Steve Jobs and Edwin Land

By  |  Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Over at the New York Times, Christopher Bonanos has a nice piece comparing Steve Jobs to the entrepreneur/technologist he resembles most by far: Polaroid’s Edwin Land. Bonanos says that virtually none of the Jobs obituaries mentioned Land, but I remembered to do so in my piece for TIME–in the third paragraph, in fact. And last June, when I wrote about Polaroid’s SX-70 camera, I found the Land/Jobs parallels so compelling that they threatened to take over the article.

 
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  1. James Britton Says:

    Harry, re: "parallels so compelling that THEY threatened to take over the article." Who are "they?" TIME? Amazingly epic piece on Polaroid and Land, by the way.

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    James: The parallels between Land and Jobs were so compelling that he almost devoted the entire article to exploring that subject.

  3. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Not EVEN close. Steve didn't invent. He polished others inventions.

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    I think we went through this discussion when I published my original story, but there are also some striking differences between Jobs and Land–key among them that Jobs was a brilliant scientist who did indeed invent instant photography out of whole cloth. Jobs never did anything like that. But despite that, the similarities are enormous, too–Land may have been a brilliant scientist, but he was also a product-polisher, a control freak, and a showman.

  5. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Jobs was even more successful (broader product line) than Land at honing consumer products. He just was not an inventor type. More of a Ne plus ultra Product Manager mind. Which, was good enough to make one of the most valuable companies in the world.

    Now, we get to all hold our breath for the next few years to see if a Job-less Apple can survive… :(