Steve Jobs on Legacy

This is a field where one does one’s work and in 10 years it’s obsolete.


All the work that I have done in my life will be obsolete by the time I’m 50… This is a field where one does one’s work and in 10 years it’s obsolete.

Steve Jobs in 1994 interview

This week, the YouTube channel EverySteveJobsVideo released a previously unreleased interview clip courtesy of the Silicon Valley Historical Association.

With each new Apple product released since Steve Job’s death, the bloggers and pundits pontificate over whether Steve Jobs influenced its design. In a few years, we’ll no longer ask such questions.

That really awesome supply chain report that I wrote using Desktop Intelligence 10 years ago? Unlikely that it’s still in use today. The same can be said for the universes, dashboards and reports that I’ve created even just a few years ago. Yours, too.

Drive by any cemetery and you’ll see at least a few really elaborate tombstones. The family mausoleums. The Washington Monument wannabes. We crave legacy and permanence and try to avoid thinking about the fact that we have little of each.

Marco Arment wrote on this topic last year in a blog entitled Lasting Value.

None of the software I write today is likely to still be in use in thirty years, but if I write a truly great and timeless article, that could be valuable to people for much longer.

Even being President of the United States may not help. Although only 44 people have held the office, we can name significant accomplishments of so few.

If we can recognize that our accomplishments are so fleeting, may we also recognize that the challenges that we face today are momentary and will seem insignificant in just months or years. And save our focus and energy for things that are of lasting value.

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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