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Old 28th-February-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
Philosophyking87
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Default Steve Jobs?

Given the relatively intense hype and rather inflated atmosphere of lamentation surrounding the recent death of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, many - such as myself - have been left clueless as to what specifically renders Jobs such a seemingly iconic figure in the world of technology. Consequently, the question is often asked, "What was so special about Steve Jobs?"

The following is an opinion from amazon.com which sufficiently captures my judgment on the matter:

Quote:
I too have a hard time calling Jobs a "genius". In my opinion, what Jobs was, was a great entrepreneur. He should be properly compared to men like Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc didn't invent the hamburger, didn't invent the restaurant, didn't invent the fast-food chain, heck - he didn't even invent McDonald's restaurant! But he did create the fast-food chain we now know as McDonald's and turned it into the multi-billion dollar operation it is today. Was he a genius? Well, whether he was or wasn't, I think Steve Jobs was or wasn't in much the same way. He took a concept - the "personal computer" - and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business (Apple), then took a totally different concept - the digitally animated film - and turned that into another billion dollar business (Pixar). However, Ray Kroc is on Time's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century (he's number 20), and Jobs is not (to be fair, Pixar didn't strike it rich until 1995, and Apple didn't re-establish itself until after the launch of the iPod in 2001). The problem with evaluating Jobs' impact is that both his accomplishments and his death are so recent. I think more time must pass before he can be put into context. However, even if Jobs' influence on humanity or his genius is eventually ranked below that of Kroc, or Bill Gates, or Einstein, there is no doubt that he was very influential to a lot of people, and that influence will be felt for quite some time. But in my mind, "genius" applies to people who either personally invent something really significant, or make a really game-changing discovery. Building a business - even a multi-billion dollar business - doesn't count. By that standard, there would be a lot of genius's - Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Sam Walton, etc, and the term "genius" (almost ironically) would be devalued. Just sayin'.
Here's a summary of the main points expressed in this opinion:
  1. Jobs was, without question, a great entrepreneur.
  2. A very similar entrepreneur to Jobs was Ray Kroc, who helped build McdDonald's.
  3. Jobs accomplishments are too recent to properly rank.
  4. Even if Jobs isn't ranked as highly as Edison, Tesla, or Einstein, he definitely had an influence on our culture.
  5. The term "genius" should properly denote some who either a) invented something significant or b) made a ground-breaking discovery.
  6. Building successful businesses is neither a significant invention nor a ground-breaking discovery, as successful business are created all the time.
  7. So people like Jobs, Kroc, Rockefeller, JP Morgan, and Sam Walton, while successful businessman, don't tend to fall under the cateorgy of "genius," despite the fact that they are often admired influential figures in their lifetimes.

To me, this is a fairly cogent judgment, with the possible exception of point 4. The reason is that when we are to determine a person's actual merit, how we rank them should rarely include "influence," but instead to what degree they were actually exceptional (as a perosn's influence is not a very reliable method of assesing their actual merit). Clearly, inventing an entirely new product/technology (such as alternating current, the airplane, or the telephone) and making new discoveries (such as the nature of light, how gravity works, and how to store chemical energy) are much more relevant factors when trying to determine a person's merit (and whether or not they qualify as a "genius").

So to me, the fact that Steve Jobs was "somewhat influential" doesn't say much about the man, at least from a larger pespective. The reason is that there are many currently influental celebrities who simply will not be noted as "exceptional" in the history books, just as there were many popular individuals in history who, though celebrated in their own times, are now considered less historically relevant (while at the same time, some of the most historically relevant individuals were not even known during their lifetimes). Thus, current influence is null, which is definitely unfortunate, as this seems to be one of the main reasons for the great hype surrounding Jobs' death. The other significant reason is that he co-founded Apple Inc, a very successul business, which - as we've seen - doesn't necessarily render someone a "genius," or guarantee a very important place in the history books. In the end, then, all Jobs seems to amount to is a fluff icon blown out of proportion by a culture addicted to new gizmos and gadgets, despite the fact that very little new computer technology has actually been created in recent years, beyond the minor tweaks and design changes made every so often.

