I’m having a visceral emotional reaction to Steve Jobs’ passing yesterday.
It’s not just because I’m a recent convert/now committed lifetime member of the Cult of Steve Jobs, having eschewed my PC in 2008 and finally embracing my yupster DNA with an all-Mac gadget collection.
And it’s not just because, like many other Mac enthusiasts, I shudder to think what life would be like without the tap-tap-swipe of my iPhone, without iTunes to revolutionize how we consume entertainment, or the warm fuzzy gooey-ness of Pixar films.
I think I’m feeling a profound sense of loss because it finally hit me that Jobs was a true visionary, a creative spirit who attempted—and succeeded—at defying gravity. And even though I never met the man, I feel extremely lucky to reap the results of his genius with every tweet, every status update, and every check-in.
Glee’s Dianna Agron explained it so beautifully in a tweet: “We never met, yet I stand beside members of this giant playground that you discovered for us. We use it every day, never tiring of the sand.”
Sure, Jobs sold stuff. It’s consumerism at its most basic. But he sold us stuff that we wanted—or didn’t know we wanted—and we gladly let that stuff invade our lives and change us. With his simple black turtleneck and faded jeans, he introduced us to the next best thing year after year, and we gobbled each one like little kids opening presents on Christmas morning.
For the life of me, I could never picture what true genius looked like. Somehow I romantically reserved it for lofty figures like DaVinci or Edison. But make no mistake, Jobs was a genius. And because he sought to take the path not taken, he forever changed the way we live our lives.
I mourn his loss, forever wondering what else his brain could show us, and with gratitude that I lived in a time that allowed me to experience firsthand his inspirational genius.
From the man himself:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Godspeed, good sir. Godspeed.