Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, you’ve no doubt heard the sad news that Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer yesterday.
Regardless of what you think of Apple products, the man behind them was an absolute genius, and shaped the tech market in a way that nobody has before, and perhaps never will again.*
I know everybody and their mother has written an article about this, but it somehow felt wrong to let this go ignored here.
Apple’s computers have long since given up their claim to gaming (even if we’ve been seeing support for them rising), but you’d have to be a fool to think that the iPhone hasn’t made an impact on the gaming industry. Even if you believe Angry Birds is the most derivative, stupid piece of garbage software out there, it’s brought many people into our fold who would not be otherwise (and made a metric shit ton for that matter). That would not be possible were it not for the device that Steve Jobs brought us.
Never have I seen a business the size of Apple rely so heavily on one man.** Steve Jobs, during his reign as CEO, was something of a conundrum. He was the man who could never be replaced, yet at an indeterminate point, would have to be. While Tim Cook will do an admirable job I’m sure, nobody can ever truly stand in the shoes and black turtleneck of the man who built Apple. Steve changed the game with his belief that design shouldn’t simply be how something looks, but how it operates.
Nothing better illustrated his belief more clearly than this quote from his commencement speech at the Stanford graduation, “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.”
As a software engineer, I am saddened to see one of my idols go. I don’t know if anyone will ever again shape our industry quite as much as he did.† I believe I speak for everyone at here when I say requiescat in pace.
You’ve certainly earned your rest.
* Thomas Edison doesn’t count because he lived in New Jersey.
** Wendy’s doesn’t count because Dave Thomas was more than a man, he was a fucking legend.
† Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t count because The Social Network, that’s why.