* You are viewing the archive for October, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Image by Jonathan Mak Long

Thank you, Steve.

You and Woz changed the way we use computers. You brought publishing to the desktop instead of the print shop. You changed animated motion pictures. You changed the music industry, and the way we buy, listen to and carry around our music. You changed our concept of how we use mobile telephones, and now have a slice of our computers in our pocket. You truly changed the world with your vision, leadership and the amazing, talented Apple, NeXT and Pixar teams you put together.

The things you and the Apple team have given us truly boggles my mind when I stop to think about it instead of taking it for granted. There’s the fact that I can carry three solid months of 24-hour days of music listening in my pocket, for starters. If I were to go back in time and show the iPhone 4 (and especially the iPhone 4S I’m gonna get soon) to my 16-year-old self, he’d say, “… This is way, way cooler than a ‘Star Trek’ communicator.” It’s also strangely appropriate that I learned of your passing when my iPhone emitted a distinctive chime indicating a breaking news report from the Associated Press; it popped up the familiar blue notification box on my home screen that said, simply, “Apple says Steve Jobs has died.”

Your influence has changed lives in other ways too. Wesly said tonight that his choice of career was due in large part to the Apple ][ computers in the lab at his high school. Many of my friends are saying similar things.

Although I got my start on the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga, it was an easy step over to the Mac. (Ah, System 7.) This website was primarily built on a Mac, and this weblog has been since the beginning.

It’s terribly sad to think that your vision and genius aren’t with us anymore. I’ll just bet, though, that for as long as you could continue working you most likely put your head together with Tim, Phil, Jony and the rest of the senior Apple team and probably sketched out the next five years’ worth of Apple products, services and innovations.

As for the rest of us, we can continue to “Think Different,” and we could do a lot worse than to take the advice you offered to Stanford graduates in 2005:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

(Fifty-six years old. Too goddamn soon. With every passing day I am more and more fucking sick of cancer. Can you imagine what else he’d have come up with if he’d had 20 or even 10 more years? On a further and more enraging note, Peter Daou pointed out today that it’s worth noting that for less than the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, we could have likely cured cancer. Don’t get me started, though.)

Here’s to the crazy ones.
        The misfits.
                The rebels.
                        The troublemakers.
                                The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.
        And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
        disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
        They invent. They imagine. They heal.
        They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
        Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

And it’s the people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world who actually do.