“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” –
We knew. We may not have wished to know, and perhaps it was easier to push away that sense of impending sadness, the awareness that time was short, but we knew what was coming. After August, after the resignation, we knew. And yet, it’s still shocking. It still hurts.
Steve Jobs was a father and a husband, and the loss for his family — having suffered with him through the acute, chronic and finally terminal phases of his illness — is simply unfathomable. For those of use who have seen a family member or loved one taken away decades too soon by this loathsome disease, who know intimately the costs of cancer and its consequences, this is far too familiar. We feel the bereft emptiness they feel now as an echo of our own pain, a sharp pull on the cord of sorrow that connects us to our own absences of the heart.
As for the rest of us: perhaps we had briefly encountered Steve at Macworld in years past, or been privileged to see him deliver one of his legendary keynote addresses in person. Perhaps we got a terse reply to an email about a problem, or heard from an Apple support team member that Steve had personally escalated an issue on our behalf. Perhaps the connection was entirely one-way, and our perception of Steve was delivered at a distance. It does not matter. For all of us who were touched by his life’s work, we feel an emptiness that is surprising in its intensity.
Part of that feeling is anger. Fifty-six. Fifty-six years young and you imagine, you try and simply fail to imagine what could have emerged from a full lifespan, from that kind of creative force. The world is poorer for the lack of another twenty years of Steve Jobs’s brain, his energy, his judgement, his almost uncanny power to force reality to conform to his expectations rather than the other way around. Selfishly and callously we are angry, for what was taken from us, but that is part of grief too; part of knowing that you had something wonderful that you never properly appreciated until, suddenly, it was gone. Imagine how difficult it was for Tim Cook to introduce the iPhone 4S on Tuesday when he almost certainly knew that his own iPhone would be ringing soon with such horrible news. We are glad Tim is there, but we are still very, very angry Steve is gone.
Another part is awe. How many second acts in business lead to the kind of success that Apple has found over the past decade? One, really; what Steve did in returning to Apple is unique. After wandering in the wilderness, fired from the company he created with Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak in that legendary garage, Steve did astonishing things again and again.
Pixar, created from the unsuccessful Lucasfilm computer animation group, set free the astonishing creativity of John Lasseter and his band of perfectionist maniacs as they became the heir to Walt Disney’s legacy — and eventually, the artistic core of Disney’s animation division, in the process making Jobs the entertainment megacorp’s largest individual shareholder.
NeXT, built around the idea of a desktop computing experience without compromises in performance or ease of use, may not have taken over the world with hardware sales: the machines themselves were perhaps too good for the market, too expensive for business or home users while gaining popularity in academic and scientific settings like CERN (where a NeXT workstation responded to the first http:// prompt) and Wolfram Research (where the flagship product, Mathematica, named by Steve himself, was bundled with the NeXT computer). The NeXTStep OS, however, built atop Avie Tevanian’s Mach microkernel and with a GUI powered by Adobe’s Display PostScript, begat the modern Mac OS X and the now-ubiquitous iOS. Lots of ‘failed technology companies’ would be thrilled with that kind of legacy.
Finally, there is appreciation, there is gratitude. For all his notable faults, his temper, his intolerance for half-baked efforts, for all the people who both loved and hated working with and for Steve, we still cannot cherish and thank him enough. How many of us owe our livelihoods to the ecosystems and industries he helped create? How many of us spend our days intimately connected with the products he envisioned and shepherded to the market? Today you can walk into hundreds of Apple stores and thousands of other outlets around the world and walk out with a chunk of the future that fits in your pocket. The teams that build the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad are legion, their numbers in the tens of thousands. If not for the vision of one man — one man who simply refused to accept that good enough was good enough, and who made whole industries over to be right by his exacting standards — where would we be now?
It is perhaps not all that remarkable that America’s president delivered a statement on the passing of Steve Jobs, as the former CEO of the country’s (and the world’s) most valuable business. It is remarkable, however, to note that the emotional impact of Jobs’s death is the same for Barack Obama as it is for all of us. The two men shared eerily parallel origins; both children of foreign fathers and young American mothers, both raised outside their birth families (Obama by his grandparents, Jobs by his adoptive family), both somehow marked by heritage and circumstance to be destined for the history books and to do things that had never been done before. Now one of them is gone, but just as the world cannot be the same after the election of America’s first biracial president, the world cannot be the same as it was before Steve Jobs.
Namaste, Steve. We remember you with fondness and delight. We wish for your colleagues and for Tim Cook the wisdom and energy to lead Apple the way Steve would have continued to lead it for many years, if not for the harsh unfairness of cancer and the inevitable tick of life’s clock. And we hope and pray that your wife and children may find a tiny seed of solace in the knowledge that their beloved was our beloved too.
Steve Jobs quotes: the man in his own words
Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, has died. Here are his thoughts on everything from design to the internet and death itself
“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.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on something, but working on Macintosh was the neatest experience of my life. Almost everyone who worked on it will say that. None of us wanted to release it at the end. It was as though we knew that once it was out of our hands, it wouldn’t be ours any more.
“When we finally presented it at the shareholders’ meeting, everyone in the auditorium stood up and gave it a 5-minute ovation. What was incredible to me was that I could see the Mac team in the first few rows. It was as though none of us could believe that we’d actually finished it. Everyone started crying.”
