Throughout Apple’s meteoric rise – it briefly surpassed Exxon Mobile this summer to become the most valuable company in the world – Mr. Jobs remained its public face and central driving force. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the legacy he leaves behind is how every successful decision he made seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market, but quickly dominated the product category. The consumer smart phone market didn’t exist before the iPhone, and yet the company created it, and convinced countless business users to ditch their BlackBerrys in the process. The entire technology industry had given up on tablets more than a decade before Mr. Jobs greenlighted the iPad. Today, seven out of every 10 tablets sold are iPads, and the rest of the industry is struggling to catch up.
Steve Jobs died today aged only 56. It’s been hard watching his slow decline – the weight loss, the frailty, the private struggle with surgeries and chemo and radiation captured in the video and photos from his public appearances.
He’s a remarkable man, responsible for the invention of the first personal computer, and then for a suite of products that catapulted us into the cell-phone using, mp3 downloading, portable computing future.
And an inspiring man.
“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,” he said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005.
“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.”