Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Thinking

Yesterday, 5 September 2011, Steve Jobs died. For many around the world, we learned of his death through many of the devices that he was credited with creating: Apple Computers, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Indeed, the day before he died, his chosen successor at Apple, Tim Cook, introduced the new iPhone 4S.

As The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, 6 October 2011,

    He did what a CEO should.  He hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter or the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks.  He insisted on the highest product quality and on building things to delight and empower actual users, not intermediaries like corporate IT directors.  As he liked to say, he lived at the intersection of technology and liberal arts.

This has gotten me thinking, both about his almost cult status in the technology industry, about his leadership of Apple, and about his life and design goals.  But, it also reminded me of my father who also died of pancreatic cancer almost 15 years ago.  So, Steve Jobs' death has been a time of reflection for me, and for thinking about some of the practices of my parents over the more than 55 years of their work in the sector.

There is much that could be said about the technology and its impact on the nonprofit sector, and particularly on how nonprofit organizations have raised funds to finance their charitable goals and activities.  I have written and spoken on media ecology, and the way new media shapes the way we think and act.  So, I will not repeat those thoughts here.

But, there are things about Steve Jobs' life and his philosophy that have interested me.  These include his leadership of Apple and how consumers around the world use the technology in everyday life, and particular what we might learn from Steve Jobs that is important to how we might think about accountability within the third sector.

This will be my focus over the next few posts, particularly in the context of independent monitoring and self-regulation initiatives.

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