What a funny age in which we live. At a time some are demonizing the successful and the so called 1% at the top, today the whole world is stopping to remember the guy who so profoundly changed the early twenty-first century — Steve Jobs, a man in a class by himself.
I begin and end this Morning Briefing today remembering him.
In my office where I sit this still, quiet morning I have an iMac, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Air Port. I am an Apple fan. Guys like me used to be called a cult. But a funny thing happened.
Steve Jobs made Apple the world's most popular consumer electronics company. The iPad is the best selling tablet computer. The iPhone is the most popular smart phone. At some point the people who derisively mocked people like me found themselves — perhaps even now they don't know it — the cult of a small fringe of people who found it cool to hate what everyone else is embracing. The minority became the majority and the majority now is the minority. Apple is cool, hits the nostalgic elements of the age, and while seemingly exclusive has become ubiquitous — a feat few can pull off.
It says something profound about Steve Jobs that a guy who grew up in the counter culture movement when "the man" and "business", much like today, were not cool went on to redefine what cool is and what culture is through growing a business that now rivals Exxon as the most valuable in the world.
Steve Jobs is genius.
I grew up in Dubai. I was the only kid in my school who did not have a computer. But I would stay after school playing on the Apple IIe computers and then the IIgs and then the Mac SE. I learned programming, desktop publishing, and a love for writing and music both on computers Steve Jobs created.
When I moved back to Louisiana, my parents bought me a PC. I went from Dubai as the only kid in school without a computer to rural Louisiana where I was the only kid in school with a computer. In college, I finally convinced my parents to get me a Mac. I never went back.
In our lives, we occasionally come upon geniuses who give us special insight or special creations. Often we do not appreciate their genius until they have departed — like great artists whose value is undiscovered until they die. But then there are the Einsteins, the Edisons, the Disneys, the Picassos, and the Steve Jobses of the world. We not only see them and share with them that which they bring into the world, but we know we are in the presence of someone great.
And so it is that much sadder when they depart and deprive us of them. Humanity is selfish, but also glorious. Many of us are sad to see Jobs go because we want more from him, but we appreciate what Steve Jobs gave us in design and ideas and innovation while he walked among us. And now we cheer on his company and his legacy.
If there is one story to sum up the life of Steve Jobs and end this note with a smile, consider last night on Twitter. Margie Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church tweeted "Westboro will picket his funeral. He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin." She tweeted that, according to Twitter, from her iPhone.
I wish Steve Jobs' family well.
Requiescat in pace