Can Korea Nurture Its Own Steve Jobs?

      October 07, 2011 13:31

      Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder remembered as both a visionary inventor and one of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has ever seen, died on Wednesday. Jobs was responsible for starting the era of the personal computer after developing the world's first PC in 1977 and set the global IT trend over the last 30 years by rolling out revolutionary products such as the McIntosh computer, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad.

      Jobs was a perfectionist who always said no if he was not completely satisfied with a product. He personified Apple's slogan "Think different." He led an unconventional life, dropping out of university after just one semester and traveling barefoot through India in tattered clothes. This continued after he started his own company. He refused to be fettered by stereotypes and conventions, which allowed him to come up with one technological innovation after another. He pioneered the genre of computer-animated films and transformed the business model of the record and software industries through his online marketplace.

      It was Jobs who developed the iPhone, putting the PC into people's pockets. He also let them surf the Internet by tapping on touch screens instead of keyboards. Each new product or service Jobs unveiled shifted the paradigm of the IT industry and created entirely new businesses and markets. He changed the way people work and play. One of his legacies is the fusion of hardware and software and creating the trend of consolidating the imaginative characteristics of liberal arts with the latest technology. He was ousted from Apple, the company he founded, only to return later as its CEO and nurture it into the world's strongest company.

      The only way for Korea's IT industry to survive is to nurture a Korean Steve Jobs. This is especially true for Samsung Electronics, which is locked in a patent battle with Apple. Samsung recently filed a motion seeking to block sales of the iPhone 4S in France and Italy. After getting pummeled by lawsuits from Apple, Samsung is striking back armed with 11,500 mobile communications patents. But if Samsung wants to transcend the IT industry and change the world, it must nurture and recruit talents who can lead innovation, overcome the top-down structure of the company, and say no.

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