Remembering Steve Jobs

7 Oct

Earlier this week came the sad news from Apple Inc. that Steve Jobs had passed away, and for days the world has mourned the loss of one of the most influential businessmen ever to walk the Earth.  In the early days of modern technology, Steve Jobs was just a regular guy with an idea for a different kind of computer; now, the project that started out in a garage in California has become the most valuable company in the world, and it owes its success to the marketing- and communication-oriented mind of its brilliant founder and former CEO.

Innovator

While perusing the many eulogies that flooded the Internet after the news of Jobs’ passing, I came across many remembrances of the man as an innovator who forever changed the world of technology.  On one hand, this is quite true; Steve Jobs and the products he invented have significantly impacted a large number of the technological updates and innovations that have been introduced in the past few decades.  On the other hand, Jobs was so much more than just an innovator.  Technology in itself is a field of constant innovation—in order to be successful in a technological venture the product being sold must be new and innovative, otherwise nobody will buy it.  Now, there is no question that Steve Jobs was one of the best innovators in the technological field; his ideas have shaped how people today use both cell phones and computers and emphasized the importance of the user experience in the design of new technology.  However, while Steve Jobs was an innovator with everyone else in the field of technology, he was also an expert communicator, a skill set not necessary for the success of a technology company that made him stand out above all of the others.

Master Presenter

Steve Jobs was one of the most masterful presenters I have ever seen.  He was not a CEO called upon to speak simply because he was the CEO or an executive who spoke more because he had to than because he wanted to.  Every time he stepped up on stage his audience could feel how excited he was about the presentation, how connected he was to the content, how he knew he could have millions of people hang on his every word.  Inspired by his passing, I went back to some of his old keynote addresses at Apple events and watched the speeches he gave, and the main aspect of his talks that stood out to me was how conversational his speech seemed.  In the professional setting of introducing a new product a company will be rolling out in the near future, I felt as though I was listening to a friend tell me about something they were immensely interested in.  Jobs could connect with an audience better than anyone else in his field, and the connections he forged with each person who listened helped him build the following that Apple benefits from today that has turned his company into the most valuable in the world.

Legacy

One thing in terms of communication that we can all take away from the example this incredible man set is that in order to connect with an audience, a presenter has to be interested in, connected with, and excited about the material they are presenting so that they may instill these sentiments in the listener.  Steve Jobs was a presentation guru in that he could so easily transfer his passion about his work to the audience and make them passionate as well about what he had to offer.  His legacy as an innovator and as a presenter will live on for centuries to come.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs

by Zach Frazer

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