I was preparing to log off my iMac late last night when I pulled up the New York Times and sadly read of the passing of Steve Jobs, legendary co-founder of Apple and maker of the very device on which I was reading his obituary. As President Obama noted in a statement, “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.”
One of the most poignant tributes to Jobs comes from Times technology columnist David Pogue, who writes: “Here’s a guy who never finished college, never went to business school, never worked for anyone else a day in his adult life. So how did he become the visionary who changed every business he touched?
The story of Steve Jobs boils down to this: Don’t go with the flow. Steve Jobs refused to go with the flow. If he saw something that could be made better, smarter or more beautiful, nothing else mattered. Not internal politics, not economic convention, not social graces.
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave the commencement address to the graduating students at Stanford. He told them the secret that defined him in every action, every decision, every creation of his tragically unfinished life: ‘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.’”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I must admit that the untimely death of Steve Jobs moved me to tears, not just for the loss of his genius but for how he and his work have profoundly changed the way I work and live. The tools he helped create have enabled me to live anywhere I want and to enjoy using that technology to make a living. I pray for the loved ones he left behind, and my eulogy to the man behind the magic is simply this: iThankU.