Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011

The news is everywhere already. Apple CEO and pioneer of the digital age, Steve Jobs, has died. This man truly changed the world with his ideas and innovations and should ever stand as a role model to creators of any industry who wish to carve their own path. His passion for his work gave us devices that made our lives fun, easier and more enjoyable. He made our work simple, and in some cases, even possible because he chose to think different. In a statement from the Apple board of directors, the write, "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."

As an innovator, Steve Jobs has been compared to likes of Edison, in as much as he has truly transformed our world. A great example would be when his foresight allowed Apple to release the iPod in combination with the iTunes music store when the record industry slowly dying because of file sharing. The iPhone was a similar breakthrough. One only needs to look at how nearly every major handset manufacturer has copied it to understand the power of this idea. The great change to the world, though, might be found in his first product, the Apple II, which some consider to be the world's first personal computer.

Imagine for a moment that before this system, computers were something that existed in laboratories and universities. They were huge machines dedicated to work and there was nothing personal about them. The idea of a single person having one on their desk would likely have been seen as absurd. Contrast this with today, when nearly everyone has a PC on their desktop or in their office. If there is another revolution on this scale coming, Jobs will be behind this too, as it may be the iPad and iPhone, or smart phones in general of course, replacing the PC forever. That will be my next article, though.

Back in August, I wrote an article called, "A World Without Jobs" which touched on his resignation from Apple. In that article, I told my Apple story, of how I came to use and enjoy their products, as I still do today, and I also touched on the issue of work and health. I wrote, "I have been working hard for many years to build a dream. Right now, it seems like I am working 16 or more hours every day. I am lucky to get 6 hours of sleep, and, in fact, rarely do. I have been told I am destroying my health and making myself old too fast. So how does one find the balance?" Steve Jobs has written before how much he loved his work, and it shows in every product Apple creates. I do have to wonder, however, if that passion drove him to overwork and neglect his health.

The story of his passing is significant to me, not just because I am typing this on a Macbook Pro or dream of getting the next iPhone, but because I also very much love what I do and, perhaps, overwork at the expense of my health. I have a desire to do what Steve Jobs did. I don't design cool devices or create world changing technology, but animation is about ideas too. The impact this man has had extends far beyond his own products. He was something of a mentor to other great creators who have changed the world on some level.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you." We all know that Facebook was a latecomer to the world of social networking, but quickly took over that market. The founder of Yahoo similarly wrote, "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." HIs wisdom, however, wasn't limited to the technology field. There are statements from politicians, entertainers and CEOs of nearly every type of industry claiming great thanks to Steve Jobs for sage advice that helped them achieve what they did.

I never met Steve Jobs, though I wish I did. His creations, however, have had a tremendous impact on my life, allowing me more creative freedom than I dreamed possible in the old days. More than that, though, his ideas have made me want to be the greatest creator I can possibly be, so that I might also change the world, even if just a little bit.

I think nothing can sum up the loss of this legend better than this quote from President Obama, "The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented."

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