(Image borrowed from the Apple site, I’m sure they would be okay with it in this circumstance.)
I was at a work conference all day yesterday (and not particularly well either), but the news did filter through anyway. I’ve been reading up on the various reactions since, and thinking about it all myself as well.
There’s not a lot you can say really. The circumstances of his passing would be tragic for anyone, and no doubt his family (which he seems to have kept very private despite his position) would be feeling this loss more than anyone.
But Steve Jobs did and meant a lot for a lot of people. I had always admired Apple products, but for various reasons I had never personally owned one until last year, when I got an iPad. And it’s become my main computing device now… that’s all you need to say to explain the power of the devices. Web browsing, gaming, reading, music creation, you name it. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPad, just as he didn’t invent the iPhone or the Mac, but it was his vision and drive that guided Apple in everything they did.
Just as it was in his other main venture (and other possibly even more important impact on my life), Pixar. He didn’t make Pixar’s movies, but he enabled John Lasseter and others the position and environment to work their magic.
Steve Jobs was a product visionary and marketing genius, probably the most important person ever in the industry for actually humanising computing… responsible for the creation of computing devices that actually put the human user first, and completely changing the way we use and look at computers. Even the innovations and devices he didn’t help create often were directly or indirectly inspired by his vision.
This feels almost like the last of no doubt millions of tributes to Jobs published online. There’s been an enormous amount of mainstream press, but I think that there’s more to be learned from the very specific tributes of people I admire who are massive Apple fans. This list will be different for everyone, but the biggest users of Apple products were always creative people.
And I think that’s what everyone who wants to pay tribute to Steve Jobs needs to do — go out and create. Be your own person, make your mark on the world, create something new. The fact that you may just be compelled to do that on an Apple computing device is only a coincidence, but one that works right now more than any other time.
Charles Stross (sci fi author and Apple user)
37 Signals (Software developers and big Apple fans)
John Scalzi (Author, blogger and Apple user, talking eloquently about how Macs helped him become a writer)
Jason Kottke (The noted blogger and designer has an excellent round-up of remembrance of Jobs, as well as some of his own thoughts)