How can one person adequately summarize another’s lifelong accomplishments in one article? It is an impossible task. A great feeling of inadequacy hangs over this charge. Since the complete treatment of a person’s life is beyond the scope of an article of this size, a brief history, quotes and reflections seem the most fitting tribute.
Steven Paul Jobs was born in 1955 and passed away last Wednesday. In his 56 years on Earth he made a larger impact on more lives than most people ever do, not only as the chief of Apple, but also of Pixar.
Jobs was a perfectionist about the design of form and function. After his return to Apple in 1996 Jobs introduced the iMac in 1998, the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010.
In addition to his attention to detail Jobs was a great marketer. He called the original Macintosh, “Insanely Great!” in 1984. He maintained that charisma on stage every time he gave what came to be called his “Stevenote” presentations.
In 2005 he gave the Stanford University commencement address, a rare honor for someone who, despite his success, had dropped out of college.
“… this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation,” was how Jobs humorously opened his speech.
Jobs explained that by dropping out, he was able to drop in on classes that interested him. This was when he learned about calligraphy and typefaces.
“… personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do,” he said about what may have been the case had he not taken these classes.
“You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference,” Jobs told the graduates.
“Sometimes life’s gonna hit you on the head with a brick. Don’t loose faith,” he said in regards to being fired from Apple in 1985. “You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet keep looking and don’t settle.”
“… for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today where the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today?’” he said regarding death. “Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
“No one wants to die,” he continued. “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice and most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Everything else is secondary. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Given enough space and time Steve Jobs’ story could fill volumes. I personally have owned three iPods, three iPhones and three Apple computers since 2006, including the MacBook this article was written on. The situation is similar for millions of people around the world.
The best way to pay concluding tribute to Jobs is in the words of a television ad made by Apple in 1997 shortly after his return:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”