Steve Jobs’ valuable lessonWhen Steve Jobs formerly stepped down as the chief executive of Apple Inc., few were surprised, but many were upset. Jobs has been an icon since he created Apple Computer with a high school buddy in a Silicon Valley garage 35 years ago. He innovated and outmaneuvered rivals. His legacy includes the first Apple 1 homemade computer, the overwhelmingly successful iPod that changed the way people listen to music, the iPhone, which made the smartphone a necessity and the iPad, a tablet-sized gadget that will eventually replace laptops.
Many will miss Jobs. His innovative products rarely failed to disappoint consumers. He used to say that he wanted to die knowing he had done wonderful things for the world. He should be content that he has done exactly that. Because of his extraordinary insight into what consumers want and need, everything that used to exist in the mind has become a reality and the boundaries of the technology habitat have become infinitely deep and wide. He has turned the future into the present.
Apple’s prospects without Jobs are mixed. His sick leave had been anticipated and did not sharply move the market. Jobs, even with deteriorating health, returned to the spotlight to unveil the iPad 2. The technology company is known to have already planned a roadmap for new developments for the next couple of years. But Jobs has added a special identity to Apple.
The Korean technology industry also should prepare for the post-Jobs era. Korean companies are not copycats. They were among the first to create and successfully market MP3 players. They took up 80 percent of the global MP3 market until the entry of the iPod. Koreans had been networking through iloveschool and cyworld long before social network platforms like Facebook existed. But Korean companies have been outsmarted by foreign rivals Facebook, Google, and Second Life.
Since 2000, the Korean IT industry has failed to invent and impress the world with new technology and services. Koreans have been playing catch-up to Apple and Google. American industry, meanwhile, has been reinvigorated with armies of young, creative innovators.
In order to catch up to the front runners, Korean companies must be more aggressive in developing new habitats for hardware, software, and services.
They must seek out talent with a new perspective. That innovation and vision lead to success is the valuable lesson Jobs delivered to the global industry.