Should Steve Jobs be placed on the list of great inventors?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Chris Blount, Apr 30, 2012.

Should Steve Jobs be placed on the list of great inventors?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    33 vote(s)
  3. Not Sure

    53 vote(s)
  1. May 1, 2012 #81 of 131
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    E.Mdtrn Sea
    Sorry, but it's nothing to remember him as INVENTOR. Nobody will remember this in 10 years or more.
  2. May 1, 2012 #82 of 131
    Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
    Personally I think it’s irrelevant what the patents are for. I think it comes down to is whether or not they were inventions. By that I mean ideas/concepts/products/etc. that didn’t exist in a commercially viable form prior to Steve Jobs. IMO, the answer to nearly all of his patents is no.

    Here’s my take on Steve Jobs. He knew what people wanted and, most importantly, what they didn’t.

    The best example is the iPhone/iPod/iPad. The iPhone wasn’t the first modern touch screen smart phone, heck it wasn’t even the first all touch screen phone. IBM beat Apple by 13 or 14 years. However, Jobs knew what people wanted and how to package it. The genius part, the part that everyone else still fails at, is keeping things consistent and not compromising by creating low end models. You could go from iPhone to iPod without skipping a beat. The look, the feel, the functionality are all familiar and he knew people liked familiar.

    Enter the iPad. After 25+ years of dismal flops in every attempt at the tablet PC by many companies (including Apple), Steve Jobs realized he was in the absolutely perfect set of circumstances to finally make a tablet PC a profitable device.

    And, he knew that the success of the iPhone/iPod was the key to making it all work. He knew that keeping the interface consistent making the transition so seamless that people would buy iPad in addition to their Apple PC’s, laptops, and iPhones with a near zero learning curve and an already existing and proven application base would make iPads fly off the shelves...people like familiar. Consequently, Apple is raking in boat loads of cash in the process across multiple “familiar” platforms. Just Bleepin’ Genius!

    He knew the iPad wasn’t going to be a replacement for PCs and laptops. He even said it wasn’t intended to be a replacement. And IMHO, the genius part was in saying so. Previous attempts at tablets were touted as the next step in the evolution of computing. People couldn’t see how they could use the tablet to do what they did with their computers so they didn’t even bother trying them out. Personally, I believe the smartest thing he ever did when introducing the iPad was the oft forgotten comments about it not replacing computers but augmenting them...enhancing them. Consequently the iPad is a consumption based device that gives people what they want and provides Apple a continuous revenue stream.

    I don’t think Steve Jobs was an inventor. I think he understood the customer and market in ways that other companies still can’t fathom and that puts him into an whole other category altogether.

  3. May 1, 2012 #83 of 131

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I think you've hit the nail square on the head.
  4. May 1, 2012 #84 of 131

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    Good points.

    But has anyone undertaken to really define what an inventor is and is not (leaving out persons for now.)?
  5. May 1, 2012 #85 of 131

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    I guess I should have also wondered if in 50 years humanity will be better off because we had...
    Perhaps his role in history will be something akin to the royalty, popes, and other persons of wealth who in centuries past assured that artists and others who actually create could work, allowing us now alive hundreds of years later to see and have things that might not have otherwise existed.

    The royalty, popes, and other persons of wealth get a place in history. But Michelangelo is (among other achievements) remembered for the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment spanning the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. Pope Julius II is not so well remembered.
  6. May 1, 2012 #86 of 131

    Sixto Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    I was tempted earlier to go look up the word "inventor" because he seemed like an "inventor" to me. He certainly seems to have had much input into the development of everything mentioned. It stated "someone who invents" which didn't help much.

    We now have alot of cool stuff, industries have changed, new product areas are now hot, some would say that the "retail" world has been transformed.

    It all seems like a genius who has invented new stuff to me, not sure that it matters which specific engineer is associated with an individual component. It was a team, and he was the lead person providing direction on most of it.
  7. May 1, 2012 #87 of 131

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    I'll stick with my first impression in this thread. I think Jobs will be remembered to the same extent as Walt Disney, however well-remembered that turns out to be.
  8. May 1, 2012 #88 of 131

    Sixto Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    The guy had lots of ideas based on his perception of the world.

    They developed multiple products based on his ideas.

    They filed lots of patents while developing the products.

    People have purchased large quantities of the products, with continual growth (so far).

    Competitors have developed alternatives based on seeing the products produced.

    Other competitors have been dealing with some tough times because their products aren't as competitive any more.

