I got the Steve Jobs book last night on Kindle. I'm reading it on my iPad of course. Great way to read books. Thanks Jeff and Steve.
I wish every product had a spokesperson and ego behind it like the Kindle and iPad do. Take Flickr for example. It's way ahead of all the other Internet photo apps. But its egos, Stewart and Caterina, left years ago. Since then it's drifted on with a little of the momentum they left with it. And even so, it's way ahead of all the other photo apps, as a platform. And that's proving to be really important.
My photos need an entrypoint onto the net. A gateway. Back in the minicomputer days we used to call this a TIP. I forget what it stands for. But think of the net as a fast and powerful processing and storage unit. And "out there" are billions of nodes that generate stuff you want to move around this big unit in every way possible. They need a way to get onto the net. If your service has the ability to flow stuff out of it, then it can be that spot. For pictures, Flickr is the best.
But there is no ego. It's owned by Yahoo and as we know, Yahoo has been adrift for the better part of a decade. Carol Bartz had no idea about Flickr beyond its use as a photo storage service. She had probably been told it was a platform, and either didn't understand, or wasn't curious to find out what that meant.
Steve Jobs serves as the prime example we have now of a product with an ego. If you look at all the other big products, you can identify an ego that you connect it with. Linus and Linux. Ballmer and Windows, Larry/Sergey and Google. Zuck and Facebook. Drew and Dropbox. Chad/Steve and Youtube. Costolo and Twitter. In previous generations: Bill/Excel, Mitch/Lotus, Dan, Dan and Bob/Visicalc.
They aren't always people you like, actually maybe they're always people you don't like. That isn't what it's about. What matters is does the product know what it is and isn't, and does it act accordingly? Only a product mover like Jobs and Bezos can do that for you.
They're something like the people in Apple's famous commercial (but that's a commercialization). I don't think "changing the world" is the same thing as being the ego of a product. But the former is easier to explain.
See my previous piece about Flickr as a platform.