What is it about Steve Jobs?
What is it that makes millions of people who have never met him, mourn his passing? What makes them feel like they knew him. What made his death so personal.
In an outpouring from the far corners of the world, people appear to share a personal connection with him. A friend of mine called it the 'Unites States of Apple.' Grief creates a leveling platform, where country, language and economics become irrelevant, and shared loss reminds us again of how much we have really in common.
The word "inspiration" keeps re-surfacing. We see our potential in him. A post on Twitter captured it —
"Jobs was born out of wedlock, put up for adoption, dropped out of college, and still, he changed the world. What's your excuse?" - http://tiny.cc/6ieef
Is that what we see reflected in him, is that what unites digital titans and everyday gadget fans like you and me as we mourn him?
Messages from Apple fans across the world echo the same message — he created dreams for people, he made them believe in themselves, believe that they too could reach for greatness.
From Paris, Russia and Munich. From Sydney and Tokyo, from teachers to entrepreneurs, fans pay tribute to their hero. From Shanghai, voices express concern over the future of Apple, without the leadership of its iconic guide. From India, the Kanchi Dham temple in Uttarakhand pays its respects to the man who visited them at the young age of 18, in search of enlightenment.
From Hong Kong, nineteen year old Jonathon Mak's homage to Jobs went viral on the internet. His design incorporates Steve Jobs' silhouette into the bite of the Apple logo. Tribute in ingenious simplicity. He says, "I just wanted it to be a very quiet commemoration. It's just this quiet realization that Apple is now missing a piece. It's just kind of implying his absence."
Jobs' family recognized what he meant to the public, and that many will mourn with them. They are building a website where people can share their memories of Jobs. In the meanwhile though, Apple is collecting thoughts, memories and condolences at an e-mail address it has set up: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jobs may be gone, but he is live online.