The ‘Maker Movement’ will produce the next Steve Jobs

I used to meet with Steve jobs in the 1980s, when he was lauded as a visionary. To be honest I wasn’t that impressed with him.

Sure, he deserved credit for the Apple I and then Lisa, which turned into the Macintosh but it was too early to tell what he was capable of doing. Lots of people are successful in Silicon Valley and he was among them but you never know how much luck is involved.

In the case of Steve Jobs it wasn’t about luck. Steve Jobs stands out because of his consistent success, he’s hit more balls out of the park than anyone — he’s Silicon Valley’s Babe Ruth.

While it’s unlikely that Silicon Valley can produce another Steve Jobs we should by now have quite a few new leaders. But where are the Larry Ellisons, Scott McNealys, Andy Groves, Bill Gates, etc?

We have Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Max Levchin… Maybe. Time will tell as it did with Steve Jobs but it seems to me that there’s a very small pool of potential standout leaders compared with 20 years ago.

And that’s a shame because forceful, charismatic personalities do well in our society and they help educate and push things forward in ways that marketing messages cannot do.

People are inspired and motivated by people — not by products. Yet our tech press has become an incredibly dull product press — breathlessly reporting about a new HTML feature or the fact that Skype now has an app directory.

Most of the tech press is rewritten news releases about things that matter little and are quickly forgotten.

Within this dull media environment it wouldn’t take much for someone with just a fraction of the charisma of Steve Jobs to standout. But dull breeds dull and that’s probably why we lack a new generation of leaders capable of evangelising a brave new world where technology and society combine to produce something truly wonderful. The tech press focuses on consuming rather than innovating.

I’m reminded of my favourite quote from “Shit my dad says.”

“Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it.”

Consuming is not innovating. Buying is the lowest form of participating in innovation.

Steve Jobs is an innovator — we need more like him but where do we find more innovators? This is why I like the “Maker Movement” — there’s some fantastic creativity and innovation happening there.

The movement is a collection of tech hobbyists and enthusiasts who share information with each other about reusing, repairing and repurposing every day objects.

The Maker Movement is like the early days of the Homebrew Computer Club, where Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and many others, soldered their own primitive computers together, and collaborated on solving key problems. And from those humble beginnings massive, world changing products and technologies emerged.

The Maker Movement, with its DIY attitude toward tech and open source ideals, is likely where the next Steve Jobs and the next generation of leaders will come from, in my humble opinion.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.