Most of the headlines I’ve read about Steve Jobs’ death — October 5, 2011 — shout the obvious factoid: Apple’s Steve Jobs DIES or Steve Jobs is DEAD. Why not something more honorary like: Steve Jobs Dead Today: The World Has Lost a Technology & Design Visionary, or at least something a little more dignified? They also say that Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being, however I’d extend the former to the world, not just Apple.
You see, Steve Jobs has the kind of effect that Princess Di had on the world. Yes, really. He “touched” people. He “inspired” people. He moved people to stretch beyond their own limits and beliefs and build something more. Be something more. Care about design in their own creations in a way that would transform people. Care about what they shipped and why. Understand that they had to ship and that delivering what customers want and count on you for, matter more than your ego.
Technology for technology’s sake is merely an enabler alone. Useful, sure, but Steve created technology that has been a life changing experience for all of us. Apple’s technology is transparent, the way it should be and we are transformed when we use it…the way it should be.
Crikey, I’m not even a Mac user. I was, once, a long time ago. Early on in my career in the early nineties, my marketing agency was on Macs and it’s the only world I ever knew following my early but limited word processing experience at university in London. (the days of Wordstar, Multimate and WordPerfect).
I moved to the PC world when I started representing enterprise technology clients and thereafter start-ups that had limited budgets so didn’t all support Macs out-of-the-gate. My mainstay is a Thinkpad but I do own an iPhone, an iPad and 5 iPods, and am a heavy user of Adobe products, all of which would work more seamlessly on a Mac. The iPod changed all of the lives of those who use one and how we listen to music. The iPad changed the way I do presentations and travel. The iPhone has changed the way we build and view apps on a phone. AND, how we use a phone. (to the right, Steve in 1977)
I’m a woman who loves design and fashion, a rarity in Silicon Valley and in the technology industry, a world who lives in logoed t-shirts, jeans and sneakers and not even hip ones. Living in Europe gave me an appreciation for great design and once you have it, there’s no turning back. Even the way the French package up one individual chocolate is decadent enough to give you an orgasm. Yes, really. Great design and beauty, particularly in technology products, isn’t something we cherish in the states, and yet Steve Jobs says, we MUST. And, he did. Again and again, he did.
I bow down to Steve Jobs for his brilliance, his creativity, his genius and his commitment to making technology “beautiful.”
From the Time Magazine article in their tribute: “Jobs’ confidence in the wisdom of his own instincts came to be immense, as did the hype he created at Apple product launches. That might have been unbearable if it weren’t for the fact that his intuition was nearly flawless and the products often lived up to his lofty claims.” Hear hear. Who can’t acknowledge that consistency of design genius even if you didn’t like the guy or believe in the Apple way of life?
Picasso wasn’t liked by everyone and frankly if he were alive and I had coffee with him or something more at the time of his most creative days, its likely from what I’ve read I wouldn’t have liked the man (as a woman), and yet….he’s one of my favorite artists of all time. I look at his work and can be brought to tears from his genius. Steve has that gift and he has always delivered. If you’re wondering whether I’m equating Picasso’s artistic genius to Steve’s creative & innovative technology genius, I most definitely am. He deserves this honor.
There are few who would deny it. And frankly, genius comes with a little baggage. The baggage is there with all its bells and whistles with some of the greats I’ve had the pleasure to work with and for a lot of visionaries the world has ever seen — authors, scientists, actors, creators, inventors. The list goes on. As my grandfather who also wasn’t an easy man to work for, used to say in so many words, “as long as you’re “real” and honorable along the way and don’t drag people down or run people over on the way, nearly everything is game. Go get it kid. This is America.”
The world has lost a creative genius who inspired people who create for creation’s sake, dream about things bigger than themselves, think about making the world a better place and don’t, think about making the world a better place and do, and simply love and use Apple products.
My teary-eyed emotion tonight as I write this is centered around this: the man lived his dream every day until the day he died and he lived with conviction. (remember he only stepped down from Apple a couple of months before his death and rest assured they knew the end was near long before August). Since I coach companies on their marketing and social media strategies, things often come across my desk I know won’t fly short or long term. They don’t have “legs.”
When I look at opportunities that come my way, I don’t just look at the products, I look at team and most importantly, I look at the man or woman at the helm. I ask myself: is he/she aligned with their vision? Most aren’t. Steve is and has always been my one pure example of a man who (like him or not) is aligned with his vision. Great products aside, his alignment has been an instrumental part of Apple’s success.
Alignment and kick-ass products aside, the world felt and believed that Steve loved Apple. I do too. He loved what he created and wanted people’s experience with technology to be transformed in ways no one else has touched.
He was a visionary but only because he transformed experiences for people across three different industries: computers, film and music. If entrepreneurs could understand the concept behind genius + passion + simplicity = transformation and nothing else, they might build products differently, investors might spend money differently and other products that we struggle with today might be transforming our lives the way Apple products do.
