Steve Jobs changed the way we live [The conversation]
I wonder if Steve Jobs is reading all the news about himself right now, and if he's thinking: This is what it must be like to die and still get to watch the reaction. Every corner of the Internet, it seems, is brimming with reaction to Jobs' resignation as Apple chief executive, which was announced late Wednesday.
Of course, Jobs will stay on at Apple as chairman of the board, but that hasn't stopped people from opining on his legacy, saying he was a game-changer, a design perfectionist, a hit-maker and quite the quotable speaker. A few have pointed out his misses too, but the emphasis has been on how Jobs turned Apple into "this era's preeminent technology company."
Beyond his role as an entrepreneur and developer, he changed the way we live -- and interestingly enough, he did so by ignoring consumers and staying true to his vision.
He redefined innovation not by being first but by being best
If all art is theft, Jobs' genius came from being the smartest chisel, not just the first mallet on the block of marble.
He gave us what we didn't know we wanted
Jobs is a great entrepreneur for another reason. Lots of ninnies can give customers products they want. Jobs gave people products they didn't know they wanted, and then made those products indispensable to their lives.
He integrated technology into every aspect of our lifestyle
Look around. Jobs' products have become universal, like the automobile or the telephone. He's the most important innovator of our times, and his resignation is a great loss.
He changed the way we listen to music
We listen to music in the 21st century in a profoundly different way than we did in the 20th century. And, though Apple didn't invent the portable music player, the vision of Steve Jobs (a music geek himself) and his company of designers and engineers changed our listening landscape dramatically in 2001 with iTunes and the iPod. Some of those ways are wonderful: Portability of huge libraries, shuffling, quick access to millions of songs, and custom playlists are a few of the upsides. For some, shuffling may be a bittersweet downside, like compressed sound files or isolated listening, but I think the good far outweighs the bad.
He created a model for entrepreneurial leadership
Jobs' departure from the top job at Apple is a loss for Silicon Valley. But it's also a loss for the nation, which is in desperate need of entrepreneurial leadership to get us out of this economic slump.
He proved that life is what you make of it
There's a lot of sadness in the technology world today, but just the act of recapitulating Steve Jobs' rise and fall and rise again has me feeling inspired, and grateful. Thanks Steve, not for the Apple or the Macintosh or the iPod or the iPhone or the iPad. Thanks for setting a great example. The world is what you make it.
Photo: Apple's then-CEO and current chairman, Steve Jobs, holds the iPhone 4 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference last year in San Francisco. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press