V.O.W N°39 (3 - 9 October 2011)
Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) has left the flesh at the young age of 56 after battling cancer for nearly a decade. The co-founder and past CEO of Apple Inc was the most recognized business and technology figure this planet has ever known. In a world where CEOs obsess about money first and then the consumer, Steve Jobs placed the user first. Sure, he still looked at numbers, but the driving force behind his labor was design, experience and quality; all central to an impeccable user experience.
>> It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them<<
Steve Jobs for BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998
So how will you remember him? I am not quite sure how it will unfold in each individual, but I can give you my own reflection. Aesthetics has been a philosophical pursuit in all eight great ancient civilizations. Philosophers have devoted their lifetime pursuing an explanation to our perception and judgement of beauty. From Plato, Confucius, Cicero and Kant, we have learned and taken away a little bit of knowledge which helps construct our own model of aesthetic judgement. For Kant, judgements of beauty are sensory, emotional and intellectual all at once. Steve Jobs understood that and it became central to his work. He was more than a CEO, technologist or leader; he was an artist. He shifted our culture from the "Middle Ages" of consumer technology to our own Renaissance. His art changed our focus, as much in its content as in its mode of expression.
Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
Jobs' work inspired a generation. It changed the way we interact with communication and information. He democratized value, quality and luxury by making it available and affordable to the masses. He not only elevated the standards of his company but the standards of every single one of us and our relationship with technology. This transformation made the world better and more beautiful. His sense of pride in his work was infectious and gave an entire generation the tools to empower their intellectual and creative autonomy. Look at how many startup companies have evolved and grown out of the technology channeled through Apple products; it is simply astonishing. Today we celebrate the passion of a great leader. He painted the future with every launch and we will see his work translated by many in the decades to come.
As I sit in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in New York City, I look around and see glowing Apple laptops; this gently delineates the influence of such a visionary leader. We have come a long way and his labor will help shape the next generation of thinkers, innovators and designers. Steve Jobs was inspiring, innovative, determined and human. He died at the age of 56 but his legacy will live on forever.