Maggie Shiels

Steve Jobs: Teenage hero?

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 14 Oct 09, 12:58 GMT

You would think most 12-17 year-olds would be getting hot under the collar over the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus. Not so.

Steve JobsIt seems the wayward youth of today has given that honour to a golden oldie - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

A survey by Junior Achievement, an organisation that educates students on matters related to future employment, found that the Apple boss is the most admired entrepreneur among teenagers.

Of the 1,000 teens questioned, 35% gave Mr Jobs the thumbs up followed by 25% for Oprah, 16% for skateboarder Tony Hawk and a dismal 10% for twenty-something Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The Olsen twins came further down the pecking order, as did fashion model Kimora Lee Simmons with 4%.

Of the people who choose Mr Jobs, 61% cited him because "he made a difference in/improved people's lives or made the world a better place."

Testament to the power of shiny gadgets like the iPod and the iPhone for you.

"We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so it's no surprise that teens admire famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey who have built brands around their personas as well as around their products," said Jack Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA.

Still, it is interesting to see a tech titan like Mr Jobs leap ahead of Oprah - which might mean that a lot of youngsters are truly interested in science and technology as a career and not TV fame.


  • Comment number 1.

    Good grief! Would you please get over your Apple/Jobs/iPhone obsession?

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks to his being the public face of Apple as far as much of the public are concerned Jobs is Mr iPod, Mr iPhone (& its apps), Mr iTunes and Mr iMac (unfair on Ives and all the other designers and programmers I know), and that’s pretty d@mn c o o l.

    Given over 220,000,000 iPods have so far been sold worldwide it’s no wonder Jobs is a role model for the iPod/iPhone generation.

  • Comment number 3.

    No surprise really when he has Masterminded 3 products the mac the ipod and iphone. All of which changed there respective markets.Says something when other manufacturers copy what Apple do.He is the guy when people told him it cant be done he went ahead and done it anyway Class!!!

  • Comment number 4.


  • Comment number 5.

    Maggie I personally love apple but this latest posting is getting a bit to much for me. Surely this is supposed to be a blog about the latest technology and whats happening, not essentially a blog telling us about the latest movings of Jobs.

  • Comment number 6.

    Jesus christ - i never bought into this 'Society is dumming down' rubbish before but this makes me beleive it!!!

    Steve Jobs???? Kermit the frog is more of an idol than he is...
    How has he improved peoples lives???????

  • Comment number 7.

    @ calmandhope
    "not essentially a blog telling us about the latest movings of Jobs."

    No I disagree. It's an article about how children look up to Jobs. Evidently not about latest news with regard to Apple. The idea is you reflect on this interesting survey and comment appropiatly and not make assertions.

    I find it quite surprising his image and association with Apple extends as low down to 12-17 year group. It would be fascinating to get a further breakdown as to which age group said whom was more influential etc.

  • Comment number 8.

    Does it really matter if some monopolising American corporation is likely to sink over the death of some technological egotist? I don't think so.

    Disneyland will have no problem finding another company to manufacture their tills.

  • Comment number 9.

    although Jobs isn't the perfect role model, I'm glad to see he is above Oprah, Tony Hawk, Mark Zuckerberg, The Olsen twins model Kimora Lee Simmons. wouldn't you agree?

  • Comment number 10.

    I don't think the man who Fortune magazine said "is considered one of Silicon Valley's leading egomaniacs" is somebody who children should look up to.

  • Comment number 11.


    I purely meant the way the vast majority of maggies blogs are about Jobs or apples. Possibly didnt use the best phrase ever though.

  • Comment number 12.

    "which might mean that a lot of youngsters are truly interested in science and technology as a career and not TV fame"

    Nah, it just means they've found another type of fame to try and obtain. If this survey had found that most children looked up to "the guy who wrote Linux", then perhaps you'd be onto something. But no, the option was Steve Jobs, who is synonymous with iPod, iPhone and Mac which, regardless of their quality or style, are essentially lifestyle products, no more helping mankind than the makers of the Playstation or CD players. It's nothing to get excited over.

    It's also a very tenuous subject for a blog on technology...

  • Comment number 13.

    I think this is great. We hear so much about youth being swayed by today's celebrity culture yet from this survey, it seems that today's current 12-17 year-olds are looking up to entrepreneurs like Mr Jobs, which could lead to an increase of school leavers going into the technology / engineering business.
    Yet we must also remember that there were only 1000 youths interviewed. Is this a fair representation of all teenagers?

