Total Pageviews

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reports of My Death...



"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." 

How does one measure loss? When the absence is so staggering we turn to statistics: six million without employment, one million dead, a hundred thousand homeless, sixty thousand orphaned, and so on. We turn to numbers when we cannot wrap our minds around the implications of that loss.  To regain our humanity we turn to what survives, using quantifiable means to measure our hopes.

"There is no reason not to follow your heart."

When we lose a man like Steve Jobs, a man who pioneered not just a company, a man whose influence has improved not just our lives, but changed the way we relate to one another and our world, we turn to what survives: his company, his patents, his objects.  Here was a man who rescued the inert object, and made it (a computer, a phone, a tablet, etc) into a living thing.  Imbued with character, his products seem as necessary to our lives as water to drink and air to breathe.  So, numbers, though important,  fail to measure our loss.  Because why should popularity be the litmus for value? Who really cares how many of such and such widget were sold?  No, we turn to what those objects did for us.      

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, so the only way to feel truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

His company is a testament to his life.  His legacy, his very soul, lives in the objects he invented.  We can all celebrate in the knowledge that his company survives our losing him.  Although it will never be what it once was (for he was its spirit), we can honor his memory by taking his words and deeds and making of them a banquet of hope, so that we may derive sustenance to live a life on our own terms.

"Design is not just how a thing looks, but how it works." 

To me Steve Jobs represented Prometheus.  Unwilling to bend to the whims and caprices of the populace, he sought to change the status quo by bringing what was reserved for the gods to man. He gave us things as vital to our existence as fire.  He gave us tools to better cope with loneliness, helping assuage our fears, shortening time and improving the quality of the time spent with ourselves and one another.  He empowered us. 

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Here was a man whose absolute conviction that he was right helped shape our world.  His products seem more than objects; they seem like  extensions of our personalities, making each of us into little gods.  Able to command the resources of the world at the touch or swipe of a screen, his products have made for us a brighter world.   

"Being the richest man in the cemetery means nothing to me."

He embodied what is best in us, the creative leader, the innovator, the optimist, the stubborn, unyielding, unbending visionary.  And now that he has gone, he has transcended his own stature as CEO of a company, a title that greatly undervalues his contributions, he has joined Edison, Bell, Ford, and achieved the status of immortality.  He has become in his own way a god. 

The world seems a darker place without him in it, but we can be thankful that our way forward will continue to be lit by the lighted path he left for us.

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

He will live on.