Steve Jobs Dead at 56: Some Personal Reflections

I got the sad news last night at 7:51pm. It beeped in as a CNN bulletin on my iPhone. Steve Jobs, legendary founder of Apple computer, and inspiration behind Mac computers, the mouse, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, the AirBook, and most recently the iPad, had died of pancreatic cancer at age 56.

Friends began to shoot me e-mails and text messages. Posts began to appear on Facebook and Twitter and last night Twitter was so jammed, with people posting tributes, you could not get on for over an hour. Steve’s creative genius and love of elegance, his independent spirit and commitment to “whole earth” thinking, his hard work and determination, has truly transformed our world. From music, to photos, to the Web, to writing, e-mail, and a host of amazing “millennial” applications, my world intersects with Steve Job’s creations every day. I wrote all my books on my MacBook and can hardly remember what life was like without these Apple products that have so enriched our pleasure in using technology and brought it to our desk, lap, and hand in such a lovely and convenient way.  Even the PC/Microsoft users, Android people, and a host of other knock offs are largely using products adapted and copied from the original Macintosh, iPhone, or iPod. Jobs was neither engineer or technician. He was a dreamer. But he combined those dreams, and their elegant sense of “taste” and beauty, with hard work, persistence, and a self-demanding style that would never give up. His life, like all of us, was a complex tangle of starts and stops, of breakthroughs and disappointments, but always his bright spirit prevailed in the end.

We will all miss him and I believe our new millennial world will continue to be transformed by his innovations in ways we can only dream of today.

The NYTimes has some amazing coverage this morning if you want to browse a bit, beginning with the front page story by John Markoff. There is lots more in the links:

James, signing off on his MacBook Pro