Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, Creating New Industries

Today in 1931, Thomas Edison died. He will be remembered as the most prolific inventor in U.S. history, having registered 1,093 U.S. patents over the course of his lifetime. Harold Evans in They Made America: “Hundreds of his 1,093 patents were for improvements on inventions already in operation–but that is the essence of the innovative process…if his methods of invention seemed haphazard from time to time, his method of innovation, the creation of new industries, was systematic and complete…. In Robert Conot’s vivid analogy, he was a discoverer of new continents where prevailing opinions held none existed…. No doubt if he had concentrated on one innovation like electricity, he would have approached [the scale of Ford or U.S. Steel], but we can be glad he was the starting point for at least three industries–electricity, motion pictures and musical entertainment–each generating billions of dollars. “

Also today, in 1999, Time magazine published a cover story on Steve Jobs, titled “Apple and Pixar: Steve’s Two Jobs.” Michael Krantz wrote: “Jobs has a long history of divining the high-tech future, often recognizing it in technology other people invented: the mouse. The visual desktop. The laser printer. Rainbow-hued PCs. The wireless laptop. Now, years before most people have even heard of broadband Internet access, Jobs has bet the farm on the convergence of his two companies’ products. Digital video, he proclaimed at the iMac launch last week, is ‘the next big thing.'”

And other quotes from 1999:

“‘He doesn’t have a pocket Mac in the works, at least that I know of,’ says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies Research International, a Silicon Valley consulting firm. ‘But he’s too smart not to be thinking about it.'”

“Before launching into his evangelistic spiel from the Flint Center stage last week, Jobs briefly eulogized Sony founder Akio Morita, grandfather of the consumer-electronics industry, who had died just a few days earlier. ‘He expressed his love for the human species in every product he made,’ Jobs said in a clear, quiet voice. You get the feeling he couldn’t imagine a better epitaph for himself.”

Update: Walter Isaacson in Time magazine, October 17, 2011: “[Steve Jobs] revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing. You might add a seventh: retailing, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize but did reimagine. Along the way, he produced not only transforming products but also, on his second try, a lasting company, endowed with his DNA, that is filled with creative designers and daredevil engineers who will carry forward his visions.”

About GilPress

I launched the Big Data conversation; writing, research, marketing services; &
This entry was posted in Apple, Computer history, Innovation, This day in information, Yesterday's Futures. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, Creating New Industries

  1. Pingback: Apple Introduces Lisa: “Great Artists Steal” | The Story of Information

  2. Pingback: Marketing Savvy from Menlo Park: 1st Christmas Lights @sarahcaldicott

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s