RIP, Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Writing this blog post has been difficult.  After all, what can I say about Steve Jobs that no one else is going to say in their entries and obituaries?  What can I contribute to the discussion that no one else will touch on?  He was a visionary who obsessed over every detail.  When the Japanese prepare food, how the food looks is just as important as how it tastes.  When Jobs oversaw products, how the products looked was just as important as how they functioned.

And what amazing products they were, for behind their looks and functionality was his vision of what a product should be.  His products weren’t merely meant to utilize existent technology, but to change technology altogether.  I had to laugh when I saw people bring floppy discs to a computer workshop recently, only to be turned away because the computers they would be using only had USB ports (the flier said they had to bring flash drives).  But I wouldn’t be laughing if Jobs had continued to use floppy discs in his Macs, instead of junking them for better technology.  And while I have yet to get an iPod (mainly because I like my audio to sound awesome and hate headphones, buds, or anything else that goes on or in my ears), the fact that I can carry around my entire music library on something so small is remarkable.

In addition to creating important products, he knew what was important in life.  In his commencement address at Stamford, he tells the graduates that they must live their own lives because the time they have on earth is short.  Having survived his first bout with pancreatic cancer, he knew better than anyone that he could die at any time, but he also knew that death was great motivation for living his life now, since he might not have time to do it later.

Steve Jobs was only with us for 56 years, and yet, like Mozart at 35, Keats at 25, and Dean at 24, look what he did with the time he had.  Like all great men, he never thought about how much time he had left, but what he should do with the time he had, for the benefit of mankind.

And for that, I say, “Thanks.”

Click here for Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs.

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