Genius? What genius?

This morning’s Observer column

In triumph of the Nerds, Robert Cringely’s 1996 TV documentary series about the rise of the personal computer industry, Steve Jobs was asked what made Apple such an unusual company. ‘It comes down,’ he said, ‘to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying, “good artists copy, great artists steal”, and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.’

Before we get too sanctimonious about this, it’s worth remembering that Jobs’s adoption of Picasso’s mantra is what has made Apple such an innovative force in the computer business. Its unique selling proposition is that it takes good ideas and turns them into products that ordinary human beings can use…