Some will frame the work of Steve Jobs as showmanship, hoodwinking millions in the quest for power and money. Those same people will roll their eyes in disbelief at fans who left flowers or memorials at Apple stores, or think of it as evidence of just how clever at branding this man was. That cynicism is what prevents ambition or achieving anything of worth and is why most people live what Thoreau called ‘lives of quiet desperation’.
Jobs once said that his ambition was to put a ding in the universe. He did it through being a businessman and artist rather than one or the other. It’s a way of working which inspires loyalty, which social media amplifies. It’s no accident that art-and-business companies like Apple and Nintendo have dominated their respective fields over the last decade, or why James Dyson can charge more than competitors for state of the art vacuum cleaners and yet still win.
The 21st century economy belongs to business artists. It is a creative economy where dings spread like viruses and create huge profits. It’s also the economy where commodity jobs get devalued down toward near zero. I’m not saying you need to be Steve Jobs. I am saying you need to find your own ding and then create it. What does your ding in the universe look like?
(Today’s image comes from Scalar Scopes.)