What we can say is that he was a very successful and influential entrepreneur. And on some level, we can somewhat credit his effort for some of the products we enjoy on the market today. But to say any more beyond that is reaching. Thus, Jobs' actual merit is unlikely congruent with his current social status (which largely seems to stem from misconceptions about his actual merit), so that when someone says, "Yeah, I heard about that Apple CEO/inventor/designer who died, so what?" there's not really much that can be said. And this goes for other entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, as well, as developing successful businesses, as was already said, isn't entirely exceptional or noteworthy (and actually comes down to a lot of dumb luck).

To me, it's the creativity behind a new discovery or a revolutionar world-changing product (such as the airplane) that really makes people stand out as masters of invention. The people who merely set up businesses, and those who make minor improvements to existing technology, aren't really that significant.
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Old 28th-February-2012, 07:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Unfortunately there's few opportunities to "invent the airplane" nowadays, it's not like some brilliant coder is going to create consciousness on his desktop computer or some theorist is going to come up with a formula that fundamentally changes how we view the universe.
Now it's all mainframes and the LHC.

What Steve Jobs did was he challenged the biggest of the big fish (Microsoft) and won.
Windows is still everywhere but atm I'm typing on a IPad.
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Old 28th-February-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
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I would say the Steve Jobs is not even in the same league as Rockefeller. The achievement of Rockefeller through the refinement of oil and reduction of prices, was raising the standards of living of the greatest amount of people ever seen. Well, apart from the industrial revolution.
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Old 29th-February-2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognisant View Post

What Steve Jobs did was he challenged the biggest of the big fish (Microsoft) and won. Windows is still everywhere but atm I'm typing on a IPad.
Entrepreneurs and CEO's challenge bigger companies and win all the time.
So what? What makes him exceptional?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProxyAmenRa View Post
I would say the Steve Jobs is not even in the same league as Rockefeller. The achievement of Rockefeller through the refinement of oil and reduction of prices, was raising the standards of living of the greatest amount of people ever seen. Well, apart from the industrial revolution.
Be that as it may, even if they aren't in the same "league," it still seems like they are in the same "category" (which is the point expressed in my first post). That category being "entrepreneur" (or "tycoon") rather than highly gifted technical wizard. In other words, he knew how to build successful companies, sell interesting products, and had some innovative ideas, but he was definitely no Tesla or Edison. He was primarily a businessman.

Yet it seems he's often confused as belonging to the category of "great inventors."
It would be interesting to get some opinions on that matter.
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Old 29th-February-2012, 01:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

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Steve Jobs was not Apple. Steve Jobs was an inventor. Steve Jobs was probably the single greatest inventor to grace the world since Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla.

The personal computer and the smartphone were "telegraph" and "light bulb" moments that forever transformed our world and will only continue to do so. While Steve Jobs was not the only (or even first) person to make these inventions a reality, he will rightly be remembered as the man who truly revolutionized and brought them to ordinary people.

When history remembers Steve Jobs, it will be not as part of Apple, but as one of the world's great minds. We have lost not just one of the icons of the technological world, but one of the greatest contributors to humanity of the last four centuries.

[http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/10...uter-has-died/
What kind of evidence exists to support these rather pompous, exaggerated claims?
This is just one of many articles I've read in the past year, since Jobs' death, that seems to over-inflate his worth/contributions.
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Old 29th-February-2012, 01:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philosophyking87 View Post
Be that as it may, even if they aren't in the same "league," it still seems like they are in the same "category" (which is the point expressed in my first post). That category being "entrepreneur" (or "tycoon") rather than highly gifted technical wizard. In other words, he knew how to build successful companies, sell interesting products, and had some innovative ideas, but he was definitely no Tesla or Edison. He was primarily a businessman.

