I am baffled by this outpouring of love and emotion for Steve Jobs. The make-shift shrines at Apple Stores, the flowers on the lawn in Cupertino, the touching tributes on Facebook - I get it, but I don't get it. Did we really love this man? Or is it something else we love?
What Steve Jobs accomplished was remarkable, if not staggering. His dogged will and determination, his vision, his relentless pursuit of elegance and perfection - these qualities made him one of the greatest business leaders of the 20th Century. He turned a company around, built immense value for his shareholders and his products changed the way we think and communicate. There is no doubt that Steve Jobs changed the world.
He was a visionary CEO, and I hear a great father and neighbor. I do not judge the man, the Mac changed my life, but we seem to be celebrating him like Ghandi or Princess Di. Apple under Jobs is an incredible story, and its technology helped shape the internet age.
Thanks to Steve Jobs and his team at Apple, we are now always connected, always plugged in. Music, video, photographs all flow freely between us. If we want a song we can have it in ten seconds. If we want to reach out and touch someone, we can do that too. We have iPhones and iPads and iMacs now, and they are marvels of innovation; until the next versions come along. Jobs also perfected the art of the product rollout. His true genius was not the things he may have conceived but the way he convinced us all that we need them. I've heard Steve Jobs compared to Edison and Ford, but really, P.T. Barnum is what comes to mind, and that's not an insult. Barnum always gave them their money's worth.
And in the end isn't this really all about money? Right now there are hundreds of people camped out on Wall Street rallying against the very thing that Steve Jobs represents - staggering corporate profits. They are the 99%'ers. Many of them can't afford iPhones and the pricey data plans they require. They're out there just trying to find a job - singular. They're trying to understand why gigantic companies, like Apple, can be worth more money than the human brain can fathom while schools crumble, while families fall apart.
I do not mean to belittle the death of Steve Jobs. He was a human being. He did amazing things. He is in many ways an inspiration, as a CEO sure, but to me more so as a person who suffered through a terrible cancer. Though I will say that it sure helps to be rich when you need a liver transplant or some expensive alternative treatment. I don't begrudge him that, but look at the dialectic. Healthcare in this country is a clusterhump. Steve Jobs did not have to worry about whether or not he was covered. How many iPhones does a liver cost?
Rather than mourn the death of Steve Jobs, why not take his death as an opportunity to examine what he has helped bring us - planned obsolescence run amok, products and services designed to generate maximum profit to the corporation, a 24-7 connection to all things media and never, ever a dull moment again. Thanks to iPhones and the App Store and iTunes we never have to sit still, sit quietly and stay empty. We can always be doing something, now, other than truly living, truly loving, truly giving. That’s the legacy. iSad indeed.
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