For years analysts and ‘industry experts’ dismissed Steve Jobs as a social engineer, confusing people into buying Apple products with the cleverness of his reality distortion field. However, after listening to his collection of appearances at All Things Digital, it seems to me his insights just gave him a firmer grasp on reality than his peers had.
In light of the current success that Apple is experiencing with it’s products, it almost looks as though his foresight was 20/20. He understood the problems facing media companies thoroughly, in 2005 he had a prescient view of the waning of the filesystem as the face of the user interface, and he knew Flash was a technology in a nosedive. Even amid the success, he was humble about the iPad. Admitting that its “magical” qualities were something he didn’t fully understand himself. Not that it was built with fairy dust, but that something in the interface made it unique and delightful to use.
I think more often than not in the last decade Steve wasn’t trying to coerce people, but rather he was a rare technologist trying to be honest and play his part to help the best ideas win.