Yet it seems he's often confused as belonging to the category of "great inventors."
It would be interesting to get some opinions on that matter.
Good entrepreneurs have an ability that other people simply don't and that is figuring out what other people may desire. Some maybe be quite "gifted" in this respect.

What Steve Jobs did was figure out that there was subset of the market that wished technology to be infused with art and the concept of being young. More or less he was attaching an intangible idea to the products. This made the shit that they produced to sell like hot cakes.

These days, more than ever, it is about selling ideas first and tangible products second. I think the new trend is a concept called unity.
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Old 29th-February-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProxyAmenRa View Post
Good entrepreneurs have an ability that other people simply don't and that is figuring out what other people may desire. Some maybe be quite "gifted" in this respect.

What Steve Jobs did was figure out that there was subset of the market that wished technology to be infused with art and the concept of being young. More or less he was attaching an intangible idea to the products. This made the shit that they produced to sell like hot cakes.

These days, more than ever, it is about selling ideas first and tangible products second. I think the new trend is a concept called unity.
I think you hit it on the head. I thought about this same thing right after he died and everybody was hailing him as one of the greatest innovators of all time. What exactly did he do? He didn't really make anything new. Yet, the reason he is so well known is the overwhelming success of his brand. He was a brilliant businessman and marketer. He was very, very good at making people buy things. If you ask me, he didn't really contribute anything significant to humanity; he was just an extraordinarily financially successful man.

It's kind of interesting when you think of what the products were that made him so successful:

The Macintosh computer in the 80s: It was just a PC. It wasn't the first personal computer, not even close. It was somewhat innovative in its interface and was designed to be more user-friendly than the competitors' models, but overall, technically, it was not significantly different than anything else on the market.

The iPod: It's just an MP3 player. MP3 players had been around for years, but they weren't very popular. The iPod did the exact same thing as all the models before it that never really got off the ground, but everybody had an iPod within a few years of its introduction.

The iPhone: It's just a smartphone. Smartphones, too, had been around for years before the iPhone, but seriously, how many people did you know who had a blackberry in 2005? Smartphones were kind of a niche thing before the iPhone; now everyone has one. And most of them are iPhones.

The iPad: Tablets had been around for years, too, but it was the kind of thing you'd see at the store every now and then and think, "That's kind of cool, but who would actually buy it?" Then, once again, Apple makes one, and they fly off the shelves.

It was all about building a brand. Apple has some of the most devoted customers of any brand in the world (the whole concept of brand loyalty is kind of fascinating; it doesn't make any rational sense at all). If Steve Jobs and Apple, inc. had never existed, we would still have all the exact same technology--just maybe it wouldn't be as wildly popular. Or maybe someone else would have popularized it, the point is, who cares about Steve Jobs, he didn't do anything important for the world.
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Old 1st-March-2012, 02:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duke of new york View Post

The Macintosh computer in the 80s: It was just a PC. It wasn't the first personal computer, not even close. It was somewhat innovative in its interface and was designed to be more user-friendly than the competitors' models, but overall, technically, it was not significantly different than anything else on the market.
Jobs nicked the GUI idea from Xerox.


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Old 1st-March-2012, 02:59 AM   #9
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Bill Mauer had an insight about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and their impact on the world. The argument was that the man who crafted himself as a humanitarian, Steve Jobs, was really a business scoundrel engaging in ethically dubious practices, and the one was seemingly didn't give a shit, Bill Gates, actually, with his recent malaria eradication efforts and various philanthropic gestures, was actually more Buddhist in a way. One could argue Gates committed to philanthropy because of anti-trust stuff coming down on his business, but that's a rather cynical interpretation of the situation. Some folks just get more generous as they get older, you know?
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 05:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duke of new york View Post
I think you hit it on the head. I thought about this same thing right after he died and everybody was hailing him as one of the greatest innovators of all time. What exactly did he do? He didn't really make anything new. Yet, the reason he is so well known is the overwhelming success of his brand. He was a brilliant businessman and marketer. He was very, very good at making people buy things. If you ask me, he didn't really contribute anything significant to humanity; he was just an extraordinarily financially successful man.

