David slays Goliath
Q: Not every product the Apple CEO has introduced has been a hit. So what accounts for the aura of incredible success that surrounds Steve Jobs? Why don't others who are possibly just as successful become cult figures like he has?
Steve Jobs is a David who has slain his Goliath. Apple took on Microsoft and won in the eyes of Jobs' followers. He went up against the biggest in the world and walked away with a better deliverable. This is step #1 for achieving cult status.
Jobs provides a unique product that is (a) elegant in design, (b) simple to use, and (c) redefines the marketplace (e.g., 42 million iPhones sold). This is step #2. No small feat.
Step #3 is the clincher. Rather than being driven by commercial success (though he certainly relies on it), he is driven by a vision of the future that he consistently midwifes, realizing his progress in tangible products. His followers may marvel at his market dexterity, but they become true believers as Apple consistently, systematically brings the future to life in their hands.
Cults are, by definition, not mainstream. If Apple becomes the default, the cult mantle will slip from its founder's shoulders to be picked up by the next David. That said, Jobs is not about being a cult leader. He is about realizing the future. And that can be done without religious adherents.
Posted by: mschweitzer | February 1, 2010 12:42 PM
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