Why Affiliates Should Be Grateful to Steve Jobs
While the man who singlehandedly changed the way we all communicate and create could make seemingly impossible technologies come to life, in the end, like the rest of us, he couldn’t cheat death.
Much of the coverage of Jobs’ death has focused on his skills as Apple’s CEO and the beautiful things he created: the first computer with a graphical interface, a device that allowed you to carry your music collection in your pocket, a phone that lets you order carry out while getting driving directions to the restaurant you’re picking it up from, and much, much more.
All of his wonderful inventions—the iPhone, the iPad, the Macintosh computer—as well as the companies he led—Apple, Pixar, Next—have made lasting contributions to our world. But there’s something more about Jobs that hasn’t been written about, and that’s his contributions to the world of affiliate marketing.
Where would we be without Jobs?
Now I’m not saying that Jobs knew much, or even cared about, the business of affiliate marketing. But it’s these inventions of his, and the changes they brought to our culture and the way we shop, communicate and work, that have made affiliate marketing possible. Jobs’ products have enabled people to create businesses out of websites, emails, and other channels with little more than a basic knowledge of their subject matter, keyword research, and an elementary knowledge of usable web design.
Before the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, computers were powerful machines that required extensive training to use. They couldn’t be used in an intuitive fashion because their interfaces were built for experts in computing, not for people who wanted to create something. Fast forward to today, and almost everyone’s grandmother is using email. Children are even blogging for school projects.
By democratizing the computer this way, Jobs made it into something that millions would be able to learn, communicate, create, and yes … shop with. And in time, that gave birth to billions of dollars of business for online retailers. And those retailers, often with little idea of how to reach pocket niches of consumers, turned to affiliate marketers to help them sell their goods.
New ways of creating and communicating
So in the same way that the graphical interface made it easy for people searching for and finding information and products on the web, it also enabled people to create in new ways.
No longer do small businesses need to advertise in the one-size-fits-all phone book. Instead, they can spend their advertising budgets in a way that allows them to target a specific, often self-identified niche of consumers who can share similar interests without sharing a geographical location.
And as affiliate marketers, we’re the people who help bring the people in these niche groups together. We create the content and websites that help people find out more information about an illness, a hobby, or a product they’d like.
But without that first graphical computer interface, and without someone like Jobs leading the culture, reminding us all that it’s okay to “think different” while we followed our dream and left the security of our desk jobs, would any of us be doing what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it today?