Steve Jobs is dead

Twitter started buzzing with the news that Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs had died.  It started as rumour and quickly became fact as the Associated Press confirmed the news that had been announced by the corporation.  Within an hour, Steve Jobs RIP was trending #1 on Twitter across the world.  Variants of the same occupy three of the spots on the trends top ten this morning.

I innocently posted a picture of Mr. Jobs on my Facebook wall to share the sad news with the many people in my sphere who have not jumped aboard the Twitter bus.  One of my good friends (an anesthesiologist) responded with a strong perspective that Apple has greatly contributed to the global accumulation of e-waste and the perpetuation of inappropriate labour practices in the third world; he's from Edmonton.  Another friend, here in Fort McMurray, took exception to the comments and a former colleague and male nurse who now lives in BC, chimed in shortly after.  The debate, comments, and cathartic sharing of views continued through the evening as a disparate collection of people, interconnected by Facebook, engaged with one another about the death of a legend.

I pause and think about the miracle of social media at moments like this.  I remember what happened in the "old days" when someone famous died.  The announcement maybe popped up on the evening news; maybe not.  A story would appear in the daily newspaper (if you had access to one) the following day and people would reminisce around the water cooler.  News travels about a thousand times faster today.

Not that long ago we were alone with our grief.  When our heroes fell - John Candy, Jimmy Stewart, and many others - we perhaps shared the news with our immediate family, those physically in the same space, but it would be hours, possibly days, before the subject would come up in conversation in the outside world.  Today we grieve publicly and socially, by the millions and with millions.

I have TweetDeck installed on my laptop and every time a new tweet is delivered in one of the many channels that I follow it annoyingly pops up on my screen.  The vast majority of those pop-ups have included sentiment or information on Steve Jobs.

Fortune Magazine identified 10 ways that this Apple icon changed the world.  I thought I'd share those items, as a way of contextualizing the impact that this man had on most of us.

1.  Design - Jobs was more concerned about how a product looked and felt. Aesthetics trumped raw technical specifications.

2.  Music - iTunes and iPod have forever changed our access to and relationship with, music.

3.  The PC - it was a long time ago, but Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak helped popularize the idea of the personal computer with the Apple II, an 8-bit computer encased in plastic from the glorious 1980s.

4. The Post-PC Era - The iPad.  Enough said.

5.  The Ads - Whether it was the 1984 Super Bowl ad directed by Ridley Scott with the female athlete who bursts into a room filled with bald drones and hurls a sledgehammer at a projector screen displaying propoganda (a play on the Orwell novel) or Mac vs PC, Jobs knew how to market.

6.  The iPhone - this incredible device turned the cellphone market upside down and spawned the deluge of Android phones.  Mobile communication will never be the same.

7.  The Ecosystem - Jobs' idea was simple:  create a closed universe of hardware, software and services that -- thanks to tight integration -- provide a superior experience for users.

8.  The Mac OS - the Apple operating systems have always been simpler and more secure.

9.  The Apple Stores - these retail magnets have created a shopping experience like no other.

10.  Apple Inc. - Jobs built an incredible organization - 12,000-strong - making it the most valuable technology company in the world from once being on the brink of irrelevance.

Like I said at the end of the Facebook debate last night, at the end of the day a wife has lost husband and a family is experiencing profound sadness.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Created by 19 year old designer Jonathan Mak


  1. I write on a MacBook Air, I use an iPhone, and my iPad is a constant companion. I did not know Steve Jobs and yet he has touched my life, just as those who invented the light bulb, and the automobile. Inventors are a rare and unusual breed, and they follow a vision and passion that many others do not initially understand. I have profound respect for those who follow their vision and passion, and there is no doubt that Steve Jobs was a prime example of this. And as you say at the end of the day a family has lost their father, and I know that pain, too. Well said, Russell, as always.


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