This has been a strange week. After returning to work on Monday post-honeymoon I was confronted by unseasonably cold and rainy weather, a shooting spree in Cupertino and yesterday, the passing of Steve Jobs.
Around 4:30 yesterday the news started going around the Arena office—rumors that Steve Jobs had died. Four minutes after the news was confirmed online, the first 50 updates in my Facebook feed were all Steve Jobs related. Within ten minutes of the announcement the Apple website had been updated as a memorial page, the topic was trending on Twitter and all my favorite sites, including Fast Company, Forbes, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Tech Crunch, Business Insider and Gizmodo had pushed the news front-and-center—along with tributes, condolences and looks back to Steve’s inspiring life.
I’ve written about Apple in the past, as an example of the ideal—what most manufacturing companies aspire to be. Apple’s control over its supply chain, the volume it produces, its uniquely designed products, its killer marketing strategy and even the ridiculous loyalty of Apple enthusiasts (like my husband) is somewhat unprecedented. Whenever we talk about how other companies can copy Apple’s model, someone in the room inevitably laughs and says “Yeah, but that’s Apple. No one else can be Apple.”
It’s easy to see Apple as a giant corporation, but at the end of the day, Apple is synonymous with the name Steve Jobs. It continues to amaze me that Steve Jobs—a business guy, a computer geek, a tech nerd—has become such a household name. That his death has inspired such an outpouring of sadness from people across all walks of life. Last night, Steve Job’s 2005 commencement speech was watched on thousands of computers and his words were pushed to thousands of social network statuses—even the president of the United States had something to say about his passing.
Steve Jobs was clearly the driver of Apple’s success, and his passing feels like the end of an era. But the one thing that I find comforting is the impact his work made on so many people around him—on people around the world. The genuine sadness and reflection following his death proves that the work of people, the work of creators and innovators, is still valued in our flash-in-the-pan, Rebecca Black, 15-seconds of fame world.
Steve Job’s life is a reminder that the work of people matters. A reminder that there is value in taking risks, in thinking differently, in working hard. Thirty years ago, Steve Jobs was a kid in a garage with an idea. Today, Steve Jobs is the most celebrated businessman and innovator of our time. And we’re sad to see him go.
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