The Contrarian: A Farewell To Steve Jobs

—by , October 12, 2011

Standards of living in the United States continue to evolve as technology and its capabilities streamline and improve upon the manner in which we complete tasks, proving a theoretically increased efficiency that the consumer will pay for in dollars and cents, and that the status quo will maintain through an ever-changing capitalistic baseline.

Can anyone even remember what the mobile device of choice was before the first iPhone was released? We might as well have been carrying a cordless in our pockets.

Technology will continue to raise the bar on the way we perform tasks and solve problems, birthed of necessity and growing demands; of this, we can be certain. However, it is the creative minds of visionaries that forge products we want to use for the reasons we want to use them before we even think to realize it, and there is something intrinsic, something instinctual that lives in the minds of these great designers of the consumer landscape that cannot be learned or even taught.

And that, my friends, is elegance.

At 56 years of age, Steven P. Jobs, co-founder and former chief executive of the global leader in technology, Apple Inc., died on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.

Bright-eyed and wiry, Steve Jobs made an unintentional association between his trademark black turtleneck(s) with the thoughtful restraint and elegant austerity he brought to the design and production of Apple products, which would often become the benchmark of quality for technologies of their kind.

In Apple’s press release following Mr. Jobs’ passing, the company said that it was “deeply saddened” to announce that Jobs had died. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives… The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”

Jobs’ long running battle with pancreatic cancer solidified a more public visibility when Jobs took his third medical leave of absence from Apple in January of this year; Jobs had seemed to recover from pancreatic cancer after surgery in back in 2004, and had received a liver transplant in 2009. In August, Apple announced that Jobs was stepping down as chief executive but would serve as chairman, a position that did not exist previously, naming Timothy D. Cook, its chief operating officer, to succeed him.

Despite his illness, Jobs continued his dedication to the quality assurance and presentation of the Apple product he so deftly lent his vision to, remaining sprightly and proud of the work he and his team at Apple put into creating blockbuster hit after blockbuster hit. That March, two months after his leave, Jobs made a surprise appearance to introduce the iPad 2, the new version of the electronic tablet/toy that had already spawned a slew of copycats across the board (like most other Apple hits). “We’ve been working on this product for a while and I didn’t want to miss today,” he said. In his last public appearance before stepping down, Jobs presented the company’s new online storage and syncing service, iCloud, in June.

Directly following his death Wednesday, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were “flooded” with tributes, ranging from the solemn to the grinningly comic, celebrating the tremendous impact the creative powerhouse had on contemporary culture and the future of smart technology.

One of the most notable tributes exemplifies the great spirit of innovation Jobs became known for. An upload of the Stanford University commencement address that Jobs delivered in 2005 drew more than 1.5 million views on YouTube starting shortly after his death was announced Wednesday night and into Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for YouTube said. Already the most viewed graduation speech on YouTube, it now has more than five million views.

Preempting his main point with the revelatory information that he was an initial college dropout, the biological son of an unwed college student, and “returned coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with,” the address very much purports the value in exploration and self-worth as being the cornerstones of innovation, a message much needed in the world Jobs left behind.

In an address to a class of future visionaries, Jobs now-famously revealed the secret to his success, saying, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much.”

No, thank you, Mr. Jobs.

 

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”

 

Steven P. Jobs 1955 – 2011


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