It's kind of interesting when you think of what the products were that made him so successful:

The Macintosh computer in the 80s: It was just a PC. It wasn't the first personal computer, not even close. It was somewhat innovative in its interface and was designed to be more user-friendly than the competitors' models, but overall, technically, it was not significantly different than anything else on the market.

The iPod: It's just an MP3 player. MP3 players had been around for years, but they weren't very popular. The iPod did the exact same thing as all the models before it that never really got off the ground, but everybody had an iPod within a few years of its introduction.

The iPhone: It's just a smartphone. Smartphones, too, had been around for years before the iPhone, but seriously, how many people did you know who had a blackberry in 2005? Smartphones were kind of a niche thing before the iPhone; now everyone has one. And most of them are iPhones.

The iPad: Tablets had been around for years, too, but it was the kind of thing you'd see at the store every now and then and think, "That's kind of cool, but who would actually buy it?" Then, once again, Apple makes one, and they fly off the shelves.

It was all about building a brand. Apple has some of the most devoted customers of any brand in the world (the whole concept of brand loyalty is kind of fascinating; it doesn't make any rational sense at all). If Steve Jobs and Apple, inc. had never existed, we would still have all the exact same technology--just maybe it wouldn't be as wildly popular. Or maybe someone else would have popularized it, the point is, who cares about Steve Jobs, he didn't do anything important for the world.
Brand loyalty isn't that surprising if you look at the similarities modern marketing has with religious indoctrination.
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 07:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moocow View Post
Brand loyalty isn't that surprising if you look at the similarities modern marketing has with religious indoctrination.
While I agree with the duke's overarching thesis that Steve Jobs was essentially a slick huckster and marketing guru, some of his smaller points are grating and perhaps off-base.

Many people, including myself, use Apple computers because of their inferior yet more closely controlled operating system. Tight and safe; sure this opens the door for cult-like marketing within that specialized operating system but, all things considered, this trade-off is reasonable.

The invocation of religious indoctrination seems somewhat heavy-handed since most organized religions are hokum and there are tangible, articulate reasons for buying Apple products.

This, by no means, is unchecked endorsement of Apple products, as their business and ethical practices are rather deplorable, but to suggest there is no rationale basis for purchasing their products is absurd, ignorant and offensive.
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 07:39 AM   #12
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

A particular book on the Industrial Revolution noted an idea already mentioned in this thread. I think it goes like, "Machines are mere gadgets without people." Transitioning an object to the human arena is its own skill, I guess.
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 10:52 AM   #13
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Steve Jobs was a bitter, evil, twisted man. Seriously he was. When you read some of the quotes of his that came out after his death, the condescending way he berated Bill Gates for not dropping enough acid, the hypocritical war he wanted to wage on Android for "stealing" his idea (when as Fukyo quite rightly pointed out, Jobs stole the idea for his GUI from Xerox in the first place), and just the general "too kool 4 skool" demeanor of all iSheep in general.

Only left-wing hipster trendoid dickheads who crave Statist big-brother control to tell them what to do and what to think use Apple products.

True freedom loving libertarian patriots would never ever ever willingly submit themselves to such brainless shackling.

Android FTW!

Linux FTW!

Open source FTW!

Google FTW!

F*ck Apple, fuck iWankers, f&ck STEVE JOBS!!!
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickmojo View Post
Steve Jobs was a bitter, evil, twisted man. Seriously he was. When you read some of the quotes of his that came out after his death, the condescending way he berated Bill Gates for not dropping enough acid, the hypocritical war he wanted to wage on Android for "stealing" his idea (when as Fukyo quite rightly pointed out, Jobs stole the idea for his GUI from Xerox in the first place), and just the general "too kool 4 skool" demeanor of all iSheep in general.

Only left-wing hipster trendoid dickheads who crave Statist big-brother control to tell them what to do and what to think use Apple products.

