Steve Jobs Iconoclast-peace my friend, my guitar gently weeps

It’s been a full day and I am still in shock or grief. A man I never met or maybe never new yet I feel so sad- still. Why? Why do I feel, like millions, so emotionally attached to this loss of a man?

I think it is because he gave us hope of men who aspired to perfection and liberty of spirit rather than just monetary wealth. It may seem ironic, coming from a billionaire but as he has been quoted, he did not matter if he was the richest man in the cemetery. He sought a creative perfection.  He aspired to a sense of human creative productivity based on function and form not on profit. We feel loss because we are all afraid we may have lost these kind of men among us. I hope not. I believe he inspired or influenced innovators like Larry Page and Sergey Brin rather than the Wall Street banker types we have recently seen.

Steve Jobs began a journey of creativity and success in a Grade 4 classroom.  His Grade 4 teacher lit a spark of inspiration that burned bright until yesterday. He not only gifted the world with amazing tools but he shifted the board office models from suit to turtlenecks. Despite obvious character flaws and conflicts, as we all have too many, Apple led the wave of creative  .com enterprises like Google. His CEO leadership gave an entire generation a sense of design, creative potential and imagination. His marketing savvy was only equaled by his keen acumen in understanding engineering and the consumer.  Steve’s keynote presentation skills are a thing of beauty. Like the Apple logo itself, Jobs have left us with many iconic gifts.


“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people––as remarkable as the telephone.” [Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985]


“The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.

“It’s like when IBM drove a lot of innovation out of the computer industry before the microprocessor came along. Eventually, Microsoft will crumble because of complacency, and maybe some new things will grow. But until that happens, until there’s some fundamental technology shift, it’s just over.” [Wired, February 1996]

“When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want.


“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be 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. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.


“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” [NBC Nightly News, May 2006]

And One More Thing

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

We will miss your gifts Steve!

About LiterateOWL

photographer, flyfisher , bird watcher, dog lover, amateur artist and retired teacher-librarian...
This entry was posted in Blogosphere, Essay, Innovation, Society, Technology, TV/Media and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Steve Jobs Iconoclast-peace my friend, my guitar gently weeps

  1. Bill Storm says:

    I believe everyone is moved when creativity explodes and makes a difference in the world. We have models of mediocrity all around us, and all of our institutions teach standardization and compliance with somebody else’s ideas. Steve Jobs also had something to say about dogma, and I’ll paraphrase it as blind compliance to somebody’s else’s idea of what is the correct way to live.

    For most of us, living as he did is not exactly a resume-builder. He happened to follow his muse into a field that was on the brink of great technological advance, where great institutions waiting to shut him down didn’t yet exist. If he’d been born in 1975 instead of 1955, his road would have been much more crowded and established institutional forces more fully arrayed against him from the very start of Apple.

    I hope that his example and the outpouring we’ve seen at his passing translate into broader acceptance of people whose “dots” don’t connect in the usual way. There was no one on the planet like him, and we need many, many more like him if we are to survive, much less prosper.

Comments are closed.