This month we lost an industry pioneer and a master innovator who created wealth for the masses. Steve Jobs had the knack for taking technology, with all its 1’s and 0’s, innate hardware, and limited beauty, and turned it into something brilliant. His legacy should be our wake up call to get back to making technology more innovative and applicable than ever, perhaps even giving us the ability to rite this economic ship we are riding and get our markets in full recovery.
There have been multiple stories about how investors are walking away from technology development, but Apple keeps demonstrating that by focusing on products attractive to the market rather than the bottom line, the latter will take care of itself. For example, the general consensus about the iPhone 4s was that it was a tepid product release at best and many predicted this is the first indication that Apple was on the way down. A few days later, Apple announced the iPhone4s had broken all records for that pre-orders of a new product. Apparently the market did not read the reviews of the pundits, otherwise they might have known they were buying a "boring" product.
In fact, Apple’s advancement in speech recognition for Siri shows how they are accelerating technology through human interaction and acceptance. Herein lies the opportunity: to push technology and innovation as far as possible, creating value for the user first, and wealth as a byproduct for those who help fund that R&D and its associated investments.
Today’s reality is seen everywhere, with the protests on Wall Street, our ugly 401K’s, college education costs rising, or our own company’s executives mired down with frowns and anxiety on their face. Survival mode kicks in when our only focus is how to remain employed. When that happens we have to remember the reason why we got into the field of engineering and technology development, which is to make the world a better place, first. To this end, and for the sake of our economic survival, let’s get out there and honor Steve Jobs and all of our industries' pioneers, and do inspiring work with impact. That's our long term goal. But what about in the short term? Is there anything we can do?
How about we memorialize this great innovator by asking the White House to amend the current "jobs bill" proposal? Under the current proposal, AP's Erica Werner said Obama's jobs plan “would reduce payroll taxes on workers and employers, extend benefits to long-term unemployed people, spend money on public works projects and help states and local governments keep teachers, police officers and firefighters on the job”.
Let’s request two additional aspects to the bill:
1. Help long-term unemployed find a way to get retrained with deferred/forgiven education costs.
2. Assign $50B for technology funding and innovation support in federal grants at $25-$100k each to assist our country in solving today’s technology problems such as energy, communications, and manufacturing competitively.
Perhaps the politicians can come together and agree on this one thing, enhance the current bill to give us even more opportunity to help us help ourselves, and honor one of the masters of industry, who created wealth for the masses and inspired us all to think big and dare to be great.
Hey Washington D.C! This one is a lay-up, just do it!
To write to President Obama;
Reach him directly at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Will the semiconductor industry survive without Steve Jobs? Find out at www.element14.com