Changing the World – Steve Jobs the Inventor
Inventing means Changing the World
In order to patent something, it must be new. An invention is “new” when it is different from the prior art. To be patentable, an invention must be different from everything else before it. In this sense, inventing means changing the world by adding something never seen before to human existence. The patent system rewards this notion of invention. It rewards changing the world by creating something different and adding it to the world.
Steve Jobs Describes Changing the World
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple computer excelled in many areas. One thing that set Mr. Jobs apart was his inventive spirit. Below is a video of Steve Jobs describing some insights that he found important to his success. These insights illustrate attributes of inventors. In particular the video shows how Mr. Jobs approached the world by changing it, rather than simply watching it go by. He sought to make the world different and better. In his words,
“Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. . . . you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use….”
The video below was captured in 1995 by the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association. At the time, Mr. Jobs was working on his second company, NeXT computer. (He had been “fired” from Apple and not yet asked to return). Mr. Jobs emphasis on change, which was later echoed in Apple’s “think different” campaign serves as a good model for inventorship. True invention means changing the world by making something different.
In the video, Mr. Jobs contrasts the inventor (focused on changing and improving the world) with someone not subscribing to the inventor’s vision. This is Jobs’s notion of an ordinary person’s view of the world:
“When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life.
By contrast, Mr. Jobs describes the inventor’s approach as follows:
That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it… Once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better…you’ll never be the same again.”
Changing the State of the Art – Making Technology Different – Inventing
Recently we noted that many inventors ask this question: What can I patent? To answer that question, we posted an article explaining that an inventor can patent something that is truly new (i.e., different) from the existing technology. The above video of Steve Jobs should serve to illustrate this mentality of changing the state of the art for the better by developing new, different things.