Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, you know that recently the world lost the mind of Steve Jobs, the Co-Founder of Apple and Pixar Animation. He was a brilliant man who brought a lot of great things to the world in terms of technology and innovation. Still, my wife brought up an good point; why is everyone so captivated by his passing? She didn’t understand what she perceived as hype. She pointed out that everyone is talking about him as if he were the president of the United States or some extremely important dignitary. As some levels, I think Steve Jobs was even more important than that.
It is not just that he was the founder of Apple and Pixar but that he fundamentally changed the way the world works. I would argue that without Steve Jobs behind the wheel of Apple, the computer revolution as we know it today would not have happened. His vision changed how we thought of the computer. Before Jobs, computers were machines that took up entire rooms and then entire desktops. His vision was of products that would fit into the palm of your hand. It is by his insight that the world became flat again. That people in India are able to complete on a global scale with people in the United States. His vision has allowed many to have meaningful work doing things they love from the comfort of their homes. Although Jobs did not invent the Internet, he did recreate the fundamental machine that uses the Internet. He recreated the devices that power the economies of the world, he created new devices to power revolutions.
Would Twitter have been born without the Mac? Would millions of people be able to make money with music, applications, and games without the iPod and the App Store? Would we be able to see nearly live video of oppressive government crackdowns on protesters without the micro-camera capabilities the iPhone brought us? It is these capabilities that have changed the world. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya were driven by technology of Twitter and Facebook. Protesters were using their iPhones to tell each other where to meet. They were sharing the images of hope and freedom around the world through their phones.
Through the technology he created he has even changed the martial arts. Martial arts ideas are spread faster because there is now technology available to post blogs and videos about different concepts and facilitate discussion on them. If students have questions about techniques, they don’t have to wait for the next class to get it, they can send an e-mail or better yet, they can search for a video of the information. They have ready access to the technology and the information. That makes them better students who stick around longer and learn more. Without Jobs, these things would not have been possible.
There is another reason I think Jobs is so highly revered. He gave us dreams. He gave us the dream that we could do all the same things he could do. He gave us the dream that the technology of science fiction could be a reality, just look at what is already available. Through him we could dream of the impossible, the improbable, and the incredible. We could dream of devices that listened to our speech and did what we told it to do, like “Computer” on Star Trek. I believe it is because he gave us all the ability to dream big dreams that Jobs will be missed. Yes, he was just one man. He was a regular guy who had the same problems and issues as the rest of us but he was a man of unusual ability, the ability to know our dreams and fulfill them.