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Oct 06 2011

Thank You, Steve Jobs

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the young age of 56. He had struggled with cancer and other health problems for half a decade before he died, so his death was not a surprise, but it was still a major loss for the world. There have been few people as visionary and instrumental in changing the world as was Steve Jobs.

His legacy isn’t just the products created by the companies he leaves behind, which include both Apple and Pixar, but what those companies have done to the world at large. Without Apple, the face of modern computing would be entirely different, Jobs invented the entire idea of a personal computer that was intuitive to use and didn’t require a lot of technical skills to understand. His company brought us personal computing, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and the iPad — he turned gadgets into something friendly and unintimidating.

I am not an Apple fanboy, I do not rush out and buy every gadget that they release. My primary computer is a Mac, but my tablet runs on Android, as does my phone. But both of those wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Apple constantly pushing the boundaries of what technology should be, what it should do, and how it should be a part of our lives.

Steve Jobs himself was an inspiration to many. He was an adopted child of a working class family who dropped out of college because it was too expensive. Then, after the success of Apple he was summarily fired from the company in the mid 80s and went on to work in other successful companies, like Pixar, before being invited back to Apple. His story was about overcoming odds again and again, and remaining true to his vision while doing so. If anyone had the entrepreneurial spirit, it was Steve Jobs, and if you have a business or want to start one some day, I can think of no better inspiration or reminder that anything is possible.

He gave a much quoted address to Stanford University soon after his diagnosis and said, ”Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Thank you, Steve Jobs, you have made the world a better place.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Don in Massachusetts

    A Great post and well written.

  2. 2
    Leda Acquilla

    In the last 24 hours I have seen a lot of posts, videos and articles about the passing of Steve Jobs where people say his claim to fame was overrated. Obviously there’s no respect even in death, but the guy took something that was essentially going to be thrown out and, over the years, developed and marketed some of the most useful communication and computing technologies the world has ever known.

    Selfishness is the only explanation for behavior like this.

    RIP, Steve Jobs, and Fare thee well.

  3. 3
    Pat

    Selflessness is the benchmark of an educated mind, and Jobs had it in spades, thinking outside of himself, for others, for the world, and what would make the world better – within his own range of technology, expertise, and frame of reference.

    His was the ultimate vision of “build it and they will come,” which he practiced so well, and which so well utilized his enormous talent for seeing how life could work by using his ideas, and putting them into action.

    It’s quite possible that Jobs, by accident, or by education, stumbled upon one of life’s greatest secrets – that each of us is born to be selfless, not selfish, and by the powers we have, and can develop, are here to make the world better than it was when we arrived. As a life well lived, rather than simply taking up space on the planet is as good a view as any of leaving a footprint worthy of being human, and worthy of cultivating.

    Not to idolize the man for his accomplishments, but to idolize the accomplishments attributable to the man. Isn’t that why we attempt to strive for excellence, and reach out for exploration to filter, sift, and fuse old ideas with new, for progress? Hasn’t every innovation arrived due to this same process of converting what we view as problems into successes?

    Vision comes from selflessness, not selfishness. It wasn’t power and money that motivated him, but a desire to implement his vision of what technology could do for humanity, and ultimately, he proved it.

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