Steve Jobs and the End of Patience

Remember the Apple Lisa?

Of course not.

The Newton? I hope not.

But without them, there would have been no iMac or iPad. Hell, there probably would have been no Pixar.

Steve Jobs had success because he had time to fail. The same can be said for Bill Gates and Ted Turner, or J.K. Rowling and Charles Schultz. Innovation needs space, and failure has its place.

And this is why I worry.

I don’t know whether the HP TouchPad would have succeeded – all I know is it should have had the chance. But I wonder whether that’s still possible in a world where winning is measured by the tweet, a world where products get killed out of fear, or worse, passive resignation.

It’s one thing to have vision, yet quite another to have the time to see that vision through. Steve Jobs had both – he even had the time to “kill’ his own creations, from iPod to iPhone and PC to tablet.

Innovation loves patience. In fact that’s where it thrives.

But we are not a patient culture anymore. Computers were once a dream — now waiting a couple minutes for a computer to boot up is perceived as a nightmare. Patience is becoming as obsolete as the “delete” key on our keyboards.

Change is inevitable and the pace of change is irreversible. But innovation requires more than most of us are willing to give. Yes, it requires vision and patience, but most of all, it requires a belief that failure is but another step forward.

Remember the Apple Lisa? The Newton?

Steve Jobs does, happily. And so should we all.

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