Galvin & Jobs: Great “Men of Ideas”
The onset of autumn has brought the passing of two significant individuals who have shaped what the Economist refers to as “the era of personal technology”.
Since October 5 the media have been swamped with eulogies to Steve Jobs and coverage of memorials set up outside Apple stores by devoted followers. Without doubt, Steve Jobs possessed the unparalleled ability to combine design and technology, and infuse this with the emotive spark that consumers can relate to. He was highly skilled at identifying the right design for the right technology at the right time. Very rarely, however, did the products he introduced push the limits of the technology curve. His passion did not lie in the pursuit of leading edge technology or in the next great breakthrough but instead in the creation of user centered elegant and simplistic devices that slip into everyday life.
October 11 saw the passing of Robert Galvin, better known as Bob Galvin. Bob was long time CEO of Motorola and son of the founder Paul Galvin. During his tenure, Motorola became an early pioneer in semiconductors, paging and cellular communications. These major milestone technologies required incredible foresight and the tenacity to overcome the challenges of long development cycles and innumerable roadblocks. Bob's inspiration and commitment resulted in Motorola not only becoming a global player in these industries by delivering multiple breakthrough products but, more importantly, creating a wealth of knowledge and experience that has moved across the industry and the globe.
The life work of each of these men enabled the dawn of an exciting new era. Over the last 30 years computing, telephony, entertainment and consumer electronics have been on a converging path, and many recent landmark products and technology innovations were the result of the vision held by these two remarkable individuals. Their lasting legacies within Apple and Motorola will continue to exist as questions: “What would Steve do?” and “What would Bob do?” The challenge for the next millennium is to build on these legacies; corporate leaders, employees and new entrants in all industries need to ask themselves “how do we take ideas and make them relevant to the consumer?” and “how do we turn ideas into the technology to make them possible?”Continued on the next page