There is little doubt that Steve Jobs drove today’s — and probably tomorrow’s — use of computers, phones, the internet, digital photos and music, and the combination thereof. He transformed the use of electronic communications from belonging to the technologist to being an integral part of our everyday lives. He didn’t invent the computer — but he (and a lot friends) sure made it easy to use. He didn’t invent the cell phone — but what fun is the I-phone and all its apps. Nor did he invent digital photos or music — but how easy it is today to download and print photos and play music.
From my perspective as a non-savvy IT person, he made all of these gadgets easy — and fun — to use. Using the term “simple and easy user interface” to define his contribution seems so understated when I consider his contribution to my own personal life and my career as a PR professional. When he started Apple, it wasn’t obvious that everyday people would ever want to use a computer. Rather the consensus was just the opposite. Computers were for technical people who knew what to do with them. He turned that consensus upside down –by offering easy access to the heretofore restricted computers and by fomenting a new mindset.
As a PR professional, I applaud his attention to and use of public relations in his quest to change the mindset of how people considered computers. Most memorable was the award-winning and famous 1984 ad. Lest we forget, a lot of pre-publicity led by Steve Jobs (and hundreds of PR agencies who claim credit) occurred to enable that ad to have its impact. And certainly he and Apple continued to proselytize the value of computers to our everyday lives using the fundamentals of public relations. He created the big picture and filled it in pixel by pixel.
Granted Steve Jobs wasn’t the only one who contributed to this advent of novice users of highly technical gadgets. Nor was he perfect. Unquestionably he had help at Apple to develop the user interfaces and integrate the media — the technology is vast. Yet I salute his vision and leadership and appreciate his use of public relations to convince us everyday people that we could use a computer, access the internet, download apps for our phone, and do so much more — simply and easily.
Oh, and thanks for the Genius Bar, too!