Remembering a Visionary: Steve Jobs
October 6, 2011 — As a child or even young adult, it’s hard to imagine life without computers, iPods, iTunes, iPhones and iPads. For many of us, they’re now just part of daily life.
Steve Jobs, the man who invented and developed these products and the convenience and lifestyle surrounding their use, died yesterday. He was 56 years old. He changed the way we used computers (especially on-the-go), the way we listen to music, and the way we interact with our world through technology. He is credited with changing the world and many of our lives. Mr. Jobs had famously said he wanted to “make a ding in the Universe.”
Many people including President Obama have sent their condolences. Time magazine, a prominent national weekly news magazine, stopped its presses to reprint the magazine to feature Mr. Jobs on its cover. Many of us found out about Mr. Jobs’ passing on one of his devices.
Mr. Jobs’ success early on wasn’t a given. He wasn’t particularly trained in computers and was a college drop-out. But he did grow up in California, as the adopted son of Paul and Clara Jobs, at the time and place computer technology was emerging in the 1960s and 1970s. And his parents encouraged his early love of electronics. Though computers at the time were mainly used for business and research, were large and clunky, and usually required some expertise to use, Mr. Jobs’ dreamed about making computers accessible to everyone.
He set up his first computer making business in his garage in high school with his friend, Steve Wozniak, and made their first Apple computers. Mr. Wozniak was more on the computer side of things, and Mr. Jobs was very much the visionary who saw how computers could change people’s lives. While their first attempt at personal computers wasn’t as successful as they hoped, they were well on their way with their second try, the Apple II. It was incredibly successful and their company a few years later was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Later, Apple would become the world’s most valuable company. Mr. Jobs’ financial worth was an estimated $8.3 billion.
As his company grew, he hired John Sculley, to run Apple. Mr. Jobs famously hired him away from Pepsi by saying, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want a chance to change the world?” Mr. Sculley came to Apple but sadly for Mr. Jobs they disagreed on the direction to take the company and Mr. Jobs left the company he created.
In the meantime, Mr. Jobs purchased a struggling computer animation company named Pixar, whose first release was Toy Story! Pixar has since changed the way enjoy animated movies and has won numerous Academy Awards.
Over a decade after leaving Apple, Mr. Jobs came back to save his company introducing iTunes in conjunction with the iPod, then in 2007 the iPhone. And a few years later, the iPad. While others had also been working on similar competing technologies, many would argue that Mr. Jobs and Apple somehow did it better. He introduced the touch screens, the appealing designs, and their simple use. Mr. Jobs said Apple lived “at the intersection of technology and … art.”
But during this incredible time in his career, Mr. Jobs’ health was suffering. He was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, though reportedly curable, complications from it ultimately claimed his life. During his treatment, Mr. Jobs required a liver transplant and received one from a young person in their mid-20’s who had died in a car accident. Though Mr. Jobs was a very private man, he spoke publicly spoke of his gratitude for that person’s generosity, without whom some of Mr. Jobs’ most recent contributions might not have been possible.
His advice to us: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
This is possibly the most famous Apple advertisement and embodies Mr. Jobs’ own spirit to “Think Different.” It is narrated by him, though aired with a different famous actor’s voice at the time. You may want to ask a parent or trusted adult who some of the famous people in it are.