Posted tagged ‘Steve Jobs and Barack Obama’

Obama Message Competes With Jobs On All Levels (Including Steve)

January 27, 2010

Polls find that a majority of Americans like Barack Obama as a person.  If they have paid attention over the last year,they likely see him as both careful and deliberative.  Unfortunately, for Obama however, what many Americans want right now is not be someone with the patience of the Biblical Job, but someone with the dynamism of the Cupertino Jobs (as in Steve).

Obama’s messages tonight (I’m trying to post this before the State of the Union Address) will be competing with jobs on all levels–Americans’ needs for jobs, the many jobs in our society that need to get done, and (to add insult to injury) the buzz around Steve’s announcement of Apple’s new iPad, the new tablet computer which is supposed to fill the gap between laptop and smart phone

Jobs is a great showman.  He can make people feel that he’s filling a gap that they weren’t even fully aware of, and he can certainly make people want something that never existed before.   Yes, he’s full of hype (as in proposed battery time) as well as ideas.   But the ideas are interesting and forward-looking, and they are executed with a determined simplicity and competence which Jobs calls “magical” and which even his detractors admire.

Obama’s more orator than showman.   At his best, he can explain complex and conflicting facts and feelings, and if not rationalize them, at least, put them in the same picture, a picture drawn from a single perspective.   But, in the last few months, under the weight of conflicting pressures, needs, greeds, and niceties, he’s let the picture he paints seem both stale and muddied.

Of course, it’s a lot harder to move a balky, favor-seeking,group of legislators, a “gotcha” press, a forgetful group of (greedy) bankers and a forgetful (and suspicious) populace, than your own company.   Obama also inherited a virtually no-win situation;  he”s blamed for not moving forward fast enough on an economic ship that was actively sinking at the time he boarded it.

But if he wants to keep the faith of the American people, he does need to move forward, he does need to fill gaps, he does need to figure out how to integrate jobs into his programs; and he needs to do it in a way that is workably simple, simply workable.  (And, apparently like the iPad, with greater speed than anticipated.)

Jobs jobs jobs.

ps- disclosure–the writer is a fan of Apple, and owns some of its stock.