Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steve Jobs and the Economics of Elitism - NYTimes.com

A timely Steve Jobs/Apple reality check… although many people seem to have forgotten failures such as the Apple III, Apple Lisa, NeXTcube, NeXTStation, and Power Mac G4 Cube (I’m not predicting failure for the iPad; I’m just pointing out that even Steve Jobs doesn’t have a perfect track record)

Timing is essential to make such big steps ahead. Carver Mead, a leading computer scientist at the California Institute of Technology, once said, “Listen to the technology; find out what it’s telling you.”

Mr. Jobs is undeniably a gifted marketer and showman, but he is also a skilled listener to the technology. He calls this “tracking vectors in technology over time,” to judge when an intriguing innovation is ready for the marketplace. Technical progress, affordable pricing and consumer demand all must jell to produce a blockbuster product.

Indeed, Apple designers and engineers have been working on the iPad for years, presenting Mr. Jobs with prototypes periodically. None passed muster, until recently.

Steve Jobs and the Economics of Elitism - NYTimes.com

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