    It seems like much doesn't happen without his ideas and direction, which to me sounds like he invented some stuff, whether he was the actual engineer or not.
  9. May 1, 2012 #89 of 131
    Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jun 22, 2001
    I guess by the rule of the law, Jobs was an inventor:

    Patent law the discovery or production of some new or improved process or machine that is both useful and is not obvious to persons skilled in the particular field.

    I think it might be correct to say he was an inventor under the above definition. For instance, the iPod and iTunes process revolutionalized the music business to the point that if it wasn't invented, we might still be in the dark ages with online music content and portable ways of listening to our music. I'm almost sure that CD sales would be much bigger than they are now.

    Sure, Jobs didn't actually physically invent anything new, but he took what was available and made it better which is by definition an "invention". Henry Ford did the same thing with automobiles.
  10. May 1, 2012 #90 of 131

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    Disney is an excellent comparison. He didn't invent animation, but did it pretty well. He didn't invent the theme park, but certainly improved on the idea. But the real genius was in creating an organization that could do those things and many others well, and then making sure it worked.

    Disney had his critics and some of the criticisms were valid. So did Jobs. But genius comes in many forms and accomplishments should be appreciated. It is not necessary to like someone to appreciate their accomplishments.
  11. May 1, 2012 #91 of 131

    Sixto Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    That is the key phrase of this thread, and the world in general.

    It's a rule that I try to live by, which is why I change my mind regularly, as I adapt to new thoughts and ideas.
  12. May 1, 2012 #92 of 131

    Nick Charter Gold Club Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    I'm not a big fan of Steve Jobs', but I can certainly appreciate his genius. In some ways, I compare Jobs to a Rembrandt, a Rodin or a Michaelangelo. They didn't invent art, brushes or even chisels and mallets. What they did do was put these materials together creatively in a way that none had done before or perhaps, could ever do.

    I think it was Ford who said that success is "one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." I would venture that the percentage of inspiration intrinsic in Jobs' successes was considerably higher. Someone earlier in this thread said that Steve had the foresight to know what people wanted. Actually, it was the other way around. Jobs created products that, for the most part, were so innovative and well-designed that it made people want them -- a better mousetrap, as it were.

    One more thing. In most cases, products are designed by focus groups and committees. It is also said that an elephant is a racehorse designed by committee. Steve Jobs was a one-man committee; he was his own focus group.

    The key to success is to create a need, then fill it. Steve Jobs did exactly that.
  13. May 2, 2012 #93 of 131

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Steve Jobs was not an inventor he was a refiner. No one disputes that he was a phenomenal visionary and that he changed the landscape with his ideas it doesn't mean that he invented anything physically.

    He did invent a mythos which while not a physical device is much harder to create as it involves a belief structure.

    He could be listed in the top 10 of many great lists but inventor shouldn't be one of them.
  14. May 2, 2012 #94 of 131

    fluffybear Hall Of Fame

    Jun 19, 2004
    Sure! When we can put someone like Al Gore in the internet hall of fame, I see no reason why why Jobs can not be added to a list of great inventors.
  15. May 2, 2012 #95 of 131

    afulkerson MI Citizen Corps Vol of Year

    Jan 14, 2007
    I would question a patent or invention for a STORE.
  16. May 2, 2012 #96 of 131

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Post of the week.
  17. May 2, 2012 #97 of 131

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    It is what the "genius" is applied to that makes for an invention.

    If the "device" makes a man or company rich and famous, it is marketing success. If it truly makes the world a better place (as opposed to being an new alternative to something very old), it is an invention.
  18. May 2, 2012 #98 of 131

    dmurphy Active Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Here's a guy who completely redefined:

    Personal computing
    Mobile telecommunications
    The WWW *
    Personal computing (again)

    .... and so much more

    You don't have the love the guy, or even love his creations, but there's absolutely no way to argue with the fact that all of the above industries are completely different because of one man.

    Thanks Steve.

    * - This requires a bit of explanation. Without Safari, and more importantly, without WebKit, we would still be in the 'stone age' of the Browser Wars. WebKit, as far as I'm concerned, is what finally brought ubiquitous access to the WWW across devices - desktops, tablets, mobile devices, and so much more. Without WebKit, we'd be stuck with ActiveX vs. JavaScript, WAP gateways, Flash, Java Craplets, and so much more. I believe WebKit was the 'great equalizer' that - once and for all - gave us a unified web. Tough to remember the WWW before Safari, but man, it sucked.
  19. May 2, 2012 #99 of 131

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

    Jan 23, 2008
    I still prefer Gecko to Webkit.
  20. May 2, 2012 #100 of 131
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    E.Mdtrn Sea
    It is still questionable of his involvement and attributing everything to one man, especially CEO ... Well, we come again to same point: his achievements are brought him to other category/list, yet of great INVENTORS.

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