Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died today. I found out while I was on the bus as I came home from work.

He was a technology pioneer to be sure. Certainly one of the most effective CEOs to come around since the title was invented. Through his leadership a stream of amazing and beautiful devices were released to the public, turning Apple from a company on the verge of bankruptcy to one of the most profitable in the United States. From his early work on the Apple I to the wildly successful iPhone 4, he revolutionized the daily life of billions of people around the world.

I felt a strong feeling of loss when I heard that he had died. It came from the untimely departure of a man who I had never met, but nevertheless saw fit to draw personal inspiration from.

Why was I drawn to Steve Jobs? It was his idea that all details matter, even down to the individual pixel. It was the notion that even the intangible minutiae will impact our perception of an object, like the exact radius of a corner or the amount of friction on a piece of glass. It was the mandate that you aren’t finished until you pour a piece of your soul into your creation.

So many of my own greatest accomplishments have been done using tools that once existed only in his mind. Steve Jobs made me want to be a better creator, and a better person.

Before I heard the news I had spent the afternoon working through a book on Objective-C, the programming language used in the creation of Mac, iPhone, and iPad applications. I got an itch to do some OS X programming the night before, but I needed a refresher on the syntax of the language to get going again. In hindsight, I can think of no better tribute to the man than spending the day becoming a better programmer, honing my skills to one day create something insanely great.

While I was on the bus I downloaded his Stanford Commencement address and listened to it again with new perspective. One passage struck me in particular:

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, Stanford Commencement, 2005

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thanks Steve.



Above Image: My first computer, an Apple //c. I am pretty sure that Steve didn’t have a hand in how it looked.

Full text of the Stanford Commencement:

Read stories on the creation of the Macintosh:

Andy Ihnatko’s remembrance:

Walt Mossberg’s remembrance:

October 6, 2011 • Posted in: Meta

5 Responses to “Steve Jobs”

  1. Mick Guinn - October 6th, 2011

    Great post, Craig. Yeah, I’m deeply moved and affected by it all too. I think it will be a long time before the general public realizes what we’ve lost. Check out David Pogue’s eulogy too. I like his writing and he really nailed it.

    Our Mick’s Macs past newsletters are parked on FaceBook and on our blog if you want to check them out. My August 30 newsletter called “The Tao of Steve” had to be completely rewritten because he resigned the day I was about to send it out. But even then, I had no idea how ill he was.

    Here’s to the great ones…


  2. Ben - October 8th, 2011

    If there had been a Nobel Prize for technology he’d have won three or four of them. Ford, Edison, Jobs,… Man, you take out one of them and a large chunk of US productivity gets trashed.

    (PS, aren’t you too young to have had a IIc, Craig? I mean, I wrote my PhD thesis on a Mac Classic II. It had ChemDraw, God’s gift to chemists in the early 90s!)

  3. admin - October 9th, 2011

    Ben – Good question. My dad bought the //c used from a local university student. It was at least a few years old by the time we had it – must have been 1998 or so. I loved that thing, all 1.023 MHz of it…

  4. Ben - October 9th, 2011

    Ah, yeah, speed with an M rather than a G. Oh for the days when CPU speeds matched MR spectrometer frequencies rather than microwave frequencies…

  5. Ben - October 9th, 2011

    Of course, I remember speeds with a K and BASIC. What’s perhaps more surprising is that most of the well-known Duran Duran hits, or Madonna’s early stuff, is older than most PCs. Damn, that makes me feel old. (It also goes to show that music ages a lot better than technology!)

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