[Updated 12:42 a.m. ET on 10/6/11 to add paragraph from NYT article.]
On Wednesday, the world lost one of its great visionaries and corporate leaders when Apple co-founder, chairman and former CEO Steve Jobs passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Since his cancer diagnosis first became public in 2004, I’ve thought about what this day would be like. Obviously, there have been pioneers in certain fields that have passed away since I’ve been alive, but not really anyone with a household name. I mean, someone like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein or Walt Disney.
And it was Disney to whom I often compared Jobs in my head. Both were brilliant and pioneers in technology, entertainment and pop culture…and both were known for famous tempers, micro-management styles and their attention to detail. Strangely, in 2006, when the Walt Disney Company acquired Pixar — which Jobs purchased from Lucasfilm (where it was known as the Graphics Group) in 1986 — Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder.
Jobs may not have invented the PC, laptop, MP3 player, tablet or smartphone. But he was brilliant at simplifying them for the masses to use, and at making Macs, MacBooks, iPods, iPads and iPhones seem like the coolest devices to have on the planet. And while there were music download services before it, Apple’s iTunes Store revolutionized the way we purchase and listen to music — and, later, the way we purchase/rent TV shows and movies.
Whether or not you use or like Apple products, it is still highly likely you were touched by Steve Jobs’ brilliance in some way — even products like Microsoft’s ill-fated Zune media player and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system were developed in reaction to the iPod and iPhone. And then there’s always the likelihood that you watched a Pixar film — another Jobs legacy.
Since originally posting this, I saw the following paragraph in this New York Times article and felt the need to include it here:
Vansi Gadey, 30, a designer who works at a large technology company, was visiting the Apple store near Union Square in San Francisco, to charge his phone. He said: “I’m from India. In my childhood, Gandhi was an inspiration. After that, it’s been Steve Jobs.”
So rest in peace, Steve Jobs. Your genius as an innovator and marketer will be missed.
And one more thing…perhaps, Jobs’ greatest legacy will be the many young minds he helped inspire and influence. Let’s hope future generations continue to think different and strive to change the world.
Below is video from a 1998 presentation in which Jobs announced the first iMac, the all-in-one computer that ushered in Apple’s return to prominence and was the first major product launch in Jobs’ return to the company he co-founded.