Duncan Cooper spends a lot of time on the internet. Every month, he pays tribute to the hours spent with
original video and audio a short essay. Today he celebrates the life of Steve Jobs, who died yesterday at the age of 56.
Next month will be the tenth anniversary of the iPod. At FADER we’re able to share what we love with you because there’s a place in your pocket or in your backpack or your bedroom to put it. Steve Jobs’ vision for communication hinged on making people happy directly, to use industrial design to make the world easier for them to take in and easier to share. As people who like learning and who like feelings, and as people who like making stuff and seeing what our friends make, we’re better off because of him. Below is Apple’s 1997 “Crazy Ones” ad, narrated by Jobs himself. “Glorify or vilify them, about the only thing they can’t do is ignore them, because they change things,” he says, over ranks of heroes like Thomas Edison and Martin Luther King. “They push the human race forward.”
It’s complicated working out Jobs’ place in a paradigm as problematic as this—What does it mean to align these people side by side? Gandhi and Ted Turner aren’t the same, and it’s not clear that forward is the direction they were both always pushing. The story of Apple Inc. is as much about making people happy as it is convincing them that converting finite mineral resources into planned-obsolete consumables is a good idea. One of the world’s largest publicly traded companies has no public corporate giving strategy, in part because Jobs shut down all Apple philanthropic programs in 1997, the same year as that video. To Jobs’ credit, in the grand scheme of billionaires, he seems not to have used his personal wealth to influence social detriment in the style of so many other rich Americans. But whether in terms of inventing personal computers or cranking out popular gadgets or realigning media industries and popularly rewriting how information travels, Jobs exerted his vision irrepressibly.