In memoriam: Steven Paul Jobs, 1955-2011

Steven Paul Jobs was a man whose influence rivaled that of any world leader, and profoundly changed the world. In the days following his passing, much has been said about him, but as Google Chairman Eric Schimdt put it, there is much more to the story of Steve Jobs. Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal remarked that “Steve Jobs is a historical figure“.

What was clear, is that everyone had a story to tell— as lights on the Apple logo went dark from Cupertino to Hong Kong to down under in Australia, crowds braved Apple Stores setting up shrines, leaving messages, flowers, and iPods to remember the man who defined much of the digital age we live in today. Even Walt Mossberg shared a few things about, “the Steve Jobs that he knew“. And October 14, is now being called, Steve Jobs Day.

Steven P. Jobs wasn’t just an American entrepreneur and innovator best known for co-founding Apple. Words like “Visionary“, “Master Showman”, “The Magician“, “Creative Genius”, “inventor of the future“, have been used. Steve Jobs was a liberal, and a capitalist tool who gave jobs to blind people at Apple. Even then those descriptions can not entirely caption the maverick that Jobs was.

Jobs was regarded as a phenomenal, and arguably the best Chief Executive Officer in the world. Jobs resurrected the company he co-founded from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the world’s most valuable company. He has been put right up there with Edison, Ford, Disney, and even Leonardo da Vinci with over 338 patents or patent applications listing him as primary inventor or co-inventor. And truth be told, it isn’t an exaggeration at all. Not when Steve had a hand— however small in the advances of the last 30 years, across multiple companies, and industries. Not when the products he and his company put out can turn skeptics into converts.

Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram|Alpha claims, Steve Jobs was instrumental for having named, “Mathematica”, a software that every Mathematician and Physicist would at least know, and those worthy of the name, have at least used and familiar with it.

Steve Jobs has had a hand in Adobe’s success, with Apple investing in the company to the tune of 2.5 million dollars during the first year of that company. And for many years, the Mac was the platform to use Adobe’s creative products.

Most famously, there wouldn’t be Toy Story, if not for Steve Jobs who owned Pixar, and famously let that company shine.

The Perfectionist
Jobs was a perfectionist whose attention to detail was well-known, and well-renowned. An example is How Mac OS X came to be. Manager Cordell Ratzlaff recalled that Jobs called them a “bunch of idiots”, which started a litany of what was wrong and ugly about Mac OS then. Ratzlaff wasn’t fired, but after he and his team showed Jobs the mockups they were doing, he told Ratzlaff to prototype it. After working for three weeks straight, Cult of Mac quoted Steve telling Ratzlaff, “This is the first evidence of three-digit intelligence at Apple I’ve seen yet”.

After Steve Jobs resigned as Chief Executive of Apple, Vic Gundota recalled a conversation he had with Steve in 2008. The CEO called him up, unhappy with how the yellow gradient in Google’s “O” looked liked on the iPhone.

“So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I’ve already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow” said Steve.

“I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”

Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject “Icon Ambulance”. The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon.”

The Steve way
Appleinsider reported that The Steve Way will live on, as the company started Apple University designed to teach how Steve Jobs thinks.

Tim Burners-Lee, Father of the WorldWideWeb created the Web on NeXT Computer, another of Steve’s creations. And he wrote, “Steve was a champion of usable technology – even sexy technology. Intuitive on the outside and extensible and cool engineering on the inside.

The geeks among us need to be at the same time deeply insistent technically on beautiful, clean, extensible design inside, and utterly impatient as naive end users about the outside.”

Jobs was prolific, beyond Apple with NeXt and Pixar and the inventions he created. Without a doubt, Steve Jobs’ greatest creation is Apple itself.

Final days

John Gruber recalled the last time he saw Steve Jobs at Apple’s WorldWide Developer Conference. Jobs looked, ancient, Gruber remarked. Gruber noted that Jobs had grass-stained shoes, and Jobs who made it a point to be attentive to detail, that was strange.

“Late last night, long hours after the news broke that he was gone, my thoughts returned to those grass stains on his shoes back in June. I realize only now why they caught my eye. Those grass stained sneakers were the product of limited time, well spent. And so the story I’ve told myself is this:

I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate.”

As time was running out, Steve Jobs guarded his time very well, focusing on his family— four kids and his wife, and Apple. Steve worried about those he would leave behind, The New York Times wrote. “His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end,” Jobs’ sister, Molly Simpson recounted. “He felt terrible that he would have to leave us.”

Perhaps the best lesson Steve Jobs left us is the art of letting go, the Washington Post pondered. “Death is very likely the single best invention of life,” Jobs once said. “It is life’s change agent.”

Remembering Steve Jobs

The Daily Show

Steve Jobs’ 30th birthday video

Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates at All ThingsD

Here’s to the Crazy Ones, narrated by Steve Jobs

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Photo credit: Pixar Jobs Tribute via Jim Ayson

Steve Jobs Photo via AppleInsider.
Video by various people

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.