What Would Steve Jobs Do?

What would Steve Jobs do the day after his iconic role model died?  Probably think about his remaining time on earth and how he could make life better for people and those he loved while he was still here.

I was sitting at Outback Steakhouse last night scrolling through my Twitter feed on my phone, waiting for the server to cash me out, when I saw ABC’s tweet announcing Mr. Jobs’ death.  (56 seconds after they posted it; Twitter and I have this weird connection that way.)  My heart sank.  I immediately tried to remember how long it had been since his resignation.  Came home, jumped on Twitter on my MacBook and watched the outpouring unfold.  (According to this blog post, his death sparked the highest Twitter rate yet:  10K tweets per second. http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/10/07/steve-jobs-death-smashes-twitter-traffic-records/.)  At 11 p.m. I signed off and turned on CNN to watch Anderson Cooper do a really beautiful tribute.

All day today people were posting Steve Jobs quotes, articles and blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, some really amazing memorials.  What could I write that hadn’t already been said?  Then the title to my blog post came to mind.  Afterwards, I saw this tweet:

I favorited it and thought, “Everyone is feeling and thinking the same about Steve Jobs right now.”  So I won’t review his career or the iMac, iPod, MacBook, iPhone, iPad; his creations in round two at Apple.  I was late to the Apple bandwagon, but I was well aware of Apple.  As mentioned in my blog post ‘I’m Every Company?’ Xerox raised me.  Xerox created some totally awesome things at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), but didn’t have the vision or know how to market them.  That’s where Apple and Microsoft stepped in.  In fact, I read somewhere last night that Steve Jobs admits to stealing the mouse from Xerox after visiting PARC.  So that’s what I want to write about:  his inspiring vision.  I heard Steve Wozniak on CNN last night and watched a video of him from the Today show this morning.  Woz clearly states he was the one who actually invented the first Apple computer.  Steve Jobs was the translator to the rest of the world.  He saw its potential and “went and sold it to the world” to quote Woz, “but he knew technology inside and out.”

When you think of inventions that revolutionized the world you think of electricity, light bulbs, phones, cars, planes, computers, microwaves and the Internet.  It was Steve Jobs’ vision, drive and desire for functional beauty that took two of those things to the next level and connected our world in unprecedented ways.  It was his “great isn’t good enough, we need insanely exceptional” mindset that had newspapers around the world announcing his death today.

In a month or so a book about his life will be published; according to CNN Steve had a hand in it before his death.  There will probably be very human flaws in that book; not accepting responsibility for a daughter born out-of-wedlock when he was 23 and other not so flattering details.  What will also be there is an uncanny ability to spot trends, superhuman drive, a relentless desire for perfection and perhaps a mission fueled by the knowledge that his time here would be cut short.  Let’s face it, three of his most beloved products were launched after he was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago:  the MacBook (2006), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010); the three products that you will see the most if you attend any social media or technology conference.

When he resigned August 24th, I knew he was close to death; have seen people waste away from cancer before.  I was shocked to see people tweet after his resignation, “Why are people memorializing Steve Jobs?  He didn’t die!”  I never met the man, but it was the only reason he would resign from Apple at 56; and one look at a recent picture said it all.  He was painfully thin.  I tweeted in response, “I’m glad people are doing this now; he will be able to read how people felt about him and will know before he dies.”

Decided recently I’m buying an iPad for my birthday next month; I’ve seen so many of them at conferences, meetings and my sister recently bought one and loves it.  It’s perfect (imho); not as big or cumbersome as a laptop and yet not as small as a phone.  Kind of like Goldilocks, “just right.”  So maybe that captures the essence of Steve Jobs the best; even after wildly heralded creations like the MacBook and iPhone, he still wasn’t satisfied.  He still wanted to do more, better, faster, stronger; to fill the void before it even existed.

In case you missed them, here are some amazing headlines and quotes:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/steve-jobs-death-newspaper-front-pages_n_997828.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/the-best-steve-jobs-quote_n_997300.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003#s338862

This morning I thought, “What if Steve Jobs’ death sparks a massive wave of creativity and inventiveness throughout the world because people are so inspired by him?”  That’s my hope; wouldn’t it be beautiful?  So when you’re up against it, ask yourself, “What would Steve Jobs do?”  It may be as simple as remembering we’re not here forever.  With love and respect, Peace Out, Steve.

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