It took less than an hour before most of the world’s mainstream (and alternative) media posted their canned obituaries. This time it’s for Steve Jobs; his death a long time coming. Feared, loathed, inspiring and adored like few of his contemporaries, he led a life full of contradiction; from his early Buddhist ideas and bohème life, his romanticism and artistic side to product design to his unflinching strategy and vision, his ruthless management style, his arrogance, his passion and obsession with quality and detail, his epic turnaround of a company on the brink of bankruptcy to the most successful company on this planet. In a market of diminishing margins, ever deteriorating quality, commoditisation and the unbearable mediocrity of the PC industry, he dared to think different [sic] and proved that there is a better way.
Steve Jobs was not a saint, a ‘genius’ or a ‘brilliant’ inventor as many like to call him. His policies, his ideas, his ego, his intelligence were not unmatched when considered individually. He was, however, unique in that he combined all those traits that make for legendary leadership, exceptional performance and product creation: an extremely charismatic, visionary man with just the right amount of wit, vision, passion and stubbornness to effect significant change whatever he put his mind to. He had a keen eye and an obsession for quality, lovable and inspiring products and the strength of character to go above and beyond the protocols and limits dictated by the market to create and sell them. He also had an uncanny ability to gather great people around him to execute his strategy and vision; people that are, in the end, those whose work embodies all that is Apple, all that is Pixar. And he delivered as leader of a company more so than almost anyone in the past fifty years. And for that, and the products and services he helped create — the progress he seemingly forced upon the all encompassing, yet pathetic industry that computing has become — he will be sorely missed. For, sooner or later, in a world so dependent on technology, his absence will be felt, well beyond Apple and its community.
Steve Jobs image courtesy of Apple Inc.Some of the content/imagery/multimedia in this article is used in accordance with U.S. fair use doctrine or equivalent in other jurisdictions.