Two personal shares: I first met Steve when I was communications head at Dragon Systems, which was later acquired by Lernout & Hauspie and thereafter Nuance. Think speech recognition for those who don’t know their history or their story. I was backstage with my CEO Janet Baker at an Apple Developer’s Conference somewhere on this fine pacific coast, Steve and his “corp comm handler” at the time, whose name I still don’t remember.
Why? I was mesmerized by Steve’s presence, his energy, his electricity and how focused he was about what he was planning to achieve on stage a half an hour later. We were a partner of some sort as much as you could be and stand alongside Steve on stage in front of Apple worshippers and believers.
Janet was in a flowing skirt as I remember it and Steve in jeans and a black crew neck and from a branding perspective, I was thinking 4 things simultaneously: how are we going to look and be perceived next to Jobs and Apple energy knowing there’s ten rows of media in the front of the stage? how’s my female CEO going to be perceived next to Jobs and Apple energy knowing there’s ten rows of media in the front of the stage? what will being here mean for us as a player in the industry if we pull this off well with Steve’s support and kudos on stage? AND fourth, He’s Kinda Hot. Yes, really. If I don’t admit it now, then when? Janet noticed and we joked about it later.
Memory number two was meeting him at a D Conference. Not that long in existence, Walt and Kara managed to get both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to participate in a fireside-like chat on more than one occasion and it was a special unique moment in our (the technology) industry to have them together, on stage, in an interactive dialogue under one roof.
I met him randomly in “group moments” between the late nineties and 2010, but they weren’t solo moments like the previous two. (btw, speaking of D memories, they have honored his memory by making all videos of his interviews live here in their entirety).
Thereafter, I shot Steve. Yes photography for those who don’t know it’s a major passion of mine. One of the things I’ve learned as a photographer, whether you’re shooting one-on-one in a studio, with nature as a backdrop, or in some obscure creative setting, it’s an intimate moment and you see things AND learn things about your subject through new eyes.
Steve is fun to shoot and the memories still linger. I can only imagine what long-time AP photographer Paul Sakuma must be feeling right now given how many times he has followed him from behind his lens for over a decade.
Below is one of my favorite shots I took of him: (and below “it” is a visual look at his life from the 1970s to the 1990s, links to other news and feature sources, links to obituaries, links to videos, actual videos and a long list of tweets from the first few hours of his death).
Below, very early days:
Very early days: Sal Veder (1984) with Steve Wozniak and John Sculley.
Taken by Diane Walker, Time eLife Pictures/Getty
Eric Risberg/AP: Jobs shows off his company’s new NeXTstation in San Francisco. (1990)
Taken by Richard Drew/AP: 1998
Below Ted Thai’s shot for Time Life
Two images below, both Louie Psihoyos – Corbis:
Brand Ward – San Francisco Chronicle – Corbis
Taken by Douglas Kirkland
Taken by Lou Dematteis/Reuters – 2003
Taken in 2003 by Susan Ragan
Taken by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP – 2004
Below two shots also taken in 2004
Paul Sakuma – AP – 2005
LA Times: 2006
Paul Sakuma – AP – 2007
Taken by Tony Avelar
Paul Sakuma – AP – 2008
Taken by Eric Risberg in 2008
Taken by Kim White
Below two taken by Paul Sakuma in 2010
Taken by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Taken in 2011…(Monica Davey)
Below are shots taken with Steve’s wife at the Worldwide Apple Developer’s Conference on June 6, 2011 by SF Chronicle’s Lea Suzuki:
Below also taken at the Developer’s Conference at Moscone West in San Francisco.
I love this shot, also by Lea Suzuki.
I’ll end my personal tribute and comments with a boat-load of comments and shares from editorial sources I respect. Below these summaries include additional photos, videos of his life, special Apple moments and a Twitter thread of tributes to Steve from many contacts in my own tweetosphere (inc my own), most of which flew out of people’s PCs and phones within a few hours of news of his death.
Reactions, Responses and Insights…(photo from Gizmodo)
Says Time Magazine: With astonishing regularity, Jobs did something that few people accomplish even once: he reinvented entire industries. He did it with ones that were new, like PCs, and he did it with ones that were old, such as music. He was the most celebrated, successful business executive of his generation, yet he flouted many basic tenets of business wisdom. See the rest of the article on tribute to his death here. See Time’s Top Apple Moments.
Says VentureBeat’s Dylan Tweney: “He was often quoted as saying “we’re here to put a dent in the universe.” He did exactly that. From his earliest computers, co-developed with Steve Wozniak, to the smartphones and tablets that his company developed, Jobs showed a singleminded dedication to building products that were easier to use, better-looking and more intuitively useful than what had gone before. He liked to say that Apple’s products were “magical,” and if that’s the case, he was the marketing and technology magician behind the curtain. And if they weren’t exactly magic, Apple’s products were certainly a sufficiently advanced technology.”
