It’s hard to put Steve Jobs into words, but I will forever remember him as a leader who didn’t let critics stop him from accomplishing so many things. We as a society tend to complain about Apple products being overhyped and to mock Apple’s “magical” and “revolutionary” labels, but the critics are uncomfortable because there’s truth under that glossy marketing.
Simply compare tablets before and after iPad, smartphones before and after iPhone, mp3 players before and after iPod, and even personal operating systems before and after OS X. Apple has been constantly setting the goalposts of the technology industry year after year, leaving its competitors struggling to keep up, and they have been and still are profiting enormously.
In the capitalist ideals of our society, isn’t that commendable? Millions of people were willing to pay the sometimes-high price for Apple products not because Steve Jobs really had a reality distortion field or that they were actually just gullible. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, there’s something in the water? Millions of people returned to Apple time after time because Apple had a responsibility and consistently fulfilled it: make products that are ground-breaking yet polished in a way that leaves one wondering how life existed before.
Apple wasn’t interested in esoteric technologies to publish in research journals. When they found something good, they did what seemingly nobody else could: bring it to everybody. It was the ultimate intersection of technology and people. And Steve’s legacy isn’t limited to Apple: NeXT brought revolutionary computing ideals to fruition and without Steve, Pixar would have never went on to produce films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
Some companies settle into complacency and some pioneers settle into a dull CEO life. Bill Gates, Marc Andreesen, Larry Ellison… they are still around and active, but when was the last time they stunned us with innovation? Nobody else has come close to Steve Jobs in transforming technology over and over. Steve Jobs saved the best for last, and because we knew he would have continued wowing us year after year, it’s a shame that his time has come. Rest in peace.