– Playboy magazine 1985
“There’s nothing that makes my day more than getting an e-mail from some random person in the universe who just bought an iPad over in the UK and tells me the story about how it’s the coolest product they’ve ever brought home in their lives. That’s what keeps me going. It’s what kept me five years ago [when he was diagnosed with cancer], it’s what kept me going 10 years ago when the doors were almost closed. And it’s what will keep me going five years from now whatever happens.”
- AllThingsD Conference, 2010
“We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
– Playboy magazine 1985
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
– Business Week 1998
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”
– Wall Street Journal 1993
On internet start-ups
“The problem with the internet start-up craze isn’t that too many people are starting companies; it’s that too many people aren’t sticking with it. That’s somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That’s when you find out who you are and what your values are.
“So when these people sell out, even though they get fabulously rich, they’re gypping themselves out of one of the potentially most rewarding experiences of their unfolding lives. Without it, they may never know their values or how to keep their newfound wealth in perspective.”
– Fortune magazine 2000
On design (1)
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.”
- Wired magazine, 1994
On design (2)
“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
– Fortune magazine 2000
“My position coming back to Apple was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the 70s, when American cars were boats on wheels.”
– Fortune magazine 2000
“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10.30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
“And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”
– Business Week 2004
On home computing
“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people – as remarkable as the telephone.”
– Playboy 1985
On desktop computers
“The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.
“It’s like when IBM drove a lot of innovation out of the computer industry before the microprocessor came along. Eventually, Microsoft will crumble because of complacency, and maybe some new things will grow. But until that happens, until there’s some fundamental technology shift, it’s just over.”
– Wired magazine 1996
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005
Wise words: Steve Jobs in quotes
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, commencement speech at Stanford University, 2005
There’s nothing that makes my day more than getting an e-mail from some random person in the universe who just bought an iPad over in the UK and tells me the story about how it’s the coolest product they’ve ever brought home in their lives. That’s what keeps me going.
It’s what kept me [going] five years ago, it’s what kept me going 10 years ago when the doors were almost closed. And it’s what will keep me going five years from now whatever happens.Steve Jobs, AllThingsD Conference, 2010
I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on something, but working on Macintosh was the neatest experience of my life. Almost everyone who worked on it will say that. None of us wanted to release it at the end. It was as though we knew that once it was out of our hands, it wouldn’t be ours anymore.
When we finally presented it at the shareholders’ meeting, everyone in the auditorium stood up and gave it a five-minute ovation. What was incredible to me was that I could see the Mac team in the first few rows. It was as though none of us could believe that we’d actually finished it. Everyone started crying.Steve Jobs, interview with Playboy Magazine, 1985
Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.Steve Jobs, interview with Business Week, 2004
In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.
My position coming back to Apple was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the ’70s, when American cars were boats on wheels.Steve Jobs, interview with Fortune Magazine, 2000
These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs.
These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that. But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light – that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.Steve Jobs, interview with Wired, 1996
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role. I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.Steve Jobs, stepping down as CEO of Apple, 2011
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.Steve Jobs, commencement speech at Stanford University, 2005
Apple rivals, partners & press pay tribute to Steve Jobs
For the first time in at least 30 years, Time magazine stopped its presses when news of Steve Jobs’s death broke. The publication’s latest issue with Jobs on the cover will hit newsstands Friday, and will join numerous other tributes to the late Apple co-founder.
This week’s Time cover features a portrait of Jobs, taken by Norman Seeff, in which he is holding the original Macintosh. It originally ran in a story in Rolling Stone in 1984.
The magazine’s managing editor, Richard Stengle, made the decision to stop the presses just after his staff had finished work on the issue. An emergency editorial meeting was then held, and a new issue was created in just over three hours, an unprecedented turn of events for the nearly 90-year-old publication.
The magazine noted that in the process of redoing its entire issue, many of the employees worked on the very Apple devices that Jobs helped to invent. It will be the eighth time Jobs graces the cover of Time, the last coinciding with the launch of the iPad in 2010.
Bloomberg Businessweek also announced that it will have a special issue of its magazine devoted to Jobs on newsstands Friday. The 64-page, ad-free tribute issue will also be available digitally on Apple’s iPad.
It will feature pieces by Steve Jurvetson, John Sculley, Sean Wisely and William Gibson. The cover of the magazine features Apple-like simplicity, with a black-and-white, up close photo of Jobs and his years of birth and death.
Both magazines will join many other tributes that have begun to take shape since Jobs passed away on Wednesday. Some of Apple’s partners, and even some of the company’s fiercest rivals, have showed their appreciation for the contributions Jobs made to the technology industry and the world.
The homepages of both Google and Amazon featured tributes to Jobs with links to Apple’s website. Even Adobe, a company with which Jobs had very publicized differences, paid respects to Jobs on its website, displaying a photo of him with Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock on its front page.
The news of Jobs’ death dominated headlines across the Web and in newspapers on Wednesday and Thursday. It was such a major mainstream story that even the homepage of sports network ESPN featured two headlines to inform readers of Jobs’s passing.
Below is a collection of Web tributes and other acknowledgements of Jobs in the wake of his death. The memorials are joined by numerous comments shared by contemporaries like Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and Michael Dell, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama.