Steve Jobs: a life worth reflecting upon

I was preparing to rant and rave about some protest in NYC tonight, but the news about Steve Jobs’ passing deserves a break from the madness of the everyday.

This man had vision. He was a man of passion, of principle. Our culture is forever changed because he was able to understand without question that we didn’t know what could truly impact their lives until he showed us. And when he showed us, it was like Christmas morning. The company he started, was fired from, and that eventually hired him back, took us heights unknown in the technology world. He revolutionized technology forever.

That would normally be a bold statement, but it is unequivocally true when it comes to Jobs’ work.

I bought my first Apple laptop and iPod in 2005, right after graduating from college. I was thrilled. I wore out the iPod, and am now on my 3rd or 4th model. The fact that I cannot remember how many I have purchased makes it clear: the technology was so prescient that I would buy another before I really needed it. I still have my Powerbook G4, and you can bet I won’t get rid of it now. I love that laptop. It allowed me to develop marketing campaigns, build massive corporate budgets, record personal music tracks, talk to friends overseas, build databases of photos of my three nephews, run a congressional campaign for Congress, and countless more things in between with nearly no problems. When I did have one, your company fixed it free of charge and recovered everything I had saved. Miraculous, it seemed, at the time.

Lest we forget, he was able to see how animation would revolutionize the movie-making industry as well. Pixar exists because Steve Jobs saw something few else saw when they looked at this fledgling company on the brink of shutting down. He saw promise. He invested, and the company flourished with his guidance. We wouldn’t have the Toy Story we know and love without Jobs. My nephews (6, 4, and 1) love Woody and Buzz. They may not understand at this moment how he impacted their lives, but I know they love Angry Birds on my iPad. They love playing education games on my iPad. My blackberry doesn’t get them riled up, but seeing the iPad is like a birthday present for them.

When people talk about what makes this country incredible, I hope they can see that this country encourages people like Steve Jobs to become a reality. He took a huge risk by leaping out in front of all of us and seeing into the future. Despite all of our problems, he has connected us all more deeply than any other inventor has outside of Edison.

Alexander Graham-Bell invented the telephone. Steve Jobs took that idea and allowed us to capture hi-resolution video of first-steps, first-words, first-plays, first-catches, first-touchdowns and so much more. We can send messages around the world through his creations, an we can do it easily. I fear I will never see someone like him in my lifetime again, and that is a tragedy. But, to have been here during the ascent of his brilliance is something I will never forget.

Rest in peace, Steve. An entire planet is grieving for your family and the folks that loved and knew you well. But, keep this close to your heart; you made it possible to live in such a way that no other human could have, and we owe you and your talent a great deal of thanks.

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