Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Wizards--Oh, How We Need Them!

I miss Steve. Not Steve the person, of course, because he was impossible as a person. He could be mean, conceited, arrogant, hard headed, etc., etc., But I didn't have to experience any of that because all I did was buy his Apple products. Now that some time has gone by since his death, we can assess where we are with Steve Jobs versus Apple, who are regrettably not one and the same. Corporations can live forever. The geniuses behind those companies are mortal and die.

Much as I am enjoying all of Apple's product line, it is all Steve's product line. Sure, Apple has done a grand job of continually refining it, improving it, bringing the cost down and so forth. But that is not the same thing as having a visionary idea. And no one at present day Apple has had an idea like any one of Steve's ever.
This made me think of Menlo Park, above, Thomas Edison's early lab where his ideas were implemented and became responsible for the way we live today. And can you imagine living without the electric light bulbs, motion picture cameras and phonographs? I sure can't.

This is Apple being invented in Steve's father's garage, above. It doesn't look much different from Menlo Park. All of these geniuses at work are always in some scene of work, work and more work in the most utilitarian of surroundings. 
Recently Mark Zuckerberg showed up in China and addressed an audience. He spoke fluent Mandarin Chinese to them. Zuckerberg was a child prodigy born to a dentist and his wife who realized early they had to raise such a child. I am sure when he left for Harvard they were very relieved. It is no easy task raising a child so much smarter than you are. Zuckerberg busily mastered one subject after another: fencing, chess and any other intellectual challenge. He got Facebook off the ground while studying at Harvard. He is pictured above at Harvard which for him was his Menlo Park or Jobs' Garage. He looked as if he could still be in high school.

Looking for a guy who showed promise even earlier? Well, look no further than the little kid at the piano. Yup, here he is, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, old enough to stand so old enough to play and compose. This portrait was commissioned by his father. Wolfgang must have hated posing for it because it took days and days of standing still when he was dying to just sit down and rip into the piano and create. But they had to sell him to royalty so this is his "child star" picture which his "stage father" will use on the crowned heads of Europe. Just imagine working and creating in those clothes! Ugh! Musical instruments and the sounds he could produce on them were his Menlo Park. What we don't fully realize while these wizards are living is how hard it is to carry on without them. Their immediate successors realize this fact far sooner than we do as they stare at blank canvases, or equivalent, and try and generate an idea. The canvas stays blank or they go to work putting small refinements on the wizard's ideas (Apple).

They called Edison the "Wizard of Menlo Park" and it is easy to think of these others as magical wizards as well. They rarely leave little wizards behind them, however. These thoughts were swirling through my head as I was updating all of my Apple products. I just installed Yosemite on my Mac Air. Gave my Macbook to Felix who promptly installed it on his "new" hand me down. I had just installed IOS8 as well on my iPads. All are working great and Apple is giving away a lot of freebies with all of this: Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, etc., The machines are all beautiful, likewise the stores, likewise the headquarters, but.....but there's no one in the garage, no Steve Jobs wizard in the works. These are all tiny refinements of his ideas. He left four children behind and I keep hoping that one of the four may have inherited this wizardy. It can happen but it is unusual to pass directly from one generation to the next. Usually the genes play hopscotch among the generations. So, thanks Steve, for all this daily wonderfulness of my machines. We know your last words were "Wow" as you took off for the next realm, dying. Care to share that Wow some?

No comments:

Post a Comment