Malcolm Gladwell explores Steve Jobs’ similarities to Samuel Crompton and Richard Roberts in his latest New Yorker article.In 1779, Crompton invented a device called the spinning mule for making cotton fabric and Roberts later perfected it. Gladwell posits that Jobs was less like Crompton, the innovator, and more like Roberts, a tweaker.
From the article:
The first portable digital music players came out in 1996. Apple introduced the iPod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked….” I’ll know it when I see it. That was Jobs’s credo, and until he saw it his perfectionism kept him on edge.
Regardless of your own take on the innovator vs. tweaker question, Gladwell’s article provides an excellent look into Steve Jobs’ character without the same time commitment as Isaacson’s 630-page biography.