《经济学人》:魔术大师"乔布斯"
日期:2011-10-17 09:37

(单词翻译:单击)

The magician
魔术大师

The revolution that Steve Jobs led is only just beginning
乔布斯领导的革命只是刚刚开始

WHEN it came to putting on a show, nobody else in the computer industry, or any other industry for that matter, could match Steve Jobs. His product launches, at which he would stand alone on a black stage and conjure up an “incredible” new electronic gadget in front of an awed crowd, were the performances of a master showman. All computers do is fetch and shuffle numbers, he once explained, but do it fast enough and “the results appear to be magic”. Mr Jobs, who died this week aged 56, spent his life packaging that magic into elegantly designed, easy-to-use products.

就表现力而言,整个电脑行业,以及其它与之相关的产业都无能出乔布斯右者。在他的产品发布会上,乔布斯独自一人站在黑色的舞台上,在满怀敬畏之情的观众面前召唤出一件“不可思议”的新型电子设备,就像是一个大师级的魔术师在表演。乔布斯曾说过,所有的电脑都是用来读取和处理数字的,但要它足够快,要让结果就像魔法般显现出来。这个终其一生投入将魔术与设计雅致、宜于操作的产品相融合的男人,本周离开了人间,终年56岁。

The reaction to his death, with people leaving candles and flowers outside Apple stores and the internet humming with tributes from politicians, is proof that Mr Jobs had become something much more significant than just a clever money-maker. He stood out in three ways—as a technologist, as a corporate leader and as somebody who was able to make people love what had previously been impersonal, functional gadgets. Strangely, it is this last quality that may have the deepest effect on the way people live. The era of personal technology is in many ways just beginning.

对于乔布斯的逝世,人们在苹果专卖店门外留下的蜡烛和鲜花和互联网上发布的各国政要的颂词足以证明,他不仅仅只是个精明会赚钱的人。乔布斯的杰出在于三个方面,他既是一个技术专家、企业领导,同时还是一个能让人们对以前就有的非个性化、功能型的小玩意着迷的人。不可思议的是,乔布斯的第三个特点对人们的生活影响最为深远。在许多领域,技术个性化的大时代只是刚刚开始。

Apple of his eye

他眼中的苹果

As a technologist, Mr Jobs was different because he was not an engineer—and that was his great strength. Instead he was obsessed with product design and aesthetics, and with making advanced technology simple to use. He repeatedly took an existing but half-formed idea—the mouse-driven computer, the digital music player, the smartphone, the tablet computer—and showed the rest of the industry how to do it properly. Rival firms scrambled to follow where he led. In the process he triggered upheavals in computing, music, telecoms and the news business that were painful for incumbent firms but welcomed by millions of consumers.

作为一名技术专家,乔布斯的与众不同之处在于他并非工程师---而这正是其伟大之处。他真正迷恋的是产品设计、美学和先进技术的直接应用。他不断拿出已经存在但应用没有完全成形的产品---鼠标驱动电脑,数码音乐播放器,智能手机,平板电脑---来展示电子行业应如何将其发展完善。竞争对手们总是抢着跟随他指引的方向。在这个进程里,他打响了对计算、音乐、电信和新闻业升级发令枪让各家厂商都痛苦不已,但却受到了数以百万计的消费者的热捧。

Within the wider business world, a man who liked to see himself as a hippy, permanently in revolt against big companies, ended up being hailed by many of those corporate giants as one of the greatest chief executives of his time. That was partly due to his talents: showmanship, strategic vision, an astonishing attention to detail and a dictatorial management style which many bosses must have envied. But most of all it was the extraordinary trajectory of his life (see article). His fall from grace in the 1980s, followed by his return to Apple in 1996 after a period in the wilderness, is an inspiration to any businessperson whose career has taken a turn for the worse. The way in which Mr Jobs revived the ailing company he had co-founded and turned it into the world’s biggest tech firm (bigger even than Bill Gates’s Microsoft, the company that had outsmarted Apple so dramatically in the 1980s), sounds like something from a Hollywood movie—which, no doubt, it soon will be.

这个在更为宽广的商业世界里,更喜欢将自己当成一个嬉皮士,永远坚持向大公司挑战,被这些商业巨头们赞誉为当代最杰出的首席执行官的男人现在不在了。之所以拥有这样的赞誉部分源于他的天赋:表演能力,战略眼光,对细节惊人的洞察力,还有那一定让许多老板们都嫉妒的独裁式管理模式。不过最重要的还有他无以伦比的人生轨迹。80年代乔布斯在苹果失宠, 1996年又在沉寂之后重返,对于任何一个职业生涯走向颓势的生意人来说这都是一个很好的激励。乔布斯复兴他共同创建的境遇不佳的苹果公司,并将其发展成为全球最大的高科技公司(苹果现已全面超越曾在80年代里戏剧性地超越自己的比尔 盖茨的微软)的方法,听起来就像是好莱坞电影里的东西---毫无疑问,这样的影片很快就会有了。

But what was perhaps most astonishing about Mr Jobs was the fanatical loyalty he managed to inspire in customers. Which other technology brand do you ever see on bumper stickers? Many Apple users feel themselves to be part of a community, with Mr Jobs as its leader. And there was indeed a personal link. Apple’s products were designed to accord with the boss’s tastes and to meet his obsessively high standards. Every iPhone or MacBook has his fingerprints all over it. His great achievement was to combine an emotional spark with computer technology, and make the resulting product feel personal. And that is what put Mr Jobs on the right side of history, as the epicentre of technological innovation has moved into consumer electronics over the past decade.

