Just Tuesday the news was all about the lackluster Apple summit new CEO Tim Cook hosted, and the new iPhone 4S, which is receiving underwhelming press. The commentary constantly remarked this was the first launch without the company’s figurehead Steve Jobs, and that something felt….off. Without Jobs around, is this a turning point for Apple? Are its glory days over? And now, with the untimely death of Jobs Wednesday afternoon, all of that is trivial.
To deny the radical influence Steve Jobs had on the world, and the profound sadness of his death, is simply foolish. I grow tired of seeing #iDead hashtags, Mac haters naysaying, or people who ridicule others for acknowledging the man’s productive life because they “didn’t know him.” Unsurprisingly, the ignorant Internet misses the point. Jobs’ work impacted everyone you know in some form. If you’ve played with an iPod, owned a modern smartphone, messed around with a computer, or watched a computer-animated film, you’ve experienced the inspiration of this man. It could be argued he helped saved the music industry from sheer collapse with the iTunes model. There’s a reason why his death is front-page news, why it’s a trending topic, why public figures are comparing him to Thomas Edison, why the President found it prudent to release a statement honoring him.
There’s no doubt Jobs lived a full life; he created and innovated technologies which are now second-nature household items, and his left-field thinking is still present in Apple’s mindset. And yet, we can sense that he was just getting started. That he still had a lot to show us. Very rarely does a visionary come around as forward thinking and as revolutionary, and Jobs certainly filled a void and created a vision that will resonate for years to come. The scope of that vision should be honored, and the loss of that vision should be mourned.
And so, I invite you to spend what will undoubtedly be the fifteen most inspirational minutes of your day and watch a speech Jobs gave in 2005 to a group of Stanford graduates. He tells three stories about connecting the dots, love and loss, and death. Each are fitting for a commencement speech (ironically, Jobs never graduated college), but they also apply to life in general. And if you’re looking for motivation for a full life, look no further than Steve Jobs.