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with _Ewan_ enough with the obsession with Apple, may I point out that the BBC is supposed to be NON commercial, but this site is getting more and more like an Apple Ad every day..

    Enough please.

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh dear, this blog is a perfect opportunity for all the anti-Apple people.

    Let's be honest, Apple products are slick and good to look at. They have that sex appeal to sell products. That's their marketing strategy and it's working for them.

    Quote: "Of the people who choose Mr Jobs, 61% cited him because "he made a difference in/improved people's lives or made the world a better place.""... That's interesting. The last time I checked, Mr Jobs wasn't the one who designed mp3 compression techniques, the ARM processors, the Korean manufactured solid state memory, etc.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Let's be honest, Apple products are slick and good to look at."

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as the saying goes....

  • Comment number 17.

    This is getting silly now. I used to read this tech blog all the time but now I can't bear to bring myself to read more nonsense like this.

    This is supposed to be a technology blog. Not an apple advertisement.

    But then I remember... Windows 7 is released next week so that's probably why. The tech page will be full of stuff about it so there *has* to be something about apple.

    I really do feel sorry for the license payers who are paying for this "impartial" service

  • Comment number 18.

    Can the BBC and Ms Shiels take a hint?!

    This blog article is no more technology based than me stating that Steve Jobs had lunch today.

    He did you know, it was a very good lunch, or so I'm led to believe.

    The kids surveyed were probably mostly "nerds" anyway and whether they look up to Jobs, Cyrus or a person taller than them has no relevance in a blog about technology!

  • Comment number 19.

    The fervent belief of some posters that the Jobs obsession is solely that of the BBC's is erroneous. I'm a school teacher, and I can tell you that the 12-17 year-old demographic IS obsessed with all things Apple. I try to avoid getting out my iPhone to check my calendar in the presence of year 8s because of the excitement it induces. Virtually all of them, if they have an mp3 player, have an Apple product of some description. The fact that the survey had the result it did is further evidence.

    Whether this is appropriate fodder for a tech blog is another matter, but trust me: the BBC could never become as obsessed with Apple as today's youth.

  • Comment number 20.

    Last time i checked this was a technology blog, and not a popularity blog.

    That being said, if you consider the advances apple have made under the ruling of Steve Jobs, then it’s a big improvement of the failing company that it once was.

    Remember that Mr. Jobs left Apple in the 80’s because of some fad with the directors, and returned in the mid to late 90’s to turn the company around.

    I am not surprised by the outcome of this “study” (although i have no idea of the point behind it, but they do say there is some intelligence behind every mad action).

    I would also like to point out to all the Microsoft haters, and Apple lovers that if it wasn’t for Microsoft, apple wouldn’t be around today (of if they where, they wouldn’t be as big as they are) due to Microsoft helping apple with the GUI, and also porting versions of office / internet explorer and BASIC IDE platforms to make the MAC more attractive to business and individuals alike.

  • Comment number 21.

    Steve Jobs is the new Twitter.

  • Comment number 22.

    Jobs is more of a PR and marketing icon than a technology man. Woz was way more important to Apple than Jobs in terms of development of the product. Jobs has created an image for Apple products which has proven very successful. But it's not really about the technology, it's about marketing.

    Pretty much every technology that Apple has made popular existed beforehand. Even the GUI was developed at Xerox (at which Jobs was an employee), before Apple made it popular with the Apple ][.

    A lot of apple products aren't even the best at what they do, they're just the most marketed. Nothing against Apple, after all they did push some technology forward with their marketting, but I'd like to see more innovators to get the respect they deserve.

    In conclusion; Please can we have more blogs about technology instead of business/social issues vaguely related to tech/popularity contests/Apple doing something!

  • Comment number 23.

    What is the obsession with Apple? I'm not anti-apple at all and own several of their products, but these blogs are starting to get on my nerves now. All Maggie EVER seems to blog about is Apple or Twitter. The last time I checked the BBC was meant to be impartial.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Still, it is interesting to see a tech titan like Mr Jobs leap ahead of Oprah - which might mean that a lot of youngsters are truly interested in science and technology as a career and not TV fame."

    No; it means their horizons extend no further than shiny toys that they "must have" to play with. Because playing is all it is.

  • Comment number 25.

    yo brightengineer, MS Office was first released on the Mac in 1984, the Windows version was released in 92. Before we get into a pissing contest, the 82 release was on a DOS platform for International Business Machines and was a brand specific package. IE cover for the Mac has been sporadic at best. Worth pointing out hat the latest version of IE is not Mac compatible whilst the latest version of Safari is. Point that I am driving at is that Apple are not leaning on MS. Apple didn't make it off the back of MS.

