Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs: A Mega, Meta Appreciation from Fast Company

Everything that needs to be said of Steve Jobs has already been written. Here's the most meta version of the story you will read online, offline, and everywhere else.  If you read only one story about Steve Jobs today (yeah, right) make it this one. Why? Because his story has already been written--over and over and over again, as the link explosion below makes clear. Also, this will save you a lot of time.

I knew the day would come when Steve Jobs would retire... but I didn’t expect to cry. We could all see this was coming--but it is a shock. The resignation of Apple Inc.'s chief executive Steve Jobs marks the end of an era. He was that rarest of birds: a C.E.O. who actually had a huge impact on his company’s fortunes... [and] genuinely earned the label of superstar. Jobs is often identified as the singular face of Apple--the man who is the energy and creative spirit behind the company. But Apple is much more than just Steve Jobs. With tens of billions of cash on hand, products that sell out as fast as they can be produced, and an ecosystem that continues to expand, the company’s future footing is solid. Indeed, Steve Jobs's greatest creation may be new Apple CEO Tim Cook. Yet throughout the tech industry... people are in shock. Those who are Apple's most devoted fans and users are struggling to decide if they should hold on to their faith in the company. With this news, some may cry that the “sky is falling,” believing that Steve and only Steve holds the magic of Apple innovation. Not so much.

The man whose insistent vision that he knew what consumers wanted made Apple one of the world's most valuable and influential companies has oft been described as a genius, hero, entrepreneur, technologist and visionary, a master inventor, master marketer, an American business magnate, Silicon Valley's rock star CEO, the driving force behind a string of products that revolutionized the consumer-electronics industry. But he could also be a mean, mean man, a risk-taking, short-tempered tyrant, who "made people feel terrible; he made people cry" and was notorious for his... erratic behavior and poor attitude. But because Steve Jobs is a design perfectionist who thinks different, these foibles were accepted as a small price to pay as long as he remained a creative genius [who] propelled his company Apple into the most iconic technology brand in the world and who reshaped Silicon Valley in his own image. While there were flops among the pops... products created under his direction that failed commercially or functionally, the dropout [turned] living legend--a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase--leaves a glittering legacy.

Because nobody's changed the world as well as Jobs. While his resignation as chief executive officer of Apple is the end of an extraordinary era, not just for Apple, but for the global technology industry in general, we should note his very own words, because they reveal what drives this inscrutable man: "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."

Thank you, Steve. For all you've done, for all of us.

(Via Fast Company.)

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