Many of us woke up this morning to news of one of the greatest contributors to the world of tech passing away. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for a year now and it was always a great guessing issue when his last day at Apple would be. Then in August, that day had come. And now, at the age of 56, he's gone.
The man himself
You cannot deny that the man had great vision and an even greater life ethic. He wanted to change the world. And that's what he did. From the way we compute to the way we listen to music and the way we use our phones. In addition to Apple, Jobs's other major contribution to the world was Pixar Films, which churned out animated favourites like Toy Story and The Incredibles. Right from a very young age, he wanted to get involved with the world to change it – from taking one semester of classes at Reed College (where he took a calligraphy class and attributes Mac's multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts to), to working at Atari to save money for a spiritual trip to India. He founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. For a while, power struggles happened and Jobs founded NeXT Computer, which already was a new way of computing. He innovated email too, by adding support for universally visible email and clickable embedded graphics and audio within email. He eventually went back to Apple, shook things up and there was no stopping the innovation.
Now, I realize I come off as a fangirl (fanperson for the politically correct) but as much as you may dislike Apple and have the “opposite bias”, Jobs is up there as one of the world's greatest innovators. Yes, Apple has underconfigured products sold at 'overprices' and they may not have necessarily loved India, but Apple today is a global phenomenon. And that would not have happened without Jobs. And this was because he valued his life. He knew what he wanted to do with it. He recognized the fact that one day he will not be living anymore and he went full speed ahead with his goals. Yes, working for him may not have been a piece of cake, and yes, he's also notorious for not indulging in philanthropy. The way he treated people around him was perhaps Machiavellian where the end (the products) justified the means. The point is, he had a spark, and he recognized the importance of kindling it into a full fledged fire. One of my favourite talks from Jobs is not one where he's unveiling a new product or talking about Apple's stats, it's one where he's talking at Stanford University on how to live before you die. In this talk, Steve urged people to follow their dreams, just as he did his. Jobs knew how to live and live to his full potential. Sadly, mortality caught up with him.
However, though his life is gone, it does not mean it's over. Can you ever wipe out a legend like Jobs? Just the same way, you cannot realistically hope to wipe out the spirit of John Lennon or Alfred Hitchcock. Jobs is one of the greats. His existence is indelible. I personally will miss watching him present Apple keynotes. I was always impressed with how well spoken he was and how he communicated with such conviction. One thing's for certain, he definitely has not made Tim Cook's job or life very easy. Cook, while of course, being handpicked to do the job, definitely has some very big shoes to fill. Rest in peace Steve Jobs. In the short period of time that you were here (you know, compared to how old say, the planet is), you achieved your immortality through your mortality. Here's to you.