that "much of the world learned of his passing on a device he
invented," it's easy to forget that Apple founder Steve Jobs' impact on
our daily lives goes much deeper than that - before putting computers in
our hands via mobile phones and portable devices, Jobs first put
computers in our homes. It was under his vision that Apple ushered in
the first era of the personal computer and desktop publishing in the
late 1970s. His products, concepts, designs and overall philosophy have
been, and will continue to be, hugely influential. And perhaps it is
because of the way he personally put himself inside of each of his
creations that his death has touched so many, so deeply.
Indeed, with much of the nation's attention wrapped up in protests
against corporate greed on Wall Street, the death of a CEO of a
particularly large corporation - one that temporarily surpassed Exxon
Mobile as the world's most valuable company earlier this year - inspired
nothing less than worldwide tributes and a unified outpouring of love,
respect and remembrance this week. But Jobs, who died Wednesday after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer, was no ordinary CEO. He was an extraordinary one.
On Wednesday, after news of his death spread, tributes began flooding
the Internet, including tweets written by everyone from celebrities to
next-door neighbors. Eulogies were published throughout the evening and
into the night on countless websites, ranging from news outlets to
music, tech and even literary publications. Musicians also illuminated
the positive and significant impact that Jobs had on the music industry -
and on their personal lives. "Thanks for the tools, the inspiration,
the possibilities," wrote Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The Grammys tweeted, "Thank you for revolutionizing the way we listen to music. Your vision will not be forgotten." And rocker Sebastian Bach wrote,
"Thanks for allowing me to put my whole CD collection in my pocket. You
have made air travel a lot more fun among other things."
Other public figures, from actors like Danny DeVito ("...miss you from the planet have you with me every day on earth") to news anchor Terry Moran
("'I want to put a ding in the universe.' -SteveJobs. Fair to say the
universe has been good and dinged."), weighed in with their thoughts.
His colleagues, coworkers and even competitors in the industry -
including the CEOs and/or founders of Microsoft (Bill Gates), Google
(Larry Page), Yahoo (Jerry Yang), Twitter (Dick Costolo), Amazon (Jeff
Bezos), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) and others - all made statements that
added up to the same thing: Steve Jobs was inspirational, monumental,
unforgettable and simply irreplaceable. His successor at Apple Inc., Tim
Cook, in an email to employees, acknowledged the shoes that he cannot
completely fill: "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have
built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Apple retail stores - another entire business that sprouted under
Jobs' watch - were reportedly flooded with tributes and memorials. While
plans for more official memorial services were just coming together on
Thursday, instantaneous tributes emerged worldwide, often through use of
the very technology that Jobs invented. By Thursday afternoon it was
reported that some Apple stores, including one in Tokyo, displayed a
flickering candle image app on their iPads and iPhones, which were
displayed alongside flowers and other memorial items.
to forget that this was a guy who dropped out of college, dropped acid
and was once booted by the very company that he helped create. In fact,
while his life's work had global reach, his story is singularly American
- he lived the dream. Born in the Bay Area in 1955 and raised by
adoptive parents, Jobs spent time at a hippie commune in Oregon - an
apple farm, as it were. After that, he sold his Volkswagen to get seed
money for Apple. And he launched the business from his parents' garage.
Eventually that business would turn into a company that, in 2011,
briefly held a higher market cap than any other.
Jobs overcame odds, sure; but he also showed us all that sometimes
the best way to do something is to do it differently than anyone
imagined it before. "Think different" became a slogan of his company.
Jobs embodied this not only with with home computing, digital music and
mobile phones, but also with the very way in which he lived his life. A YouTube video
of his 2005 Stanford commencement speech spread throughout Facebook
pages on Wednesday, while quotes from that speech appeared in countless
status updates. So while the modern planet has been significantly
impacted - and improved - by the technology that Jobs placed, literally,
in our hands, he also had that rare ability to inspire us on a
spiritual level as well. Not just with his backstory but with his
everyday actions, philosophy and ethos.
In the end, he was also a beacon of light to those affected by
pancreatic cancer. The average lifespan for someone diagnosed with the
disease is less than eight months. Jobs, who had a rare and less
immediate form of the cancer, not only lived for seven years after
diagnosis, but during the majority of that time, he still helmed his
company as CEO, still introduced groundbreaking products to the planet,
still rocked our worlds.
When loved ones pass away it is not uncommon for those they left
behind to say, metaphorically, that they will take them with them
everywhere they go. With Jobs, millions of people worldwide will
actually take a piece of him with them - in their pockets, pocketbooks
and handbags - for many years to come.
(This article was written on a MacBook.)
- Steve Jobs, Apple Founder, Dead at 56
- Tributes Pour In for Steve Jobs
- Rolling Stone's 1994 Interview With Steve Jobs
- Steve Jobs' Musical History
- The Birth of the Mac: Rolling Stone's 1984 Feature on Steve Jobs and his Whiz Kids
- Steve Jobs: Rolling Stone's 2003 Interview
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
- Steve Jobs