How Steve Jobs influenced us

By Devina Joshi and Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, Mumbai/New Delhi | In Marketing | October 07, 2011
We quizzed experts on what their first thoughts were on hearing of Apple icon Steve Jobs' demise a day ago. Ad, media and digital folk talked with passion about a brand that needs little introduction, the design and marketing genius behind it, and how Jobs' thinking and way of work influenced/affected them.

Steven Paul Jobs, better known as Steve Jobs, passed away on October 5, 2011. This has left a massive number of people around the world in a state of despair, while some wonder about the fate of one of the world's most loved brands -- Apple. The co-founder of Apple, Jobs is famous for his creative, design and marketing genius which has made Apple a force to reckon with over a period of time.

We asked Indian advertising, digital and media experts a simple question: "In what way has Steve Jobs' life and demise touched/affected you?"

Here's what senior industry executives had to say about the visionary who is no more:

Arvind Sharma, chairman, Leo Burnett, Indian sub-continent

Steve Job's life is a story of commitment to a human purpose, and persistence to achieve that purpose. Jobs passionately believed that technology should not just make handling of tasks quicker. It should make life easier, happier and more beautiful for people.

He was not satisfied just with PCs or laptops. He put together PCs and laptops that delivered a beautiful experience. In these categories, his partial success may have had to do with the fact that he was working in spaces that were substantially business to business. His really big breakthroughs came when he applied his commitment and genius to mass consumer spaces, such as films from Pixar animation studios, and then a series of transformational consumer products -- the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. I use them all along with millions of people around the world and love them.

At one level, I am anxious that Apple, without the man called Steve Jobs, may not continue to be the company it has been. At another level, I feel grateful for having lived in the Steve Jobs era. Even though he is no more, he will remain a glowing example of what I passionately believe in. Building brands with a human purpose. And, that creativity has the power to transform human behaviour.

Vikram Sakhuja, chief executive officer, GroupM, South Asia

Selling ideas before their time was what Steve Jobs was a genius at and the reason why he has been an icon and inspiration to marketers across generations.

He was the true master of bringing an idea to life: from conceiving a vision to actualising it, to masterfully selling it. In a world of communication idea-led innovation, Jobs restored our faith in product-led innovation.

His life was a rare one, to be cherished. The passion, simplicity of thought, and above all, the human spirit he displayed, especially in the last few years, are as awe-inspiring as they are motivational.

Talk about a life that made a difference to the world!

Mahesh Murthy, founder, Pinstorm, and managing partner, Seedfund

What have I learnt from Steve Jobs? First, build a product that is worth talking about, and the media will give you free column centimeters. Apple has one of the lower ad-to-sales ratios in the world, compared to a Nokia or Dell. Second, forget technology. Focus on the user experience. Apple products have historically had poorer technology specifications than their rivals. What's the speed of an iPhone processor? Apple won't say. What looks cooler to use? Apple is the name that comes to mind.

Third, never let politeness come in the way of directness. I heard the story where a Chiat Day account director told Jobs that he worked on the business, to which Jobs asked if he wrote the ads or did the pictures, and he said neither. He then had to face Jobs, who said, "Oh, so you're the overhead."

And, there are legions more. "Who the hell sees these banners?" was one I had to contend with. The only recourse was to stand your ground and hold your line. Which was perhaps the only way to earn his respect.

The fourth thing I learnt, is of course, the legacy. Most of us would be happy building one great company. Jobs built three: Apple, Next and Pixar. Most of us would be happy changing one business. Jobs changed computers, music and phones. Steve Jobs stands tall in having broken every rule in the book. Forget Kotler, Ries, Trout or Aaker. Jobs wrote the real book on marketing.

Alok Kejriwal, chief executive officer and co-founder, Games2win

Steve Jobs made me think of perfection. He made me understand simplicity. Each time I operate my Sony Bravia using its remote control, I get nausea. That's because Jobs taught me that there is no need for complexity. His iPod, iTouch and iPhone constantly remind me of that. Now, every time I operate anything that is non-Apple, I keep applying this logic of 'simplicity' to it. This obsession with simplicity has seeped into my life. The way I talk. The way I think. The way I write, and definitely, the way I do business.

Jobs made me very ambitious and restless. As an Indian games company, we were chugging along okay.

Making games and selling them to Indian brands was what we understood. However, the iTunes platform and the ability to make small, self-created games and sell them to the entire world made entrepreneurs like me wake up. We did not have to be EA (Electronic Arts) to be big in games. We could be games2win! Now, every day, even small ideas give me inspiration to create some kind of app and put it out there -- in the hope that it could be my lucky break.

Santosh Desai, chief executive officer, Future Brands

Steve Jobs illuminated, through the power of his ideas and actions, the simple fact that everything in life can have a higher purpose, that every activity, no matter how mundane, can become sublime. He helped us find beauty in the industrious machine, play in mindless repetitive work, and infused our everyday life with an electric, new kind of art. To me, Jobs underlines the fact that what really matters is how we choose to see the world, and what we ask of things around us.

Elevated purpose comes from inside us and is not something that lies out there waiting to reveal itself. Steve Jobs chose to convert even the shadow of certain death into a creative engine, and used the limited time he had to propel himself into giving us more. He lived the life he chose for himself and showed us that we all have the same option. The choice is always ours.

Rahul Jauhari, national creative director, Everest Brand Solutions

Firstly, let me confess. I am an Apple fan-boy, and a shameless one at that. I was a sworn PC user until a few years back. Then, a Macbook happened to me and that was it. iPod, iPhone, Macbook Pro, Mac Air, iPad. No more PCs or BlackBerrys for me. My interest in photography has grown multi-fold because of the joy of shooting and sharing with an iPhone. My blogging experience has got richer. At home, my kid has a ball with her iPad. In office, ask any 'Art' person -- he/she will swear by a Mac. Steve Jobs did change a lot of things for people like me.

As a marketer/leader, he has been iconic -- brands would kill to be a fraction of what he has built Apple into. He's been a walking-talking case study for years. Anything said, will be less.

His death? I think the massive outpouring of emotions worldwide says it all. Personally, I have deeply admired the man for the sheer passion he displayed. The news of his demise came as deep shock. Fifty six is no age to go, even though we all knew about his struggle with cancer.

Jobs is a man whose story will continue to tempt many like me to drop everything and go entrepreneurial. Every day.

Bharat Kapadia, media and marketing consultant,

The biggest inspiration he gave everyone was that being an innovator doesn't mean that you have to be an inventor as well. He never invented anything, yet his products made the biggest difference in our lives.

His personal life had lots of ups and downs, but he took everything in his stride positively. While he was on the verge of dropping out of the college, he was busy studying calligraphy. At that time it did not have any meaning in his life, but ten years later he used his knowledge in fonts for computers. Today, we all use it so extensively in e-documents.

When he was asked to step down from his own company Apple, he did not let it slow him down. Instead, he went to build Pixar Animations, which made the first animated Hollywood film, and launched Next Computers.

When he was detected with cancer, he decided to treat every day as the last day of his life; when he felt that he had not done anything worthwhile in the last two three days, he decided that it was time to take a re-look at the way he was going about.

He was a remarkable source of inspiration, someone who practised what he preached -- negatives should not bog you down in life.

(With inputs from Sumantha Rathore)

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