Steven Paul Jobs, 1955–2011
The "CNBC Titans" profile on Hulu.
The authorized biography by Walter Isaacson (Walter Isaacson was the longtime editor of TIME magazine and also wrote a wonderful biography of Benjamin Franklin).
A brief appreciation by Hank Stuever at the Washington Post site (Paul De Zan suggested this).
Finally, a reader named Peter suggested this simple but poignant epitaph: Jobs restored to his rightful place in the famous Apple "Crazy Ones" ad (from AdWeek):
The portrait at the top, the best-ever of Jobs that I've seen, is by the great Albert Watson. I built this post before I knew that this was the portrait Apple chose for its home page; I think the tones as seen here are closer to Watson's usual palette, but I've never seen an original so I don't really know.
Featured Comment by Bahi: "I've been dreading this. I knew what to expect when Jobs resigned as CEO but the news is still difficult to accept. Steve's death in October sheds light on his last public appearance in June and also makes this picture, taken immediately after that appearance, all the more poignant."
Featured Comment by Steve E Miller: "What was most amazing about this man is not the plethora of products that his companies made but rather his amazing ability to inspire, engage and encourage the people who worked at all of his companies to make the best of their skills which in turn created the iconic products put out by Apple, Pixar and NeXT. This is the thing that it seems most CEOs don't recognize—it's the people not the product. I wish I could be more precise in my language in trying to describe what I understand so fully in my mind.
"This Stanford speech of his will go down in history as possibly one of the most important speeches by any businessman ever. I know it inspired me...."
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "I am profoundly grateful for living concurrently with Steve Jobs. He greatly affected my life which is why I am deeply saddened by his early death, as if I just lost a close family member. What a wonderful life this man lived."
Mike replies: I concur Ken. At times I've reflected that I am that guy who he intended to enable with his innovations. I was the creative type who was uninterested in computers and had little aptitude for them. I probably would not have been a writer today if it weren't for the Mac—much less be writing TOP every day. Steve Jobs didn't create the computer age, but he enabled people like me to share in it.
If there was ever a guy who ought to have lived long and prospered, he was it.
Featured Comment by Andreas: "Sorry for being negative again, but some of the comments (including Ken's and Mike's featured dialogue) are pressing a little too hard, on the edge of becoming pathetic, like declaring him as a family member posthumously. C'mon....
"The quote from Barack Obama is much more sensible in my eye, acknowledging Mr. Jobs's success in a witty manner, without transfiguring him."
Featured Comment by Allan Graham: "Mike, I wholly concur with your assessment of Steve Jobs as a man who enabled others. A long time ago now, when CAD was just starting to become common, I was a newly qualified architect struggling hopelessly with a widely used but horribly clanking CAD program (really designed for engineers) on a certain type of personal computer with a rather inadequately developed graphical user interface. Frustration and misery. I shortly moved to another practice where they were using MicroStation on Macs. Liberation and delight! The system just didn't have the same irritating capacity to get in the way of my lame mental processes, and in 25 years I have only ever worked with Macs.
"Without Mr. Jobs and all those bright people he led and inspired, I doubt if I could have kept up with it at all. It's just my generation of course, but I still find it easier to think with a pencil...!"
Mike replies: 'Zactly. My own experience was more pedestrian, but just as acutely felt. In the summer of 1976 I was awarded one of the few private study carrels in Baker Library at Dartmouth, to write in, as part of an one-on-one English 89 seminar. Seventy pages into an ambitious manuscript I realized I was having severe organizational problems (long my Achilles' heel), and I saw no other way to get a handle on it than to literally cut up the ms. with scissors, and tape the bits on the wall so I could reorganize it all. Before long my entire carrel was festooned with strips of paper of varying lengths. Then I would tape it all back together again for the next of several laboriously retyped drafts before starting the process anew.
It would be another eight years before I used a Mac for the first time (and I had already learned to solve my organization problems with brevity by then), but the usefulness of the "cut" and "paste" commands and, especially, the ability to revise and rewrite another draft without retyping everything...an amazing revelation. Your just-right phrase "liberation and delight" hits that nail very squarely.
Featured Comment by M: "The best tribute to Jobs' work I ever heard came from a temp sales clerk in the 1990s who was struggling to ring up a sale on a PC-based terminal in the store. He couldn't get the commands to work right and kept apologizing. Finally he said, 'I don't use computers—I'm a graphic artist. I use a Mac at home.'
"For him the Mac was not a computer you had to grapple with, it was a tool that was part of his art.
"I grew up in the computer industry, from the days of mainframes on. What Apple did under Jobs direction was complete the work. He didn't invent most of the Apple products—they existed before Apple. Personal computers and MP3 players and tablets and smart phones all existed before Apple developed them. Jobs saw to it that Apple made them work, took the extra steps to invent whatever was needed to make them extremely easy to use, and made them beautiful. He did change our lives."
Featured Comment by Caleb Courteau: "I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, and probably always will. I'm 25, so I didn't experience JFK, but I imagine the admiration and respect I feel for Steve Jobs is similar to what was felt for our late president. Rest in peace Mr. Jobs."
Featured Comment by Steve Rosenblum: "'Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else's life,' Jobs said. 'Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other peoples' thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.'"
Featured Comment by Emmanuel Huybrechts: "I understand nothing about this Apple/Jobs cult but it's always sad when talented people die too much early."
Featured Comment by Edie Howe: "I would not be a photographer today if it weren't for the work of Steve Jobs. Vale, Steve."
Featured Comment by Wayne: "It is our nature to be born, to live, and to die. Know your nature and live with it to the fullest. Steve Jobs did, and in doing so, helped others do the same...what better legacy?"