Steve Jobs: A Corporate Messiah?

Although Steve Jobs passed away a little over a month ago, there is no denying that his followers have a commitment bordering on religious zeal. Many are questioning whether Jobs was the “corporate Messiah.”

The term, coined by Forbes magazine’s Hadyn Shaughnessy, is used to describe the zeal and overarching passion that Apple and its CEO has produced regarding the company’s consumer electronics.

An example can be found when HTC launched the very first Android smartphone. Android was created by the search giant Google, so it was expected to conquer the internet’s technology scene. Instead, talk of Apple’s iPhone, iPod, iMac, and rumors of the iPad continued to dominate.

Shaughnessy writes: “Apple and its iPhone out ran HTC’s Android device by a factor of 12:1 in online references… The ability of the Apple brand to project itself even in a downtime struck as more than just marketing skill… What was going on?”

Today, Apple products continue to lead the airwaves, largely to Steve Jobs’ credit. To Shaughnessy, the ability of Jobs to be the face of the company and seamlessly market all the company devices made him larger-than-life.

The corporate Messiah was born.

Since Apple’s inception – and even more since the creation of the iPhone – Apple lovers all over have idolized Jobs, taking their hero worship to fantastic proportions.

Last week at the London Games Conference, people were asked who and what were the biggest influences on the video game industry. Steve Jobs beat out Gabe Newell of Valve and Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo with an astounding 26 percent, despite the fact that he never made a video game.

In similar fashion, the majority of those surveyed answered that the iPhone was the most significant product to ever happen to the gaming industry, besting the Wii, XBOX Live, and PlayStation One by more than a 10 percent margin.

Incidents like this are due to Jobs’ magnetic personality, quirks, and willingness to defy the trends of the day. Jobs was the face of Apple, and because the company had a figurehead, fans adored him.

Historically, this is usually a good idea, because Shaughnessy points out that the Internet discusses people far more than it discusses things. “The web is a deeply personal domain,” says the writer.

No one used this idea more skillfully than Jobs. He could not be separated from the products, in the way that Facebook cannot be separated from Mark Zuckerberg.

When the much-loved CEO died, he had been ranked by Forbes as the 17th most powerful person on the planet, revolutionary of many industries, and called the Thomas Edison of his time.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me,” Jobs once said.