The Passing of a Great Man

The Passing of a Great Man

I was sorry to see Johnny Carson retire many years ago, then die several years later, as I was to see 92 year old Andy Rooney retire from 60 Minutes last Sunday evening.  Somehow, knowing that American icons such as these were in place and doing their thing made me feel that there was a sense of stability in the Universe and that the state of our world would resolve itself positively as long as certain people and things remained as they were and remained where we were used to seeing them.

Well, that is not the reality, and I am once again saddened to at first hear of Steve Jobs’ retirement as CEO of Apple and then, within just a few weeks, his passing.  Steve Jobs was among a very small group of people with the creative genius and financial ability to see his dreams come true.  Mr. Jobs has been said to be the Thomas Edison of our era and there are likely not many that would challenge that.

As one of the founding partners of Apple Inc. in 1974, Steve Jobs developed numerous computers, including the Macintosh, which used Xerox’s developing graphical mouse-driven user interface, that has become The way to compute around the world (can you actually imagine  writing Fortran routines these days?).  Steve Jobs founded NeXT Computer in 1985.  Tim Berners-Lee at CERN used a NeXT computer as the first server in the then fledgling World Wide Web.  So, we all owe Mr. Jobs a debt of gratitude for his role in helping making the Internet possible.

Steve Jobs and Apple developed the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone, revolutionizing the mobile communications industry.  His Pixar studio provided animated movies so wholesome that Disney purchased Pixar in 2006, resulting in Steve Jobs becoming the owner of about 7% of Disney stock: more than any other person on the planet, including Roy Disney.

So, thanks to Steve Jobs’ superb business skills, technological genius and creative planning, his legacy is still with us, as well as is Apple, his company.  Maybe some things WILL remain the same, at least in terms of values and quality, while in the midst of revolutionary and continual technological change.

Oh yeah: today’s post has nothing to do with architecture.

I leave you with Steve Jobs’ own comments about death:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. 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.” – Steve Jobs

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