March 2012

Each issue of Canadian CIO will look at the business outcomes driving IT investments in large public and private sector enterprises. It will provide a framework for effectively moving from ideas to action.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 23

text support Steve Jobs bio: A Canadian IT director's review The former technology executive for the Region of Peel gives his perspective on one of the technology industry's hottest-selling books. Why the late Apple CEO mattered By Adam Hughes A fore taking the next step in my career I was relishing the op- portunity to sink my teeth into some books which has been a luxury that I have not really had time to do over the last several years. The first book on my list was the recently released autho- rized biography of Steve Jobs. So why was this a book I s I take some time off to recharge my batteries be- wanted to put number one on my reading list? I suppose given my occupation I have al- ways had a professional reason to follow certain companies and individuals to have a bet- ter understanding what is hap- pening in the high-tech indus- try but as the lines between professional and personal life have become so blurred – in large thanks to Steve Jobs – I also have a personal inter- est. I was also fascinated with the close connection between the man and the company, so much so that any news on his 20 cio canada health was ref lected in the stock market. Full disclosure: Our house- hold has 5 iPods, a Mac Mini & a MacBook Pro. So for our personal technology needs we use mostly Apple products. From a professional perspec- tive all the organizations I have worked have been predomi- nately Wintel shops. So I'd like to think that I have a somewhat balanced view here. Apple is great for personal use but not so much for the enterprise. Based on more than 40 inter- views with Jobs conducted over two years, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is filled with conver- sations among more than 100 family members, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, is now available in stores and online, friends, adver- saries, competi- tors, and colleagues. This pro- vided an interesting perspective as a reader, as there were times you could empathize with Steve and other times you would shake your head and think, "What a jerk!" This was a well-balanced book in that sense and, quite frankly, the way biographies should be written. Throughout the book the author was very clear about Steve's desire to have the book paint the whole picture. I'd say that mission was very much ac- complished. The beginning of the book starts off a bit slow in terms of his life, adoption, school and parents. His father worked as a machinist who I believe had the biggest impact on his early life and provided him with his obsession of the "importance of design." Next up: meeting Steve MARCH 2012 Wozniak who was a brilliant engineer and eventually creat- ing Apple and working out of his father's garage creating the Apple II in 1977 which was the first mass marketed personal computer. This, of course, is what really launched his career. The next part of the book deals with Apple's rise-fall-rise, which I found riveting. It gave a pretty candid account of some of Jobs's relationships against the backdrop of his company. The book finishes up with his health decline and how he decided he would leave a legacy. I found the insight and perspective of this book very fas- cinating, from Jobs's tumultu- ous relationship with Bill Gates to getting kicked out of Apple and returning triumphantly 10 years later; his brilliance in not only making technology hip but very desirable; and, his focus on design simplicity and his obses- siveness both professionally and in his personal life. Steve Jobs basically took technology, crossed it with the arts and we haven't looked back since. As much of a visionary as he was, he also got incredibly lucky, such as the time that he got to see what Xerox was doing with the first graphical user interface (GUI) and rightly decided that was the way to go, beating IBM and Microsoft to the punch by copying the idea while Xerox sat on it. And let's not forget that not every Apple product was a home-run … any- one remember the Lisa, Newton or Apple Network Server? Steve Jobs said that he wanted to put a dent in the universe. I'm not sure I would argue with that. In years to come he will be remembered with the likes of Edison, Einstein and Ford. This book is a must read for anyone with a slight interest in the high-tech industry, consumer electronic goods or inspirational leaders. It is thought provoking, insightful and inspiring … but be warned … once you pick it up it is very difficult to put it down. I TWo r l d C a n a d a . c om

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CanadianCIO - March 2012