The first time I saw that Steve Jobs had died was on my iPhone.
On my MacBook, I quickly searched for more information and received a phone call shortly after (again on my iPhone) from a friend who works for Microsoft. Both of us were in a state of shock.
My wife texted me–from her iPhone–and asked me to come upstairs. The news had just broken on the local TV stations. On the Mac Mini in our bedroom, Steve’s face looked out from the Apple homepage. My son came in to see what the commotion was, briefly distracted from playing a game on his iPod Touch.
I went to work tonight and listened to music on my iPod Classic, and had rehearsal with the kids worship team, running the music and video via ProPresenter on a Mac. We ran lights from our Windows computer. In the kids’ lobby, pictures and videos streamed to the televisions via Apple TV. I went to my office to check on something and saw our church’s Creative Director working on a video using his Mac and Final Cut.
I came home and almost tripped on my son’s Woody doll on the floor and put away the Wall*E Xbox game. I glanced at The Art of Pixar Shorts book on the coffee table and picked up the Apple TV remote and put it away.
This is why Steve Jobs’ death has such an impact on our world. There are just so many places where his creativity and vision have impacted the way we use and share information. His creative vision gave the world devices that fundamentally changed the way people use music, phones, televisions. His belief in the potential of others ensured that a small division of Lucasfilm would become one of the best film studios of all time, giving the world amazing characters and stories kids and their parents would fall in love with.
Like Walt Disney before him, he was a multi-faceted genius. He bugged people and could be a jerk of an employer. He was generous to a fault and always pushed for innovation, even when it gave him bad press or caused financial disaster. Like Walt, who changed the way people looked at cartoons and amusement parks and turned them into money-making powerhouses, Steve changed the way people looked at their music collections and their phones and turned them into money-making powerhouses.
What Eric Sevarid said on the CBS News the night Walt Disney died seems appropriate when said also about Steve Jobs. As you read, just replace Walt’s name with Steve’s:
It would take more time than anybody has around the daily news shops to think of the right thing to say about Disney.
He was an original. Not just an American original, but an original. Period. He was a happy accident, one of the happiest this century has experienced. And judging by the way it’s behaving, in spite of all Disney tried to tell it about laughter, love, children, puppies, and sunrises, the century hardly deserved him. He probably did more to heal – or at least soothe – troubled human spirits than all the psychiatrists in the world. There can’t be many adults in the allegedly civilized parts of the globe who did not inhabit Disney’s mind and imagination for at least for a few hours and feel better for the visitation.
“It may be true, as somebody said, that while there is no highbrow in a lowbrow, there is some lowbrow in every highbrow. But what Disney seemed to know was that while there is very little grown-up in every child, there is a lot of child in every grown-up. To a child, this weary world is brand-new, gift wrapped. Disney tried to keep it that way for adults.
“By the conventional wisdom, mighty mice, flying elephants, Snow White and Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy and Doc – all these were fantasy, escapism from reality. It’s a question of whether they are any less real, any more fantastic than intercontinental missiles, poisoned air, defoliated forests, and scrap iron on the moon. This is the age of fantasy, however you look at it, but Disney’s fantasy wasn’t lethal.
People are saying we will never see his like again.”
Thank you, Steve. Rest in Peace.