Saturday, October 8, 2011

I should've thanked Steve Jobs years ago.

         Since Steve Jobs died, people have been saying wonderful things about him, and they should. He has been called the great innovator, the great inventor of our time, and the ultimate entrepreneur. He has been considered the modern-day Thomas Edison, or Alexander Graham Bell, or  Leonardo da Vinci, but I think he was much more.

         We benefitted greatly from Edison's lightbulbs, but we didn't feel uneasy to go anywhere without one. His phonographs enabled us to bring great and popular music into our homes, but we didn't run our hands over them lovingly, or search out rumors about the next new model. Bell's telephone changed the world dramatically, but nobody compared instruments or talked much about their new Princess phones. When Leonardo created airplanes or a giant crossbow, people didn't have emotional reactions about them.

          No, Steve Jobs' ingenuity went deeper into our psyches. People have said he could see the future before the rest of us did, or at least knew what we wanted before we did. Much of that is undoubtedly true.

          I think Steve Jobs' great gift was understanding us so well. Our thirst for information, our need to communicate, our appreciation for thoughtfulness, our delight with good design, our excitement for the new, our love for adventure, our unquenchable inquisitiveness.

          Steve Jobs recognized the child in all of us, and honored it. He was never satisfied, and we are never satisfied.

          Entrepreneurs have certain qualities. The willingness to take risks. The need for independence. The desire for control. As I write this, we have just lost the great entrepreneur of our time.

           Thursday in our entrepreneurship class, a student told me about a note a customer left on the wall of the Apple store in San Francisco.  It simply said, "iSad". It was later used in an ad.

          Thank you, Steve. The fire you started will burn brightly in our hearts for a long, long time. You have changed how we relate to one another.



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