I found out about Steve’s passing on Twitter when the topic of conversation quickly changed from everyone talking about Apple’s disappointing iPhone 4S announcement, to suddenly start filling up with the news that Steve Jobs had passed away. I couldn’t believe the news when I read it, so the first thing I did was go to Apple’s website to verify. After seeing Apple’s announcement of Steve’s passing, I was hoping their site had been hacked, so I checked three or four other tech sites I trust, and after seeing the same story on them all, I couldn’t believe it.
I remember pushing my chair back from the desk, and resting my chin in my hand, letting out a sigh as I just stared at the story in front of me. I couldn’t believe it. After taking another leave of absence from Apple, we all knew that Steve Jobs was sick, but nobody knew how sick. Here I sat at my desk, wondering how the life of one of the tech industry’s could be over so suddenly.
Those who know me know that I’ve never been an Apple fan, but what a lot of people don’t know is that I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs. I was too young to remember and really be able to appreciate a lot of Steve’s early work during his first tenure at Apple, and neXT. It was since his return to Apple in 1998, and the release of OS X that I really started to take notice of Apple.
Every time Apple has had a product announcement in the last several years, I’ve been tuned in early, and eagerly watching the announcement, be it directly from Apple (when they allow it), on TWiT, or through the various tech blogs. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be buying whatever product it was that Steve Jobs got on stage and pitched as though it was the piece of my life that was always missing. I always follow these announcements because Apple never fails to amaze with their cutting edge ideas and products. No matter what product it was – the various flavours if iPods, iPhone, iPod, or their new Apple computers, or whatever else it may have been – it was always a new take on an old idea, and always “changed the game” in some way. As Steve would reach into his pocket and pull out his prototype, or we’d watch eagerly as an audience as sleek-looking images flashed by on the screen behind him you could always tell how passionate he was that his newest invention was going to change our everyday life as we knew it – and he was usually right!
Steve Jobs has made the entire tech industry better with his innovation. Watching an Apple keynote has always been exciting because it was like looking into a crystal ball because whatever Jobs unveiled would instantly become the cutting edge of technology and all of their competitors would have to move quickly to match Apple’s technology, but find a way to put their own spin on it and make it even more attractive to customers.
“If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.
– Henry Ford.
This quote reminds me a lot of Steve Jobs. He didn’t do focus groups and ask consumers what they wanted. He just went and created his products, and then – being the expert salesman he was – convince consumers they needed his new product.
Like Apple or not, Steve Jobs will be sincerely missed in the technology world. His ability to create and innovate, to take old products and refine them to make them even better was uncanny. How many times can you actually think of that an Apple product didn’t become a hit? Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any.
Steve Jobs was always more than just the CEO of Apple, he was a character in an industry lacking a lot of interesting and dynamic personalities. People didn’t just talk about Apple and their products, they talked about Steve Jobs. Even people who had no interest in the technology industry knew who he was.
I never thought I’d say this about the founder of Apple computers – but thank you Steve Jobs! Thank you for your innovation, thank you for taking risks, thank you for forging new paths, and lastly – thank you for making the entire technology industry better. You will be sincerely missed, but your legacy of innovation will live on.
If you could’ve said one thing to Steve Jobs in his final days, would would it have been?