Steve Jobs passed away yesterday (October 5, 2011). He was truly a remarkable man. He was a visionary. He looked outside the box and saw what consumers wanted (even before they knew that they wanted it). He saw the importance of point-and-click (and popularized the mouse). He saw the potential usefulness of tablet computers (and created a demand for them). He was always pushing for simple, elegant solutions (and created software with no reference manuals). He is the vision behind much of computing today.
One of the things that made Steve Jobs so successful was his drive for simplicity. He told Businessweek in 1998, “That’s been one of my mantras: focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” John Scully told Businessweek in 2010 of his impression of Steve Jobs, “He’s a minimalist. I remember going into Steve’s house, and he had almost no furniture in it. He just had a picture of Einstein, whom he admired greatly, and he had a Tiffany lamp and a chair and a bed. He just didn’t believe in having lots of things around, but he was incredibly careful in what he selected.” (See here for more).
He was the driving force behind the Apple II+ (my first computer), the Macintosh, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad (not to mention his work at Pixar and Next computers). For his genius, some have placed him in the category of Leonardo da Vinci. I would agree.
With his long illness, he had the opportunity to reflect upon his death. In 2005, he delivered the commencement speech at Stanford University, where he mused several times about his death. In that speech, he said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
His words are heading toward the famous words of Jesus, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36).