As I perused the insights, comments, and accolades pouring in last night on Twitter in the hours after the news broke of the passing of Steve Jobs, it struck me that this man inspired in many of us, not just those we’d refer to as the geeky techies, but even the ordinary among us like me to strive to do very extraordinary things. In fact, my company is based completely on top of the technology inspired and created by Steve Jobs.
When I got my first iPhone, I “owned” it in a way that I’d never done with any other phone or computer. The ease of use, the inspiration behind the device, the amazing technological breakthroughs – all changed my experience from simply using a tool to inspiration about how I could create things that would make the iPhone even better.
Many of Jobs’ products and companies had that effect on us. Macintosh computers gave young children the ability to create and design movies, images, and reports thanks to the simple, intuitive interface compared to other computers of the day. The graphics drove the entire publishing industry to make Apple computers the standard for many years. With the introduction of the iPod – and with it iTunes – the music industry was opened up to the one-off, independent producer and musician. And let’s not forget that it was Jobs who turned George Lucas’s digital film business into Pixar, a company which not only changed the way animated films were created and delivered but eventually spawned a multitude of digital film companies and software accessible to the novice.
It’s probably impossible to calculate the number of independent companies or the financial revenue generated because of the innovations Jobs introduced during his career, but it is safe to say that there many more out there like me, people who would have never taken such a pivotal change in direction in their career, had it not been for the inspiration that came from a product conceived and brought to market by Jobs.
And as his family and friends mourn his passing, I am taking a moment to tip my hat to a man who relentlessly pursued his vision, often flying in the face of failure, because he believed that failure was worth the risk to bring his vision to fruition.
On a much larger scale, USA Today produced a telling interactive graphic profiling some of the major titans of the tech industry who were all connected to Steve Jobs along the way.