Steve Jobs: A Hell Of A Job

For the last 48 hours I’ve been, mostly sitting on my hands and staring at a blank screen, wondering if I should write something about Steve Jobs. Let’s face it, what could I possibly say about Jobs that hasn’t already been said in the two days since the announcement of his death?

I felt deeply sad when I heard the news.  I found out about his passing through an SMS that my husband sent from his iPhone to mine. I am typing this post on a MacBook Air.  Yes, I know, this “curiosity” has also been discussed. How millions of us are learning of and discussing his death through a device that he created. Having a tendency to look for humor in things, I imagined Jobs meeting God and bringing him an iPad2 as a gift, but then I found this cartoon on The Daily Beast’s 12 Best Steve Jobs Memes, which I thought was infinitely funnier:

Of course! Jobs would not be satisfied with bringing God an iPad! He would want to streamline his workload for Him, make things simpler, User-friendly, and heavenly beautiful no less.  Isn’t this what he did for us?  When computers were bulky, black or white boxes he brought us red, green, orange, purple and blue iMacs.  He made interacting with computers easier.  So much so, that someone would come up with the catchy, “Switched to Mac and never going back,” and millions would wholeheartedly agree.  And no one was more adept at showing us that beauty and functionality are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Steve Jobs, the creator of highly sought-after consumer products, shunned focus groups.  He once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  This can be interpreted as arrogance, but it is not. Truly creative people, visionaries, imagine things that are not and bring them to fruition.  They lead, we follow.  This is how America was discovered, how the car was invented,  how we walked on the moon, and how every major human achievement has been reached.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Steve Jobs these past couple of days.  I’ve thought about his complex personality.  He was known for being aggressive, at times, yet he showed a deeply caring side when he called the grieving father of a 15-year old boy killed during an iPod robbery.  He showed tremendous resilience after being fired from Apple, the company he co-founded, in 1985.  He could have turned into a historical footnote at that point.  Instead, he went on to found NeXT Computers, where his developments there were later on used at Apple on operating systems like Mac OS X, the Apple and iTunes stores, and MobileMe.  During this time, he also purchased Pixar for $10 million and entered into an agreement with Disney to make computer-animated films, the first of which was Toy Story.  I’ve thought about his way of looking at life.  Something we know a bit about thanks to his now famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, where he spoke about connecting dots, about love and loss, and about death.

There is absolutely no denying Steve Jobs’ influence on our lives and on our world.  He brought color, music and knowledge to our lives.  His latest creation, the iPad2, is being used as an educational tool, in hospitals, by musical groups and even in airplane cockpits. Its potential is still not fully understood or exploited.  Steve Jobs’ vision, his knack for simplification and his quest for perfection were legendary.  Many are wondering if Apple will continue his legacy or play it safe and suffer as a result.   Only time will tell.  Right now the only thing that is clear to me is that he had a huge impact on our lives and, therefore, his passing has left a huge hole in our world.  I am sure that we cannot even imagine what he would have accomplished had he lived longer, and this is a pity.  Seeing the many tributes around the web, it is clear that many feel exactly the same way.

So, I just have one last thing to say:  Thank you Steve Jobs.  You did a hell of a job.

images: The Daily Beast.  Apple/Jobs image designed by Jonathan Mak Long
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