I started using iTunes in 2011 for downloading podcasts by several pastors of USA (Joel Osteen and Erwin McManus to name some) and thinking that I owe a lot to Apple, the company that made iTunes, I decided to read Inside Apple
and this book, so that I may learn a thing or two concerning the man who made Apple achieve something so significant. I'm aware of Apple due to its reputation, and since I'm a student of Information System, I want to know what impact they actually have made on the Digital Age.
Reading this book was a great experience, partly because I felt like I have read something like it before (Outliers
by Malcolm Gladwell,) and now that I think of it, this exploration of the man Steve Jobs and his company Apple confirmed what Gladwell has said in the Outliers
, that the time when you were born matters a great deal in achieving success. Jobs' total control philosophy failed with Apple II, but it succeeded when he launched iPod. His values of design, marketing, and ease of use were unpopular at the years of early PC growth, when the main buyers of computers were geeks and corporations. Yet now, with the rise of the digital lifestyle era, things were different.
One thing that I know about Human-Computer Interaction, is that this group of human beings that we labeled as "user" is made up of all kinds of people. Some users are geeks, and they'd love to tweak their hardwares and softwares, adding this software and that graphic cards, and of course that chip and this motherboard (During the first two weeks after I bought my Samsung Galaxy Tab, I rooted the device and installed various custom ROMs and Kernels, until I decided to restore my original version of Android. Those ROMs and Kernels are confusing and unstable.) Some Users are just.. well, "normal" people. This group of user is not interested in rooting their Android devices or jailbreaking their iPhone. They just bought the device because of what it can do, like editing videos and photos, sharing their things in social media like Facebook and Twitter. Clearly, when I said they are not interested in rooting or jailbreaking, that also means they are not going to like it when their devices crash and freeze. My Tab suffered a few bugs when I rooted it, but I'm interested in computers and tablets.
Now the question is this: if a tech company decided to create a computer that would be a must-have for every single human being alive on this planet, what values must the company embedded inside the computer?
Variations of choices or stability and reliability?
This is an important question in understanding why Apple is so influential and successful in what it does. It created several products that fits the need of the people as "normal" users. People who don't really care what type of graphic cards the device has, as long as it works and they get what they want. People who just want to use computers for productivity's sake, not for tweaking and learning about all the different hardwares and softwares, and all the list of names of computers like Asus A43E , Asus A43C and Asus A43A. WHATEVER!
Computers were an integral part of life nowadays, and if people need to learn all these different names, types, and specs of computers BEFORE they could decide which one to buy, then, instead of enhancing productivity and making things simple, the IT would reduce human's productivity. It seems pretty obvious and taken for granted now, with the emergence of Android and Windows 8, and the still-in-development operating systems like Chrome and Firefox. But we have to remember these new OSes are emulations of iOS. They were possible because somebody showed that it is possible.
I think that's an important lesson in understanding how these small, rectangular things that we described best as "computer" interacts with humans. In small and subtle ways, computers changed the way we live and the way we do things little by little, yet those changes are not without explanations. There are people out there who do these research and explorations to simplify a computer, because creating a good, simple, and easy-to-use devices like iPhone and Mac is not effortless. It is created diligently and carefully by a team of dedicated people who would have a meeting at 9pm to 1am discussing their progress.
But then, how to know what these normal users want out of a computer? You can't go around and ask people what they want out of a computer when all they ever experienced with a computer are freezes, complicated instructions and data-lost. You will need a mind that could comprehend what the "normal" users would like best in a computer, and that is another thing that Steve Jobs has in his brain.
Steve was an Outlier
indeed, and as with all Outliers
, there is a profound, almost unbelievable story of how one achieve significant success and--sometimes--change the world.