There are approximately half a million babies born across the world on a daily basis, bringing joy to their family and those around them. But out of those half a million which are born everyday, maybe only one or two of them will go on to not only change their parents’ or guardians’ lives forever, but will actually change the world. Steven Paul Jobs, born February 24th 1955 in San Francisco, California was one of those newborns who was destined to bring about change in the world and boy did he fulfill his destiny.
It has been fifty seven years since Steve Jobs was brought into this world, and 142 days since he was taken away from it, but his legacy and everything he stood for will be immortalized forever thanks to the countless people he had a profound influence on throughout his professional career, as well as the millions of fans around the world who he inspired through his infectious work ethic and his need to bring quality products into the marketplace.
It is extremely easy for people to underestimate the impact that Steve Jobs has had on the world as we know it, but the honest truth is that had he not founded the Apple Computer Company in the 1970’s and then later returned to rejuvenate the fortunes of the ailing company; many of us would not have the careers, interests or passions that we have right now. Forty five thousand Apple employees around the world would be either unemployed or experiencing a career which would pale into insignificance to the one they have now, countless websites and blogs which so many people look to for the latest news and reviews would never have existed, and without the vision and determination of the former Apple CEO, consumers would more than likely still be experiencing mediocre products being churned out by companies that just don’t care as much as Apple seem to.
Many of Steve Jobs’ speeches and quotes have resonated with me on a personal level, but probably the most memorable which will stay with me forever came from his speech in 2005 at the Stanford University. On the topic of being fired in 1985 from the company he founded, Jobs said:
The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.
My own personal situation is similar, and I can relate to the feeling of being a beginner again, but beginning something that you truly feel passionate about is a sure fine way to achieve not only great success, but also the inner happiness needed to continue on the road of success. After leaving Apple in 1985 he then went on to set up the NeXT Computer Company which was ultimately acquired by Apple in 1996 for around $247 million, which essentially brought Steve Jobs home and was named as interim Chief Executive Officer in 1998.
In the thirteen years between leaving Apple and then returning and being named as the CEO once again, Jobs enjoyed time with NeXT Computer and also purchased Pixar from Lucas Films and enjoyed a deal with the Disney Group to distribute Pixar produced animated films. Jobs was also credited as an Executive Producer on one of the most successful animated movies of all time, Toy Story.
His return to Apple also saw one of the greatest phoenix from the ashes stories we have witness, or may ever witness in business history. With the introduction of the iPod personal music player and the focus on providing music via digital methods through the iTunes Store, the company was reborn. The subsequent introductions of the iPhone and iPad only proved to cement the fact that Apple were back on the big stage and there to stay thanks to the guidance and leadership of a CEO who was criticized and praised in equal measures for what was described as the ‘Reality Distortion Field’, referring to the effect that Jobs has on his employees.
On October 5th 2011, one day after the public announcement of the iPhone 4S, Steven Paul Jobs passed away and left this world. Looking back on the keynote the day before, you get the feeling that his colleagues and friends expected the passing as the event wasn’t hosted in the normal upbeat tempo we have come to expect from Apple product launches. I’d like to say the world is a poorer place due to the loss of a great man and visionary, but to be honest, I would rather concentrate on the fact that the world is, and always will be, an eternally richer place due to the fifty seven years it had Steve Jobs in it.
He was a man who touched so many, inspired millions and produced product after product which changed the world. He was a man who stayed true to his beliefs even when questioned by others and ruled with an iron fist as well as a compassionate heart. He was a man who recognized and understood the importance of life and lived it to the fullest for every single second he was alive. He was a round peg in a square hold and my god did he change the world.
Happy birthday, Steve. Gone but never forgotten.
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