Thursday, October 06, 2011

Six Degrees of Steve Jobs

There are a small number of people that have died in my lifetime that I've never known, yet I remember their passing vividly.  I can think of four right away.

John Lennon
Ronald Reagan
Freddie Mercury
George Harrison

I believe I am adding a fifth name to that list today with the passing of Steve Jobs.

I really didn't think I would feel this way but since the announcement yesterday that he had died, I've found myself to be very sad about it.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that just about everything I do during the course of my day, can be directly traced to something that Steve Jobs had a hand in creating.

I wake up in the morning to the sound of my cell phone alarm.  It's smart enough to know that it's a weekday so I need to get awoken at 6.30am.  On the weekends it stays quiet.  Smartphones - Steve Jobs.

I come downstairs to make lunch for the kids and have some breakfast.  When I sit down for my cereal, I set up my iPad to read the morning news.  I can read hundreds of newspapers, magazines and websites; send out a bunch of e-mails and play four rounds of Angry Birds in ten minutes.  Tablet computing - Steve Jobs.

I drive the kids to school and on the way, Sadie and Hannah ask me if we can watch 'Toy Story 3' that night as a family movie night.  The family gets together and enjoys a movie that appeals to every person in the room, making us laugh and making us cry.  Computer animated movies - Pixar - Steve Jobs.

I get to my office, sit in my seat and wake up my computer from it's slumber.  How do I do it?  Move the mouse, of course.  I spend nine hours multitasking between seven or eight software applications and switching between them in seconds.  This is how I make a living for my family and how I am able to put food on the table and shelter over our heads.  Computer mouse - Steve Jobs.

I drive home after a long day at work and listen to the most incredible mixed tape EVER.  Unlike before, this one isn't a two sided cassette with twenty songs.  No...LOL.  This one is a tiny metal and plastic box with a hard drive in it.  It's on shuffle and playing a random assortment of 11,230 songs.  My entire music my pocket.  It's plugged into my car stereo system and cranked all the way up.  Who knows whats coming next?  The Beatles?  Queen?  Metallica??  Who knows?  It's heaven.  Digital music players - iPods - Steve Jobs.

I tried to think of something that I may have eaten for lunch that may have a connection to Steve Jobs but I don't think he had a hand in the creation of sushi or the 5-dollar footlong.  However, the Subway frequent buyer card I have CAN be stored in my smartphone for easy scanning at the store.  Again, Steve Jobs probably played some role with that technology as well.

My good friend Gary Vincoff said something very profound on the phone with me today.  He said that Steve Jobs passing away probably altered human history.  It's a big statement to make but think about that for a minute.  How many useful and cool technologies are we never going to see in our lifetime now?  How many ideas died along with Steve Jobs?  Surely, there will be another visionary.  Surely there will be another person, or two, or three, who will amaze us with their vision in the future.  But there will never be another Steve Jobs.  He was the John Lennon of technology.

Three poignant words strung together make up a great Steve Jobs quote that really sums this up:

"Click.  Boom.  Amazing!"

Rest in peace.  Heaven has just been rebooted.

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