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The Passing of Steve Jobs

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In 2004 Steve Jobs made his struggle with pancreatic cancer public.  Ever since then he has defied the odds placed against him by not only continuing to live, but by continuing to live up to the standards that consumers have come to expect and love him for.  There are few words that can describe someone as accomplished as Steve Jobs, but the word that instantly comes to my mind is Visionary. From his garage to Fortune 500 CEO, Steve Jobs took the world by storm and did it in a way that no one else could have.

Wall Street will remember him as the CEO that increased his company’s market share approximately $100 billion from 1997-2010. But the feeling that his death has brought about is one that is not often felt when it comes to the passing of a Fortune 500 CEO.  Neighbors and fans respectfully dropping off flowers at his home, celebrities/CEO’s/Politicians expressing their admiration, Twitter producing a tweet per second on his death and Apple flying their flag at half mast.  These are just some of the gestures that have taken place on this morning of October 6th, 2011 in response to the death of Steve Jobs.

If you had used the word “beautiful” to describe a piece of technology two decades ago the person next to you might have given you a funny look.  But today that term would be considered quite common and we have Steve Jobs to thank for that.  His ultimate goal was to merge art and technology – needless to say he did more than accomplish his goal.  Steve was a rare breed of person that I believe is best described as a mix of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.  Throughout his life, like Edison, Mr. Jobs continued to invent products that the world did not know they needed – and now we could not live without them.  He revolutionized the computer – invented the modern smart phone – came up with the concept of the iPod, iTunes and the App Store – and much much more.  He may not have been an inventor in the sense that he was not a coder or developer, but he had the creativity and outside of the box thinking that these ideas came to fruition from.  It was not just the functionality but the design and feeling that these devices and creations give consumers that truly epitomize Mr. Jobs intention of combining art and technology into something beautiful. But he was more than just a modern inventor, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest CEO’s that has ever lived.

No matter where Mr. Jobs took his services, he brought success.  He left Apple in the 1980’s – all he did was form his own company and purchase the majority share of a relatively unknown company from George Lucas – Pixar.  After Microsoft caught up to Apple in terms of technology and market share, Steve agreed to come back to Apple and was eventually renamed the CEO of the company for an annual salary that he came up with of just $1.  His ingenuity and charisma were unrivaled in his industry and he was worth an estimated $8 billion, but you cannot place a dollar amount on what Mr. Jobs brought to the tech. industry and the world.

How often is it that we see a community – a nation – and an industry – mourn the loss of a CEO of a Fortune 500 company?  Whether he knew it or not (and he probably did), Steve Jobs connected with his consumers and his community on a personal level through his products and attitude.  Maybe it was the Levi’s jeans and New Balance sneakers, maybe it was the fact that he always took the stage with a smile and news that always left his audience shocked and amazed.  Or maybe it was that despite his larger than life status, he was still part of a community – a community where his children attended public school and he was known to be very friendly to his neighbors.

Unfortunately we now face the question – where do we go from here?  Steve Jobs dictated not only Apple’s products, but he also influenced the creativity and thought process behind an entire industry.  The answer to this question can be found by simply looking at the legacy of Steve Jobs as a whole.  The creativity and originality that he has inspired not only at Apple, but throughout the world will live on and undoubtedly inspire generations of extraordinary thinkers.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that 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.”

-Steve Jobs

*This touching logo tribute, simply named “Thanks, Steve.” was created by Jonathan Mak Long, a 19-year-old designer living in Hong Kong.

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