How Do You Change The World?

I dunno, let’s ask Steve Jobs how he changed the world. Maybe there’s answers here for us as well.

Playboy: How about some concrete reasons to buy a computer today? An executive in your industry recently said, “We’ve given people computers, but we haven’t shown them what to do with them. I can balance my checkbook faster by hand than on my computer.” Why should a person buy a computer?

Jobs: There are different answers for different people. In business, that question is easy to answer: You really can prepare documents much faster and at a higher quality level, and you can do many things to increase office productivity. A computer frees people from much of the menial work.

Playboy: Those are arguments for computers in business and in schools, but what about the home?

Jobs: So far, that’s more of a conceptual market than a real market. The primary reasons to buy a computer for your home now are that you want to do some business work at home or you want to run educational software for yourself or your children. If you can’t justify buying a computer for one of those two reasons, the only other possible reason is that you just want to be computer literate. You know there’s something going on, you don’t exactly know what it is, so you want to learn. This will change: Computers will be essential in most homes.

Playboy: Was the initial market hobbyists?

Jobs: The difference was that you didn’t have to be a hardware hobbyist with the Apple II. You could be a software hobbyist. That was one of the key breakthroughs with the Apple II: realizing that there were a whole lot more people who wanted to play with a computer, just like Woz and me, than there were people who could build their own.

Let’s pause for a second and re-write those paragraphs a bit.

Playboy: How about some concrete reasons to buy a gun today? An executive in your industry recently said, “We’ve given people guns, but we haven’t shown them what to do with them.

Jobs: There are different answers for different people. In law enforcement, that question is easy to answer. You defend your life and the lives of the innocent much faster and at a longer ranges than just your fists, and you can reduce the danger to yourself. A gun frees people from much of the fist and nightstick work.

Playboy: Those are arguments for guns in law enforcement and the military, but what about the home?

Jobs: So far, that’s more of a conceptual market than a real market. The primary reasons to buy a gun for your home now are that you want to do some recreational shooting or you want you to protect you and your children from a real and specific threat. If you can’t justify buying a gun for one of those two reasons, the only other possible reason is that you just want to be feel safe. You know there’s something going on, you don’t exactly know what it is, so you want to learn.

Playboy: Was the initial market hobbyists?

Jobs: The difference was that you didn’t have to be a hardware hobbyist with the Glock 17. You could be a training hobbyist. That was one of the key breakthroughs with the (product that hasn’t been developed yet… or has it?): realizing that there were a whole lot more people who wanted to enjoy guns, just like Woz and me, than there were people who could build their own.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Guns have the same place in society right now as computers did in back in 1985. Most of us know we should have a gun around, but we struggle to come up with a reason why.

And this part is interesting as well: Jobs was predicting the home internet in 1985, back when the Internet was Arpanet and the .com had just been rolled out.

Jobs: The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone.

Playboy: Specifically, what kind of breakthrough are you talking about?

Jobs: I can only begin to speculate. We see that a lot in our industry: You don’t know exactly what’s going to result, but you know it’s something very big and very good.

What will happen when the personal safety empowerment that a gun provides (and the skills, attitude and courage to use it wisely) gets connected?

Can it get connected? Will connecting gun owners like we connect computers change society, or will it be something else?