Stephen Fry on Steve Jobs. A wonderful article that touches on the importance of what Steve Jobs’ did for our industry and for pushing the world forward into the future. It’s an eloquent and somewhat indirect counter-essay to articles like these that have been springing up which say all he Jobs’ career amounted to was enabling “entire generation of techie design fetishists to walk around with more attractive gadgets”.
As always there are those who reveal their asininity (as they did throughout his career) with ascriptions like “salesman”, “showman” or the giveaway blunder “triumph of style over substance”. The use of that last phrase, “style over substance” has always been, as Oscar Wilde observed, a marvelous and instant indicator of a fool. For those who perceive a separation between the two have either not lived, thought, read or experienced the world with any degree of insight, imagination or connective intelligence. It may have been Leclerc Buffon who first said “le style c’est l’homme – the style is the man” but it is an observation that anyone with sense had understood centuries before, Only dullards crippled into cretinism by a fear of being thought pretentious could be so dumb as to believe that there is a distinction between design and use, between form and function, between style and substance. If the unprecedented and phenomenal success of Steve Jobs at Apple proves anything it is that those commentators and tech-bloggers and “experts” who sneered at him for producing sleek, shiny, well-designed products or who denigrated the man because he was not an inventor or originator of technology himself missed the point in such a fantastically stupid way that any employer would surely question the purpose of having such people on their payroll, writing for their magazines or indeed making any decisions on which lives, destinies or fortunes depended.
While I don’t pretend to be personally affronted or saddened by his death, I acknowledge and respect how he changed the world.