Einstein, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 06, 2011 15:33 hrs

​1955 was a strange year.

The world lost one of the greatest scientists that it had ever produced in the form of Albert Einstein. His Theory of Relativity had changed our way of thinking forever. An era had definitely come to an end.

But three births that year would eventually produce a brand new age.

It is a strange coincidence that Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Tim Berners Lee of the Worldwide Web were born in the very same year.

These three stalwarts have defined the personal computer and Internet as we know it today. (For the Indian angle, Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems was also born in 1955!)

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Now in 2011, arguably the most talented of the three is no more.

Jobs has passed away at the age of 56. That is a ridiculously young age for such a genius.

It is very difficult to define Jobs contribution to the world, which went way beyond the world of just computers.

A hand in every pie...

Today as you click your mouse to read this article, enjoy all the benefits of the graphical user interface of your computer screen and have the power of desktop publishing at your fingertips, you largely have Jobs to thank for.

While Gates went after all the billions of dollars and market share, Jobs raced after all the innovations.

Gates was always the richest man in the world; Jobs, the most talented.

What was denied to Jobs in the computer world was given to him handsomely in the MP3 age.

Apple and Jobs may not have invented the MP3 player, but they surely did make it their own!

The iPod was released in 2001 and it sold its 100 millionth unit in 2007!

It went way beyond the Sony Walkman in transforming the way we listened to music. Post the arrival of iPod, everyone in the world knew what an MP3 was even if very few knew its full form!

iTunes also changed the way the world buys music from the Internet. What the music companies failed to do, Jobs showed was possible. It has also spawned a brand new industry called podcasting that goes beyond mere songs.

Recently, an American newspaper asked its readers to vote for its favourite Apple product.

Most people didn't go for either the Mac or the iPod, but selected the iPhone. Nokia would have never thought that the greatest smartphone in the world would be from Apple and not from its other mobile manufacturing competitors.

Jobs and Apple were not just about innovations and sales, but also about style and pizazz.

Apple products have always been the best looking, most sought after and the ultimate status symbols.

Do you know who was the biggest shareholder of the Walt Disney company till 2011? It wasn't a direct descendant of Walt, but Jobs himself.

Also See: Saluting a master

Jobs took over the Graphics Group of Hollywood producer George Lucas and that ultimately became Pixar.

Today, Pixar has come out with such critically acclaimed blockbusters like the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Up etc.

Jobs had a great role to play in all that and was also credited as the Executive Producer of Toy Story in 1995.

When environmentalist groups took him on, he agreed to take back all iPods, promising to recycle them. Later that policy was to be extended to Macs too.

The tragic hero...

Jobs also led the life of a Greek tragic hero.

His biological parents couldn't bring him up and he was adopted.

He dropped out of college, slept on the floor and returned coke bottles for food money.

He said in one of his speeches that during that period, the only square meal he ate was one in which he took a long walk to a Hare Krishna temple every week.

There were failures after he and Steve Wozniaki founded Apple too. Famously, he brought in John Sculley from Pepsi into Apple only to end up being ousted by the latter.

Imagine founding a great IT company and being forced to leave!

'Knowing Jobs an insanely great honour'

Any other man might have been beaten, but Jobs came out with NeXT, Pixar, the iPod and iPhone after that debacle.

In 2004, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his pancreas.

At that time, the doctors had given him six months to live. But he lasted for more than seven years after that. That was probably because he still had so much to give to the world.

In a life of continuous non-stop innovation, we can only imagine what the world of the future has missed out without the master's early demise!

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/