The world will be awash with tributes to American innovator Steve Jobs who died today.
The success of his ideas illustrate America at its best.
The Customer is Always Right
Steve Jobs was famous for *not* asking customers what they want. An underlying basis for this was the belief that a customer is simply not in a position to articulate his desires in a manner that can lead to iconic products. What the customer really wants is something that doesn't exist.
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
With lovers, basic communication is bedrock. But what really gets the heart pounding is giving that which is deeply desired but -- for whatever reason -- can't be articulated.
And They Want it All
A gift is about everything. Not the thing. Everything.
It is possible to look for the origins of our modern economy as part of a larger tradition of exchange and reciprocity. This point of view has been explored at length by anthropologists. It provides striking insight into our present market driven lives by placing them in broader human context.
In a world of change, every innovation is a loss yet every loss is also a gain.
For us, gifts are felt as the inverse of commerce. Markets are anonymous, gifts are personal. Love for sale? Not so much.
A gift starts with the package.
There was a time when the Tiffany robin's egg blue box spoke volumes.
But for generations followed by a letter [X, Y, Z, etc.], it was more likely from Apple.
There are rare individuals that can bend reality. This is one small example. The world of technology, commerce, and markets bending back, upon itself, to encompass the most basic, most human, and most personal.
That the example is trivial makes it all the more striking. How in the hell did he know that I wanted my electronics in brilliant boxes? I didn't.