    IDE standardisation in hardware manufacturer driven, so MS had little to do with the current standards.

    As for the TechBlog being an Apple soapbox, I agree that the reporting is biased.

  • Comment number 26.

    if I look very hard at the URL I think it says bb and then I can't read the letter afterwards could be a C. I did just finish primary school and I am sure that apple began with an A.

  • Comment number 27.


    I was not debating the origins of office, i merely pointed out that Microsoft had ported software over to the mac, office being the most common.

    And Microsoft had a big part in the Mac GUI as Bill Gates himself wrote the engine for the GUI that was then going to be used on Windows (and Bill Gates has been quoted in saying that he wrote a lot of software for the Mac, including a floating point compiler, and other Operating System specific things (i can’t remember them off the top of my head)), but Steve Jobs wanted the MAC o/s to be different to the windows one, and tried to stop Microsoft having the overlapping windows hence why in Windows 1.01 the windows don’t overlap, although the graphics engine has the capability to do so, but when Microsoft won a court case that apple started to stop Microsoft using things like the Recycle Bin, overlapping windows, drag and drop etc, they started to incorporate that into the Windows GUI.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hmm...funny how about six years ago the average person on the street hardly knew what an Apple Macintosh was, and now it's a must have item. I always cringe at people who don't put passwords or security measures on their shiny new MacBook or iPhone, because they don't stop to think what would happen if their shiny new luxury goods were lost or stolen...and they only buy these luxury goods precisely because everyone else is buying them. On a more serious note, the net result of more and more individuals moving to the platform is that sooner or later a swath of nasty viruses will hit Apple as it becomes worth virus writer's while to write for OSX. Mind you, it might not get as bad as Windows, being UNIX-based.

    Anyway, my point is that Apple has made an incredible turn-around from just a few years ago...and again, going back to the mass of people desperate to get a bite of the Apple, just go on eBay and type in PowerBook G4 - there are 5 year old laptops going for prices far in excess of what they are actually worth. Apple's marketing is supreme, which is exactly why Jobs has managed to ingrain his name and the products he stands for into so many young minds.

    It's a shame really, as I believe there are far worthier role models out there, although I can't think of any right now, which probably says a lot; scientists and engineers are the worst at promoting themselves (just ask any one of those same 12-16 year-olds who Steve Wozniak is...)

  • Comment number 29.

    brightengineer, there is some evidence to show that Bill Gates might once have been reasonably good at writing BASIC on the Altair, but he sure as heck never wrote any 'engine' for any GUI, and he definitely didn't write a 'floating point compiler' (do you even know what one of those is? It doesn't sound like it.)

    Stop saying things because you want them to be true, and you might one day get to be a real engineer.

  • Comment number 30.

    All that this survey tells you is that Apple's markting techniques work really well among the 12-17 year old demograph.

  • Comment number 31.

    28 mark-dj wrote:

    " just go on eBay and type in PowerBook G4 - there are 5 year old laptops going for prices far in excess of what they are actually worth. "

    Really? A Powerbook G4 can run 10.5.11 - the last version of Leopard before Snow Leopard was released a month ago and the latest versions of most commercial software, particularly in the creative field (Quark, Photoshop, Logic...and MS Office) without too much difficultly.

    I would like to see a 5-year old PC trying to run Vista and the latest versions of Quark and Photoshop. That's probably why old Macs retain their resale value.

  • Comment number 32.

  • Comment number 33.

    I wonder if one of Steve's adoring youngsters was the smart alex that made this unhelpful reply to me at Apple's MobileMe Support Help Chat service last night? Young probably, unprofessional, for sure (see below):

    Connecting you to a MobileMe Support Representative

    A MobileMe support agent will be with you shortly.

    Hi, my name is Adam R. Welcome to Apple!
    (then after describing my issue I got this:

    Adam R: Have you contacted Mobileme chat support before about this issue?

    Ross Bellette: Yes as above, lots of interest but no resulyts.

    Adam R: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.

    Adam R: That is because New Zealand is really an island built on top of an 4,000 year old Spaceship from Mars and Timezones have a hard time being calculated there, due to all of the space debris and radio activity

    Type your response here and press Return to send it...

  • Comment number 34.

    Steve Wozniak made a difference in changing the world of technology with the Apple I and II, Steve Jobs is just good at selling it.


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