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RIP Steve Jobs: Thank You For Thinking Differently

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There are few people in this industry that cause the level of emotion that Steve Jobs does. In his passing at home with his family this Wednesday, there a huge outpouring of tributes to the person that I consider to be the most inspirational and most important in the technology field. 

When I heard the news this morning when I woke up, I was deeply saddened. After Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO on August 24, a lot of people feared the worst about Steve Job's health. That act alone caused an immense amount of concern, tribute and sadness in the technology industry. But his death still comes as a gut-wrenching surprise. I think everyone was still hoping for his famous "One More Thing". 

What is outstanding about Steve is that his impact goes far beyond the realm of computer geeks and software developers. Any paper that you pick up will have the news of Steve's passing on the front page. And that is the profound impact that he has made. He has given us all an industry to be proud of, translating the exciting nature of IT into some thing all consumers understand. I can't overstate what a great ambassador he was for what software developers do - he gave us the chance to feel really proud of the things that we can produce. 

Best known for his outstanding keynotes and commanding stage presence when unveiling new products, one of the most celebrated speeches Steve Jobs was his insightful, and truly inspirational commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. The speech is encouraging for those of us who love what we do, concluding with the advice to "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish"


Go to the Apple homepage today and you will see their tribute to the most inspirational person in our industry.

 "Apple has a lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has  lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have build, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple"


Here's a pick of my favorite tributes from around the web: 

President Obama: 

Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.  By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.  And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last.  Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.

Bill Gates:

 I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.  I will miss Steve immensely. 

 Larry Page:

I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google's are with his family and the whole Apple family.

Mark Zuckerberg:

Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.

Tim Cook: 

No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much

 Steve Ballmer: 

I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.

AllThingsD have a great article listing some of Steve Job's most memorable quotes, while the New York Times and Wired both have detailed articles about Steve's life. Walt Mossberg has a piece about "The Steve Jobs I Knew". 

Apple have invited people to share their thoughts and condolences by email at

This Think Different advert, narrated by Steve Jobs himself, seems to be the best way to sign off this article, a fitting tribute to someone who truly changed the world.




Claude Lalyre replied on Thu, 2011/10/06 - 2:30am

R.I.P :-(

Zqudlyba Navis replied on Thu, 2011/10/06 - 6:41am

Why do they always say patronizing things about a person when they are dead?
Be realistic people.

Steve Jobs was just a manager who took care of finances, paperwork and marketing.

He's not an inventor or innovator that people claim to be.
He's just a slick marketing guy who screwed Steve Wozniak et al.

It's the engineers and scientists on the trenches that actually did the invention and innovation.

Do you really think Steve actually knew how to turn on the computer or use email?
He's got secretaries to do those for him.

Andrea Del Bene replied on Thu, 2011/10/06 - 6:57am in response to: Zqudlyba Navis

I completely agree with you. I never loved Apple, I never owned an Apple device and most of all Apple has always been hostile toward open source.

But  that said, IMHO Jobs has been the greatest entrepreneur of all the time and I will miss him so much.

Michael Urban replied on Thu, 2011/10/06 - 8:08am in response to: Zqudlyba Navis

Was that really necessary? To trample on the man's grave like that before he has even been buried?

It's no secret that I was not a fan of Steve Job's business practices or culture of secrecy back when I was managing editor here at DZone. But that doesn't take away from everything he accomplished.  He changed the world in many ways. No, he wasn't an engineer. But he was a visionary who had an uncanny knack for bringing the right people together to design and create products that changed the world and made life better for so many people.

Again, agree with him or not, the world lost a great visionary. And it is a sad time for not only his family, but everyone in the IT industry, and the hundreds of millions of people whose lives were made just a little bit better because of Apple's products.

Thank you, Steve. Your life was cut short, but you accomplished more in 56 years than most people could accomplish in 256 years.

Otengi Miloskov replied on Thu, 2011/10/06 - 10:53am in response to: Michael Urban

To Michael Urban Comment +1, Steve Jobs was not an engineer but a Visionary that made the projects or products or designs a reality. Jonathan Ive said that without Steve Jobs maybe he could not finish his design's or ship any of his designs. Before Steve Job joined again Apple, Apple almost was at the point of disappear as a company but Steve Jobs with his talent and Marketing made the greatest IT company in our time that right now Google, Microsoft, Samsung et al, envy their products and those companies created similar products with the Visions of Steve Jobs to compete with Apple. No Mr. Who are you?, Does not matter, What it matters is Steve Jobs was a great Human being and we will miss his Vision's, Marketing, Distortion Field and much more. RIP Steve Jobs and Thank you.

Lund Wolfe replied on Sat, 2011/10/08 - 5:14pm

Maybe he wasn't an engineer or scientist or programmer. He was a best of breed business man, but more importantly he was a visionary, idealist, genius in human engineering and user interfaces before we even understood the concept. He knew what was needed, how it should look, and how it should function, the daddy of all business analysts. He also always knew that quality was essential. "Good enough" (or we'll do a better job in the next release) would have made him vomit. Many programmers can implement an idea, even badly but good enough to become screamingly popular, but few people can come up with that idea and follow it through to success.

Apple was always proprietary and way overpriced, which made commercial success slow and challenged, but their products, the creation of Steve Jobs, have always been the standard.

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