然而最让人惊讶的还是乔布斯对启发消费者理念狂热的忠诚。谁曾在保险杠贴纸上看到过其它技术品牌?许多苹果用户都感觉自己是乔布斯领导的团体的一部分。而实际上苹果的确存在着一个独特的关联性。苹果的产品都是根据乔老板的品味设计的,并能够满足其苛刻的高标准。每一部iPhone电话和苹果笔记本电脑上都有他的印迹。乔布斯最伟大的成就在于将思想的火花与计算机技术融合在了一体,使产品更加个性化。还有,就是在技术创新涌入消费电子产品时代的大潮中,把乔布斯放置到了历史正确的一边,

A world without Jobs
乔布斯离去后的世界

As our special report in this week’s issue (printed before Mr Jobs’s death) explains, innovation used to spill over from military and corporate laboratories to the consumer market, but lately this process has gone into reverse. Many people’s homes now have more powerful, and more flexible, devices than their offices do; consumer gizmos and online services are smarter and easier to use than most companies’ systems. Familiar consumer products are being adopted by businesses, government and the armed forces.

按照我们本期发行版(乔布斯逝世着印刷)特别报道中的解释,创新过去常常是从军事和企业实验室向消费市场传导,但是最近这个过程开始反转。现在很多人的家比起他们的办公室,变得更有能量,更灵活;消费类的小物品和在线服务比起大多数公司系统更加智能,更便于操作。相似的消费产品也被公司、政府和军队采购。

Companies are employing in-house versions of Facebook and creating their own “app stores” to deliver software to smartphone-toting employees. Doctors use tablet computers for their work in hospitals. Meanwhile, the number of consumers hungry for such gadgets continues to swell. Apple’s products are now being snapped up in Delhi and Dalian just as in Dublin and Dallas.

很多公司正在使用脸谱网站的内部版本,并建立自己的“应用程序商店”用以向持有智能手机的雇员传输软件。医生们在其工作的医院内使用平板电脑。而同时,对此类设备如饥似渴的消费者队伍仍在膨胀。位于德里和大连的苹果专卖店与位于都伯林和达拉斯的一样,都被抢购一空。

Mr Jobs had a reputation as a control freak, and his critics complained that the products and systems he designed were closed and inflexible, in the name of greater ease of use. Yet he also empowered millions of people by giving them access to cutting-edge technology. His insistence on putting users first, and focusing on elegance and simplicity, has become deeply ingrained in his own company, and is spreading to rival firms too. It is no longer just at Apple that designers ask: “What would Steve Jobs do?”

乔布斯有着限制狂人的名号,对其批评主要是指他所设计的产品和系统在更宜于使用的名义下,被封闭和不可修改。然而他同时也让几百万人触及到了尖端科技。他坚持用户首先,致力于雅致和简捷的做法已经在苹果公司根深蒂固,并感染到了竞争对手。现在,不仅仅只是在苹果公司才能听到设计师们这样问:“乔布斯会怎么做?”

The gap between Apple and other tech firms is now likely to narrow. This week’s announcement of a new iPhone by a management team led by Tim Cook, who replaced Mr Jobs as chief executive in August, was generally regarded as competent but uninspiring. Without Mr Jobs to sprinkle his star dust on the event, it felt like just another product launch from just another technology firm. At the recent unveiling of a tablet computer by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, whose company is doing the best job of following Apple’s lead in combining hardware, software, content and services in an easy-to-use bundle, there were several swipes at Apple. But by doing his best to imitate Mr Jobs, Mr Bezos also flattered him. With Mr Jobs gone, Apple is just one of many technology firms trying to invoke his unruly spirit in new products.

苹果和其竞争对手间的距离现在并不大。本周的新iPhone发布会是由Tim Cook为首的管理团队主办,Tim Cook于8月接替乔布斯的首席执行官职务,人们普通认其富有能力但缺乏创意。没有乔布斯上洒下星尘,苹果的发布会就像是其它公司在发布另一款产品。最近,Jeff Bezos的亚马逊公司也发布了一款平板电脑,亚马逊公司正尽全力跟随苹果倡导的集硬件、软件、内容和服务于一体使之宜于使用的理念,这给了苹果公司极大的压力。然而除了全力模仿之外,Jeff Bezos也在吹捧乔布斯。乔布斯走了,苹果成了只不过是众多尽力将其不受约束的理念导入自己产品中高科技公司之一。

Mr Jobs was said by an engineer in the early years of Apple to emit a “reality distortion field”, such were his powers of persuasion. But in the end he conjured up a reality of his own, channelling the magic of computing into products that reshaped entire industries. The man who said in his youth that he wanted to “put a ding in the universe” did just that.

早年在苹果时,曾有位工程师评价乔布斯散发出“将现实扭曲的气场”,即他的说服力。然而最终乔布斯编织了一个自己的现实,并将计算的魔力引入到了重塑整个工作的产品中去。这个年轻时曾扬言要“生而有番作为”的男人,实现了他的许诺。

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重点单词
  • combinev. 结合,联合,使结合 n. 集团,联合企业,联合收割
  • distortionn. 扭曲,变形,曲解
  • ingrainedadj. 根深蒂固的 adj. 深嵌入纺织品或纤维的 动
  • emitvt. 发出,放射,吐露
  • fanaticaladj. 狂热的
  • controln. 克制,控制,管制,操作装置 vt. 控制,掌管,支
  • decaden. 十年
  • revolutionn. 革命,旋转,转数
  • inflexibleadj. 不可弯曲的,僵硬的,顽固的,不可改变的,不容变
  • invokevt. 求助,用咒语召唤,请求,应用,引起 [计算机]