True freedom loving libertarian patriots would never ever ever willingly submit themselves to such brainless shackling.

Android FTW!

Linux FTW!

Open source FTW!

Google FTW!


F*ck Apple, fuck iWankers, f&ck STEVE JOBS!!!

Well, that sounded like a nuanced, well-reasoned and sober opinion.


Maybe you would consider putting prophylactic tips on those barbed acronyms, eh? Perhaps losing that sequence altogether would be best.

Aside from being tautological in this statement, you are aware Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard?

Will you be okay?
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickmojo View Post
Only left-wing hipster trendoid dickheads who crave Statist big-brother control to tell them what to do and what to think use Apple products.
Ohh man, this made me chuckle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickmojo View Post
True freedom loving libertarian patriots would never ever ever willingly submit themselves to such brainless shackling.
You're talking to an international audience. 'Patriot' probably is not the best word to use. Ohh! Southpark:

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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:37 AM   #16
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[quote=ProxyAmenRa;277182]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickmojo View Post
Only left-wing hipster trendoid dickheads who crave Statist big-brother control to tell them what to do and what to think use Apple products.

Ohh man, this made me chuckle.



You're talking to an international audience. 'Patriot' probably is not the best word to use.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT0OqHr3wHQ
The whole thing made me laugh. I imagine this guy, dickmojo, basically slamming his keyboard like a monkey throughout his evidence-free spiel. I still haven't figured out why dickmojo censored only two of three expletives at the end, or why he used them at all. Does anyone know where I can find an iWanker?
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:43 AM   #17
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[quote=snafupants;277183]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProxyAmenRa View Post

The whole thing made me laugh. I imagine this guy, dickmojo, basically slamming his keyboard like a monkey throughout his evidence-free spiel. I still haven't figured out why dickmojo censored only two of three expletives at the end, or why he used them at all. Does anyone know where I can find an iWanker?
I think dickmojo was joking but none the less funny.

Samsung did a good enough job attacking Apple fans:

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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:49 AM   #18
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[quote=ProxyAmenRa;277184]
Quote:
Originally Posted by snafupants View Post

I think dickmojo was joking but none the less funny.

Samsung did a good enough job attacking Apple fans:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0pgO3uffvk
Who can be certain? That was only his ninth post, so proof is innately lacking. Still not quite sure but: dickmojo seemed pretty earnest when he referenced something Fukyo apparently had said earlier in the thread. I'm probably right in calling his anger real, but he'll disavow what he said in a flimsy effort to make me look foolish. I mean, how seriously can you take someone who picks the name dickmojo, you know?
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:52 AM   #19
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yeah, it was a joke. haha
But I do like that samsung ad anyway...
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 11:53 AM   #20
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yeah, it was a joke. haha
But I do like that samsung ad anyway...
Called that shit!
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 03:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moocow View Post
Brand loyalty isn't that surprising if you look at the similarities modern marketing has with religious indoctrination.
Now, that made me remember this http://articles.businessinsider.com/...eve-jobs-brain
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 03:38 PM   #22
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I guess a broader idea of "resource", hence a broader notion of what can be "valued", would work well in this scenario. Religion as a trade good, why not?
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 07:24 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by snafupants View Post
but to suggest there is no rationale basis for purchasing their products is absurd, ignorant and offensive.
Egad... and there's the righteous indignation! Well I guess we can both rest easy knowing that isn't what I was suggesting.

Quote:
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This doesn't surprise me at all. Any organization that has that personal membership quality to it would excite our social group instincts. You can become excited, euphoric even, about some event involving your in-group solely because the others in that group are excited.
Apple in particular just uses the same fertile soil for the club mentality that has always worked... uniformity, consistency, and perhaps most importantly- distinction. As long as you can do these things correctly, the product doesn't even have to exist! Although it's certainly more profitable if one does, since not everyone gets a boner from just wishfully imagining they have something others don't.

