I would like to say a few words for Steve Jobs, who passed away today. With their Apple II, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak brought personal computing out of the science labs and back offices and into average American homes in the 1970’s. The Macintosh, a brilliant synergy of great hardware and a user-friendly software interface, created a sea change in home computing which still raises our expectations today. Under Jobs’s iconic leadership, we live today in a connected world led by iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac – with multiple continents of competitors whose very imitation of Apple’s pioneering human interface standards is itself a tribute to the company and employees that started it all.
Steve Jobs put Cupertino on the map. Cupertino sparked the whole Silicon Valley explosion – and ethic – that remains such an inspiration and model for American business and engineering, as well as for the rest of us. I grew up with Apple, so to speak, from my first Apple II in 1979 to the iMac I’m using to write this. Ironically, I happened to order my first iPad2 earlier today. Apple set the standards for human interface design: never because they said so or because they did it first, but because the Apple design was so logical and intuitive.
I’ve no particular fear for the corporate future of Apple, which should be rosy. Jobs built an insanely great team and design philosophy. His was the legacy of an idea: deceptively simple Zen-like design of powerful and well-thought-out software. We recognize corporations sometimes lose momentum when the founder departs. In Apple’s case, the idea of excellence became an integral part of the corporate culture. It promises a brilliantly innovative future.
We will read and see a great deal more about Mr. Jobs now that we’ve lost him, as people begin to realize anew how much he gave us.
I would like to say thank you, Steve Jobs. My condolences to his family and to all who knew him and looked up to him.
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