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Steve Jobs: The tragic loss of a visionary leader

Alex Masters

Untitled 119 205x300 Steve Jobs: The tragic loss of a visionary leaderAs a technology writer and enthusiast I’m finding it difficult to come to terms with the news of Steve Jobs’ passing. For as long as I can remember Steve Jobs has shaped the way I see, experience and understand technology. It’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be enjoying the diverse range of elegant, user-friendly and powerful products we use today without his incredible vision and determination to change the way we interact with computers.

After several years battling pancreatic cancer, Steve passed away peacefully on October 5 2011, surrounded by his family and close friends. It’s clear from the sheer volume of comments and messages I’ve read over the past few hours – from the most unlikely of people – that his impact on society has been far greater than anyone ever imagined.

Steve was able to sculpt Apple into the world’s most innovative computer company. A company that all others aspire to be, whether they admit to it or not. Despite their best efforts, Apple’s closest competitors are still years behind the curve, constantly playing catch up. It is clear that over the past few years Steve Jobs has been developing a team of people capable of carrying his vision forwards into the decades to come. Let’s just hope the likes of CEO Tim Cook and senior vice presidents Jonathan Ive, Scott Forstall and Philip Schiller can continue on from where he left off.

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” – President Barack Obama

I was lucky enough to have been born in the early eighties at a time when computing was on the verge of exploding in popularity, growing exponentially in both power and versatility. Back then personal computers were expensive luxury devices with very limited capabilities, but over the years I’ve been lucky enough to experience their transition into smaller, more powerful and more affordable devices first hand.

When you grow up loading apps onto your TV screen for ten minutes via cassette tape, rather than downloading them onto your iPhone in seconds through thin air, you have a greater appreciation of just how big an impact Apple and Steve Jobs have had on our lives. It’s hard to imagine a world without iPhones, iPads and Macs. Yes, all these innovations would still have taken place without Steve Job’s involvement, but would they have been anywhere near as engaging, compelling, usable and beautiful as they are today? Not a chance.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs 2003 (Wall Street Journal)

I can vividly recall my first experience with an Apple computer during my first year at middle school. I remember being blown away by what it could do, and more importantly, what it enabled me to do. It was my first experience designing on a computer, which ignited my passion for graphic design, one that led me into a career in web development and multimedia design.

To this day his vision continues to change the way we perceive and interact with computers. He is an inspiration to many and his contributions to technology will be sorely missed.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs (2005 Stanford commencement speech)

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  • steven jennings

    No,
    Not at all. Jobs showed us what can be achieved by human beings with a common vision, and that is extremely important

  • new position

    I like many others spend 8 hours in front of a computer then get home and often use a computer again.  So yes the computer has fundamentally affected our lives.  What is it about that that you find hard to comprehend?

  • Anteaus

    Talking of medical equipment, if Apple had been called-in to design the NHS database it would have cost more, but would have worked properly from the outset. Which would have been 100% better value for the taxpayer.

    Jobs was something of a visionary in realizing that people would, after all, buy a product which was more costly, had a lower paper spec and less features than its rivals… if it actually worked better, looked better and was more pleasant to use.    

  • maisie76

    ……but you would be doing it with or without Steve Jobs. Its just that the computer may not look as nice or be so expensive.

    To be fair to the guy, he genuinely came across as a decent bloke despite being one of the most powerful/influential people on the planet. The same situation has a terrible habit of corrupting the vast majority and turning them into assholes. 

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    Alex,Apple has unleashed all the juicy details on the newest member of the iPhone family, the iPhone 4S — and with it, a torrent of consumer angst over whether or not to buy the latest and greatest Apple smartphone when it launches October 14, or hold out for the inevitable iPhone 5. Whether or not an iPhone 4S purchase makes sense for you will depend
    on a number of factors: are you currently under contract with an earlier iPhone model or other smartphone? Do you have the now last-generation iPhone 4, or the even older iPhone 3GS model? Are you hankering to switch cell carriers? Read on for some advice on whether or not the iPhone 4S would be a good purchase, depending on which of the following camps you’re currently in. The ultimate decision is all yours, and of course a very personal one: let us know what your gameplan is in the comments! Current iPhone 3GS or earlier owners If you bought the iPhone 3GS when it first came out back in June of 2009, or are still rocking either the iPhone 3G or the original iPhone, you should be clear of the 2-year contract you signed then, making the iPhone 4S a very sensible upgrade for you. In fact, Apple knows full well it needs to craft its phone hardware strategy around this typical 2-year cycle, and the arguably less than earth-shattering upgrades between the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and now the 4 and 4S, were actively designed to appeal to consumers two generations behind (you can check out a feature comparison of the latter three devices here).If you picked up the iPhone 3GS sometime after it was released and are still under contract, you’ll want to check out your current upgrade status — especially since new iPhone launches often prompt AT&T to “massage” your eligibility. You can do this by visiting att.com/wireless, dialing *NEW# (*639#) from your phone, calling customer service at 1-800-331-0500, or visiting a retail location.Steve has a wonderfull job and we will never forget him. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amit-Pranav/1813285383 Amit Pranav

    world has lost one of the greatest innovators, imaginors, who has made his own success path, never lost his heart in his adversity , finally lost his heart in the hands of ” DEATH”. I salute him and pray from God use his “IPOD, IFONE , IPAD etc “   and  provide peace to his soul.a
    Amit Pranav
    Patna , Bihar

  • ArthurWatt

    Keep it in perspective. He made expensive communication toys for computer geeks and bores, he didn’t discover a cure for cancer did he?

  • http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/high-resolution-app-tab-bar-icons.htm?ref=ch Aha Soft

    Steve is genius when it comes to technology and design not on being a great doctor to cure him from getting away to pancreatic cancer. Those iPhone development we saw after how many years is the best thing that we really need today, and without it life is boring.

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    Alex similar story?The Cab Ride
    I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had  lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. ‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept  thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I  told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice.. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. ‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a  portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were Solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.’ How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said ‘You have to make a living,’ she answered. ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.’ You gave an  old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’  I squeezed her  hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What  if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick  review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great  moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small  one.PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY
    WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL
    ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL. You won’t get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending. it on and reminding us that often it is the random acts of  kindness that most benefit all of  us. Thank you, my  friend…
    This is the true story that touches any one. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA


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