Steve Jobs' Legacy as an Innovator

Monday, 07 Nov 2011 12:51 PM

By Jon Friedman

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About a month now has passed since Steve Jobs died after a long illness. We've been bombarded by all kinds of tributes to this great man, who straddled the worlds of commerce, art, and culture like nobody else in modern times.

I think Jobs' greatest accomplishment existed in his endless devotion to innovation. Jobs was truly a V-person, a visionary. The word gets bandied about a lot nowadays. Every successful CEO or astronaut or football coach is somehow elevated to the pantheon of "visionary."

But Steve Jobs had the gene for being a visionary. It started with innovation. This is where Jobs had his greatest impact on our lives.

He not only made things so much easier for us with all of those Apple products — but he also encouraged untold numbers of high school and college students to reach for the stars when they dream.

The next wave of superstar CEOs might well say someday that the late, great Steve Jobs influenced their lives profoundly.

Isn't that a form of genius? Going so far beyond what exists, Jobs saw things that none of us even imagined. Who else would have conceived of the iPhone, a marvelous invention that combines so many needs in one device?

I'm not crazy about the practice of pushing through the mob of visitors at an Apple store — but I concede the point that even in this arena, Jobs stood apart from the conventional wisdom of retailing and he made it work.

We should all appreciate Steve Jobs' contributions to our society and culture. In fact, we should remember to thank him in about 20 years — when the next wave of inventors comes along and enriches our lives even further.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.











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