Huffington Post aggregated comments in a working story, Marketwatch merely reposted Apple’s official statement which is below and Mashable more or less did the same. BoingBoing’s tribute can be found here. And John Markoff from the New York Times article can be found here. Markoff quotes a Twitter user named Matt Galligan who wrote: “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.” Hear hear.
ZDNET’s take: Steve Job’s Big Lesson – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. From ZDNET writer Larry Dignan: “Innovative. Quirky. Stubborn as hell. Controlling. Great leader. An artist eye for design with an engineer’s brain. Amazing legacy. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” I’d argue that Jobs is my generation’s Walt Disney. He entertained. He delighted. And he built something enduring. Jobs was a disruptive force. Given the Disney comparison, it’s a bit ironic that Jobs wound up being Disney’s largest shareholder via the Pixar acquisition. More importantly, Jobs loved what he did. And pursued that love with a passion.”
The Atlantic Wire, Fast Company’s tribute, the New Yorker from August 24, 2011, and Salon’s article on The Insanely Great Comeback Kid where Andrew Leonard writes about Steve Jobs’s resilience, “His comeback saga is a story of redemption, a fantasy epic in which a great king is toppled, but through force of will and grit and brilliance fights his way all the way back to the throne, and inaugurates an even greater empire.”
Below, Steve gives the keynote address to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 6, 2011. (photo credit: Paul Sakuma)
The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline has to do with losing cancer fight. The Washington Post’s write-up is here. They say: “Jobs was the first crossover technology star, turning Silicon Valley renown into Main Street recognition and paving the way for the rise of the nerds, such as Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergay Brin. And by changing the way people interacted with technology, Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates transformed their era in much the same way Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller revolutionized theirs with the mass-produced automobile and the creation of Standard Oil.”
Gizmodo aggregates “shares” of others. The Wall Street Journal had a very “newsy” headline that didn’t capture anything about what we (a grand big we) feel about his loss. (it is the WSJ with an audience who doesn’t sign up for emotion and so I get that – thank god for individual voices at times like this however. While the traditional news sources did a great job at capturing his “kudos”, they were very factual accounts of his life and while comprehensive, I was longing for some texture and color.
Walt Mossberg did a great job at both. From All Things D’s Wall Mossberg: The Steve Jobs I Knew, Walt is the only one who captured “human moments” about Steve from a major news source – thank YOU Walt for stepping up and capturing emotion in a tribute to a man who lived and breathed emotion. In Walt’s words: “That Steve Jobs was a genius, a giant influence on multiple industries and billions of lives, has been written many times since he retired as Apple’s CEO in August. He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in many other industries.” He then goes on to write about a walk he took with him while Steve was in ill health.
“He explained that he walked each day, and that each day he set a farther goal for himself, and that, today, the neighborhood park was his goal. As we were walking and talking, he suddenly stopped, not looking well. I begged him to return to the house, noting that I didn’t know CPR and could visualize the headline: ‘Helpless reporter Lets Steve Jobs Die on the Sidewalk.’ But he laughed, and refused, and, after a pause, kept heading for the park. We sat on a bench there, talking about life, our families, and our respective illnesses (I had had a heart attack some years earlier.) He lectured me about staying healthy. And then we walked back. Steve Jobs didn’t die that day, to my everlasting relief. But now he really is gone, much too young, and it is the world’s loss.”
ABC News says, “Industry watchers called him a master innovator — perhaps on a par with Thomas Edison — changing the worlds of computing, recorded music and communications.
The Wire Cutter has a personal take on Steve Jobs.
From Google’s Sergey Brin: “From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met. On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.”
From Sir James Dyson: “He was dubbed a megalomaniac, but Steve Jobs often gambled on young, largely inexperienced talent to take Apple forward; Jony Ive and his team prove that such faith was spot on.”
From CEO of Apple Tim Cook: “No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”
Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg: “Tonight our City — a city that has always had such respect and admiration for creative genius — joins with people around the planet in remembering a great man and keeping Laurene and the rest of the Jobs family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Meg Whitman, President & CEO of HP: “Steve Jobs was an iconic entrepreneur and businessman whose impact on technology was felt beyond Silicon Valley. He will be remembered for the innovation he brought to market and the inspiration he brought to the world.”
Bob Eger, CEO of Disney: “Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.”
Jerry Yang: “Steve was my hero growing up. He not only gave me a lot of personal advice and encouragement, he showed all of us how innovation can change lives.I will miss him dearly, as will the world.”
Mark Zuckerberg: “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”
Steve Ballmer: “I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family.”