Apple's branding of "i" before every product seems to me like a very obvious, direct appeal to the ego. "Wii" by Nintendo was a good attempt but seems too silly (and easy to make fun of) for anyone to want to identify too closely by it, though some still do.
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 10:08 PM   #24
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[quote=ProxyAmenRa;277184]
Quote:
Originally Posted by snafupants View Post
Attack they did but shoot themselves in the foot they did as well. They are simply raising awareness that lots of people are WILLING to wait in line for Apple products for some reason.
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Old 2nd-March-2012, 10:28 PM   #25
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[quote=Affinity;277278]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProxyAmenRa View Post

Attack they did but shoot themselves in the foot they did as well. They are simply raising awareness that lots of people are WILLING to wait in line for Apple products for some reason.
Before that advert I didn't even know Samsung sold phones. ^_^
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 07:42 AM   #26
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Brand loyalty isn't that surprising if you look at the similarities modern marketing has with religious indoctrination.
In spite of your cavils, in the twenty third post, I decline to retract my statement. Your original comment was stupidly overgeneralized, an abortion of an epigram and myopically ill-conceived. That said, I typically enjoy your posts.
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 08:22 AM   #27
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

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Originally Posted by snafupants View Post
In spite of your cavils, in the twenty third post, I decline to retract my statement. Your original comment was stupidly overgeneralized, an abortion of an epigram and myopically ill-conceived. That said, I typically enjoy your posts.
Maybe pointing to religious indoctrination was too extreme, but I referred to the similarities and assumed the differences would be obvious.
I could have also pointed at nationalism, or any kind of tribalism, but I see them all as falling into the same scope of human behaviors of which religion also appears to be a facet, or maybe an extreme.
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 08:31 AM   #28
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

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Maybe pointing to religious indoctrination was too extreme, but I referred to the similarities and assumed the differences would be obvious.
I could have also pointed at nationalism, or any kind of tribalism, but I see them all as falling into the same scope of human behaviors of which religion also appears to be a facet, or maybe an extreme.
Typically when someone attempts to aggregate data and make conclusions and deductions based on that data they hit a wall and/or make crass over-generalizations. I truly find your statement absurd and offensive because it makes the unfounded presumption that all Apple users are somehow indoctrinated and woefully beguiled. That's a hard claim to argue against because of your original statements completely broad-strokes; in other words, the reader could come to near-infinite number of conclusions and, because of your fuzziness, you would be helpless to ward off erroneous deductions and so forth. The foundation of the theory is that rickety. Is it inconceivable, put another way, that someone buys an Apple for reasons other than being brainwashed? Come on, get real. Tribalism, really? Good god that's fucking ridiculous, is that sincerely your argument?
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 08:40 AM   #29
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

I didn't even try to disregard that possibility. "Brand loyalty" was the wrong choice of words then... how about brand fanaticism?

Also I see, having re-read the post that I quoted, where you are getting the impression from, eg.
Quote:
(the whole concept of brand loyalty is kind of fascinating; it doesn't make any rational sense at all).
which, literally taken, is not something I agree with either.

Also, are you disagreeing then that companies use in-group marketing tactics that play off the same drives used by religion / nationalism / etc. ? That was really my only point here, and piling on more righteous indignation isn't making your interpretation clearer.
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 09:15 AM   #30
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Snafu, I have a new theory for you: You are a difficult person.

Operationally we can measure your difficulty by the number of posts you have made attempting to tell me what my post means disregarding my clarifications.

Conclusion: I'm going to sleep. Goodnight.
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Old 3rd-March-2012, 12:05 PM   #31
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Default Re: Steve Jobs?

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Originally Posted by Moocow View Post
Snafu, I have a new theory for you: You are a difficult person.

Operationally we can measure your difficulty by the number of posts you have made attempting to tell me what my post means disregarding my clarifications.

Conclusion: I'm going to sleep. Goodnight.
The first part is more right than wrong, the second part is more wrong than right and the last part is a grand idea. Buenas noches and sweet dreams! The cow jumped over the moon and all that jazz.
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