"RIP Steve Jobs. You left your mark on our desks, on our ears & in our hands."
- Darren Rovell, CNBC sports business reporter, Twitter, 5.10.11
I loathe Apple Inc. Never owned an Apple II, Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad (let alone Lisa or Newton). Uninstalled iTunes after a few months because I considered it malware. I loathe Apple's monopolistic practices, their aggressive litigiousness, their Chinese labour exploitations. But for all that, there is no doubt that Steve Jobs was a truly great man whose influence will be missed following his death, following multiple battles with cancer, on Wednesday aged 56.
In my lifetime, no other businessman would have been mourned so much upon his passing. Only Walt Disney, in 1966, would come anywhere close. Jobs was a man of enormous vision, innovation and inspiration. And a messianic charisma. He was, for our era, the Tom Edison and Henry Ford, with some Dale Carnegie thrown in. Of course, none of those had the capacity to connect with their customer base that has been available to Jobs.
But Steve Jobs was also more than just a devout Buddhist with a messianic charisma. He was a cult leader, the members of his cult those beasts known as the "Apple fanboys". Jobs left us barely a day after his Apple Inc. successor Tim Cook bemused the fanboy cultists with the announcement of an upgrade to the iPhone that was somewhat less than the absolute hype that they had expected.
Today, the fanboys (and, of course, girls) are grief-stricken. Tears are shed worldwide. Twitter experienced its biggest spike in traffic to date as the news of his demise spilt out. The occasion was like the deaths of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II all rolled into one.
But are things getting carried away when flowers are left outside Apple Shops worldwide, and when evening vigils are held, not by candlelight, but by waving iPads displaying video images of candles?
The best memorial to Steve Jobs is, I believe, to watch his Commencement Address to graduating students at Stanford University in 2005. There's no better summation of his life and his philosophy than to listen to the great man speak, succinctly, honestly and with great clarity, for fifteen minutes:
Among a myriad of obituaries and reflections here's a few: obits from the Washington Post and Wired. Appreciations from John Birmingham in Brisbane and from President Barack Obama. And a simple message from Apple.