Is Steve Jobs the Next Martin Luther King, Jr.?

6 years ago

Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King

Will Steve Jobs go down in history as the next Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Recently resigned Steve Jobs, as the CEO of Apple Computers is a visionary in every sense of the word, with his keen ability and foresight, developed products that forever changed the way in which the world sees and uses computer software and hardware.

Very different is Martin Luther King, Jr., first serving alongside his father and grandfather in church and working at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, set the stage for King to become the ambassador of change, fighting for equality, against injustice and for racial integration.

And through these burgeoning activities, created a civil rights movement that has left lasting impressions in our hearts and minds, affecting the entire state of the world.

Some may question how, or why, I would write an article comparing the two to each other, when both had very different approaches to life and to business: Jobs created the American Dream while King died for it.

If King were alive today, I’m sure that he would argue that Jobs’ business doesn’t promote success.  Martin was very vocal against “machines and computers, profit motives and property rights” where “considered more important than people,” and where poverty still exists.

And further, that Jobs’ business accentuates the disparities in wealth, promotes mass consumerism and consumption.

But are they that different?  I would argue more than their differences, are their commonalities.

Martin Luther King stood firm in support of his ideals, and being a testament to that commitment, upon receiving profits as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, he gave away those earnings.

To date, Jobs hasn’t been a purveyor to any charity organizations I’m aware, but even still, I’m confident that Jobs would say his business does none of what King would claim, and mirrors exactly the same things King stood and fought for.

 

Let’s take a look at what some of their similarities are:

 

Promoter of Excellence “Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” -Steve Jobs

Steve himself, wasn’t used to an environment of excellence in his earlier years. He suffered from a turbulent school career and disruptions from being an adopted child. Once nurtured, “excellence” would become the word to coin Jobs and the quality of Apple’s designs. Maybe not that remarkable to small segment of the population, but pretty amazing to everyone else.

Developing Leadership and Critical Thinking “I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole execution team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.” – Steve Jobs

Jobs is known for his attention to detail. So much so, that many consider him a blithering pirate – ransacking the sanity of Apple’s ship through his perfectionism.  Or maybe, just preparing his team for greatness, enabling them to continue following the blueprint.

Changing the World “I want to put a ding in the universe.” – Steve Jobs

Jobs wanted to make an impact…I’d say he has.

Creating Happy People “The only way to do great work is to love what you do…” – Steve Jobs

The greatness in the quality of Apple’s products has to be the ultimate testament to Steve’s passion for what he does. And that passion is translated in the way in which customers respond, by killing tons of hours in an Apple store or standing in line for days at a time, just to be one of the firsts to buy his products, his vision and his feeling. Most companies can’t boast that kind of customer satisfaction.

Leaving a Legacy “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose…” – Steve Jobs

There won’t be another who’s done what Steve Jobs has done.

Innovating and Revolutionizing “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works…” – Steve Jobs

Completely ahead of the game in his thinking, Apple is unparalleled.

Although Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King are different in their approaches, both have achieved what they were meant to achieve: changing the world.

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