Steve Jobs, the single combination of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, passed on earlier today.
I woke up to a flurry of #iSad tweets on my timeline. It took me over 2 hours to publicly tweet my condolences. I just had to go through every credible international news source before I could take in those news. I have never met Mr Jobs himself or even owned any of the devices he masterminded but his inspiration and belief in perfectionism is one thing that I’ve admired. My only interaction with him has been via the iDevices that I’ve had a privilege to use courtesy of my good friends and that is where my love for Apple and the face behind it started. In fact my main motivation in getting an android device early this year was to get a chance to use a system that even though different, closely mimics the iOS experience at an affordable price. This is because love it or hate it, Apple is just king in the world of computing. Thanks to this man Steve Jobs, finesse is what defines a tech giant like Apple.
I read his complete biography the day he announced his resignation as Apple CEO and even went a step further to watch all his iconic and celebrated product launches on YouTube. From all I could gather, this was a man who loved what he did. His commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 speaks volumes about a man who has been eulogized worldwide as a true genius of the 21st century. Jobs died a very wealthy man but he rose from humble beginnings. He was adopted at a very young age, had to take meals at a Hare Krishna temple and dropped out of college in the first semester. All that background and the following this man had and still has even in death, are a true reflection of a spirit that could never be killed, a candle that could never go out.
His spirit could never be killed? Yes, how can you explain a man who was kicked out of his own company, watched from a distance as that company went down the drain but came back after 12 years and made it the most valued technology company worldwide? Yes, his spirit could not be killed, his ambitions thwarted or even a disease ground him. He went on long medical leaves but always showed up in major product launches and was still the one who had a final say on major decisions taken by Apple. That was commitment. His iconic stage presence at Apple product launches, his “one more thing” will surely be missed.
Today people remember him because of the products the Cupertino-based tech giant, Apple made under his leadership but there are some of his most memorable quotes that for over two years now I’ve had in my diary. One is what he told a former Pepsi-Cola Executive when he wanted him to take over as Apple CEO, “Do you want to sell sugar
water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Those are the exact words Jobs told John Sculley in 1983. Another one is a success quote. Jobs said these words when asked about his departure from Apple in 1985, “The
heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” Of all these, my favourite Steve Jobs quote is this, “Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”
I’ve read lots of reactions by the big guns in technology today, from Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Larry Page and the HTC President. However, movie director Steven Spielberg’s and US President Barack Obama’s messages just stand out.
Obama: Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it. By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he
exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making
computers personal and putting
the internet in our pockets, he
made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has
brought joy to millions of
children and grownups alike.
Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
Spielberg: Steve Jobs was the greatest
inventor since Thomas Edison. He put
the world at our fingertips.
The iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, and the entire Mac family, the Mac OS, iOS etc have impacted the world in a way never thought before. The vision of this man should live on for many generations to come. Even though his death comes barely a day after a somewhat anticlimax iPhone 4S launch, the image of Jobs has a permanent place in world history.
For those of us in the developing world, we young people can live to make our dreams come true. Let not diseases (he struggled despite his pancreatic cancer) nor discouragements deter us from succeeding.
Even as we mourn a leader (yes a leader), celebrate him and eulogize him, let’s emulate him and make an impact (a positive impact) in whatever we are doing.
Rest In Peace Steven Paul Jobs.