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Friday, October 7, 2011

The World Remembers

Today, the world across, there is shared sorrow in the passing of Steve Jobs. A legend in his own time,Barack Obama ranked him among the greatest of America's innovators, a man who exemplified the spirit of ingenuity, "Brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it." In a round-up of tributes from CEOs, friends and contemporaries, it is inescapably clear that his name will be remembered with the greats, not just as a visionary who instrumented quantum leaps in technology and design, but as a man who lived a life so full, that his legacy will continue long after he is gone.
As we pay our respects, we bring you some the best of the web on Steve Jobs:
In this Playboy interview with a young Steve Jobs, barely 30, he shines through as a true visionary, predicting the depths of possibility, unimaginable at the time. His prophecy for the personal computer is unnervingly accurate, "It can be a writing tool, a communications center, a supercalculator, a planner, a filer and an artistic instrument all in one." It is no wonder then, that for several years running, Jobs was the youngest person on the Forbes' list of richest Americans.
Despite this, wealth was never the goal. As he was famously quoted, "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful…that's what matters." Larry Page, co-founder of Google, described him as a man who always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking, before you thought it. For more quotes from the mind of a path-breaker, see here and here.
Jobs' excitement and easy humour made him a master storyteller. This interview from the Smithsonian makes for a compelling read, as he narrates incidents from his early childhood, his introduction to electronics and subsequent fascination with creation. His thoughts on education and his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs are sobering. But as always, he tells it straight up, like it is.
His deep understanding of human nature, and the ability to respond to it, is what made him so distinctive. R Jagannathan of the First Post describes his visit to India at the age of eighteen, in 1973, riding the end of the hippie movement and seeking enlightenment in drugs and ashrams. Jobs found India and her extreme poverty "intense and disturbing" and concluded his trip with a realization that it is action and not philosophy that can help others. "We weren't going to find a place where we could go for a month to be enlightened. It was one of the first times that I started to realise that maybe Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Kairolie Baba put together." As Jagannathan observes, perhaps his passion to create was his true enlightenment.
His unwavering enthusiasm and infectious passion inspired everyone he came in contact with, to push their boundaries and question what was possible. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg couldn't have said it better, "Jobs saw the future and brought it to life long before most people could even see the horizon." Anyone who has used an Apple product is testament to that.
News feeds report that his death broke Twitter records, with 10,000 tweets per second. An inspired piece from the Daily Beast traces the man who touched millions through the genius of his creation, as he graces 25 magazine covers all the way from 1981 to 2010, the World's Favourite Cover Boy.
In what is probably his most shared public address, Steve Jobs speaks to the graduating class at Stanford University in 2005, urging them to find what they love. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." 
Leaving you with some recommended long-form pieces that profile Steve Jobs, and a minefield of stories on his life and work.

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