Steve Jobs: Think Different

This article was originally published in 2011, two days after Steve Jobs passed away. It has been updated for accuracy.

Steve Jobs was a visionary. Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign was introduced at Macworld just months after Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO. Integral to the campaign was the commercial “To the Crazy Ones”, originally narrated by Jobs himself.

 

But the Steve Jobs version never aired. Instead, the same ad voiced by Richard Dreyfus went to air. Regardless of which version you prefer, you probably remember the slogan “Think Different” that was used from 1997-2002.

 

Some thoughts on Job’s impact on Corporate video…

Non-Linear Editing and Final Cut Pro

Prior to the early 90s, videos were edited using a linear tape-to-tape system. Videos were compiled by copying from one tape to the next. Disadvantages of this system included tape degradation and the inability to freely rearrange footage within an edit.

With the invention of the personal computer, editing began to change. Non-linear systems emerged—AVID/1 was released in 1989. This digital conversion meant footage was stored on a hard drive and could be placed anywhere in a timeline. That means that if you wanted to move a shot from the beginning of your video to the middle without disrupting the rest of your edit, that could be easily accomplished.

Steve Jobs: Think Different
You’ll find Mac computers at Key West Video

Apple always prioritized video and graphics, so many of the early non-linear editing systems were built to run on Apple computers. Final Cut Pro was released around the time I started editing and one of my first jobs was editing demo reels for actors and directors. Final Cut Pro was initially based on Adobe Premiere, but soon surpassed Premiere in quality and rose to the top of the industry. The newest version is Final Cut X. This partnership kept me tied to Apple computers for life.

Apple Vs. PC

Today, Key West Video editors use Adobe Premiere Pro as our editing system. And we run the program on Apple computers. Much like the “Get a Mac” ad campaign Apple ran from 2006-2009, we see the inherent advantages of using a Mac. The Apple series, with 66 total spots, is another good example of how Steve Jobs portrayed his company as different and his product as desirable. A Mac was portrayed as casual, hip, and hassle-free. This image was juxtaposed with the stuffy, troublesome PC. Here’s the first ad, featuring Justin Long as the Mac and John Hodgman as the PC.

 

Pixar

Pixar was started in 1986 with Steve Jobs as chairman. It took some time to release their first movie, but after that, there was no stopping the studio. Toy Story, the first entirely computer-animated feature film, came out in 1995. Watching Toy Story 3, which received an Academy Award nomination for best picture, made me wonder, “How did they do that?” Pixar movies took over from Disney as the best creator of animated videos in the world. Flawless technical execution coupled with the ability to tell moving human stories has been a major achievement. To date, Pixar has released 21 feature films and won 19 Oscars.

The Steve Jobs Legacy

We get to know hundreds of new companies every year and we hear a lot of mission statements. It can be difficult to express purpose and passion in a succinct sentence or two. All Jobs needed for Apple was two words: Think Different. This slogan evoked a feeling and was imbued with a direction. It’s simple, powerful, focused and timeless. Just like Steve Jobs.