Steve Jobs, a genius.
Today, at the age of 56, the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, died. In these moments, we are tempted to try to summarize the work and the life of a guy like Steve Jobs with clever phrases and a few paragraphs to condense and highlight his impact on his field of predilection. This is an impossible task when it comes to eulogize Steve Jobs. The man was a genius whose vision literally impacted our lives on a daily basis. And not only did his vision change technology, it also changed profoundly our culture.
Yes, Steve Jobs ushered in the era of personal computers. Yes, Steve Jobs had a great financial success with the Macintosh line; the first computer to move from text-only commands to a graphical user interface. That, by itself, is a revolution.
Yes, Steve Jobs had also a great technological success with the Apple operating systems.
But the man is bigger, tremendously bigger, than these tangible and maybe forgettable accomplishments.
Steve Jobs changed our lives and our culture forever.
Steve Jobs changed forever how we buy, store, and listen to music. If you love music and listening to it, you probably use iTunes to buy it, store it, and listen to it. You probably use an iPod to carry it with you and listen to it. You probably plug your iPod or iPhone in your car and enjoy your ride listening to your favorite musicians. Before Steve Jobs envisioned this dream-like state of music fully integrated into our lives and permanently surrounding our senses and taking it with us everywhere we go, this was just a dream, something unachievable, something out of a science fiction movie. Steve Jobs took that dream and with the force of a visionary genius rendered it real.
The guy also radically changed how we use a cellular phone. He actually redefined the word cellular phone. Suddenly, we are no longer holding in our hands a cold lifeless piece of plastic and metals. A phone in Steve Jobs’ vision does more than dialing numbers. It becomes a mini interactive computer in which you plan your days, listen, buy and transport music, buy and watch movies, read newspapers and books, keep track of your favorite sports and teams, schedule your meetings, find your way around an unknown city, plan your diet and meals, buy a gift or flowers for your loved one even though you are stuck in an airport miles away from your home, take pictures, make and edit movies, and on and on. By creating the platform of the iPhone, Jobs unleashed an unbelievably untapped reservoir of creativity. Literally, hundreds of small business were created in college dorms, teenagers’ bedrooms, and garages to write small and interactive software and feed the iPhone with highly useful and sometimes silly application.
A dozen of years before the iPhone, Steve Jobs did the same thing with the personal computer. As a friend of mine who bought an Apple computer (a MacBook) and used it for the first time after being for years on a steady diet of PCs told me, “I now see the light. Why have i not bought an Apple computer before?” It was like a religious conversion. You actually smile when you use an Apple computer. That by itself is therapeutic. Not only the MacBook line is cool, sexy, stylish, and user-friendly, it is also incredibly powerful and sturdy. You literally need to take a hammer to the damn thing to break it. But that was not enough for Steve. His vision was to take that computer and make it as malleable as possible by introducing the iPad line. You don’t need to sit at a desk to use a computer anymore. You just have to have hands with opposable tums.
All of these creations (and many others that i am going to list) have changed our lives; they have changed our culture, worldwide.
The biological son of Abdulfattah Jandali, an Arab Muslim from Syrian, and a young American woman, Joanne Simpson, Steve Jobs was later on adopted by an American woman of Armenian heritage, Clara Hagopian and Paul Jobs. He grew up in the 60s in the Bay area, experimented with psychedelic drugs, embraced Buddhism, traveled the world, and let its cultures shape his persona and vision, which he used to reshape our culture and the world. He was the best of what the 60s gave us, and he made sure to give it back to us.
Rest in peace Steve Jobs. You were really a true genius. 56 years of pure pleasure. It was an honor to have known you.
.…and also fuck Microsoft.