Steve Jobs, A True Icon

In the hours since the untimely death of Steve Jobs, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I would like to address my feeling about him. What I can do is give a personal account of the relevance of Steve Jobs in my own life and in my understanding of the world. So here’s my attempt at that:

I’m too young to have strong impressions of early Macintosh computers, but I do very clearly remember the first iPod. A 5GB, white, decksteve jobs of cards, which for its time, like most other products that Steve Jobs put his hands on, was revolutionary. I remember being jealous of my Mac-using friends who were the first to lay hands on this device. The idea that instead of toting a Walkman, I could have small copies of my music in a single device that everyone could use (even certain technophobic members of my family).

It’s easy to look at the iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, iCloud, iTunes, and really any other trailblazing Apple product as an inevitability. In retrospect, we say of course keyboardless phone makes sense and of course you don’t need to build in a optical drive, but that is where Steve’s true genius lies. He is well-known for his dislike of focus groups and traditional market research methods, but I won’t be the first to say that he anticipated consumer needs in a revolutionary way. I hope, as a marketer and a technology enthusiast, I can grow to understand the true impact of Steve Jobs on Silicon Valley, consumer technology, and ultimately, the public consciousness.

Steve Jobs was a great man. Even with his personality quirks, his strength of character, doggedness, and resilience influenced and will continue to influence others years down the road.

Perhaps then, the rise of another tech giant taking lessons from the school of Jobs is inevitable. It shows that there is a place in the world for a tech company CEO to be more than just a rockstar programmer. That management, vision, and consumer understanding sometimes come from a wholly different perspective. To me, that is the most inspiring aspect of Steve Jobs’ life.

Rest in peace Steve, and thank you for creating and embodying a revolution.

Additional Links

Steve Jobs: Imitated, Never Duplicated from David Pogue, tech columnist for the NYT

Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Stanford, one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever experienced (and it is an experience)

Beautiful Steve Jobs Tribute by my friend Chris

NYT Obituary

Apple Homepage Tribute

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