…our feelings for Steve Jobs are not because of our “worship”… but because his work has helped us discover our own…

Origin: A Sociology of Steve Jobs

For a whole swathe of developers, programmers, designers, and writers, Apple’s products catalyzed their own interest in technology while confirming their belief in the value of good design.

Kathy Sierra provides a good example:

We do not mourn Steve because of our feelings for Steve, but because of our feelings about ourselves. … Personally, I believe that much of our feelings for Steve Jobs are not because of our “worship” of his “genius”, but because his work has helped us discover our own.


Or, in a slightly different way, Merlin Mann:

You gotta be kidding me, you want me to use a Mac? Those things are toys, right? … I eventually bought my own toy. I wrote my thesis on a toy. I learned desktop publishing on a toy. And after I graduated, every job I’ve had since then has involved one of those toys. And it’s true to this day. I take photos of my daughter on a toy. My kid and I make music together on a toy. … I’m really glad Steve Jobs made the toy, I’m really glad he kept making it better and better, and I’m really grateful to live in a time when you can have such wonderful toys right in your pocket.


How will Jobs’ charisma persist at Apple? I wonder most whether his death will make it easier or harder for those who want to monitor and improve Apple’s labor and environmental practices. On the one hand, for much of his career Jobs showed absolutely no interest in these or related issues—his strictly personal liberal values notwithstanding.

(My 2 cents: Jobs started to solve all of these questions when he gave maximum power to Tim Cook… you can’t organize operations without considering the long term wellbeing at your factories.) 

Like bad wiring and bad taste, bad production would ritually pollute the founders vision of things, and the users’ experience of them, in a way that demanded some kind of systematic response.