Of the billions of people who have walked the earth, there are very few for whom such an epitaph could be written. For Steve Jobs, it cannot be denied.
It has been very interesting to see the reaction to his passing over the past 24 hours. Apple stores with memorials to Mr. Jobs; a constant stream of comments and articles being linked through various social media; and sincere and glowing tributes from the most brilliant minds in the technology world, unanimously paying homage to the great Steve Jobs.
I cannot think of another business figure that is as interwoven into the ethos of his or her company as Mr. Jobs was with Apple. No one else IS their company. Steve Jobs was Apple; Apple was Steve Jobs.
All of the brilliant innovations that have come from Apple: iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iPad, etc. For all of it, Jobs at the forefront of the company. With the Apple brand, and the way in which products were launched and how connected Steve Jobs was to his company, it almost seemed like he personally created every new innovation to come from Apple. He was larger than life. Yet, despite all of that, despite all of the grandiose tributes that can be made about Mr. Jobs and his life, he still died relatively young and in such an ordinary way.
I believe part of the reason why the reaction has been what it has been is because people who love Apple did not have the opportunity to emotionally prepare for Mr. Job’s death.
In this technology age, there have been numerous celebrities who have fought very public battles with cancer. Steve Jobs was fiercely private. He and Apple always downplayed his health and how sick he really was.
It’s one thing if a person dies in an accident or by another sudden means; but as terrible as cancer is, our society is used to a certain amount of time to prepare for it. With Steve Jobs, even though there were obvious signs over the past couple of years that his health continued to struggle, the news of his death was still shocking.
Personally, I have never been a huge user of Apple products, but I certainly respect what Steve Jobs did. He was a modern day Thomas Edison. Some have concern over how his death will impact Apple. I think the company will be fine, because I think they will continue to embody the relentless standards to which he held them. While he was a genius, he was a genius among many other great minds who will continue the cause.
With the death of Steve Jobs, technology hasn’t crashed forever. It just needs to reboot.