There is a lot of instant reaction to the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. That in itself is a tribute to the man and his work.
Jobs put a portable computer-HD camera-phone in many of our hands. He put graphics and Web publishing on our desktops. He also gave us the iPod, iPad, and Pixar studios. He was much celebrated, but none of us really knew him. That’s the way he wanted it.
On cable television coverage, those who knew Jobs admitted that, despite his brilliance and vision, he didn’t have the best people skills and was always a serious man. In a word, he was human. None of us, even icons such as Jobs, can escape that reality.
Jobs acknowledged as much – and gave a peek into his emotional DNA – during the 2005 Stanford University commencement address. The 15-minute, 4-second YouTube video is worth watching. It shows Jobs understood his inescapable mortality – and acknowledged his rise from humble roots.
The speech was given one year after he was initially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at a time when he was in remission from a disease that would eventually claim his life. In the video, Jobs tells the story of attending Reed College in Portland before dropping out and hanging out on the campus with the freedom to explore a curriculum of his choosing.
It was during this time he found his own inspiration and inner voice before heading off to start a legendary career in Silicon Valley. In the video, he implores the graduates to pursue their dreams, stay on their paths, be true to their visions – Love what you do.
Short of doing all the foregoing, Jobs makes it clear none of us should settle for less. There are many cliche phrases about living every day to the fullest. Jobs, adopted at birth, lived that mantra. It seems like a fair question to ask: Do we live life that way?
Jobs was fired from the company he co-founded after 10 years. He took the time to start two companies before coming back to Apple with a ferocity that propelled its zenith trajectory. Later, diagnosed with cancer, he redoubled his efforts to change the world.
On a personal level, I needed to hear Jobs’ story tonight. I was hungry for encouragement as I battle through some challenging times myself. It now seems so trivial. Jobs inspired me in his passing even more than he did in his wonderful, amazing, extraordinary life.
Thank you hardly seems enough. So, I will renew my quest to make a difference in the world in my own indelible way. I truly believe in my unique gifts and talents. We all have them and we owe it to ourselves – and the world – to make the most of them. Bye, Steve.
– Typed on my Apple MacBook