Throughout history there are a few select moments that define humanity and its progress moving forward. Some of those moments come in the form of events, people, places, etc. Some people will pass through this evening not thinking much of the passing of Steve Jobs. Others, like myself will take to the news and reflect back upon the real impact that Jobs and his company Apple have had upon our culture.
We may initially look at what Jobs has done and scoff at the impact. We should definitely look beyond just the iPod as a device that plays music. What Jobs and Apple have done over the past two decades is define the future that we all wanted in the early part of the twentieth century. Computers went from being devices that took up entire rooms, down to a desktop sized machine with an interface the average person could use, opening doors to a wealth of information. The dream of information at our finger tips is now a reality with the advent of the iPhone and the subsequent industry that has grown to try and catch up to it.
While we certainly cannot credit all of these devices and innovation to Jobs himself, neither can we credit all of the innovations of General Electric to Thomas Edison. Much like Edison though Steve Jobs had the brilliance of mind and the work ethic to identify and cultivate the ideas and devices that would literally change us as a people. We will never be the same as we were five, ten or fifteen years ago because of these devices. Information, communication, content and media are all seconds away. News and the dissemination of information has never been more free (and more challenged) than right now in humanity’s history. Steve Jobs was a visionary, perhaps even a dreamer. Unfortunately we do not have much of a world that still has those. Apple has always been there to cultivate the arts and it has been my belief that the arts are the sciences that truly breed the next geniuses of our era. Perhaps there is six year old kid sitting at home writing an app for the iPhone who is the next Steve Jobs. Perhaps he/she is the next Carl Sagan. Perhaps he/she is the next Martin Luther King. Whoever or whatever that kid is though he/she has never had more opportunities to build, learn and create for themselves than ever before.
We will miss you Steve and it is unfortunate there aren’t more like you in the world. Just think where humanity could be if we all had the drive, vision, heart and creativity you did for our own work.