I finished watching Modern Family and switched the channel to CNBC to catch a special on China when I saw the news that Steve Jobs had passed away at the young age of 56 after a long battle with cancer. We all knew that Steve was very sick and his recent passing of the torch to Tim Cook only emphasized that point. But this was so final. I sat there stunned. I never met Steve and even if I played the six degrees game it would be many steps before I would get to Steve. Even so, his life had a big impact on my life – he inspired me.
I remember when my family purchased our first Apple product – an Apple II computer. To me it was the coolest thing in the world even though it couldn’t do very much compared to today’s devices. I remember the release of the Macintosh computer and the iconic Super Bowl ad in January of 1984 and seeing the computer for the first time at the local computer store and desperately wanting one. I remember buying my first Macintosh, opening up the box and being amazed. This was different. This was cool. I was hooked.
I closely followed Steve’s career – leaving Apple, starting NeXT, buying Pixar, and rejoining Apple. Along this insanely great trajectory he changed the computer business, he changed the music business, he changed the animated movie business, he changed the mobile device business, he changed the retail business. He changed business. He inspired entreprenuers around the world. He made design not just cool but core. He put a dent in the universe. He inspired me.
For those of you who have not seen Steve’s 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, watch it. This is Steve at his best and he makes three important points as only Steve can. He talks about connecting the dots with our experiences in life. He talks about love and loss and the only way you can do great work is to love what you do. He talks about death as life’s change agent and urges us not to waste time doing things we don’t love. He closes and tells us “to follow our hearts and intuition, to stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Thank you for inspiring me Steve and rest in peace.