Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
— Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Yesterday, we had to say our goodbyes to a man who’s been described as “a mentor and a friend” (Mark Zuckerburg), “a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance” (Larry Page), “a visionary” (Barack Obama), an “iconic entrepreneur and businessman” (Meg Whitman), “clearly the most effective and successful American CEO in the last 50 years” (Eric Schmidt), and so much more by leadership figures, Apple employees, and admirers: Steve Jobs. Photographs of Jobs over the years have been shared in force — even some showing a side of him we may not normally see. (via @mike_matas)
Personally, I felt a deep sense of sadness yesterday as I heard the news, and I wasn’t alone. The remainder of my evening was spent reading and watching outpourings of #stevejobslegacy tweets, remembrances, articles, and videos from so many people around the world. Like many, I came back to this video, his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 (if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the 15 minutes of your time).
An outpouring of admiration
Wired posted a lovely tribute on its home page, and memes of #iSad and newly created tribute designs popped almost instantly. Reddit comments on the post relaying news of his death at last check had more than 8,000 comments, many of which have been personal anecdotes like “I would always trick or treat at his house” (with the inevitable “he only gave away half-eaten apples” jokes to follow) or “I accidentally hung up on Steve Jobs once” and the recounting of how Jobs called back, laughing.
Many sent, and are still sending, their thoughts, memories, and condolences to firstname.lastname@example.org. The New York Times asked Twitter to discuss the impact of Steve Jobs’ work using the hashtag #stevejobslegacy, and they published their favorites here. @stroughtonsmith was one of those people, who tweeted: “People leaving flowers at Apple stores; what other companies would expect something like that for their CEO?” So very true.
There’s a reason he was named the “world’s best-performing CEO in the world” by Harvard Business Review and “CEO of the Decade” by Fortune magazine. People didn’t simply leave flowers, either — a brand new Tumblr page dedicated to Apple store memorials shows the love and admiration people have for Jobs by displaying the photographs, candles (or images of candles displayed on their iPhones), bitten-into apples, and handmade signs left at stores around the world. Millions of people have also reportedly changed their Facebook pictures to honor Jobs.
CareerBuilder employees on what Jobs taught them
When I asked co-workers to send their stories about Jobs and what his life and leadership meant to them, it became clear right away that his legacy isn’t the same for everyone; he affected even a small group of people in such vastly different, but important, ways. Below are remembrances of Jobs from some of our own CareerBuilder employees:
“I always think about his last line from his Stanford address “stay hungry, stay foolish”. Stay foolish enough to believe you can change the world and hungry enough to make it happen. I watched it again when he announced his resignation. I showed it to our company at kick-off this year also. It provides terrific advice on life and business from the greatest CEO of our generation.”
– Matt Ferguson, CEO
“Steve Jobs was all about focus. It’s true that he dreamed big and took all sorts of risks to deliver on his vision, but what made him successful was that he knew when to block out the background noise and never to waver from his goal. He didn’t believe in focus groups and he didn’t care what analysts thought about his financials. He simply wanted to take the ideas in his head and do everything in his power to bring them to life.”
-- Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources
“Certainly Steve Jobs was a great innovator and visionary, but as a leader I think his ability to inspire his employees to demand the best from themselves to give the best to Apple customers is what enabled him to create the most loved products and most valuable company. Sometimes the tactics were controversial, but you can’t argue with the results and a legacy that leaves his employees continuing to ask “What would Steve do?
While most people comment on the design and ease of use of the device, for me it has impacted me more from the fact that so many people and organizations are creating content that can be so quickly consumed on the device. Netflix movies, educational or zombie-based games for my kids, TED talks, industry news shared through my social and professional network, all of this is possible because of Steve Jobs’ vision and ability to execute without compromise. I’m enjoying discovering on my iPhone today quotes and favorite articles from my network discussing the impact Steve Jobs had on each of them and the world.
-- Hope Gurion, Chief Development Officer
“When asked about his favorite Apple product, I’ve always read that Steve said he was most proud of the work they didn’t do. Meaning one of the attributes of their success was not to spread themselves too thin chasing down every idea that they stumbled upon, but forcing themselves to only focusing on the products that they really believed could be ‘insanely great. ‘This is much harder to do than it sounds, because all great ideas are not created equal and resources are scarce, so being able to make a bet and pick the right thing to work on, at the right time, is an amazingly valuable skill.”
“Personally, 10 years ago iPod allowed me to reconnect with my music. At the time I had hundreds of CDs all over the place and the level of effort involved in finding songs I wanted to hear increased exponentially the more music I bought. It got to the point that I would get excited about hearing a song, but I would talk myself out of it when I thought about how painful it was to find the music. iPod changed that in a profound way. It put the songs back at my fingertips and helped me rediscover how important music is. How do you value something like that?”
– Paul Simmons, Website Development Director
“Steve Jobs, both because of his own way of seeing the world and the people he has used to create Apple’s products and culture, has done more to bring the role of design beyond just making things pretty and into the role of how things work, what it’s like to use them, and why they exist in the first place than any other person. Maybe ever. This has changed everything for many of us, from the way we create things to the way we expect them to be created.”
– Jonathan Stegall, Interactive Designer
“You don’t need everyone’s approval in order to be a success; if you really believe in your dreams nothing else can get in your way. To me, he really is the only person that truly embodied that. He went through a lot of misfortune in his short life but saw all those misfortunes as opportunities. Way too often people get sidetracked by a bad day or a negative opinion. Jobs was an adopted child, a college dropout, was fired from the company that he created, diagnosed with cancer, etc… but never let any of that break him down. Your life is what you make of it and you have control over all the obstacles that come your way. That is something that I always try to remember and something far too many forget.”
– Susan Densa, Graphic Designer
“My background is in music. With the advent of iTunes the delivery vehicle of music changed from physical to digital. This had profound impacts for the preservation and revitalization of many great recordings, since many were presumed lost and/or out of print since manufacturers would not realize a return on investment to distribute them. With iTunes, many of these titles are available again. Wonderful!”
– Michael Taylor, Senior Director, Client Support
I think we can all agree that Steve Jobs saw things a little bit differently — and that our world is the better because of it.
It’s Your Turn:
What will you remember most about Jobs?