Apple’s Website Tribute: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who’ve been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
Apple’s Official Statement yesterday on the day of his death: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
Other Informative Links:
- Apple’s Iconic Products Since the Beginning
- Top Apple Moments
- Apple Media Advisory (note to employees about his death).
- Interesting story on FutureWell entitled Do Celebrities Get the Best Care suggesting Steve’s high-cost aggressive treatment may have sped up the course of the disease – speculative only at this point.
- The Atlantic: This Chart Proves that Steve Jobs is the Best CEO of this Generation.
- LA Times: Steve Jobs dies; Apple’s co-founder transformed computers and culture
- Financial Times: Steve Jobs: 1955-2011
- The Guardian: Entrepreneur, Inventor, Genius
- Wired: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
- Bloomberg: Steve Jobs Dies
- Reuters: Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dead at 56
- Gizmodo’s Recap of shares
- Washington Post Photo Gallery.
- Mashable Great Steve Jobs Quotes.
- SF Chronicle write-up and photos from Worldwide Developer’s Conference on June 6, 2011. (includes two touching shots of Steve and his wife)
- The Good and Bad Guys write-up in the New York Times by Joe Nocera (behind the scenes of great visionaries).
- ReadWriteWeb: What Steve Meant Back Then.
- Cover of the New Yorker.
- Mint Foundry’s Portrait Tribute. (curiosity counts)
- Bloomberg TV interview on Jobs (Narry Singh, Frank Moss and Steven Levy)
- Sydney: http://media.smh.com.au/technology/tech-talk/steve-jobs-a-lasting-impression-2673421.html
- SF Store: Oct 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP0z1HkIwgQ
- Australia – why we love Steve: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/steve-jobs–visionary-to-virtuoso-20111006-1lakp.html
- More Australia: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/steve-jobs-dead-apple-confirms-former-ceo-loses-cancer-fight-20111006-1lag8.html
- Wired: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/10/jobs/all/1
- Steve demos Macintosh – 1984: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0FtgZNOD44&feature=player_embedded
- Guardian Life Career Video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2011/oct/06/steve-jobs-life-career-video
- 2005 Commencement Speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA
Steve Jobs Shows Off Macintosh: 1984:
His commencement speech:
Below is a stream of tweets from my Twitter world worth sharing:
- Photo 1: Apple Website in Tribute on October 5, 2011
- Photo 2: Apple – 1977
- Photo 3: Associated Press: 1984
- Photo 4: Unknown
- Photo 5: Ben Margot, AP – 1991
- Photo 6: NeXT – 1988
- Photo 7: Ben Margot – Associated Press 2003
- Photo 8 – Renee Blodgett, Magic Sauce Photography
- Photo 9: Very early days: Robert Foothorap
- Photo 10: Sal Veder, Associated Press 1984
- Photo 11: Diane Walker, Time eLife Pictures/Getty
- Photo 12: Eric Risberg/AP: 1990
- Photo 13: 1984 Unknown (with Sculley)
- Photo 14: Richard Drew/AP: 1998
- Photo 15: Ted Thai for Time/Time Life Pictures/Getty
- Photo 16: Louie Psihoyos – Corbis
- Photo 17: Louie Psihoyos – Corbis
- Photo 18: Brand Ward – San Francisco Chronicle – Corbis
- Photo 19: Douglas Kirkland – Corbis
- Photo 20: Lou Dematteis/Reuters – 2003
- Photo 21: Susan Ragan – AP – 2003
- Photo 22: Marcio Jose Sanchez – AP – 2004
- Photo 23: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2004
- Photo 24: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2004
- Photo 25: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2005
- Photo 26: LA Times: 2006
- Photo 27: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2007
- Photo 28: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2007
- Photo 29: Tony Avelar – AFR – Getty Images
- Photo 30: Paul Sakuma – AP – 2008
- Photo 31: Eric Risberg in 2008
- Photo 32: Kim White/Corbis
- Photo 33: Paul Sakuma/AP – 2010
- Photo 34: Paul Sakuma/AP – 2010
- Photo 35: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg – Getty Images
- Photo 36: Unknown
- Photo 37: Monica Davey – European Press Photo Agency: 2011
- Photo 38: Renee Blodgett – Magic Sauce Photography (taken at D Conference)
- Photo 39: SF Chronicle’s Lea Suzuki at Apple Developer’s Conference: June 6, 2011
- Photo 40: SF Chronicle’s Lea Suzuki at Apple Developer’s Conference: June 6, 2011
- Photo 41: SF Chronicle’s Lea Suzuki at Apple Developer’s Conference: June 6, 2011
- Photo 42: SF Chronicle’s Lea Suzuki at Apple Developer’s Conference: June 6, 2011
- Photo 43: Gizmodo site (images of people who have shared comments and condolences)
- Photo 44: Paul Sakuma/AP – 2011 (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference)
- Photo 45: Tim Gough Image (to the right)
Lastly from Apple: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.