Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dignifying the Next Tech Messiah

The author is a graduate student of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) at Northwestern University’s Medill School, focusing on innovative techniques in the field of marketing analytics, and direct and interactive marketing.

The clock started: three months and fours days. Time’s still ticking, only six and a half weeks to go. The day is almost here: 12 days and counting. The anticipation’s building with only 3 days left. Finally, in what would be only two hours and 36 seconds our lives would be forever changed! For months, speculation would be building as to Apple’s newest and greatest invention, with only rumors of stolen prototypes to substantiate the buzz. Still no one would be sure what to expect, except for one thing: Steve Jobs would be dressed in his signature black turtleneck and jeans. He would confidently walk the stage accompanied by the biggest game changer to date. No matter what it was, consumers would be ready; they would be ready to be apart of it, camped by their computers with their finger anxiously on the track-pad. They would buy it the second it hit Apple’s homepage.  In only two hours and now 12 seconds, Steve Jobs would present to the world a gift from the gods.”

Adapted from 
With the passing of Steve Jobs, it is as if the Dark Ages has come upon us. The excitement over the possibility of the newest and greatest has lessoned. People are struggling to find his successor, struggling to find someone to follow. Already Business Insider (link) has speculated, and possibly even named, the next Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos of Amazon. According to Matt Rosoff, Jeff Bezos is a lot like Steve Jobs. He too is an innovative thinker who dreams of changing the world (link). Like Jobs, he detests dissenters and feels compelled to control (link). Every creation, as well as every thought is sealed under the highest level of secrecy (link). Even the way they both came into the world, contained similarities. Both thinkers were born to young mothers, and both were adopted either by one or both parents (link). Maybe these similarities are enough for Rosoff to dub Jeff Bezos the next Steve Jobs. Maybe Jeff Bezos will be the next Steve Jobs, but do we need another Steve Jobs? Do we, as tech followers, need a Messiah to believe in? Do we need someone to bestow upon us that same magic? Does the excitement of the next great thing die without a Tech Messiah?

We need innovators; we will always need innovators, but more importantly, we need the magic that comes with the innovator.  Steve Jobs was able to give us both. Does that mean we need another Steve Jobs? No. Innovation is not about being cookie-cutter or copying a predecessor; it is about defining and creating one’s own magic. This isn’t to say that people don’t need a Tech Messiah, because they do. Excitement will die without one. People must find the next Messiah. People need a Messiah to rally behind, to create that buzz and exhilaration. It’s the drug that drives people to be the first adopters of technology; it is what pitches tents on sidewalks 11 hours before the store opens. The next Messiah will only resemble his/her predecessor in lineage alone, as a descendant of both the innovator and marketing gods. Innovation is lackluster without the excitement it brings. Whoever the next Tech Messiah is, he/she must have more than innovation; he/she must have that magic to electrify[1] us!

Rachel Greenberg
Graduate student at Northwestern IMC
·    Twitter Tag: @Ragreenbe

[1] When I say “electrify”, I don’t mean shock effects from faulty tech wiring.

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