Posts tagged ‘iPad’

A Simple Thought from the Life of Steve Jobs

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs[1]

When I was in college, I worked as a DJ at the number one radio station in Austin.  It was a country station, owned by a former mayor of Austin, and operated by a general manager who seemed to have a knack for picking the next country hit and formatting the station in such a way to draw in thousands upon thousands listeners – even those far beyond the Austin city limits.  But then, in 1998, the station was sold to a large conglomerate that operated hundreds of stations across the country.  The changes to station came almost instantaneously.  The corporation set up several focus groups, asking listeners what they wanted out of a country station.  Changes to the format were then made accordingly.  And the ratings plummeted.  In fact, they were cut in half.

How could this have happened?  After all, the corporation was only listening to the listeners!  But then, the listeners stopped listening to the very things for which they asked!  Perhaps they should have taken a lesson from Steve Jobs:  “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

There has never been, nor will there probably ever be, anyone quite like Steve Jobs.  He revolutionized – quite literally – the way we interact not only with technology, but they way we interact with each other and our world.  The products he dreamed up are everywhere.  In fact, I have to chuckle to myself even as I type this blog.  I am typing it on my MacBook Pro.  On my desk, sits my iPhone, on which I have already texted and talked this morning, as well as my iPad, on which I read the news of Steve Jobs’ passing.

One of the secrets to Steve Jobs’ success seems to have been his ability to dream.  Rather than reacting to what people wanted, he dreamed of what could be.  He figured that if his dreams of what could be captured his imagination, they might capture the imaginations of others as well.  Indeed, Jobs often described his own creations as “magical.”  Now there’s a word that captures the human imagination!

Apple’s products have certainly captured my imagination.  Just three years ago, I did all my work on a PC.  Now, I do everything on Apple products. Why?  Because Steve Jobs cast a vision for me of a highly integrated system of devices that would increase my productivity and, of course, be a lot of fun to use!  This is something I would never have dreamed of for myself.  But I’m happy that somebody dreamed it for me – and for countless others.

People don’t know always what they need.  So someone must dream what people need for them.  Understanding this simple truth has served as a catalyst for many of the most visionary corporations in our world today.  It is also the simple truth of the gospel.  The fact of the matter is this:  On our own, we do not know what we need.  We do not know that we need a Savior.  As Jesus tells the Sadducees, a group of religious leaders who thought they knew God well, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).  On our own, we cannot fathom the seriousness of our sinfulness.  On our own, we cannot confess the depth of our depravity.  On our own, we cannot recognize our requirement for a Redeemer.  This is why, rather than leaving us grappling to understand the desperate state of our wicked and wretched plight, God sends us Jesus to tell us what we need.  And what we need is simple:  We need Him.  And so Jesus gives us Himself on a cross to sanitize us from our sinfulness, destroy our depravity, and escort us into eternity.

Steve Jobs was a brilliant man.  And I am thankful for his life and his legacy.  But as great as his technological innovations may have been, they cannot save us.  They cannot save him.  Only Jesus can do that.  I hope you know that you need Him…even more than your iPad.

[1]Back To The Future At Apple,” Business Week (May 25, 1998).

October 6, 2011 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

ABC Extra – It’s Good To Be Old

Recently, I read a news report concerning a rash of scams in Grand Prairie, Texas.  According to the story, crooks offer to sell folks iPads and MacBooks in the parking lots of local area shopping centers and convenience stores.  The asking price?  $300 for one of the products or $500 for both.  Considering a MacBook starts at $1,000 and an iPad starts at $500, this deal is too lucrative for many to pass up.  However, as the old saying goes: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  And this was certainly the case in this situation.  After unsuspecting buyers purchased MacBooks and iPads, upon opening the packaging, they found out that it contained only a block of wood, cleverly painted and disguised to make it look like a Mac device.  As I read this report, I especially appreciated the final line of the police release, which noted:  “The public should be advised that it is unwise to purchase anything from the trunk of a car, no matter how good the deal seems.”[1]  True indeed.

Unfortunately, scammers are always on the lookout for those who are greedy, gullible, or distraught.  Last week, a cable news show featured some massive scams that took advantage of 9.11 victims shortly after the attacks.  Sadly, the elderly seem to be an especially favorite target of scammers.  Earlier this year, ABC News ran a story on what it called “The Imposter Grandchildren Scam.”[2]  In this scam, a con artist contacts an elderly person by phone, claiming to be a grandchild who is in some sort of serious trouble – be it a car accident, or being stranded in some foreign country.  The supposed “grandchild” then begs for financial assistance, asking the elderly person not to tell his or her parents.  Unfortunately, many elderly people have wired cash to what they thought was their grandchild, only to find out later that they had been scammed.  Con artists who prey on the elderly do so because these people can be especially easy targets because they are often easily confused.

This past weekend in worship and ABC, we talked about the glory of aging.  Solomon celebrates the elderly in his Proverbs:  “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31).  Because aging and being aged is a good thing according to Scripture, we are to show respect for the elderly, as Moses reminds us: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).  Schemes and scams that prey on the elderly, then, are wholly inappropriate and sinful.

As I talked about in ABC, our culture does not have a high view of aging.  To be young is much preferred to being old.  And yet, Scripture speaks of the elderly with special affection and calls upon us who are younger to treat those who are older with respect and dignity.  Is there an elderly person who has played a special role in your life?  Take some time this week to write a note, make a phone call, or even stop by for a visit and express your thanks to them.  For these elderly people are gifts from God and deserve our thanks.

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[1] Jordan Golson, “Buying an iPad in a Parking Lot is a Bad Idea,” (August 29, 2011).

[2] Susanna Kim, “Imposter Grandchildren Scam the Elderly for Big Bucks,” (March 29, 2011).

September 5, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

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