Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Legacy of Steve Jobs

I shed a tear this morning. It was for a man whose grieving family just lost a loving husband, father, son and brother. His name is Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple. He was just 56. Why is that so many of the truly good die so young?

Jobs' death for me is no different than the raw emotion I feel when anyone else leaves behind an adoring spouse and young children who will grow up missing their father's love and presence. That's the real tragedy.

But through Jobs' death the world has been unjustly robbed of the kind of visionary of which there's unfortunately an abundant shortage. A man whose contribution to society ranks among those of the great innovators like Einstein, Edison and Ford. Someone who broke all the rules, and when he re-wrote them, broke them all over again...again and again.

This morning I watched his moving commencement speech delivered to the Stanford graduating class of 2005. To call it inspiring would be like saying Martin Luther King Jr. was a non-violent protester. Mere words do neither man the appropriate historical significance they rightfully and uniquely deserve. I urge everyone to watch this speech as well. His message about life, death and everything in-between is timeless.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I am anything but a technophile, and I have no great love for computers and computer geeks. Truth is, it took me five years to put down the vinyl and buy a CD, and I was probably the last guy to get a BlackBerry. If you look up "Man Least Likely to Embrace Technology" in the dictionary you'll see a picture of me.

But I now own an iPod, an iPad and a Mac. And I've become a full-fledged iTard, the very denigrating name I heaped on those who've been drinking the Jobs/Apple Kool-Aid for years. I am now drunk and happy just like them. And that's the true genius of Jobs' vision. He didn't just grab the geeks. He managed to win over the old school schmucks like me as well. Technology for the masses. That's his true legacy. It's mind-numbing to think how much he's changed how we live, work, think, create, read, write, communicate, relax.

Today we mourn the man, the mind and the memory. Let's hope somewhere out there there's the next young man or woman who will soon break all the rules, and change the world, only to break those rules over and over again.

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