Where Steve Jobs and George Eastman Collide
October 19, 2015
As the movie Steve Jobs hits theaters, we are reminded of the similarities behind some of history's greatest technological disruptions.
Arguably, nothing has changed the way we view our world and tell its stories more than the rise of photographic imagery. No individual had greater impact on spreading accessibility of cameras and film than George Eastman. Before the rise of roll film, personal photography was only available to the limited number who could afford it. George Eastman once said, "We were starting out to make photography an everyday affair, to make the camera as convenient as the pencil."
The convenience Eastman spoke of escalated beyond what he may have ever imagined with the advent of the iPhone. Steve Jobs pushed a tool forward that made it so anyone could snap a picture, edit it, and share it within seconds. In 2014, it was reported that over 1.8 billion images were uploaded and shared across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp each day. The iPhone kicked the modern photographic revolution into overdrive.
Born just over 100 years apart, Jobs and Eastman both dropped out of school. Eastman left high school before getting a diploma, and Jobs quit college. But their legacies to mankind are remarkable, especially considering they were each far along their paths to greatness in their 20s. Here are some other parallels:
- Both men put high priority on the design of their products. Eastman hired Walter Dorwin Teague, who is historically known as the "Dean of Industrial Design." Jobs spent a great amount of time in the Apple industrial design lab and is known for being very hands on with product design and development.
- Jobs and Eastman both created all-inclusive business models driven by their disruptive technology. Kodak film would be shot on a Kodak camera and processed at a Kodak lab. Similarly, starting with the iPod, music would be listened to with Apple headphones using Apple software on Apple hardware. They each created systems to take their users from the beginning to the end of the product use experience.
- They each worked until the point where their poor health made it literally impossible for them to continue.
- Both were brilliant marketers who fought hard for their brands and products.
Eastman said, "One would have to be impervious not to feel a little glow of satisfaction at least at what you say about the work I have been engaged in for so many years. Between you and me it is the most varied and interesting business in the world. It embraces at one time or another almost every problem that comes up in science, art and industry."
The work of these men has, and will continue to have, a great impact on science, art and industry.
Steve Jobs, now in theaters, is directed by Danny Boyle, and shot by Alwin H. Küchler, BSC on KODAK Super 16mm and 35mm film.