We humans tend to be selfish. While working on computers for decades, I never took the time to learn more about Steve Jobs and his inspiring life, even though I used his innovative devices that made my life easy and communicate with many.
Let me share with you a slice of his life that I learned after his sad demise.
According to Jay Elloit, a former APPLE executive, Steve Jobs encouraged productivity and was never driven by `stock price`. He was not driven by money.He simply loved to create things, be it in his garage or at his corporate headquarters in Cupertino. Stay hungry ! Stay foolish ! was his famous teachings to young minds.
Today, many cities across America can relate to India`s Anna brand demonstrations against unfair protection to Wall Street and Black Money.
At the same time, we see people with flowers and candles paying their tribute to Steve Jobs. One such placard on television reads : Break the Wall and Let the Street stand alone.
Death today is helpless and is unable to overshadow Steve Jobs’ life. As he put it: “Death is life’s change agent.” Years ago, distressed at the 30-second startup time for the early Mac, he asked the systems programmer: “Even if it took you three days to make it a single second faster, it would be worth it.” Result ? a full three seconds were skimmed off. Steve knew that due to cancer, death was lurking around the bend. He used this fear as a time management tool and stole oxygen from hidden challenges.
During his days of struggle in his professional life, he would stand in front of the mirror and rehearse his speech to become a better communicator. One of his famous quotes he used to rehearse was: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do?” If the answer was a simple “NO” for several days in a row, then he believed it called for a change in his life.
Let us examine how Steve Jobs steered his life. He transformed the technology, communications and the music industry. He introduced the first personal computer: the Macintosh. He also inaugurated the `post-PC` world. Forced by the executive board to leave Apple, he returned in 1997 to save the drifting company. However, in that decade out, his company created the “OS” operating system, while he went on to create the animation company Pixar and launched the NEXT Computer, a company that did not take off.
It was Apple that blocked the music industry’s free-fall with the introduction of its iTunes software and an innovative distribution system.Though digital music players and smart phones were familiar things, the iPod and iPhone as media puts were rich and novel creations. Going toe-to-toe in competition with Amazon’s “Kindle” tablet for downloading books, Apple lured its customers and shareholders to its sleek and user-friendly iPad.
From the mouse and the graphical user interface, to the essential touch screens and applications, it seems unthinkable that one human being could have played such a decisive role, working with different product teams from the design phase to the product rollout plan. In many ways, his personality seeped into his products, and his work philosophy was shaped by Thomas Edison and Karl Marx. He understood and promoted work as a religion, carefully calibrating mileage per second.
Why is the world so touched by Steve Jobs’ death? It is not just love for Apple’s innovations, but rather Steve’s modest life story, his leadership skills, and work ethics. Although Apple has an impressive Public Relations team, people knew how to reach him: “firstname.lastname@example.org“. Flooded with complaints and suggestions, at times he asked his staff to leave him alone to respond to the sea of emails.
In his career, he tried again, failed again, failed better, and succeeded spectacularly, except for cancer, which corrupted his body in an irreversible mode.
He had lived life to his fullest, through thick and thin, sometimes selling empty coke bottles at 5 cents apiece in his youth.
Steve Jobs was ahead of his time. Like Madonna, he constantly reinvented himself.