Daniel Alef, author and former syndicated columnist for Santa Barbara News-Press, began writing biographical profiles of America’s great moguls in April 2003, for a multi-book project he calls Titans of Fortune. Since then he has written more than 300 biographical profiles and authored three books on the automotive pioneers, America’s great inventors and innovators, and the moguls of sales and marketing. On February 17, the UCSB History Associates held an event entitled, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: What’s All the Fuss About Steve Jobs?” in which Alef discussed the biography of Apple Computer’s CEO and analyzed how the company’s success came to rest so heavily on the health of a single individual.
In 2003, the Apple innovator was diagnosed with a severe case of pancreatic cancer for which he underwent a liver transplant in 2009. Recent news regarding his health has inevitably caused businessmen and shareholders around the world to wonder what the multi-billion dollar empire would do without him. When Jobs announced that he would be taking a medical leave of absence, the company’s stock experienced a drop of five percent in just one day. Alef revealed that in the next couple of days, Apple shareholders will gather around for a meeting to discuss Jobs’s health and the future succession of his company.
From iTunes to iPods, iPhones, and Macbooks, Apple products have infiltrated every aspect of technology and indeed have succeeded in becoming the archetypes that all the other leading technology companies look to. “Every time [Jobs] developed a product, it became the standard against which everything else is measured,” Alef said.
Just 25 years ago, we lived in a dimension where accessibility to information, music, movies, or even people was not as efficient as it is today. According to Alef, Jobs deserves an enormous share of the credit for the revolution in technology and for its ability to link us all to each other.
It was 2001 when Jobs introduced the world to the world famous music engine iTunes, and created the iPod, which single-handedly did away with CD players, 8-tracks, and cassette players. “By the end of 2009,” Alef said, “220 million iPods had been sold. Steve Jobs has really become a top expert in design.” Yet though questions of corporate succession still linger, Jobs’s health problems have not stopped the continuing creation of devices. Just recently the release of the iPad, a computer tablet, sold out its entire inventory within three months, proving, said Alef, that Apple is still at the top of its game. “If you look at newspapers and business articles today, you’ll find that they say there’s not a chance for any tablet to come up bigger than the iPad,” Alef stated. And with the release of the iPad 2 in just a month and a half, the biographer expects that Steve Jobs will once again exceed technological expectations.