of the 60’s and early 70’s. There used to be, but most of them turned into dull commercialists instead addressing the market instead of changing the world.
What a drab, painful, uninspiring world it would have been. Thank god it hasn’t.
We must carry on. Do better. Be great!