It has been three years, to the day, that Steve Jobs passed away. I will always be able to tie in his death to a number of key moments in my life; most notably: it was the last time I ever played a gig with my old pop punk band, Adventure Starts Tomorrow!
However, since his death the phrasing and popular, to the point of band wagon laziness, opinion of “if Steve were still alive”, or “this wouldn’t have happened if Steve were still here” has persisted to hound any, and every, decision that has since been made.
Whether I agree with these statements isn’t important, though I do have my opinions on it. I just wanted to take a moment to remember a man who, purported tyrant he was, has been a constant inspiration to myself and so many around the world.
I do not believe that many men can truly be labelled a genius, without some needless, superfluous adulation being the key motivating factor for it, but with Steve I can’t help but feel it’s completely justified. This man was a genius, and his continuing vision is proof of this. It lives on, and not only in within corporate entities or fan boys, but in those that listen to this mans words and choose to take inspiration from them, rather than attempting to deride them for whatever petty, personal reason.
His beliefs, his vision and perfectionism are legendary across those who are aware of his life, even if only on a completely superficial level. His drive and desire to create, to inspire and to evolve where we were, to where he believed we could be, elevated us all.
We have all become complacent, almost expectant like small children, when it comes to our devices, and what we know they can do: play music via the Music app? No problem. Steve Jobs once revolutionised our ability to listen to music on the go thanks to the iPod, released in 2001.
Not content with that? How about a widescreen iPod, a revolutionary phone and a breakthrough internet device? All in one device? Are you getting it yet? The iPhone.
Arguably one of the most important devices ever created by mankind, and all brought to use via the creative thinking of one Steve Paul Jobs.
I do need to stress though that the physical product, the ‘thing’, the ‘stuff’, isn’t what I’m attempting to highlight here; it’s the drive to create avenues for connectivity, to change the way we can operate on a day to day level that matters.
You don’t have to be a fanboy to be able to remark on his contributions, not just to the tech world, but to the world as a whole. We are now all connected with each other to a degree previously unthinkable, and this is thanks to people like Steve Jobs and all the other tech pioneers, before and after.
I can’t help but be amazed at the ease of use and convenience afforded to me, thanks to my Apple TV. Streaming directly from a device to my Samsung TV, or directly through that magical little box itself, allows for an immersive, uninterrupted, viewing experience that would have only existed within science fiction once upon a time.
Arguments can be made over his ability to take, or plunder, tech concepts and then purport them as being original ideas. Look at FaceTime as an obvious example; Skype had this cornered for years before they decided to enter the video calling fray with FaceTime, though further debate could be had in relation to how Jobs and co were so capable of not only popularising ideas that were not originally theres, but improving upon them. A lot of the features now available on the iPhone 6/6+ are not new, as Android fans are only too ready to shout out from the rooftops (or basements, depending on their trolling locations), but what they have successfully done, despite not being first, is attempt to be the first to truly get it right.
His ability to dream, and his unshakable resolve in his own sense of self belief, have inspired me and affected how I try to live my own life over the years, and, along with adhering to a Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, drives me in how I choose to handle myself as a person, and within how I attempt to achieve my own personal goals and dreams. If you haven’t already, I whole heartedly recommend reading his biography, Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson. Insightful, witty, informative and inspirational in equal measure, it manages to capture a unique life in an engaging, albeit expansive, page count.
It seems odd to say that Steve Jobs has affected me as a writer, but the truth is he has. His punk rock mindset (remember it all started with a small group, ready to change the world, in a garage in California) and belief affect my way of writing; I want to be a better writer, for my words to have more power, and for my stories to be rooted within a core that truly matters to me, reflects me, in a way that simply wouldn’t be the same had I not been privy to Jobs’ design process, willingness to engage in confrontations over elements he was truly passionate for and, importantly, his amazing Keynote presentations. The speed of his speech, the inflection and tone, the lilts and control have all been emulated over the years by Keynote speakers the world over, but their weak imitations only serve to prove that there will only ever be one Steve Jobs. Compromise is important within life, sure; from workplaces to relationships, it’s something that happens every single day to differing degrees of importance, but if I truly believe in something I have written as being integral or defining, then Jobs’ influence will begin to shine through. That isn’t to say I’m willing to have unnecessary conflicts, rather that the passion for what I believe to be write for the story will shine through, and all because of this impact.
Madman? Creative? Tyrant? Genius? They are all traits that comprise the complicated personal personality and public persona of this man that has successfully changed the world forever, leaving his mark indelibly upon us in the process. Another, more apt, one would simply be inspiration.
– – –
If you enjoyed the blog, or would like to add your thoughts/memories or stories of inspiration thanks to the legacy that Steve Jobs has left behind, I’d love to read them in the comments below!