When Steve was recruiting John he compared selling Pepsi to selling colored water and selling Macs to changing the world. Jobs actually had the ability to change the world, he just never rose to do it.
Obama, during the election, showcased a similar ability but now when he wants to sell the nation on his dream he is stumbling badly. Part of this is because he is executing reactively and not able to get ahead of the mess and drive change, but part is that he hasn't crafted a dream and got us to dream that dream with him.
The last Depression was ended by the Second World War and people were willing to make great sacrifices in order to prevent the Axis powers from taking over the world. People gave up driving, gave up new appliances, eating out, and women went to work in factories to support the effort. I would hope we could come up with something we could all get behind that would be less likely to end the human race than a war. But Im increasingly concerned that there are no strong alternatives.
We need a Dream, short of war, something we can all work towards and feel good about sacrificing for in order to pull out of this mess and, right now we seem to be dreamless. People aren't going to sacrifice to save bankrupt banks that were run by rich greedy executives. They don't want to work to own bankrupt auto companies that forgot how to build products people actually want (and Congress will probably make that problem worse). And I'm sure we all are getting sick of politicians who live a life of near royalty being critical of the luxuries others have.
To recreate Apple, Steve Jobs did several things. He cut the company's complexity down to something he could manage and improve and he built dreams around the products that initially sucked, and then built products that people could dream about.
Obama's mistake is that his reach exceeds his grasp and doing lots of things poorly probably won't end well. In addition, the massive complexity isn't allowing him to build dreams around anything that he is doing and he is bleeding support like water as a result. If something isn't done he will likely lose Congress in two years and his job in four.
The US desperately needs a dream it can aspire to. Without it the current effort will fall short of the nation's needs and expectations. We need a vision of Camelot to justify the real sacrifices we will have to make. Without that vision, our focus drifts and so too our ability to fix the financial, ecological, and physical problems we now face.
Steve Jobs can't be around and I find I miss him. I also miss the visionary Barack Obama that we had before the election, and hope he too comes back before the new guy gets voted out of office. We need a dream.
The US, and I think much of the world, needs to be able to dream about a better tomorrow in order to build one. Part of that is fixing a lot of what is wrong in this world and part of it is emulating truly great people like Steve Wozniak.
Saints and dreams, we need more of both and it is interesting that this takes us back to Apple's founders as examples of both how to live and how to create dreams.