Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Standing up for Steve Jobs

Mr. Steve Jobs died 3 weeks back. There was over flooding of condolences on social networking sites as well as widespread media coverage on Steve Jobs ‘life’. Whatever might be the motives, I was happy that the society is still just enough to recognize the greatness of an individual and do the very least they can do, that is, saying ‘thank you’. That was ‘Being Human, recognizing greatness of fellow human. But in our society definition of ‘Being Human’ is a charitable trust for as vague a category as ‘NGO kids’ run by an equally vague person. I don’t understand what NGO kids means. Probably in altruist definition it means ‘less fortunate’, under-served, ‘the real deserving’ etc etc whatever makes you feel guilty of your achievement till date and itches you to go donate somewhere to get the monkey off your back. Where the money spent goes in the end, no one bothers. To get back to the point, it was just matter of time before people started hating the attention Steve Jobs death was getting and start belittling him. I came across two such posts on Facebook recently. I don’t blame the friends who put up those links supporting it. Centuries and centuries of ‘hard work’ by altruist/socialist brigade has made people to believe that whatever one person achieves is either through ‘luck’ or due to ‘generosity’ of the society in ‘letting’ that person achieve it. I have attached two images which forced me to come out of my hiatus from writing.

The first image is a newspaper clipping where the columnist, due to some unimaginable hatred and jealousy towards achievement has tried to bring Steve Jobs down to the level of the person next door. (Person next door who? No idea. As long as he is someone low-key known only to family and friends and a ‘common’ guy, prone to mistakes.) In his argument, he has used the example of Jonas Edward Salk, inventor of polio vaccine and how by refusing to patent his vaccine he did a noble deed. He has quoted Mr. John Salk arguing “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Here, there is a major philosophical flaw. Sun is something metaphysical, given, part of nature. It is not created by a Human Being. Vaccine on the other hand is a combination of metaphysical and epistemological, a man-made product using what is on offer by nature and applying a high level complexity of brain, by questioning ‘why and what for’ at each stage and forming a product which will go on to become one of the most useful discoveries. That Mr. Jonas Salk refused to patent it is his choice. What makes Mr. Jonas Salk great is his discovery. To make profit of it or not was his prerogative. If he had decided to make profit of it, he had every right to. And so had Steve Jobs. Yes Steve Jobs’ product didn’t save anybody’s life. But is the quality of life with and without his products same? Did he force anybody to buy his products? Columnist argues that he was a ‘profit motivated human’ and refused to do philanthropy and hence is worthless. I want to tell the columnist that the reason we are not in stone age is this group of such ‘profit motivated humans who take the risk to venture on unknown paths.’ Who gives this Columnists or similar altruists/socialists out there any right on Steve Jobs and his organization’s profits? IT IS NOT YOUR MONEY. He and his organization have made the money in true sense of terms, by offering a product which has VALUE. To buy it or not was your choice. Another argument columnist has given is that Steve Jobs ‘only’ did marketing, he was ‘just’ another owner of an organization and compared him with politicians. I was actually left dumbstruck after reading it. I had to read it twice and then had to bang my head on wall beside me to ‘let it in’. How can someone compare a businessman with politicians who are the worst kind of second-handed people one can find? Do people think it is easy being businessman? An inventor who stays in laboratory, no matter how great results he achieves is not bothered about how you buy crockery, vehicles, smart-phone or sandals. He is only interested in his work (which is perhaps the greatest). A businessman on other hand is someone who is willing to bear the risk, gives practical form to the great inventions. If the product fails, it is the businessman who suffers, not the inventor. Was bringing Apple products to people ‘just’ a marketing gimmick and same as the ‘acts’ of politicians? I assume there are not many out there who believe the same. If they do, the society will lead to its natural course into stone age.

I am actually happy if whatever said in the second image is true. No, I don’t shed a tear for millions who die. Yes, it is very unfortunate and disappointing if the numbers quoted on right hand side of image are true. But no person in this world has any ‘duty’ towards anyone. The solution to the problem is an issue in itself and can’t be explained in this post due to constraints. But to summarize it in one line, the more free the business and trading becomes from government interventions, lesser will be the number of such unfortunate deaths. If 100 million are shedding tears for Steve Jobs (I am sure many of those are of crocodile’s) it is a tribute which he deserves.

Just a message to altruists/socialist brigade, one which they must have seen many times on trucks in India, ‘Jalo mat, barabari karo’ (meaning: Don’t be Jealous, try to match (the achievement))