On the passing of Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

My entire adult life has been spent immersed in technology for work and for play. For almost 20 years my favorite technology company has been Apple. I was there for the transition from 68k to PowerPC, the Newton experiment, the clone experiment, the NeXT acquisition (and the return of Steve Jobs), the iPod, the Intel transition, and so on.

Steve Jobs was a genius, an asshole, a showman, a shaman, a visionary, an iconoclast, an opportunist. He ran Apple like a benevolent dictator with an immaculate sense of style. Let’s just go through the list, shall we?

  • First mass-market personal computer (Apple II)
  • First mass-market computer your grandma can use (Macintosh)
  • Supported and nurtured the finest and most successful animation studio in history (Pixar)
  • Created the computer that birthed the first web server/browser (NeXT)
  • Pulled off the most stunning Second Act in business (iCEO of Apple)
  • Reignited the consumer computer market (iMac)
  • Created the most beautiful and elegant desktop operating system (Mac OS X)
  • Created the market for personal music players + store (iPod/iTunes)
  • Defined excellence in mobile devices (iPhone/iPad)

Now, of course he did not invent all of these things himself. There are tons of other talented and exceptional people who imagined and worked hard to make these things happen. But Steve’s personal philosophy of living at the intersection of technology and liberal arts and his insistence on excellence from himself and others has created the environment where these kinds of things become real.

Steve Jobs has influenced my life in huge and profound ways. The quest for beauty, truth, excellence, and humanity is something we should all use to guide our lives. He will be missed but his legacy will live on for generations.